Why do I do it?

Bob Borson —  June 2, 2011 — 9 Comments

When I started writing Life of an Architect last year I had no idea what I was signing up for. It has been an interesting experience and things have progressed far further and faster than I could have imagined and I am truly blessed. I mean, it takes a lot of time, the constant deadlines are a source of stress, and I’m not getting rich. All those things speak to how, but doesn’t answer the question:

why do I do it?


Kate and Daddy Halloween 2008


I get this question a lot … and by a lot I mean from just about every single person who inevitably reads this blog and has a conversation with me. I thought I would try and answer that question here so I can point people towards this post whenever they ask. I also thought it might be interesting to reflect back one day on my reasons if I do continue writing this blog. Here are some initial thoughts as to why I do it:

  • I enjoy it immensely. It takes a great deal of time and creative thought – one thing I don’t have much of  and the other I have too much of (I’ll let you decide which is which). The act of writing so frequently has organized my thoughts in an oddly satisfying manner. It would be great to say I have become a better writer, but I think I’ve only become better at writing how I think I would say something.
  • Another benefit is the amount of information to which I have become exposed. It’s really staggering and I am only now learning how to filter some of it out. To a certain extent it was like changing careers and finding out that there is a world of people doing what you are into and you never knew it. Not only has this helped me become a better designer and architect, I’d like to think that it has made me a better person. Donating time to charitable events has always been a goal but my reach is so much larger that I get approached 10x more than before to help. Sometimes it’s just spreading the message, sometimes it’s more hands on (I think I am going to have to grow a beard or something for charity in a few months and document it here – yikes on all accounts).
  • I also have meet an amazing number of incredibly talented people that amaze and inspire me almost daily. If you read this site with any frequency you’ll know that I have a small competitive streak – nothing nasty but I tend to rise up to the bar of my peers and as soon as I think I’ve met the challenge, there’s a drop off (that’s a bad thing). Being able to work within a stable set of parameters while always finding new ways to raise the bar has been very good for me – I imagine it would be good for most people. I don’t generally stick with any one thing for too long – I need the challenge of something new. This blog format and site has kept my attention and allowed me to explore and challenge myself with an endless number of ‘what if’ scenarios.
  • Incredible personal gratification from the immediate feedback. I have been ridiculously fortunate in that I have had a positive experience with almost all the people who come to this site. To date there have been almost 3,500 comments posted on this site and there have been fewer than 5 that actually were negative or made me feel badly ( I don’t even remember 5 but I’m assuming that there were a few). Now, I’m a big boy and I can handle someone disagreeing with me – that doesn’t constitute a negative comment. What I am trying to say is that the people who visit this site are respectful to me and to the other people who leave comments – and that makes me proud of the readers of this site. Way to go people – you’re super classy (that’s a longtime reader inside joke – if you know it I give you a deposit in Bob’s Awesome Bank of Awesomeness. If you don’t know it, the archive section can be found in the sidebar, time for you to hit the books).
  • Lastly, I get to tell people what I think about stuff – which is my all time favorite thing to do (is that a bad thing?) I used to tell people when I was in studio that I only want your opinion if you agree with mine. Yeah I know, that was immature but I was only 20 at the time. Now I like to simply show people things that I think are cool and I hope with every bone in my body that you think it’s cool as well. The best way I can think to describe it is to play a song for someone that barely anybody has heard and discover that they love it. It doesn’t have to even be new – just exposing something unique or different is great but getting someone to love it is simply the best.

With that in mind, I leave you with this song. This is ‘Burn for You’ from the 1985 DVD ‘Bring on the Night’ by Sting. This is one of my most favorite recordings of all time and regardless of the ebb and flow of my musical tastes, this one is always on my desert island collection. A white English rocker with roots in reggae paired up with a band of all black world class jazz musicians from America. I included a partial interview with saxophonist Branford Marsalis in the beginning because I love the message that he has. You also have to stick with the song to get to the feature drum solo from Omar Hakim around the  4:00 minute mark – it is amazing. I am sure not that many people have heard this particular recording of this song – it’s worth 5 minutes of your life.




  • http://bluecollarradionetwork.com James Dibben

    Thanks for sharing your story, Bob.

    It reaffirms something I truly believe. That blogging helps the writer just as much or even more than the reader.

  • http://www.architangent.com Brinn Miracle

    I think I really identify with the last point. Not that I like telling people my opinion all the time (though it can be fun), but rather the idea of exposing someone to something new and unique and seeing them love it. I think that is why I love architecture so much (and why I began blogging, too). You really hit that one on the head for a lot of us – why we do what we do – because we want to share it with others and have them love it just as much as we do. 

    PS. If you’re stressed about the constant deadlines, don’t forget you set them, so give yourself a break now and then ;)

    • http://www.lifeofanarchitect.com Bob Borson

      Hi Brinn,

      The harder something is the more rewarding it is and as a result, I don’t think stress is always a bad things. Some of us (me) rely on pressure and stress as motivators to actually do things. 

      I’m glad the last point resonated with you and I’m glad you are a part of this community of voices.


  • http://www.pillowthrowdecor.com PillowThrowDecor

    Yay,,, the video loaded for me this time no problem. That drummer is amazing. As always, your message is one that strikes to the heart and soul of all your readers and raving fans :) Cheers Christine

    • http://www.lifeofanarchitect.com Bob Borson

      Thanks Christine – I am happy to count you amoung my readers and hopefully raving fans.

  • Anonymous

    It’s amazing how similar our paths are in this blogging venture, Bob. As I read this post, I kept thinking, yeah, same here. And that song is amazing. I hadn’t seen it before, so thanks!

    • http://www.lifeofanarchitect.com Bob Borson

      we did start this process around the same time – I hope you are still finding it as rewarding as I do. I think your site is amazing – full of real valuable information.

      Cheers to you!

  • P Anater

    What ever the reason Bob, I’m glad you do it!

    • http://www.lifeofanarchitect.com Bob Borson

      Thanks Paul,

      You have played a big role in the development of this site. Thank you for your input and valued friendship.