Tech Life It needed to exist

The Builder’s High

When I am in a foul mood, I have a surefire way to improve my outlook – I build something. A foul mood is a stubborn beast and it does not give ground easily. It is an effort to simply get past the foulness in order to start building, but once the building has begun, the foul beast loses ground.

I don’t know what cascading chemical awesomeness is going down in my brain when it detects and rewards me for the act of building, but I’m certain that the hormonal cocktail is the end result of millions of years of evolution. Part of the reason we’re at the top of the food chain is that we are chemically rewarded when we are industrious – it is evolutionarily advantageous to be productive.

And we’re slowly and deviously being trained to forget this.

A Day Full of Moments

Look around. If you’re in a group of people, count how many are lost in their digital devices as they sit there with a friend. If you’re in your office, count how many well-intentioned distractions are within arm’s reach and asking for your attention. I wonder how many of you will read this piece in one sitting – it’s only 844 words long.

The world built by the Internet is one of convenience. Buy anything without leaving your house. All knowledge is nearby and that’s a lot of knowledge, but don’t worry, everyone is pre-chewing it for you and sharing it in every way possible. They’re sharing that and other interesting moments all day and you’re beginning to believe that these shared moments are close to disposable because you are flooded with them.

You’re fucking swimming in everyone else’s moments, likes, and tweets and during these moments of consumption you are coming to believe that their brief interestingness to others makes it somehow relevant to you and worth your time.

The fact that the frequency of these interesting moments appears to be ever-growing and increasingly easy to find does not change the fact that your attention is finite. Each one you experience, each one you consume, is a moment of your life that you’ve spent forever.

These are other people’s moments.

These moments can be important. They can connect us to others; they briefly inform us as to the state of the world; they often hint at an important idea without actually explaining it by teasing us with the impression of knowledge. But they are often interesting, empty intellectual calories. They are sweet, addictive, and easy to find in our exploding digital world, and their omnipresence in my life and the lives of those around me has me starting this year asking, “Why am I spending so much time consuming other people’s moments?”

This is not a reminder to over-analyze each moment and make them count. This is a reminder not to let a digital world full of others’ moments deceive you into devaluing your own. Their moments are infinite – yours are finite and precious – and this New Year I’m wondering how much we want to create versus consume.

The Builders High

What’s the last thing you built when you got that high? You know that high I’m talking about? It’s staring at a thing that you brought into the world because you decided it needed to exist.

For me, the act of writing creates the builder’s high. Most pieces are 1000+ words. They involve three to five hours of writing, during which I’ll both hate and love the emerging piece. This is followed by another hour of editing and tweaking before I’ll publish the piece, and the high is always the same. I hit publish and I grin. That smile is my brain chemically reminding me, Hey, you just added something new to the world.

Is there a Facebook update that compares to building a thing? No, but I’d argue that 82 Facebook updates, 312 tweets, and all those delicious Instagram updates are giving you the same chemical impression that you’ve accomplished something of value. Whether it’s all the consumption or the sense of feeling busy, these micro-highs will never equal the high when you’ve actually built.

Blank Slates

This New Year, I wish you more blank slates. May you have more blank white pages sitting in front you with your favorite pen nearby and at the ready. May you have blank screens in your code editor with your absolutely favorite color syntax highlighting. May your garage work table be empty save for a single large piece of reclaimed redwood and a saw.

Turn off those notifications, turn your phone over, turn on your favorite music, stare at your blank slate and consider what you might build. In that moment of consideration, you’re making an important decision: create or consume? The things we’re giving to the future are feeling increasingly unintentional and irrelevant. They are half-considered thoughts of others. When you choose to create, you’re bucking the trend because you’re choosing to take the time to build.

And that’s a great way to start the year.

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175 Responses

  1. hell yes. i took a stab at a broader version of this idea a while ago. you narrowed in on a simpler, stronger point and nailed it. nice work!

  2. Walter 11 years ago

    Thanks. I really needed that.

  3. liana 11 years ago

    Cooking is what gives me the high you describe. Starting with an idea of what I want to eat, or what a finished product should taste like; obtaining the raw materials; planning the timing and schedule of preparation; donning an apron and isolating the necessary equipment; “building” the materials into something that I can share with family and friends; and finally enjoying it with them. You could say that the people eating my cooking are “consuming my moment”, and perhaps that’s why I like potlucks so much. Then everyone gets their own moment in the kitchen, but still gets to nourish others with their creation.

  4. Steven Plunkett 11 years ago

    Well said. It’s some useful food for thought.

  5. Some good inspiration to start the new year. Thanks for sharing.

  6. Beautiful! Very encouraging and powerful words! Thank you!

  7. victoria 11 years ago

    I am actually going to write something significant (to me at least) and enjoy the creative pleasure of doing so. And then… I am NOT going to hit “publish.” I am going to write for the pleasure of self-informing which that task affords me, and not for any need to be recognized, acknowledged, or in any way granted approbation. But thanks for the prompt! 🙂

  8. Perfect. Needed to hear this today.

  9. Bravo. You have put into writing the philosophy by which some time in the last two or three years I consciously decided to live my life.

    I realized that the constant stream of internet interestingness is entertaining, but it’s largely meaningless–when I sit there for a day absorbed in it, at the end of the day I have gained exactly nothing. But when I build something (I use the word “make”, but it’s a synonym in context), I lay down feeling like I own the world. And when I look at what I have made tomorrow, next week, even five years from now, I am still proud, and pleased, even if I notice imperfections in it.

    So I decided to pull back from the constant flow, even if it left me feeling a little out of it. I don’t have any social media accounts. I’m not on Twitter. I barely look at my phone. Instead, I sit at my computer and make things. I’ve been hard at work for a year mentally holed up creating something, but when it’s finished, I will be proud of it in a way that a year of tweets and Facebook status updates couldn’t possibly equal. And when I’m not at my computer, I sit with people and talk to them in person.

    It’s always a battle against the easy entertainment, and the feeling that the world is somehow leaving you behind. But I always remind myself that when I’ve created something, that something is what others might end up talking about as part of the endless stream. It’s the things like that that matter.

  10. Wow this was cathartic, I needed to read this article.
    Thank you very much.

  11. Mark Onyschuk 11 years ago

    In this block: “yours are finite, too, and precious”

    What’s the ‘too’ for? There’s no need for it…

    It’s a great essay though…


  12. David 11 years ago

    Thank you for this. I should read it every morning.

  13. Steven 11 years ago

    Thanks for creating and sharing this. Very motivating – and beautifully written.

  14. I would add that the strength of the builder’s high is proportional to the permanence of the construct, so all these ephemeral bits we’re shuffling around called apps, websites, this article and these comments will vanish completely out of perceivable existence in a few more hundred years after we deplete the planet and get back to caring for each other’s survival, having seen the cusp and the fall of another of mankind’s “Great Civilizations”, to be rediscovered in another five thounsand years or so by someone digging a hole to build another Something Permanent and finding this weird, shattered piece of glass with what looks like a btten fruit inscribed onto it.

  15. Sorry for this micro-contribution, but this article is great.

  16. Dimitrios Saranteas 11 years ago

    Who will then consume the output of the building/making/creating?

  17. Thanks for the heads-up. It’s a very timely reminder ……

  18. Jonathan 11 years ago

    Take a look at your Facebook homepage, click on the “best moments of 2013” and tell me it doesn’t make you tear up.

    The birth of my Son, the founding of my business and thousands of other moments are on Facebook and people are spending their time immersed in my moments.

    I’ll argue that there is nothing wrong with Facebook & most other social media that isn’t wrong with life itself.

  19. Jason 11 years ago

    Thank you for putting a label on that nagging feeling I have every time I look at Facebook. Very insightful piece.

  20. I get that high when I’m playing guitar. I code/maintain legacy applications for a day job but when I’m done with adult responsibilities I lose myself in playing. Time stands still and you can simply revel in the joy of playing a well loved song or working to create your own piece of yourself for others to enjoy.

  21. Jurgen Lindemann 11 years ago

    For me, it’s shooting and editing video. Start with nothing, expose it just right, rip it apart, put it together, rip it apart again and piece it back as something entirely new.

    Thanks for this.

  22. Great stuff! I have been thinking about this a lot lately. We are spending so much time building Facebook and Twitter when we should be taking a step back and building something for ourselves first. Then reworking it or editing it till it becomes something to share with everyone else. Time to stop regurgitating and start cooking.

  23. Shamefully, I did not make it all the way to the “I wonder how many of you will read this in one sitting” before pausing to do something else.

    Step one, admitting you have a problem…

  24. Thank you for this.

  25. Joshua 11 years ago

    Thank you.

  26. Jason Murray 11 years ago

    I work as a Psychologist at a Canadian University with just shy of 40,000 students. Many students do mistake creating a massive online presence with creating something…less about themselves. Too much navel gazing.

    If it is OK with you, I’ll make copies of this essay to give to some of my students who are busy online but feeling a touch empty as a student.

  27. Steve 11 years ago

    Ironically, I would like to post this to Facebook.

  28. Awesome, thanks for this.

  29. This is absolutely awesome and a fantastic reminder. Well done!

  30. This fits where I am today and how I’m starting the year. Thank you for sharing!

  31. Deocliciano 11 years ago

    A waking call?
    How long will it stand?

    I did not understand – “yours are finite, too, and precious” after Their “moments are infinite”.

    I believe we all create in a way. Only we often do not come to term enjoying the moment.
    I do not know if technology amplifies this disconnect, does it?

  32. Thank you for writing this. It ties in nicely with what I was saying on my blog about 2013 being a year we missed out on because we have been distracted looking at things on our mobile devices.

  33. Aidan 11 years ago

    I’m glad I was referred to this article from a Twitter post, and my takeaway from that fact is that what’s important is sharing the meaningful. Sharing the meaningless devalues the time of those connected to us.

  34. Here here! My overarching new year’s resolution two years running: consume less, produce more.

  35. azulum 11 years ago

    This goes to show that there really is something wrong with my reward system. I can imagine a builder’s high, but I inevitably come away with a builder’s disappointment.

    I often spend the long hours wondering whether people really feel good about the things they’ve done. This is the insidiousness of MDD.

    If you know anyone who is struggling with such unfulfilling existence, do something for them, and be insistent that you are doing it with no strings attached. You’ll feel good about it; they’ll have a brief respite from the anxiety of doing when all they want to do is close their eyes; and they might find the energy to make any of the thousands of insightful, amazing, yet personally unrewarding things floating about their brilliant but darkened mind.

    If you are unsure what to build, what to do, do this—it’s a surefire way to make the world a better place. Just be sure that it’s not pity but genuine caring.

  36. Jimmy James 11 years ago

    You lost me at “only 844 words”.

  37. Ted McNeil 11 years ago

    “Turn off those notifications, turn your phone over, turn on your favorite music, stare at your blank slate and consider what you might build. In that moment of consideration, you’re making an important decision: create or consume? The things we’re giving to the future are feeling increasingly unintentional and irrelevant. They are half-considered thoughts of others. When you choose to create, you’re bucking the trend because you’re choosing to take the time to build.”

    I feel like this should be on a poster on the wall in my office. Great Stuff.

  38. Brilliant article, thank you so much for writing it. Perfect timing and inspiration, too, as I sit down to work on a new project today. This reminds me of a common theme I’ve heard over and over again over the last year — the importance of intense focus in our personal and professional lives. If we spread our attention too thin across too many goals, projects, and people, we end up doing a lot but accomplishing nothing. In many ways, the question of create vs. consume is really a choice between saying yes or saying no. I think the most important action any of us can take is to say “no” more often and put ourselves wholeheartedly into those few amazing things we say “yes” to.

  39. tallgay 11 years ago

    Yeah, that is what I have been trying to say for a long time! Thanks for putting this matter succinctly for us all
    I’ve passed it on to certain friends to stimulate a conversation

  40. Very well said. Hear hear!

  41. A whole piece about wasting one’s life consuming others’ content, and no mention of TV. That’s a big step right there!

  42. Mark Belanger 11 years ago

    Well said!


  43. Nicole 11 years ago

    Just lovely. Thanks.

  44. linda welcome 11 years ago

    This is one of the best essays I have ever read. I have NEVER been able to explain to my chldren (grown) how I feel when I “build” something. I am going to print this out and hand it to them.

  45. I enjoyed your thoughtful article. I read it while driving home from work and listening to a podcast on a headset and news on the car radio.

  46. Nicole G 11 years ago

    I am in marketing. I am a perpetrator of tweets posts and shares. I have spent years trying to build up social media domains. But I completely understand and agree with everything you say.

    In fact one thing I was tell people, is that when I write a blog I write it from a place of annoyance. It sounds like we are kindred spirits. I want the world to hear my views and I don’t care if they don’t like them. I don’t like them anyways. And I’ll feel like I’ve climbed a mountain even though I just tapped out 700 words.

    I’m a builder. And I’m proud to be one.

  47. A reward? Reward?! LOL!

    You said you get a “high” feeling when you accomplish a piece of writing. You called that a reward and blamed evolution for it, and justified it as advantageous.

    Yet, why did you stop when you felt that way? If that feeling was so rewarding, then why did you stop when you felt it? Why not keep on being rewarded?

    From what you described, it sounds like you moved on and did something else once you felt this “high” or reward. It sounds like a deterrent. It sounds like you are being prompted to get on with your life and stop wasting so much time on whatever you’ve been doing continuously. Perhaps a preventive measure, saving you from repetitive stress injury, either physical or mental or emotional?

    But a reward? Seriously?! LOL!

    Your grinning sounds cultural, not evolutionary. Being deterred from continuing, being encouraged to take a break, that doesn’t sound like a promotion of creating, building or any activity other than getting on with your life already.

    Really, if you’re writing this for promoting creation and building and development, then you’ll have to do better than this piece of rant.

  48. Cheyne M. 11 years ago

    Well said. I love to write as well, I started a book 4 years ago…thanks for giving me the spark!

  49. Jas Hilson 11 years ago

    You may have a beast that’s only assuaged by “building something”, but there are far too many of you trying to cover the world with concrete. There are only enough resources to supply everyones’ needs, not enough to satisfy everyones’ greed. Please have a care.

  50. This one hits home. I’ve read it five times over and I was about to go back to browsing HN. Instead, for almost the first time, I decided to instead say something and put it out there. I have never written a blog or even commented on a blog post. This is a start. Thank you!

  51. Exactly right. Just as junk convinces our stomachs that we have what we need and then tricks it into going back very quickly for more, these digital experiences dupe our brains into thinking they are as satisfying as real human connection.

  52. Susan Everett Design linked to this.
  53. Soroush Pour 11 years ago

    I absolutely feel this in our world and could not agree more.

  54. David Torchiano 11 years ago

    Thank you for sharing such elegant ideas so eloquently. Truly inspiring. Well done.

  55. I haven’t studied what I am about to say enough to be an expert at it, but I have studied it enough to have an opinion. What is being talked about here in terms of Western psychology is affirmation of “ego” (Loevinger, et al.), or “self system” (Henry Stack Sullivan), or more generally just “identity.” In Sanskrit it would be called “ahamkara” (the “created I”) and is central in many Eastern spiritual traditions.

    According to my 25-cent version of the Buddhist narrative, as we progress through life we create this story about the world and ourselves (ahamkara) and we spend our life trying to affirm our story. The funk which the author started in was a reflection his story not working very well at that moment. The high described above occurs when we can replace that funk and with a successful affirmation of that identity. “Yes, I can write something that is a contribution to the world. I am a contributor.” “Yes, I can cook a satisfying meal for my family. I am a competent cook. I am a contributor.” “Yes, I can build a house, or fix the plumbing, or make my child happy, or . . . [I affirm some part of my identity].”

    PS–I would be remiss not to mention that from the Buddhist perspective this deep attachment to “our story” provides an unstable basis for our happiness and is the source of our suffering in life. The varied and sundry Buddhist practices attempt to overcome this attachment. The case is similar in the Vedic tradition, Jainism, and to an extent in Sufism.

  56. Jack Järkvik 11 years ago

    Very good point! A few years ago I built myself a small carpentry workshop. Being an engineer since more than forty years I imagined I would model things on the computer first and then build them. But I find I prefer to just build from the wood I have and build with no drawings at all. I like modelling in my head and build step by step. The feeling of accomplishment is fantastic when eventually some new thing the world has never seen emerges. I buy what can be bought and build what has not been made before. This is a process very different from what my work was all about, much more rewarding!

  57. walter_really 11 years ago

    After I’ve written something good, I re-read it umpteen times, beaming with pride

  58. Thanks for the write up. I have always enjoyed the satisfying sense of accomplishment when I wrap up a creative task at home or at work. Your article has placed a new perspective on this for me. Thanks!

  59. Absolutely brilliant article. Kudos.

    First time I’ve encountered your site.

  60. Consumption & Creation | SoshiTech - Social Media Technology - linked to this.
  61. Amen

  62. martin 11 years ago

    Read this three times before I truly read it! Super piece. Thank you.

  63. niklas 11 years ago

    Awesome post. Truly inspiring! Thank you for writing it 🙂

  64. Stefan Noack 11 years ago

    Thanks for the reminder. This is so easy to forget! Now I shall go on. Create ALL the things!

  65. Julius 11 years ago

    You don’t realise how much time you waste until you reach a certain age in life. When you are fifty or more, even one hour a day spent commuting to work starts looking like a waste, never mind giving attention to pointless “likes” tweets or FB posts

  66. Anu baruah 11 years ago

    You sure got me thinking.

  67. Consuming vs. Building linked to this.
  68. Exactly what I needed. Thank you!

  69. Thank you. Now I must build the rest of my life.

  70. Brilliantly said. What you’ve written here should be in every class room.

  71. Great essay. “This is a reminder not to let a digital world full of others’ moments deceive you into devaluing your own.” Amen.

  72. Great article. I love building things, producing things.

    My articles are never 1000+ words though! Maybe you are more patient than I am.

  73. Guilherme Carlos 11 years ago

    Thank you, I really need this to open my mind in this new year 🙂

  74. Thank you for not ending your article with “you should follow me on twitter here”.

  75. Don Gateley 11 years ago

    Brilliant insight. Having successfully completed the building of something on Christmas day that has been my primary creative focus for nearly 10 years I am well placed to understand the high you talk about and know that there is none like it (I’ve a lot of experience with highs of all sorts.)

    Something not addressed is the ennui of post-completion blues. I’ve suffered it for significant duration many times as an engineer and am in the middle of one now, primarily spending my time in other people’s moments like right now. You provide the solution though; whether or not I feel like it it’s time to start building the next thing. Thankfully I buffered a list when enthusiasm ran high. 🙂

  76. Mark Sherman 11 years ago

    I’m glad you wrote this. This exactly describes how I feel after I’ve finished a long programming project, put together some complicated piece of electronics, or solved a major bug that stumped everyone at work. I need to be constantly solving problems and creating something. I’m not happy just consuming. A good example: I feel much more proud of my simple mono FM radio receiver that only pulls in 5 to 10 stations clearly than I do owning my expensive consumer electronics stereo FM receiver that pulls in everything.

  77. this is me to a T. I am a computer nerd but I love working on cars exactly for this reason.

    A lot of people ask me “how did you learn to do this stuff?” and all I ever do is just watch youtube videos or read the manual. But there is definitely extreme satisfaction when you look at something, figure out what you want to do with it or change, and then DO IT!

  78. Richard 11 years ago

    This is the best article I’ve read in months. I shared it with my wife. I asked her to remember how jazzed we felt when we finished an experimental treatment to an old desk and it came out incredible, and when I had finished writing my novel.

    I have always loved the creative process and I’ve noticed again (as I did in the 1990s when I divorced myself from television) that passive entertainments and distraction dull the senses and can put the creative mind to sleep. At 40, I don’t really want to waste any more of my years living too many Other People’s Experiences.

    Thanks for sharing.

  79. Real Talk 11 years ago


  80. “Create or Consume.” Beautiful! I can see the bumper stickers, t-shirts, wallpaper, etc in my mind. You know, you could get rich off of this! Thanks for the good thoughts too.

  81. A nice piece.

  82. loved that. Totally agree. I recently built something for the first time in ages and am still riding on the high of creating it. Looking for the next project everywhere. Thanks.

  83. Sachin Funde 11 years ago

    Thanks for the nice article. This is what I needed on a new year.

  84. ann domico 11 years ago

    This is one of most intelligent and best written articles I have ever read. It is so true. Not that I would want technology to never be invented. After all, it made it a lot easier on me for choosing and buying Christmas gifts this year. But we need to remember to be creative in our own rite. That is what really fulfills me. Technology is further down on the list. And communication with those around me, (actual talking to each other instead of mindless texting), is number one! So I do not need to make it a New Year’s resolution. I keep striving to keep the old-fashioned way of communication, face to face. (Ok, so I am putting my opinion on my iPad. Oh we’ll, nobody’s perfect!)

  85. Scott 11 years ago

    Thanks. Wise words. The irony is that I spent ten minutes reading what you built, and value from it. However, you are arguing that I not read what others are posting (at least not as much), so I can have my own moments of building.

    It’s a bit of a conundrum. I believe it has something to do with filtering; always being aware of which posts/updates/tweets are worth delving into. This comes through the practice of – believe it or not – delving into a lot of material.

    Again, thanks. Nice post.

  86. Thanks for the encouragement!

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  89. On Builder’s Highs | Fratrik's Blog linked to this.
  90. Jeremiah 11 years ago

    Thanks, that was well said.

  91. Glenn 11 years ago

    Thank you.

  92. Imthian 11 years ago

    I think I should post this wondeful piece as a facebook status …lol… nice read tho.

  93. Julia 11 years ago

    Yes, but the web put me in contact with this article when I wasn’t even looking for it. Serendipity happens all the time on the web, especially for me who lives out in the bush in Alaska. I chop wood, stack it (a kind of building), build a fire in the wood stove, ski, write, do many things, but the web connects me with so much that I value.

  94. Paolo Polce 11 years ago

    very good article.


  95. Josh Benjamin 11 years ago

    I enjoyed consuming this article. Hope to enjoy less of them this year, though.

  96. The Best New Year Wishes Ever ... | Big Bang Manager linked to this.
  97. I’m a consumer and it has really started to wear on me. I’m looking forward to cutting back and enjoy the moment regardless of what I’m “missing” at any given time. Thanks for this.

  98. Thanks for this post. Its a great reminder that a good way to change your mental state is to put something out into the world to make it a bit better, which in turn makes you feel better.

  99. Susan Weston 11 years ago

    Well put – perhaps this is why so many life and business coaches /mentors encourage journal writing and actually committing to writing down your bucket list as a a way of bringing forth outcomes. In years gone by teachers used to requir their students write “compositions ” and have a copy book in which one copied down/in work that was deemed very good or excellent i.e. really valuable and worth keeping because it was a “polished” piece of work. One worked to create or achieve such a piece and be told ” now go put that in your Copy Book”….

    Personally I think this is why I love painting, walking in the outdoors and writing with a fountain pen or lead pencil. All theses are about “building and creating” for my personal satisfaction not really anyone else’s. If someone else gets pleasure from it too then that is an absolute bonus.

  100. Selden 11 years ago

    The last time was about 24 hours ago, when, after four days of experimentation, I cracked a fairly simple piece of JavaScript coding that I wrote for my own uses and the satisfaction of learning something new while solving a problem.

    Major projects before that included replacing the clutch on a 10-year old BMW motorcycle (a pretty major undertaking, leaving parts all over the garage for a few weeks), and before that replacing a 30-year old redwood deck, single handed, with only a 7″ power saw and similar hand tools. Three months of effort, after which my reward was being told by a contractor, “That’s a really nice deck.”

    Upcoming, HID headlight upgrade for the motorcycle. When I’m working on the bike, my preferred “distraction” is listening to Gregorian chant, which tends to keep me calm during sometimes stressful moments.

    I refuse to use Twitter, either as a tweeter or a follower, destroyed my Facebook account last year, and use Google+ sparingly. I find working the tactile involvement with physical objects much more satisfying than dealing with software.

  101. Indeed that’s a fantastic way to start the year.

  102. Exactly what I needed. All the best for the year partner.

  103. Rachel 11 years ago

    I was thinking this same type of thing yesterday. I was at Disneyland and my husband and I had a no cellphones rule. We spent the day making memories we could share for a lifetime. Inside one of the rides it was pitch black except for someone’s phone screen. People pay all that money and they are so busy on their phones to appreciate it. What do they have to remember at the end of the day. Most likely just a few I-photos. Its sad!!!

  104. Just exactly what I needed, just exactly when I needed it: last night I was attempting to discuss finding one’s own voice when one is awash — and intentionally! — in the voices of others.

    I’m still not sure how do distill my own creative process from those of my inspirations, but you’ve helped to remind me that the part that matters is that I’m doing it.


  105. Reading this certainly gave me a bit of a high, probably rekindling feelings produced by past creative endeavours (not happening often enough now). Nice to read an article written with passion.

  106. Cheryl 11 years ago

    We all need to build something. I just took some steel wire and clay and made a beautiful necklace. I designed it and made the beads and chain and clasp. It is the only one in the world just like that. What a great feeling.

  107. Creation Versus Consumption | A Dude's Guide. . . to everything linked to this.
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  109. Billy Sloan 11 years ago

    LOVE this! You just earned yourself a new subscriber.

  110. Your call to action inspired me to solder some more. It feels good to pull down the periscope.

  111. As a college student who is certainly guilty of nearly everything you mentioned above, I can’t thank you enough for this. On point.

  112. Short Links - linked to this.
  113. This piece is perfect. Thank you.

  114. Diana Humphrey Carlson 10 years ago

    Thank you, Michael. I am taking my laptop upstairs now to read this to my tumblr-obsessed 15 year old. Thanks for the reminder that it is much more fun to sing in the band than to watch the show.

  115. Nthabiseng 10 years ago

    My thought exactly. I am choosing to build.

  116. The Builder’s High | Jeff Rivers linked to this.
  117. Love this. Muchly.

  118. I tell you..this is evil.
    I spent half the article wondering what you had to do to put the number 844 in the third paragraph — did you have to finish writing the whole thing, remember to update that number and actually update it before publishing ? Or did you plan the piece so well that you knew even that early in your piece that it was going to 844 words long ?

    Having gone past that, I do appreciate the part about living in other people’s moments. It is a brilliant piece of insight…..thank you for bringing forth that insight.

  119. Jennifer Donnelly 10 years ago

    Beautifully written and Profoundly True!
    Thank You.

  120. The Builder’s High | Ketan Panchal linked to this.
  121. Maker’s high - PostOwl Blog linked to this.
  122. "Turn off those notifications, turn your phone over, turn on your favorite music,... | Orange Mind linked to this.
  123. This piece hits home. And thank you for wishing me a blank slate. Inasmuch as it gives me a little anxiety. I wish it for you back brother. Go make some stuff, and get high. I’ll do the same.

  124. Other People’s Moments linked to this.
  125. Michael Lopp | Backblogged linked to this.
  126. Adam Rich 10 years ago

    Bravo man. Bravo.

  127. The Builder’s High – Rands in Repose | Black Labrys linked to this.
  128. Marinda 9 years ago

    Love the builder’s high! I get it from writing, graphic design & teaching online courses.

  129. Facebook - akin to an allergic reaction to bees - Earth & Sea Creative linked to this.
  130. I try to build a post everyday – Nothing much, 200 – 300 words, and look at it as building a blog, a trail in the universe.

    This stuff is hard, and removing all the excess is even harder. But I find if you remove the excess you only have room to create.

    Thanks for writing this.

  131. A simple and inegllitent point, well made. Thanks!

  132. Dave Lawrence Photography | linked to this.
  133. Ran across this post after the announcement about the negative consequences of passive reading of your facebook feed (

    It’s a couple of years late but validates doing stuff vs reading “other people’s moments”. Nice blog that was ahead of it’s time.

  134. “May you have blank screens in your code editor with your absolutely favorite color syntax highlighting.”

    Thank you! <3

    I get that high when I finally get something to work correctly, such as a piece of code.