Journey to a Classic Education: Success Lessons from Architects
I have come to the end of The History of Architecture course, and it took over a month to complete. To date, it is the longest course that I have taken on my journey to a classic education. And there are several success lessons that I have learned from the most successful architects. Architects draw designs – blueprints – which they use as a guide to construct buildings. I had an “aha” moment while taking the course when it occurred to me, that for each of us to become successful in our respective fields, and in life, we need a good, rational, blueprint to guide us. I know that when you write down your goals, you are more likely to achieve them, and I have read the excellent book, Write It Down, Make It Happen: Knowing What You Want And Getting It by Henriette Anne Klauser, where she builds the case for writing down the things you want to achieve. But for some reason, I was not able to make the connection between architects and their blueprints to people and their blueprints for success. With that epiphany, I realized that there are several success lessons from architects.
- Go on The Grand Tour: Back in the day, in the 17th and 18th centuries, people who were wealthy, especially those interested in architecture, went on The Grand Tour. These wealthy tourists travelled across Europe – making stops in Venice, Florence, Rome, Naples and Nimes – to view the ruins of the Roman Empire, along with Renaissance and Baroque architecture. During The Grand Tour, the tourists drew and made notes of all that they observed. Additionally, they collected cultural artifacts, which they took home with them. Going on The Grand Tour was especially important for aspiring architects because they got commissions from those they met on the Tour. That was one of the key ways they became successful. In today’s context, what would be your Grand Tour? Where do the experts and influencers in your industry and field of interest hang out? Take your Grand Tour and make sure that you are seen by the influencers.
- Understand the rules: The most successful architects have studied the history of architecture, making sure that they understand the rules. Then and only then do they reinvent the rules. To break the rules and innovate, you have to know what the rules are and you have to understand the roots of your field of interest. By doing this you get to understand the inefficiencies are.
- Learn from the masters: Great architects invest the time to study the works of other great architects who came before them, and that is why they have become great. They pick from history, developing their unique style along the way. Who are the masters in your field? Study what they have done and how they have done it. Learn from them then create your unique style.
- Turn adversity into opportunities: The most successful architects are skilled at turning adversity into opportunities. When the Black Plague killed nearly all the master craftsmen, up-and-coming architects looked to antiquity to move forward. When buildings were destroyed because of erosion over time, or by fire, or by war, architects reviewed history to move forward. They also capitalize on new technology and new materials when they are rebuilding.
- Look beyond your own backyard: For inspiration, and to get innovative ideas, the most successful architects looked beyond their own backyard, they looked across the world for the solution to problems. They took The Grand Tour, whether it was a physical tour, or a virtual tour through books.
These are some of the key success lessons from architects that I have gleaned from The History of Architecture course. Please also read Generating Great Ideas – What We Can Learn from Architecture and Starting over is hard to do?
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Author Bio: Avil Beckford, an expert interviewer, entrepreneur and published author is passionate about books and professional development, and that’s why she founded The Invisible Mentor and the Virtual Literary World Tour to give you your ideal mentors virtually in the palm of your hands by offering book reviews and book summaries, biographies of wise people and interviews of successful people.
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