Journey of an Architect is a blog started by Tim Ung to document his journey to design 30 projects by the age of 30 (May 2020). His posts focus on his design process, thoughts, struggles, and successes throughout his journey.

Patience

Patience

Photo by Noah Silliman at Unsplash

Recently, I realized that one of my biggest pitfalls in life has been the lack of patience in pursuing some of my ideas and understanding that the best outcomes usually take the most time. This idea spans from my passion and career in architecture to my newfound hobby in leatherworking. Every time I start a project, I immediately get to work and I come up with an action plan, a timeline, a deadline, and possible ideas to get started. Once I enter the design process, I enter the battle zone where my lack of patience is driven by the deadlines and results that I’m pursuing. This is why I’ve decided to practice patience in everything that I’m working on.

1. Everyone is at a Different Point in Their Life

In the past decade, one of the trends that appeared in societies all over the world is the fear of missing out (F.O.M.O.) which you’ve probably seen in social media and being spoken about by the younger generations. Everyone has access to the various media platforms out there from Facebook to Instagram and Twitter to LinkedIn where everyone shares photos, videos, and live streams of the amazing things that they’re experiencing around the world.

Eventually, the majority of the populations who isn’t at a point in their lives where they can also participate in those kinds of experiences feel like they’re missing out. Suddenly, this urge to attain those wants turn them into needs and all of those people feel like they’re running out of time to enjoy their lives.

That summarizes the feelings that I often have with my career as an architect.

I follow a lot of the famous architects and design firms that I admire on all of the social media platforms that I’m part of and I often see the work that they’re producing, the buildings that are under construction, the lectures that they’re giving, and the never ending ideas that they bring to life through their designs. Some days, I sit back and imagine what it would be like to be in their shoes for a day. What is the life of (insert your favorite architect/designer here) like? How do I get there?

Eventually, I come to a realization in the middle of this random brainstorming session that all of these architects attained their success through their passion, motivation, and never ending pursuit of more over decades. At the beginning of all of their careers, they worked for other architects and firms that sculpted their personalities and experiences in a way that allowed them to continue pursuing their dreams of grandeur. In many cases, their dreams were far from grandeur. They were visions of the world that they want to inhabit in the future.

So, my first lesson learned is that everyone is at a different point in their lives and everyone has their own paths that will eventually lead them to where they should be.

2. Focus on Every Part of a Project with the Same Amount of Attention

After getting into leatherworking, I’ve learned that coming up with the design of a product  is just as important as figuring out all of its details and physically constructing it as it was designed. All of these different stages require the same amount of focus and attention to allow for the best outcome. At the beginning of my voyage into leatherworking, I thought I came up with a great design and figured out all of the various components that would come together. However, during the physical construction process, I learned about tolerances and other factors that weren’t considered during the design stage.

For every product, I always completed the prototype so that I could see all of the areas that needed more work and attention. I began taking notes, documenting the areas that needed improvement, writing down ideas for resolving each issue, and making sure that the next prototype would be better than the first. This process of iterating from beginning to end has been an important stepping stone for me because it helped me appreciate spending time figuring out the nuances of my product’s design.

The same holds true in architecture where this process of iteration, seeing something through, learning from the various unknowns on the project, and applying these lessons to the next project is the key to becoming a great architect. It helps us move beyond the beautiful image of a building that we often gravitate towards in the 21st century and it helps us understand the realities within the image that we’re attempting to create in reality.

Never rush the process of design and stay focused on all the different areas of the project.

3. Design for the Sake of it

Oftentimes, the proliferation of social media and the constant sharing of information makes the followers feel as if we need to also be sharing as many photographs and updates as possible to keep others engaged with our content. We feel the need to be engaging to other people so that we can grow our following base and influence on these platforms.

This simple idea causes many people to feel as if they need to quickly design and make things for the purpose of sharing images of progress with their followers. There were times when I felt the pressure of sharing images on Mars Leather Company’s Instagram page because I thought sharing something every day was the best way to grow my followers.

Honestly, I missed the point.

A few days after sharing lots of photographs and updates on Instagram, I forced myself to face the reality of what Instagram was originally intended to be; a place where we share photos of what we’re up to instantly. Therefore, if I’m not making a leather product on a specific day, then there’s no need to post. I learned that I find sharing high quality photographs to be more important than sharing photographs just to have a post. It’s about having fun, engaging with others, and building a group of friends.

This takes time.

4. Everyone needs a Break

For a majority of the year, I’m constantly working full-time as an architect and juggling it with all of my other passions. I usually eat my lunch at my desk as I’m answering emails, joining conference calls, and trying to resolve issues from the construction site. At night, I’m cooking dinner while watching/listening to a documentary or podcast, and talking to my family, girlfriend, and friends about all of the ideas that I have for new projects. Over the course of a year, I probably take no more than 2 weeks of vacation where only about 1 week is dedicated to sitting back, enjoying the day, and being present with the people around me.

Why is it that we’re constantly on this never ending cycle of “keep moving, KEEP MOVING, KEEEP MOOOVING!!!”?

It’s as if we’re on a supercharged hamster wheel with no exits and we’re the ones who put ourselves in there in the first place. This level of sacrifice in hopes of growing our careers will only harm our health, relationships, and mentality among other things.

What I find most interesting is that the days where I’m present and enjoying my surroundings make me feel more motivated and ready to conquer the world the next day. This is proof that taking a well-deserved break is necessary to avoid burning out and to stay healthy in all aspects of the word.

5. Share the Process and the Outcome

One of the biggest reasons why I felt as if I was rushing through some of my projects is because I had this thought that it needed to be finished in order to be worthy of sharing with my friends on social media and on my company’s website. As you can probably tell through this article, I’ve learned that social media is not something that needs to be perfect. In fact, I believe it should show the beauty in the process of making things and the honesty of the person.

From here on out, my social media posts will be focused around the process of making than on the final outcome themselves. My priority is to create the best quality products that I can share with the world. To do this, I want to share photos of all of my products in process so that my followers can see what goes into making each one!

Conclusion

Patience has been a hard concept for me to grasp and incorporate into my life. Everything that I’ve done has been as efficient and quick as possible; from finishing architecture school in 5 years with a Masters degree to getting licensed in the shortest possible time in New York and now with writing my first book and starting my first retail company. It’s time that I narrow down my projects and focus as much as I can on the things that I enjoy most. Designing and making.


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