“You can get everything in life you want if you will just help enough other people get what they want.” — Zig Ziglar

This quote has been on my mind a lot of late. I’m curious how this might apply to architectural practice and what that might look like. It recently became linked in to a question I had, Do designers spend too much time on promoting answers, rather than asking good questions?

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Questions are more generous than answers. They are generative, personal, they lead to growth. Good questions assist people to find the outcomes that are right for them. Answers are a desirable end point but are not a good starting point. They can shut the possibilities down.

Architects promote wonderful answers, but as Doctor Karl says, it’s not the answer that wins the Nobel prize it’s the great question that preceded it. Architects are more reticent to describe the questions they asked or show their working. I’m curious what it might look like for architects to share their questions or how they might ask better questions to assist other people get what they want.

At this point, I don’t have a clear picture. I’m not sure that what I see is exclusively about questions, but I am sure that the posture needs to be generous and generative. If we go back to Zig Zigler’s quote, here’s somewhere architects might start…

Architects might talk about the changes they would like to see in the world, those for the benefit of others.
…about background research they have done in relation to this.
…about how change might be achieved.
…about who might be able to help.
…about steps that might be taken.
…about a place to start.
…about something they’re curious about.
…about a question they may have.
The discussion might be of ideas or observations, it might be informed through questions and questioning. They may simply ask how they may be of support?

There’s many layers to this that I’m slowly trying to identify or unwrap. I’m showing my working. I’m curious what others may see? Please let me know your thoughts.

Want to know more about the author?
Michael is the co-founder of
Redshift Architecture & Art, and founder & coach at Ed Shift.

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| Not inclined to stay inside the | lines.

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