Sunday, March 28, 2010

Brilliant But Self-Conscious

Isn’t it odd that the most renowned architect of the 20th century worried about being photographed wearing glasses? Apparently, none of the photos you will see of Frank Lloyd Wright show him in specs. And his height (he was a bit vertically challenged) was something he tried to hide as well. That really hit me as I toured Taliesin West, an example of Wright’s amazing work. We were told he had 161 projects on his desk when he died at the age of 91.

The man was arguably the most important architect of the 20th century. He developed a type of organic architecture that was ahead of its time and served to shape the future of architecture, along with many smaller but important inventions and advances.

Wright also had a following of talented people who lived and worked at Taliesin West and it became a school of architecture which it remains to this day. The place has a commune-like feel in the best sense and was clearly a novel way of nurturing learning and creativity; his own and others.

So how is it that someone so brilliant, successful and creative could be concerned about trivial aspects of personal appearance?

Perhaps the thing we must master is the integration of our strong selves with our weaker parts. Whether that strength comes from our successful career, our parenting, our civic mindedness, or anything else we excel at. If we can tap into our strength and use it to offset our weakness, it makes for a much happier whole.

Just consider how you can use one of your signature strengths to make today more fulfilling. You might spend time with a friend to cheer them up instead of worrying about how that dress is going to look at the party, now that you’re put on a few pounds. Or really notice how good you are at one aspect of your work, accepting that you can’t do everything brilliantly.  And about those glasses, they make you look more intelligent.