For those who have read my blog for a while, you’ll know that I keep reiterating a common metaphor about the “pieces” of a greater “puzzle” that I’m slowly discovering and putting together. And just like sport athletes who hit plateaus in improving themselves, discoveries often come in stages with plateaus afterwards where you may discover nothing for a while. That’s the way I’ve been feeling for a while but I think I may have just stepped off a plateau and started climbing again after discovering a site a couple of days ago.
Steve Pavlina has a very popular site relating to personal development for “smart people” that I’ve never heard of until now. Now I’ve seen people and sites somewhat similar to this before and I’ve always read about a paragraph or two before I intuitively feel this “wrongness” with the person. In effect, they really aren’t out to help but are only interested in your money. With Steve’s site, this feeling immediately changed after reading a few paragraphs of one of his posts and then after reading more than a few of them, I felt that I had stumbled onto something that was just “right” to me. What brought this feeling of “rightness”? Synchronicity.
After reading a few posts, I was somewhat dumbfounded at the similar thoughts I had with Steve. Even more so, these thoughts were ones that I knew deep down where correct but I had been having a difficult time putting them into words for others. Steve, the way he worded things, removed that complexity and relayed my thoughts and feelings with direct simplicity. If I had to compare it to something else, I’d probably have to say it equates to when I first read The Cluetrain Manifesto and was blown away that someone had finally put to words what I have been feeling for so long.
Below are a couple of examples of quotes from Steve’s site. I’ve also bolded synchronous thoughts that match my own (that often go against mainstream thinking).
“Don’t pick a niche just because you think it will make you money. I see many bloggers try to do that, and it’s almost invariably a recipe for failure. Think about what you love most, and then find a way to make your topic appealing to a massive global audience. Consider what will provide genuine value to your visitors. It’s all about what you can give.”
“I don’t think you’ll get very far if money is your #1 motivation for blogging. You have to be driven by something much deeper. Money is just frosting. It’s the cake underneath that matters. My cake is that I absolutely love personal development – not the phony “fast and easy” junk you see on infomercials, but real growth that makes us better human beings. That’s my passion. Pouring money on top of it just adds more fuel to the fire, but the fire is still there with or without the money.”
“Think about the effect you want your writing to have on people. Since I write about personal growth, I want my writing to change people for the better. I want to expand people’s thinking, to raise their consciousness, and to help them eliminate fear from their lives. If my writing doesn’t change people’s thinking, actions, or awareness, then my value isn’t being transferred well enough.”
“Strong content is universally valued. It’s hard work to create it, but in the long run it generates lots of long-term referral traffic. I’d rather write one article I’m really proud of than 25 smaller posts. It’s been my experience that the best articles I write will outperform all the forgettable little posts I’ve made. Quality is more important than quantity. Quantity without quality, however, is easier, which is one reason so many people use that strategy. Ultimately, however, the Internet already contains more quantity than any one of us can absorb in our lifetimes, but there will always be a place for good quality content that stands out from the crowd.”
“If there’s one insider’s secret I can offer to how to become an A-list blogger, this is it: Treat your blog as your primary outlet for contribution to the world. Make it your legacy. Write to pass on knowledge and ideas that you think will really benefit people. Focus first and foremost on providing value. If you can do that, the rest is relatively easy. Value builds referrals. Referrals build traffic. Traffic generates income. Income increases your ability to contribute, which in turn helps you provide even more value. The keys to unlocking this positive spiral are contribution, contribution, contribution.”
“There’s still a potential dark side to this lifestyle, however. I’ve seen many bloggers fall into the trap of turning their blogs into their lives. They sit at their computers all day, answering email, reading RSS feeds, and cranking out posts. That’s not a lifestyle I’d choose to emulate. I had my RSS subscriptions down to just 5 feeds total, and I recently eliminated those as well, so I don’t subscribe to any other feeds at all, nor do I read or watch the news or visit any daily web sites. I prefer to use real life, not cyberspace, as my primary source of inspiration. I also try to limit my email to about 15 minutes a day, 30 minutes max. On weekends I like to get away from the computer and go out with my family. When I want more input, I read books or talk to people face to face. Blogging can too easily devolve into a pattern of Internet addiction, and I want to steer clear of that.”
More than anything though, I think Steve’s articles have gotten me back on a path that I was distracted from. I had previously believed that certain things weren’t possible, without fully exploring them, but now I see that they are possible. It just takes a little bit of perseverance and focus.
Oh and one last thing. Every time I stumble across a site or book that helps me advance my pursuits and passions, I always ask myself the typical question of “Why didn’t I find or see this sooner?” As soon as I ask the question, I know the answer. It was because I wasn’t ready to see it yet. Something in my thoughts or approach was blinding me from it. Therefore, while discovering Steve’s site will help me to learn many things, it’s also important for me to discover what thoughts or approaches were blinding me from it as well. Off the top of my head, I think focus and perseverance, as I just mentioned above, are two factors that I need to focus on.
It’s funny. I remember taking martial arts long ago and after achieving my next belt my master informed me that I still needed to work on my focus. I never fully understood that but I think it’s slowly dawning on me now.