The Why Factor:Success by Design
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Photo by Jian Shuo Wang
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The why factor success by design


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  • How many of you dream of winning the lottery? Or what about becoming a famous movie star or singer? Or better yet, finding a magic lamp with a genie inside? Heck, I get excited when I find change on the ground. All of those things would make you rich and monetarily successful. But, which one is likely the only one any of us will experience in our lifetimes? That’s right, more than likely finding change is as far as we are going to get when it comes to our financial situation being taken care of by luck. Now, in no way am I saying you couldn’t makes lots of money looking for change on the ground, but you better be pretty dang good at it if you are planning on making that a career.\n\nNow back to reality. If any of you plan to be successful in life there are a few attributes you must embody and actions you must take. (Feel free to expand on any of these) “You need to work hard. You need to be flexible. You need to have a vision. If you have those three in place you are on a pretty good track to success.\n\nLet’s take a look at some images and graphics on the board. (Flip through the first three slowly allowing students to offer up answers and give feedback)\n
  • “Anyone know what we were looking at?”\n
  • “What we were looking at here?”\n
  • “Anyone know what this is? Good. Now let’s take another look and see if anyone knows the meaning or story behind each symbol.”\n
  • Fifty stars for fifty states and thirteen stripes for thirteen original colonies. June 14, 1777, congress declares the flag should have thirteen white stars in a blue background and thirteen alternate red and white stripes. The red means hardiness and valor. White signifies purity and innocence. Blue is the color of the Chief. In 1960, with the purchase of Alaska, the fiftieth star was added.\n\n
  • Notice how all the rings are connected. Each is locked in a bond that cannot be broken. Notice the colors. The Olympic rings on the flag of the Olympic Games symbolizes the essence of the games. These five multicolored Olympic rings stand for the five continents where the athletes traveled from to take part in the sporting competitions of these Olympic events. The reason for the interlocking rings on the Olympic flag is symbolic in showing that the Olympic Games are intended for all nations to be able to come and compete against one another in unity. The meaning of the Olympic rings colors is that the five colors of the Olympic rings and the white background have at least one color of every nation’s flag in them. \n
  • In 1930’s Nazi Germany, Adoff Hitler felt almost everyone should be able to own a car. This would further carry out his theme of ‘Strength through Joy.’ This would be attained by all citizens paying into a savings scheme in order to ensure all are able to afford an automobile. German engineers set out to design such a car and came up with a simple round bodied, rear-mounted four cylinder car. The KdF Volker-Wagen. Or better put, ‘A car for the people’\nDesigner Franz Reimspiess brought the idea together by developing the winning logo for such an automobile. A Volker Wagen. Truly a car for the people. Now you see where I am going with this.\n\nAll three of these symbols were designed with a purpose. They represent something great and embody it in a simple graphic. Let’s do the same thing we just did with three new images. This time go ahead and tell me what it is you are looking at and the story or meaning behind the image.\n
  • You are looking at the median of the Hwy 99 in Madera. Yes, this spot is famous. No, those threes (a Canary Island Date Palm and a Blue Atlas Cedar) did not happen to grow next to each other on accident. Between these trees marks the invisible line that divides this state directly in half from north to south. The palm represents the landscape of southern California and the cedar represents the landscape of northern California.\n
  • Can anyone tell me what this is? The most famous museum on the face of the Earth. This is the entrance pyramid at the Louvre in Paris. Major renovations took place at this spectacular Paris attraction during the early and mid 80’s to accommodate the massive numbers of visitors. This glass pyramid the plaza, and several other gathering rooms underground was designed by the extremely talented architect I.M. Pei. Now, why in the world did he choose to use a pyramid for this design. In a country so rich in baroque and ornate architecture how was the final result a pyramid?\nHow did Pei rationalize bringing a glass pyramid into the mix? Did he want to spite the French government? Or make a mockery or France’s rich history? Or, did he just wake up and feel like a pyramid? Actually, it turns out Pei did some history research. In July of 1798 Napoleon Bonaparte sailed off with some 34000 troops and headed for Alexandria, Egypt. He wanted to follow in the footsteps of Alexander the Great and for shear ‘glory’ conquer Egypt in the name of France. His goal was to raise the French flag over the pyramids of Giza. After a series of battles it was evident that his desires were not going to come true.\nLet’s take a look at one more image.\n
  • Can anyone tell me what this is? Here is a hint, the space needle is right next door? \nThis is the Experience Music Project designed by renowned architect Frank Gehry. You might recognize this style of architecture from the Disney Music Hall down in Southern California. Let’s talk about this building. What’s going on here? What was Gehry thinking? Well, as some of you might know, one of the world’s most influential guitarists came out of the Seattle area. Jimi Hendrix, the left-handed musician who created such unique sounds by playing a right handed guitar upside down was the inspiration behind the building and its design. Jimi made famous the Fender Stratocaster throughout his career, and made a trait for himself by his crowd pleasing guitar-smashing finales. Gehry and his team of architects brought to life this design inspired by a smashed Fender Stratocaster guitar.\n
  • So, you can easily see that business, the built environment, organizations, and even countries don’t happen by chance. Their success was backed by a vision, a plan. For this next activity I want you to think of how you want to be successful in this life. How do you see yourself? What is your personal vision? Then I want you to come up with a symbol or graphic that embodies you, your dreams, and how you plan to get there. You will have ten minutes to think this one through and put your ideas on paper. After that time has elapsed we will share our personal ‘brands’ with the group? What can I clarify before we begin?\n\nI did this workshop with a group of college students who were on their way to becoming teachers. Instead of drawing, I had them make symbols using playdoe. My favorite response was from a girl who made a very detailed flower. She was the stem that has grown bigger over time. Each petal represented a member of her family, both adding to her beauty and making her complete. I was very impressed by her response.\n
  • The why factor success by design

    1. 1. The Why Factor:Success by Design
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    4. 4. Photo at:
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    7. 7. Photo at:
    8. 8. Hwy 99Photo at
    9. 9. Photo by Jian Shuo Wang
    10. 10. Photo at
    11. 11. It’s Your Turn!