Sometimes a thing looks like both the component parts that make up the thing and a collection of the thing itself.
A rock, for example, looks both like a grain of sand and a mountain.
Chunks of ice, too, look both like ice crystals and icebergs.
Human nature can often be described this way, too. Famous parables about scorpions or rattlesnakes end with concluding witticisms like, “It's in my nature,” or “You knew what I was when you picked me up.” These tired aphorisms suggest that a person's behavior in any particular situation can be guessed by how they've behaved before.
Note that this observation does not contain a value judgment of whether or not the anticipated behavior will be either good or bad. It implies only that a person's nature can be a good predictor of their behavior in any particular future situation.
Simply put, how you do anything is how you do everything.
Wandering around Marrakesh's endlessly winding souk, we were astounded at how the plain looking doors in the mean little alleys would open to reveal stunning courtyards overstuffed with verdant gardens, delicately carved plaster walls, and charming bubbling fountains.
In the medina (the old fortified town at the center of every Moroccan city), all of the houses were constructed around internal patios with almost identical outside doors. And this was regardless of whether the residents were rich or poor. My guidebook said this is in deference to the traditional rules of Islamic modesty.
The funny thing was this North African architectural feature reminded us most of similar construction we saw a world away in Antigua, Guatemala. There too, plain barn doors set into faded walls would open to reveal the staggeringly beautiful courtyards and gardens they kept concealed.
It wasn't until I read a translated version of Henry Bordeaux's Le Miracle du Morac (The Miracle of Morocco) that I saw another repetition of this pattern of a stark exterior disguising a potentially beautiful interior. As Bordeaux explained, “In the Maghreb (Northern Africa), residences are veiled like women whose beauty is found on the inside.”
Imagine that! Islamic architectural convention and wardrobe orthodoxy both grew from the same protective practices. How you do anything is how you do everything, indeed!
Remember that the reality of these patterns is not concerned with whether their activities or the results of those activities are right or wrong or good or bad. It's simply a reminder that they can help lead us to a greater understanding of what's going on all around us.
How can this impact your business?
Understanding the power of patterns can help you build a compelling brand that will resonate with your clients, your customers, and your consumers. When you weave consistency and constancy into your business activities and your marketing activities it will be easier for people to recognize you. What's more, the power of patterns will help your target audience understand who you are, what you do, and why you matter to them.
This works regardless of the size or nature of your business.
It is effective regardless of whether you're a solopreneur or you represent a company, association, political party, religious organization, governmental organization, government, or geographical location.
Best of all, the power of patterns doesn't require you to spend a lot of money, only that you pay attention. Identify the traits and uniquenesses that set you apart and look for ways to communicate them. Be consistent and constant with your graphics and interior design, your behavior, and your business practices, and your audiences will notice.
If you want your business to prosper, put the power of patterns to work for you. Why? Because how you do anything is how you do everything.