I found this topic "FOCUS" to be very fascinating.

A few weeks ago, I watched a TV program where American Billionaires BILL GATES and WARREN BUFFETT were being interviewed.  At one point in the program, both men were asked to write ONE word on a sheet of paper that best states WHY they became so successful.  Neither men were allowed to see what "word" the other was writing on their piece of paper.

BOTH Bill Gates & Warren Buffett wrote down the SAME word......................."FOCUS".

Then, both men discussed the subject......WHY that word "Focus" was so critical in the business world.  I don't recall the entire conversation....but, this topic is worthy of researching.

When I researched the word "FOCUS".....I found this statement on-line...believe it's from HUFFPOST.

The article started out by stating......"YOU CAN'T THINK WITHOUT FOCUS".  Focus is so important:  It is the gateway to all thinking.......perception; learning, reasoning; problem solving and decision making.  IMO, these ALL apply to every Landscape Architect.........in the U.S. and overseas....regardless of whether you're an entry level LA or a very experienced LA.

How can anyone argue this point with Bill Gates OR Warren Buffett?!

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I'm not sure there's anything wrong with what they said but it would probably be more familiar to me stated differently. Or I should say more meaningful if explored more deeply. In other words, it's their answer to attaining "success," but there are various links in google for things related to success...and they are all over the place. The ones interpreting success in a business sense are more similar to these guys (believe in yourself, don't let others define you, take reasonable risks etc.) . Others are spiritual guru types that stress how real success is more about balance and keeping other values in the mix like family and smelling the roses on the journey, etc. I would have gone with something like "balance," with a multi-based definition of success.... but once a goal is chosen, whether marriage or playing the piano, it is often mostly about hanging in there over bumps that might look like mountains (commitment). Then again, some mid-course corrections may be inevitable too. In other words, keep in mind the old country song "know when to hold 'em, know when to fold 'em, know when to walk away, know when to run."

Or the spiritual version "help me to have the courage to change the things that I can, the serenity to accept the things I cannot, and the wisdom to know the difference."


I really enjoyed your "take" on this word/concept......FOCUS.  I agree, it's very difficult to use ONLY (1) word to describe success.  And, of course, "success" doesn't have the same meaning or definition for everyone.

I think for me.....the one WORD I would have written down, would have been "PASSION".  As, I truly believe, that to become a successful LA, you have to be "passionate" about our profession. Passionate about design, creativity, graphics, sketching/drawing, plant materials, solving design problems (for younger LAs...the many computer software programs), and just getting better every month, every year as you move forward in your LA career.  And this, goes, to what you stated, Leslie about....."Commitment".

Just "going through the motions" won't work.  I've never been one to say "Oh, that's good enough". I just always wanted to push myself to be the best I can be.  And, even now, at my age of 67....I'm still learning new things as I know.....we just NEVER stop learning in this profession.

My LA design philosophy has always been "My NEXT project will always be my BEST one".

J. Robert (Bob) Wainner

My belief is that landscape architecture is far less about focus and far more about assessing and adjusting. Attention has to go in many directions in order to understand the design criteria, and the site conditions, and to re-organize everything into a functional built work. That is as a daily attitude in doing our work.

The same holds true, in my opinion, in finding our career paths. You can focus on the standard list of skill sets and on THE standard career path and see where it takes you. That has taken a lot of people into other career paths and/or back to school for advanced degrees in the last 10 years or so. The alternative is to think like a landscape architect.

We are trained, presumably, to analyze existing conditions, apply goals and objectives, and then blend them into something very functional to meet those goals. If the standard skill set and standard career path are clearly not working for most people, it is time to start analyzing what is working out there and finding ways to become part of what is working by adjusting our skill sets.

Assess and adjust. If you want to focus on anything it should be these two things.


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