A Philosophical Statement about “More” for Architects
Though not everyone reading this newsletter will be from the United States, you’ll pardon my singling out my native country as a culprit in the relentless pursuit of more.
The combination of capitalism and our Declaration of Independence that states that we have the right to the “pursuit of happiness,” sets suffering in motion. The problem with feeling entitled to pursue happiness is that happiness is fleeting—it’s not sustainable. We attain what we think will bring happiness and it fades or vanishes, so we are on to the next pursuit. By the nature of the word “pursue” we end up in a never-ending quest for what will fill our needs, desires, wants, for recognition, fame, achievement, approval, and of course, the Almighty Dollar.
We act this out in our businesses. When I’m facilitating groups of principals through a discussion of this nature, there’s a degree of bravado that arises. “Well, we did $25 million last year, so we should at least shoot for $30.” It’s as if no one wants to look the wimp by saying “We’re a $25 million dollar firm and that’s where we’d like to stay. We want to grow by getting higher quality projects and by running our projects to a higher profitability.” That thought is somehow foreign to most of the strategic planning sessions I’ve facilitated.
So let me step down from my soapbox now, and encourage you to spend some time answering the practical questions about how much is enough and how much is too much. Hopefully you’ll be thinking about the philosophical underpinnings of your decisions as you calculate your goals.
My wish for you…
My wish for architects as you guide and grow your practice is that you know what defines enough for you. May you have enough to meet your goals, to have what you need, to be satisfied with your work, and to be content.