The success strategies of Stephen Wiltshire, the autistic architectural artist, can be adopted by anyone looking to achieve greater personal or business success.
Stephen Wiltshire has been nicknamed “The Human Camera". He is truly a remarkable human being who has the ability to look at a building for 10 minutes and then draw it completely from memory.
It is a talent that has enabled him to travel the world doing what he what he loves - recreating the world's iconistic buildings and famous landmarks in art form. His work is admired by the general public, architects, engineers and fellow artists alike.
He receives prestigious commissions to create his artwork and his passion and unique talent have earned him his independence. However, life didn't always look so promising.
As a child Stephen was very uncommunicative. He would often exhibit what could best be described as temper tantrums where he would scream for apparently no reason. One can only suppose that it was his frustration of not being able to verbally express what he was thinking or feeling at the time.
Today, while you wouldn't describe Stephen as being loquacious, he is articulate. However, it is through his art that he best expresses himself and in a language that is universally understood.
As I watched a television documentary featuring Stephen I pinpointed several success strategies that anyone can adopt to achieve greater personal and business success. Here are three of those success strategies:
1. Attention to Detail
One of the amazing aspects of Stephen's work is his attention to detail. When Stephen drew a panorama of London on a 13 ft curving canvas he even included street names and said that he would have added more if there was time.
To commit the panoramic view of London to memory, Stephen took a short helicopter ride. However, when it came to doing his drawing, it was as if he himself were a small bird swooping down to get a closer view and then sweeping skywards to gain a larger perspective.
Both are important in business. You have to take care of the big picture while paying attention to the smaller details as well. The small details can also make or break a company.
It is said that individuals who are autistic tend to repeat things over and over again. They are creatures of habit and don't like change.
"People with autism like sameness. They like repetition. They like patterns in the environment. "
Professor Simon Baron-Cohen
For instance, when Stephen is at his London gallery, he buys his lunch from the same sandwich shop each day precisely at 1.30pm.
Mortimer J Adler said,
"Habits are formed by the repetition of particular acts. They are strengthened by an increase in the number of repeated acts. Habits are also weakened or broken, and contrary habits are formed by the repetition of contrary acts. "
So the trick is to identify the habits that you have cultivated through repetition that serve you and to eliminate the “bad habits" through the cultivation of new empowering habits.
That Stephen was born with a natural ability to draw is clear but he has honed his craft through repetition. It is through completing endless drawings that he now has the ability to do seemingly effortlessly what others would deem to be impossible.
It is through repetition that he has become comfortable enough with his craft to try out different techniques and styles so that his drawings are not just reproductions of buildings he has seen. They are truly creative works of art to the highest degree.
3. Follow Your Passion
Not many autistic individuals can lead the independent life that Stephen has carved out for himself. Also, not many people period travel the world and be paid to do so.
Stephen has combined his two passions his love of buildings and his love of drawing to create a lifestyle that many would be envious of. In Stephen's case had he not followed his passion, life as an autistic individual, would be very different indeed. No doubt, he would have probably faded to obscurity.
His courage and his passion have enabled him to develop not only as an artist but as a more rounded individual as well. His artistic skills have literally opened doors for him.
The thing is, for the majority of us who do not face the challenges of autism, is that we get sucked into a lifestyle where we end up doing things we do not particularly enjoy just so that we can make a living. Ironically, anyone who has achieved great success in life or in business will say it was because they had the courage to follow their passion and do what they loved.
The unforgettable George Burns summed this up beautifully,
"I'd rather be a failure at something I love than a success at something I hate. "
So discover what it is you love to do and then find the courage to follow you passion and monetise it.
And here's a bonus success strategy. Stephen always carries his sketch pad and pencils with him. Always be prepared to take advantage of an opportunity when it arises. For more articles on success strategies visit Skyline Coaching Blog .