Stimulate your architecture focused mind with new ideas from another profession and unleash a powerful boost for your architecture career.
Reading has the potential to boost your architecture career in many surprising and unapparent ways. However, in that context, we don’t talk about architecture related books but rather books that excite your mind with new ideas and insights from the intersections of architecture and adjacent professions.
Think about reading like visiting an Idea Store. Your mind will be stimulated with new ideas that wouldn’t be part of your thinking otherwise.
It is proven that powerful things happen in the intersection of two different types of knowledge. Hence, stimulating your architecture focused mind with brilliant ideas from another profession will sooner or later unleash a dynamic new combination of two vantage points.
There is a special potential that happens at the overlap and that might construct a new outcome and change your thinking in a very useful way.
Josh Kaufmann, the author for the Personal MBA wrote in his brilliant book, that good books are valuable if they violate your expectations about what’s possible or how things actually work, it changes your reference levels in a very useful way. (Josh Kaufmann, Personal MBA)
New Ideas will accelerate a new way of viewing the world and ultimately change your behavior. Because new ideas, when reflected and implemented, will stretch your mind based on a deeper understanding of how things work.
“A mind that is stretched by a new experience can never go back to its old dimensions.“
(Oliver Wendell Holmes, Jr.)
Architects are Experts
There is no doubt that architects are experts in their respective fields. There is also no doubt that architects go through an intensive education, which basically extends a long time into the architecture career. Learning and further education is an elemental part of the profession. The different types of projects, from draft to construction, require a constant process of individual development and therefore an ongoing accumulation of knowledge.
However, in order to be successful,…
Architects need to manage many other skills that are indispensable for operating successfully in the intersections that are overlapping the profession itself.
The intersections of Architecture
Obviously, it is not enough to be able to create a beautiful piece of architecture.
If you can’t manage some of the following skills, besides your strong expertise in creating outstanding architecture, chances are that you might not reach the tipping point of your architecture career potential.
Emotional Intelligence: Use emotional intelligence to understand other peoples perspectives and negotiate successfully
Mindset and Resilience: Rely on your mindset to maneuver through ups and downs of the daily struggle
Communication: Convince clients and communicate your vision
Interpersonal Relationships: Create strong and trustful relationships with employees, clients and partners as well as dealing with difficult people
Leadership: Lead a team, manage people and inspire people to follow your vision
Focus and Productivity: Manage complexity and focus on productivity
Company Culture: Create a company culture where people thrive to their potential
Marketing: Create a brand around your worldview and vision, find clients and talented employees
Management: Built and manage an office, implement processes and operations
The missing pieces
The education of an architect doesn’t stop at the threshold of the profession, but rather extends far into the world of business in the broadest sense. That includes self-development, good leadership, creating a company culture, managing interpersonal relationships and most important managing oneself.
All that isn’t part of the architectural education. However, it is highly relevant for a long-term success and a thriving architecture career.
If you want to boost your architecture career, you should take advantage of the magic of reading. Reading has the ability to fuel your knowledge with ideas that would have never been part of your pre-set, architecture focused worldview. It fuels a powerful understanding of the intersections of the architecture profession and creates a bigger picture and a deeper understanding of how to manage those overlaps. In the end, those overlapping intersections can become places of personal and entrepreneurial growth.
In the end, those overlapping intersections can become places of personal and entrepreneurial growth.
Let’s assume that, by default, we are born with a very narrow view of the world and a limited amount of knowledge for all of its facets. The knowledge we are able to accumulate by going through our own experiences is limited by the time we live. Besides, even having all the knowledge at the end of life wouldn’t be that helpful for now.
Reading opens up a resource of valuable knowledge from decades of already made experiences reflected by other people. The result: Books, that can change perspectives, broaden views, enhance opinions and that can lead to fundamentally new ways of viewing the world.
Too soon old too late smart
Reading opens up possibilities to learn from other peoples experience without going through all that by ourselves. Referring to the idea of Gordon Livingston, that we are usually to soon old and too late smart, reading gives us an enormous advantage. It provides us with highly valuable knowledge and new perspectives that compliment our own experiences.
As Mark Twain said: „A person who won’t read has no advantage over one who can’t read. (Mark Twain)“
„A person who won’t read has no advantage over one who can’t read.”
The idea: Learn some important things about life and business today, without spending a whole life by yourself to come perhaps to the same results. It seems obvious: Commonly you get smarter the more you experience, hence it needs age to accumulate knowledge. Then it needs some sort of honest reflection to develop an understanding of what happened, to then learn and grow.
So why not taking some shortcuts?
Invest in Yourself
What I found was, that many challenges I faced day to day in my architecture career, weren’t solvable with the knowledge I had from my professional education. Being successful in creating architecture was and still is only one side of the coin.
The other side is that finding clients, leading a high performing team, managing construction, dealing with setbacks, cope with the pressure and creating a successful company infrastructure is a whole other chapter.
There is no doubt that great things come from teamwork. Even if you are the most brilliant thinker and designer – without a great team, your visions won’t come to life anytime soon.
The crucial point is:
In order to be able to manage and to lead a great team, you need to be able to manage yourself. Everything starts with your personal mindset and advances with your ability to manage people, processes and complexity.
The dynamic evolution of today’s world is exponentially faster than what it was 10 years ago. Reading and learning should be an elemental part of everybody’s personal schedule. It all starts with your curiosity and a receptive approach to constant learning. The benefits are priceless and the time you invest for personal growth is well spent.
“The most important investment you can make is in yourself.”
Boost your architecture career!
In order to stay relevant, you need to grow and learn from your own intrinsic motivation. Nobody will ask you to work on your skill set to maneuver through the intersections of architecture. However, building and enhancing your mindset and knowledge will always pay off in the long run.
Not only will you be able to take advantage of the benefits mentioned earlier. But most importantly, reading and stimulating your mind with new ideas will shape your personal growth, expertise, confidence, and ultimately your approach to architecture and life.
The amount of books you read is not something you can include in your résumé. Furthermore, it is not something meant to brag about during a job interview. But the change it will produce inside yourself will shape your personality and ultimately the way you behave and the way you approach challenges and the daily struggle as an architect.
Your personal growth will express in the daily tasks and actions and people will appreciate that quality. In the end, that might give you the competitive advantage and enables you to rise to the highest potential of your architecture career.
Crucial points of growth and the benefits for your architecture career:
Mindset and Resilience:
Crete a mindset that you can rely on to maneuver through ups and downs of the daily struggle of an architecture career. Manage difficult emotions of winning and losing and develop a resilient ability to deal with stress and pressure.
Focus and Productivity:
Develop the ability to manage complexity and focus on productivity. Being able to prioritize what is really important and execute effectively. Develop a strong vision and ultimately a focus of where you want to go and what you want to achieve.
Big Picture Thinking:
Learn to think outside the box by understanding how other great minds approach life and business. Enhance your worldview by stimulating your mind with knowledge and ideas that originate from outside your profession. Develop an entrepreneurial kind of thinking, fueled by curiosity and an openness for everything that might enhance your understanding of a bigger picture.
Use emotional intelligence to understand other peoples perspectives and to manage successful human relationships as a key factor for long-term success. Create strong relationships with employees, clients, and partners by understanding the fundamentals of interpersonal behavior and the magic of appreciation.
Leadership & Communication:
Develop the skills to lead and to create a high performing team, manage people and inspire people to follow your vision. Being able to create, communicate and articulate a clear vision to convince clients and talented employees.
Create a company culture where people can thrive to their individual potential. Understand the power of a great culture and learn the fundamental ingredients to create your own. Reveal a hidden potential that might be the biggest advantage of today’s corporate world.
Learn how to built and maintain a successful company structure. How to implement processes and operations. How to create a brand around your worldview and vision and how to successfully manage an office on a daily basis. What is your job? Micromanaging vs. managing the bigger picture.
What to read?
However, the remaining questions are: Where to start? Where do I find the books that really matter?
Nobody wants to invest his or her valuable time into reading a book that might turn out as mediocre or, in the worst case, as a waste of time.
“If you read what everyone else reads, you’ll think like everyone else thinks.”
Thus, choose wisely. What I’ve learned is, that recommendations from people I resonate with, almost always never disappointed me. Thus, you want to make sure that the recommendations come from people you appreciate or who’s opinion you trust. What I found is that podcasts are the perfect way to find people you resonate with. People from all kinds of professions and backgrounds, but with very similar challenges and mindsets.
How to find time to read?
While reading this, you might think:
Sounds interesting but how the heck should I find time to read while dealing with a demanding and busy daily schedule?
That is indeed a key question. Today, besides being very busy, we are also faced with a constant battle against all the things that are longing for our immediate attention. Everybody’s smartphone and social media might be the biggest competition when it comes to focus on something for more than a few minutes. Carving out uninterrupted time to sit down, focus and read, might seem more difficult than ever in a world with such a high level of distraction.
Here is the idea: Create or find chunks of undivided attention during the day.
Finding means taking advantage of time slots during the day that are pre-existing and are already reserved for specific activities like your daily commute to work.
Besides reading, listening can be a powerful and game-changing alternative. Since Audible is offering nearly every book as an audiobook, the daily consumption of written content becomes much more seamlessly. Listening can be done while driving a car, riding your bicycle, walking or taking the train.
You’d be surprised how many books you are able to “read” with audible during 30 to 60 minutes of undivided attention on your way to work.
Another great combination is to take a walk in the park while listening to an audiobook. Many successful people discovered that walking can release an immediate and strong cognitive potential. Ariana Huffington, the founder of the Huffington Post, even held meetings while walking. Walking and listening is a magic combination for receiving and creating new thoughts and inspiration inside your brain.
The other option is to create chunks of undivided attention.
Creating means to schedule time intentionally, to focus on things that matter (self-development) and in that sense create time to read.
In a world full of distraction, the ability to focus is key. According to Cal Newport, author of Deep Work, it is one of the most valuable skills in our economy and is becoming increasingly rare. Mastering these skills of focus and prioritization will lead to extraordinary results.
Schedule specific times a day to focus on one task only and shut out any other potentially distracting elements.
You will always find time during a day to read. However, it is simply a matter of prioritization.
Nevertheless, it all starts with being aware of the benefits that result from reading on a regular basis. That alone will help you to create a strong focus and ultimately to become a life-changing habit and a boost for your architecture career.
Books matter! Don’t try to learn everything the hard way, but rather take advantage of all the brilliant knowledge that has already been written. Violate your expectations in a positive way, by stimulating and exciting your mind with new ideas and knowledge from adjacent professions. Keep improving your skills and keep learning. Don’t settle and always challenge the status quo. The world is changing fast. Make sure you stay relevant with a wide angle and a profound understanding of the intersections of the architecture profession. Remember, that actually creating architecture is only one side of the coin. An enormous career potential lies in your personal growth and your ability to manage yourself and successful relationships.
Hopefully, you will find something on the booklist that has a positive impact on your own life. In case you know more amazing books that could be relevant for a thriving architecture career, let us know in the comments.