Inspirational Reading: A Story of Determination and Beauty

While sketching away, I like to listen to books on Audible.  

I have just finished Amy Morin's 13 Things that Mentally Strong People Don't Do.  

Her chapter on not wasting energy on things you can't control really spoke to me.  There is something in this book for all personality types and personal backgrounds.  

In every chapter, Amy Morin incorporated relevant human experiences demonstrating mentally strong characteristics.  Below you will find my one of my favorite inspirational stories from the book.

photo courtesy of ASCE

Morin introduced Ammann in Chapter six as someone who understood that to be extraordinary, he would have to risk his comfortable job and respected reputation.  Ammann spent most of his adult life, including almost ten years with the New York Port Authority, as a Civil Engineer.  His lifelong dream, however, was to become an architect.  He risked everything to start his own architecture firm at age 60.  

Instead of being bitter or discouraged before this, Ammann exemplified patience and endurance.  He translated the talents and abilities he learned as an engineer into building America's most recognizable and elegant bridges.  These included the Delaware Memorial Bridge, the Walt Whitman suspension bridge, and Verrazano Narrows Bridge.

(Note:  the Walt Whitman bridge page link has many photos of historical interest showcasing the building of the bridge.)

The Delaware Memorial Bridge, photo courtesy of DRBA

Verrazano Narrows Bridge, photo courtesy of Gregory R at Weather Underground

I appreciate the author speaking about Ammann for several reasons:
  • He learned from excellent mentors like Robert Moses.  He learned from them and honored the impact they had on his life.
  • He was patient and did not make rash decisions.  Instead, he took calculated risks.
  • He was brave enough to make a significant change at age when most people are not open to these risks.
  • Ammann became known for bridges of "graceful symmetry and harmonious proportions with utility and strength."  (ASCE)  As a result, he ushered in a new era in bridge design.  Amman was willing to hone his talents for many years as a civil engineer and then to apply what he learned to his art.  This brought him acclaim and recognition for something new, exciting, and eventually central to the American aesthetic.
Selfless work, patience, humility and gratitude propelled Ammann to the respected status he has today.  I hope that his story will inspire you in your creative pursuits.

Happy art-making!


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