Who is wise? He who learns from every person.
Every encounter in life offers a learning opportunity. Using this mindset, we can discover the profundity in what at first sight may seem like simple encounters. Having been involved in the architecture scene for over five years, I have encountered inspiration in many places and would like to share three lessons we can all apply in our daily lives.
The strength of a building lies in its foundation. The foundation serves to hold the structure up and keep it upright. As buildings are getting taller, the need for powerful foundations has become increasingly important. Without a foundation, your house will slowly sink into the ground around it. Foundations can be composed in many ways; its construction is determined by the anticipated load it will have to take during the lifetime of the building. A good and strong foundation will keep the building standing while the forces of nature wreak havoc.
As a child, my father would always tell me “If you stand for nothing, you fall for anything." To be prosperous in all areas of life, we must develop solid foundations on a physical, mental, emotional, and spiritual level. We require solid foundations to endure the inevitable loads that will come. There will be setbacks along the way; some expected, some not, but regardless, a solid foundation will ensure we don't get knocked down. A foundation must be able to withstand the ‘dead’ loads and ‘live’ loads. The dead load is the weight or the load of the basic structure itself, while the live load is the weight of people and objects. You can't simply build another storey onto a house without assessing the capacity of the foundation. It is likely to succumb to the extra load unless reinforcements are in place. In the same way, we all have our innate load-bearing capacity. Think about who you spend most of your time with. Are you carrying the load of friends? This could be damaging to your internal support system. It has been said that you are the average of the five people you spend the most time with.
Having a strong inner foundation is an important part of intentional living because it helps you make decisions that shape your future for the better. Key relationships in life begin with strong foundations of communication and a deep understanding of love. To receive, you must learn how to give. To be empowered by another, one must empower another. The type of foundation to be built will depend on the character of the soil on the site and the local climate. There is no universal solution that will work on every site. What works on one site may not work on another. The same applies to our lives in the sense that, by nature, each of us is unique and will face our individual climates throughout our lives, and our foundations must reflect this. What works for one person won't necessarily work for another.
Laying strong foundations takes time. The building that everyone admires is the finished result. We all want the finished product without having to go through the process of getting it. We all want our skyscraper without having to put up the effort of building it floor by floor, and even more importantly, without establishing solid foundations because laying solid foundations is difficult. Extremely difficult. But there is no skyscraper to admire if the foundations aren't stable and if the effort to construct firmly floor by floor isn't put in. We must dig deep and remove all of the dirt, all the cognitive distortions, anxieties, psychological bugs, and other inherited and instilled psychological issues. It may be challenging to step outside our comfort zone and expose ourselves to failure and mistakes, but that is part of becoming stronger. So, start digging and build that strong foundation to transform yourself into a person who lives their best life from a position of true inner strength.
Every great architectural endeavour begins with a vision. The vision serves as a compass that may be used throughout the project to guarantee that design integrity is maintained throughout the process. It ensures that everyone on the team, who belong to various personal and professional backgrounds, shares a common set of values and a common objective to strive towards. To complete a building, a tremendous amount of cooperation is required. The project team must break down the highly complicated design and construction process into digestible, implementable, quantifiable, and sequential steps to achieve cohesion. Both the overarching vision and the broken-down steps must exist harmoniously for a project to see success.
Countless self-development coaches and books, each with their methodology, emphasise the importance of goal setting. This topic, however, is dominated by three major themes. The necessity of having a defined, long-term goal, the process of breaking it down into manageable steps and the importance of visualising your goal. Just as you can imagine the beautiful building at the end, the smell of the fresh lobby, the feeling of the sun permeating your skin through the atrium, or the fabric of the furniture as you take in the breathtaking vistas, we must visualise our goals and imagine ourselves living and breathing them, for them to be effective. Break down the complexity of your long-term goals into manageable steps and tackle them one step at a time, celebrating the key milestones and small wins along the way. Goal setting is akin to a GPS in that you first define your goal then follow the directions step by step until you arrive at your destination. Success is simply many steps in one direction, the problem is, many of us take one step in 20 directions. It is important to measure our progress every week, analyse what is working well and what needs to be improved, and refocus our energy accordingly. You will be amazed at what you can accomplish if you have a clear goal and actionable steps.
A dream written down with a date becomes a goal. A goal broken down into steps becomes a plan. A plan backed by action makes your dreams come true.
Rome wasn't built in a day. It takes a long time to design a building and see it through to completion. This can take a decade or more for large-scale, sophisticated projects. Patience is a virtue that architects must cultivate in all dimensions if they are to be effective and resilient. It takes a lot of patience to become an architect in the first place. In Australia, you must finish five years of school and 3,300 hours of work experience before passing a three-part exam and interview. When constructing a building, there is a sequence to follow; you can't put the roof on before the foundations are laid. To see a building through to completion, a well-specified series of actions must be followed. Sitting there looking at the beautiful outcome makes it all worth it, and only then can you look back and understand the meaning of everything that happened along the way.
Patience enables us to analyse things and situations beyond their face value, enabling us to make better decisions. Patience takes time and conscious effort to master, but impatience can lead to our demise. Our patience teaches us to reclaim our time, our priorities, and our ability to respond to life with a firmly grounded sense of who we are. It's the greatest gift to your future self. Patience helps us become better people. It enables us to accept others for who they are. It plays a crucial role in achieving our goals and ambitions, strengthens our fortitude, and gives us the energy, strength, and zeal we need to attain our goals. Patience is necessary for everyday life — and it could be the key to a happy one as it encompasses the ability to remain calm in the face of adversity. Patience has always been commended by religions and philosophers, and now researchers are beginning to agree, with studies finding that patient people are more cooperative, compassionate, equitable, and forgiving. The road to achievement is a long one, practicing patience will help you build the mental fortitude to deal with adversity and will ultimately shape your life for the better.