There are only 3 people in my everyday life who know about my blog. My girlfriend, and 2 of my best friends. A few weeks ago, I happened to be on the phone with one of those friends, and he asked me why exactly I don’t tell more people about my blog. How come more people don’t know about this big part of me? My parents, my colleagues, my family, my friends… nobody knows about it except 3 people, outside of the people who actually read my content. Why is that?
His question actually caught me off guard. I couldn’t really explain why I didn’t feel like telling the people closest to my heart about a project that was a big part of my life. So my answer to his question was something in the way of: “I don’t really know but hey, this could be a great subject for an article.”
Privacy and efficiency
I guess the first part of the answer is that I’m a pretty private person. I don’t really go around and tell people about my life, or have conversations about my life. In a way, this is a complete paradox. I’ve been uploading my thoughts to the internet 2 to 3 times a week for 52 weeks in a row, and tens of thousands of people have read about them. My parents are a big part of my private life, yet they don’t know about the blog. Which leads me to the second part of the answer: efficiency.
I’ve said many times that I tried a ton of different things before choosing to blog consistently. Before that, I had never made any progress in any direction. And to make sure I was actually the problem, I would never tell a lot of people about my projects no matter what. I didn’t want the attention to make me lose my focus, I didn’t want to use that as an excuse for not being consistent. This was up to me and nobody else.
That being said, I strongly believe in the power of accountability. If you want to start doing something, tell a few of your closest friends and report to them on your progress. This process drastically increases your chances of success, and it makes you work harder and better in general.
I don’t know what exactly clicked after around 8 years of trying things and dropping them a few weeks later. I didn’t really change my approach of not telling people, but I just decided this was enough. I had to pick something and get to work. I called one of my friends, told him I was doing this, and off I went. I was going to work my butt off and tell people about my success later.
I haven’t “made it” yet
I’ve been blogging for a year and the people in my closest circles who know about the blog are the exact same ones who knew when I started 13 months ago. I’ll probably tell my parents one day, just not yet.
One of my main goals in life, in terms of career, is to be my own boss, have my own thing, and live off what I do for myself, not for other people. I’m simply not there yet, so I don’t see the point in telling people about the whole project.
I tend to have a very conservative approach to personal success. When I started blogging a year ago and wrote down a few goals for the project, I had no idea I’d crush almost all of them. Literally, I looked at my blog goals for the past year last week, and I couldn’t believe I’ve come this far, this fast. But I still have a long way to go, and I never want to get excited when things go well. I prefer to save my energy (and my focus) for when things get hard.
There’s this concept of The Dip from Seth Godin. It explains that the progress curve of any human endeavour in life usually goes something like this:
I’m not sure where I am on this curve anymore, but I think I’m at the end. I’ve been doing this for a year, I’ve had the first gold rush, then things got harder and stagnated, and then they picked up again. Now I’m at a stage where blogging has become automatic, part of my life, much easier than when I started. I’ve hit that final plateau of The Dip. I need to find what the next step is to grow the project even more, and to climb from my current plateau to the next.
People don’t understand what it takes
I don’t mean to say that in a condescending way at all. I think it’s a reality that most people who live a “normal” 9–5 job type of life don’t understand what it takes to go out and do your own thing.
Either people don’t know or they’re not interested. They don’t get it. They don’t care. They’re living their life and they don’t really question it. They don’t understand what it’s like to work an extra 3 to 5 hours per day on a side project you want to turn into your main project.
It does feel a bit lonely at times, and then I wonder where to find like-minded people who understand and are on the same journey. But especially with coronavirus, it’s become harder to attend meet-ups and go to conferences.
People start showing interest in success stories when they’re done being written, not when they’re in the making. I guess when people start asking me how I did it when they learn I became successful, I’ll explain to them that I’ve been at it for years. They still won’t understand, but at least they’ll know.
There’s also something about writing on self development and productivity that gives your content a negative “life guru” connotation, at least for people who don’t take the time to pause and read it. A lot of people are reluctant to read this type of content because they assume the author is going to dictate how they should live their life, or to make them feel bad about themselves. I don’t blame them, I used think that too.
Don’t get me wrong, a lot of self-help content out there is indeed bad. But the people who understand what it takes to change your life are open to discussion. They want to learn, make their own selection of content, try things out.
If most people wanted to change and better their lives and their selves, the world would be a much better place than it is right now. But at least for now, only a handful of people are willing to even try. So I let those specific people find my content instead of telling all the people who don’t care about it.
I don’t really know why
As I write this, I’m actually staying over at my parents’ place for the weekend. It’s 6:42am, and once I’m done with work I can go and have fun with the family.
I don’t exactly know why I don’t tell them I blog. All the reasons I mention above apply to people external to my life, people who don’t really know me, people I don’t want to spend time talking about the blog with. But maybe my parents and close friends would be happy to know about the blog?
At the end of the day, I think the number one true reason is that I want focus and alone time. I will definitely tell more people when I consider myself “successful” enough. But for now, all I want is to minimise the noise, the talk, and just focus on my craft 100%.
I’m writing the story, and I’ll only tell people about it once I’m sure I’ve written a few chapters already.
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