Refinement + Evolution = Revolution! Huh?!!
I get it. At first glance, it looks like a jumble of a word equation that says so much yet so little. But, if you allow me to break down how I came up with this mish-mash of concepts and symbols, it will become clear (maybe). I derived this funky phrase from my old e-mail signature.
I then transformed it into the literal visualization of my philosophical approach and professional development. And it will be the motto of my budding content creation company – Refine Evolve.
My goals as an artist are to refine through practice and evolve with experience, transforming myself into a significant force in the creative sphere. As I contribute to its prosperity, I let it give me the fuel to improve and grow continually. So goes the cycle.
If this explanation still sounds very galaxy-brain, let me offer the definitions I use for each element of the slogan.
I mean refinement as improving or clarifying something by making small changes. Sharpen is a term I’d also use based on that image up there. Whether it’s my professional skillset or philosophical outlook, I aim to fine-tune my content creation tools carefully and continuously.
I referred to these adjustments in my piece about growing up as a digital immigrant. As part of the second half of Gen X, I had the advantage of coming of age when the world wide web became popular. However, my adult brain became more or less fully formed once it exploded into the mainstream. Therefore, I have to do a little more work than a Zoomer or Millennial. While I have a good amount of control over how digitally savvy I can be, it feels like a perpetual trial by fire. It’s like the internet forces of nature trying to select me naturally.
I define evolving as a gradual development from simple to complex. That may sound a little like refining, and I agree it does. But in my mind, refinement is proactive, while evolution is reactive. It totes the U.S. Marine Corps motto of “Improvise, Adapt and Overcome.”
(and no, the irony is not lost on me, being Air Force)
Case in point, my rebrand after my failed attempt to self-proclaim as a full-stack storyteller. I thought I was so brilliant trying to tie the act of writing to software development. After a while, I ran out of ideas to compare the two. What I did get from that exercise in futility was the start of a set of rules I could cultivate in the future.
While variety is essential, I must be pickier in what mix I will use for what piece of content. Same with audience-centricity (that is so not a word). Because specific demographics and psychographics have distinct tastes, they will pick up different messages from a single media piece. Therefore, I see an evolution of my content strategery (I still cannot believe that’s an actual word) based on who is watching/listening.
All put together, I complete the equation and achieve-
“Ok, what? I thought it was Revolution!” You may ask. And you may have a point. Or do you?
In my context, transformation is a thorough or dramatic change in form or appearance. Revolution is an abrupt and wide-reaching change in the way something works. I see them as both the same. But I do realize one term is more loaded than the other.
When I wrote about being an ethnic exile, I thought the salad bowl was more a progressive analogy than the melting pot. But I changed my mind after reading LeAna B. Gloor’s and Mohamed Berray’s critiques on both concepts. Berray coined the “ethnicity in exile” theory, where existing local contexts of host countries influence the choices and actions of immigrant groups from different origins. In other words, it emphasized the collaboration of separate groups to form a distinct culture rather than others submitting to the dominant culture of the one. I ended it by voicing my complex thoughts on the issue, that although it was an ideal outcome, I didn’t believe it was possible, at least right now.
It’s the same way I feel about “revolution” and “transformation.” My philosophy leans towards the former. But, the current socio-political climate and my instincts to protect myself and my family compels me to put the latter in front.
Nevertheless, I wait for the day when refinement + evolution = revolution! is less of a fancy slogan and more of a call to action. Until then, it will serve as the mantra of Refine Evolve, my professional development, and my philosophical approach.