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Education was valued in my family, and seeking higher knowledge was an expectation.

Interestingly, what I have discovered in mid-life after all the degrees and titles, is that education is much more than formal schooling.

Have you ever gone away from a conversation with a person obviously of high intellect and degree and found yourself saying ‘boy, they have a lot to learn’?  Or ‘they sure can talk, but they have no clue’?

That’s because a formal education, despite being a necessary expectation, doesn’t complete the learning process necessary to have a fulfilling life and a successful career.

I have found that my education gives me a way to think logically and forms a good foundation to understand the world.  But to round out the experience, another education process has to occur, and that involves senses and sensibilities, otherwise known as common sense.

Unfortunately, as Voltaire said, ‘common sense is not so common.’

To have common sense, you have to experience life through your senses. It involves seeing, tasting, feeling, smelling and yes listening in order to open yourself up to new experiences from which to learn.  In other words, living life to the fullest will reward you with invaluable knowledge.  That knowledge not only helps you recognize what is common, but what is also uncommon or falls outside the box.  To not experience life through all your senses, limits the experience and does not allow you to appreciate all that life has to offer.

Have you ever followed a recipe to the exact measure, but in the process, using your senses and memory, figured out that a certain spice or a different cooking process can actually allow you to create something unique and even better?  That’s the common sense process that rounds out the formal education process.

When we thought about our new business and how it represented, at least on paper, three very different enterprises, we also thought the sum of our lives prepared us for this moment.

Yes, there was the formal education process.  But we also used our experiences in life with all the senses that it involved- from travels to our relationship with our mothers to our relationship with each other- to create something unique and long lasting and compelling.  That’s why we didn’t want to limit our business to just interior design.  It was quite a natural learning process to involve all our other experiences and sensibilities to add depth and interest.  All three services- fine art, interior design, consultation- naturally support and enhance each other and because our experiences are unique to Craig and me, our product is like no other.

Mr. Mann’s Design is the defining moment of our education.

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