Take the high road

February 20, 2013 — 26 Comments

Taking the high road


News Flash

I spend a lot of my waking hours talking to myself. I don’t know when it started [yes I do] but regardless of how I try to change my behavior, I just can’t seem to stop having these “conversations” with myself. Don’t worry, I don’t actually believe that there two of me because if there was, I would have the other me typing this post up while I watch TV or design T-Shirts. No, I have conversations with myself because I am always trying to figure out what I don’t know.

Question: How do you know what you don’t know?

The only one way to answer this question is to ask yourself some more questions.

As an architectural service provider who engages in esoteric pursuits, I am constantly judged by people who don’t know why they like something and have no means to convey the basis for their judgment. That’s okay, I get it (I think) and I knew what I was getting myself into when I decided to be an architect. Most of us are familiar with the phrase “better, faster or cheaper … you can have any two of those three.” I live in this world so I reallllly get it. I also get slammed from other architects who are unhappy that they have either been unemployed or under-employed for years now. I get that too … I don’t like it but I understand it. Somewhere along the line, during one of the conversations I had with myself, I decided that I was going to take the high road and stop judging others for their priorities, that’s not my business.

It seems like I am on my soapbox … maybe I am. I told myself several years ago that I was going to endeavor to have a positive attitude about things.

Spend the day checking window shop drawings? Yay!

How about field measuring an abandoned grocery store in the middle of summer? Awesome!

Sit through 6 hours of meetings with code consultants and Planning and Zoning officials? More please.

Don’t underestimate the power of a positive attitude. It is amazing how easy it will become your permanent attitude.


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  • Mark Mc Swain

    A Very Smart fellow (getting to be a MYMC has that effect) made a cogent observation on this topic.
    That life, as most agree, is a long, long road, with rockier, less good days than others. Yet, for those having a bad day, none seem to want to have it cut short by eliminating the bad days from the length of it.
    As MCPO are wont to do, he would use this life lesson as a teaching example about, how, griping is part of the rocks in the road. The trick is in not making others fall down and skin their knees on the rocks in /your/ road. (Particularly as this can make them want to cut short your number of bad days, and road, too, with it )

  • Paul Anderson

    I like the this short-but-sweet post Bob.

    It’s more “Life” and less “of an Architect.”

    Balance is something most of us need more of ( along with a positive attitude ).


  • Haha! I keep telling myself how much I love BIM Software vs BIM Standards.

  • Andrew

    This is SPOT ON…must have been that great U of T training and all of the positive jury reviews we had.
    There is no talent or skill that beats a positive attitude.

  • Richer Man

    Having a positive attitude is the key to all successes, not just in our line of work, but all life choices. I’m not a Richer Man because of financial wealth, although having stead income has me living better than some, but because of my outlook on life…and being a Buddhist doesn’t hurt. I have learned to smile when the times are the toughest and because of that I have become a pretty positive person to be around. Clients can feel my positive energy and usually enjoy my meetings. I have city planners that send me Christmas cards, not the other way around.
    I think this post is one of your better. It’s a good lesson to the many who haven’t clued in. Sometimes being good at your job means more than just knowing the answers and drawing pretty pictures. Sometimes adding a meaningful smile to your interaction with people can make your career more successful. Being too serious and thinking that’s what professionals do, will be your downfall.

  • reachspace

    Bob,from an unlicensed despondent immigrant residential designer sitting in Australia,you are refreshing to follow and thanks for helping put things in perspective architecturally as well as assisting in fighting the Dendrites of negativity that threaten to make the final connection,
    keep up the positive aura.

  • As far as I can tell, you are almost always positive, even when you pretend otherwise. You are a happy guy who spreads happiness.

  • Patricia

    I just read a Buddhist blogger this week who reminded the readers that they should be a bit like their dog… Go for a walk = my favorite thing. Have a nap = my favorite thing. Bowl of kibble = my favorite thing. Catch the ball = my favorite thing. Sometimes attitude it everything!

    • that truly would be a great way to go through your day. Wish it came as easily to us as our canine friends.


  • 1irishdell

    Thank you for this! I was just sharing this exact sentiment with a co-worker today. I have been living with a degenerative disease since a very young age and have learned time and time again, that a negative attitude only makes the pain worse. Keep smiling, even when it’s the hardest thing you have to do. All the rest will fall into place. 🙂

    • wow …
      I like to think I practice what I preach but you really put it into action. If I slip into a funk I don’t have to worry about my other coping mechanisms needing to kick things up a notch – I’m just funky.

      Best of luck!

  • As a hardware consultant I just want to share that I enjoy creating and providing those hardware submittals!

    • I am working through a huge hardware submittal now … these things really are like deciphering the Rosetta Stone…

  • enjoyable….thanks

    • I am glad you enjoyed it – thanks for stopping by.

  • Ron Campbell

    Well said. Thank you, Bob.

  • MarvinOne

    Bob – I needed a message just like this one today. Thank you for sharing!

    • Sorry you needed it today – but glad it was available!

  • Kristen

    I love this. I used your last sentance as my Facebook status today, I gave you credit of course 🙂 You share my same attitiude on life and work. Thanks Bob.

    • Thanks Kristen – love finding a kindred spirit!

  • Dutch

    Amen! We should be greatful for work good or bad …the only easy day was yesterday!

    • sometimes you catch yourself waiting for something good to happen but all the while, everything is passing you by.


  • Window shop drawings? Great! Could always be a door hardware submittal. With all due respect to my hardware consultant friends, door hardware submittals have their own special level in hell.

    • door hardware submittals are bru-tal! It is particularly hard to find the silver lining on those days…

      • Mark Mc Swain

        Particularly when it’s been called out in anodized antique bronze.