April 07, 2014

Every Little Bit Counts.

It’s spring time and I decided to go for a jog after a hiatus from hibernating like a bear this winter. To be honest – the jog was not pretty. I cannot jog as good (for a guy of my size and type) as I used to. I might suck in the eyes of people looking at me when I jog. I decided to go out a jog and that’s what counts. I might not be where I wanted to be but I wanted to start working towards getting active as the temperature heats up.

If you think about Mies’ “God is in the details” it also means every little bit counts. You also probably of heard that trite critique comment  in studio that goes along the lines of “all the components contribute to the sum of its parts.”  (or something in that vain). It’s not about how or what others around you have accomplished. What truly matters is how much you have grown and evolved over time and the actions that got you there. This is one of my challenges I had to learn and accept in architecture school: despite the competition in studio you have to stop comparing yourself to others and focus on each step you take to move in the right direction.

For someone who has been obese for his whole life committed to work on my health during my hiatus from Architecture School.  I have been taking actions to improve my well being this past year I must go further. The goal this past year was to just get into the rhythm of regular exercise, and the next plateau to tackle is the other issues like food (and I LOVE food).

I know my capabilities from last year, and I have to accept the consequences of not jogging this winter.
But I am soo determined to get back on track. 

This post is inspired from a talk I had with my personal trainer last week. It started from waiting for my workout class to begin (it`s in a gymnasium) and my trainer would usually encourage me to shoot some hoops before as she strongly believes I can get better and I have the passion to learn inside. (Note: Filipinos tend to be ballin’ despite the fact that I like breaking the stereotypes proudly – I was never good in ball as a kid).

Before class, I was energized but just not wanting to dribble around and shoot some hoops to loosen up. I had time to spare before class began. I was a bit lazy to start. My trainer reminded me that every bit counts. Every moment you choose to jog counts. Every healthy meal you choose to eat counts. Every little action contributes to the end result.  Looking at moving towards change with "every little bit counts" is a better alternative to the “go hard or go home” approach to conquering a goal. It's a compassionate approach where you commit to something that is realistic and reasonable. Sometimes it's better to improve yourself without feeling the pressure that you have a lot on your plate.

So if you’re one of those design students that might be wondering how to be better at 2d, 3d, writing, sketching, or knowing that software for studio, then push yourself a little bit and realize that each action is a step forward. Try and see if you can learn one little thing each day. Try and tackle that problem and that skill set in order to get better. It’s not always shear talent, it’s about banking those hours of training and hard work to learn something and everyone has their abilities at different levels across the boards.

In second year studio, I recalled one of my studio professors critiquing my boards because of my lack of line weights and he said something along the lines of “if your studio boards, after printing, does not express your design intent and the line weights don’t evoke it – do something about it!  even if it means rendering and thickening your line weights by hand to pop up the drawings effectively.” Even at work I have ran across similar scenarios...even before client meeting – that image does not communicate our intent – quickly do something.

I know this is the end of the school term for many for many design schools. It’s been one hell of a year, but it is not the time to slack. It’s just a few more moments of sacrifice and hard work and summer begins. Endurance might be waning but just a few more pushes and the semester is over. Every decision counts. Every time you decide to finish your work as oppose to procrastinating counts. Every little action counts to realizing progress and growth.

Why You Should Not Compare Yourself to Others
The Underdog Architecture Student's "10 Things" Response
Things I learned in Architecture School


  1. Great lesson there, Ulysses!

    Earl Nightingale once said: "Success is the progressive realization of a worthy goal or ideal."

    You don't have to achieve massive things in order to be 'successful'. As long as you're taking small steps each day towards a goal (like running 5 miles, or being a 3DS Max guru, or being a confident speaker), then you are ALREADY successful.

    So be proud of each small step you take. Write down and celebrate your little 'wins' and it will help to build your confidence to then take the next step.

    Namaste, archi ninjas!

    1. Really good points made Christina!

      Actually a lot of people around me have mentioned the importance of acknowledging things to be grateful for to realize how much you have progressed. Another post on this may come soon!