Having experienced the highs and the lows of backpacking around Europe and Asia and living in 3 different countries these last 2 years, I am not easily shocked.
But it never ceases to amaze me the number of blogs trying to get people to pay for blogging advice.
With a premise that, if successful, their blog could pay for something like unlimited world travel.
The personalities are always different, but the line is always a variation of:
To which I think, “Shit. If only I’d have thought of that, I could be traveling the world right now. Oh wait…”
And then I feel sad.
You know why I feel sad?
Because this idea is soooo prevalent that it’s actively preventing perfectly capable folks from actually getting out there and doing whatever it is their dream is.
So instead of doing something important, like writing our book, traveling the world, or installing solar panels in Uganda, we search for ways to make some extra cash (with which to fund our book writing, travel, or solar related adventures).
In the past, we could always rely on a good pyramid scheme or Nigerian prince to come to our rescue. Today these are far more rare.
Today, blogging has a sexiness factor that most Nigerian princes can only dream of. In fact, rumor has it that several Nigerian princes have changed their business card to say “pro blogger” in stead of their stately titles.
The Truth About Blogging For Dollars
Over 150 million people are trying that and practically everyone is failing miserably at it. It’s got about the same success rate as working for a
pyramid scheme multi-level-marketing company. Shameful, right?
I’m not saying you can’t do it, but…
No, scratch that. I’m saying you can’t.
Don’t take that as an insult. It has almost nothing to do with ability or determination, but rather mathematical fact.
There is a finite amount of attention and money to be spread around the blogosphere (or MLMsphere, or any other money making spheres) and it’s far from being evenly distributed.
Kind of like hanging our hopes and dreams on becoming a football superstar is – for well over 99% of the population – delusional. So is a dream of blogging stardom.
Now, a lot of my collegues in the blogging world will take issue with my
negative attitude cool rationality.
But I think if we each had truly unlimited potential, then we’re the biggest group of underachievers conceivable. Unstoppable power — and about 1 billion of us without clean water to drink? You need to travel more if you believe this nonsense.
No, I rather think we’re a wonderfully limited little species that’s doing a pretty fine job, all things considered.
I’m not here to be a downer, I’m here to show you how things really work and empower you to do something that will work for you instead of for the people most interested in the contents of your wallet.
I make my money in the real world. I blog to change it.
And just to be clear that my motivations aren’t more “pure” than people who blog for money, I decidedly want the prestigue and sense of importance that’ll come with making an impact for a large group of people. It just so happens that this drives me harder than the ability to buy fancy toys does.
To each their own.
But this gives me an advantage – I don’t have to care if this site makes a dime, so I can dish the straight truth – in so far as I can see it.
Our Limitations, And Where Our Power Truly Lies
A strange taboo has developed in the advice world – in that we’re no longer allowed to accept some fundamental realities about individual limitations.
This has, unfortunately, cost the good-intentioned public millions of hours and billions of dollars chasing after the golden unicorn of easy internet billions.
Might as well buy a lottery ticket. (Please, don’t do that.)
Books like the 4 Hour Work Week and Rich Dad, Poor Dad continue to sell the dream. It’s become an ingrained part of the culture at this point that a conventional job just ain’t good enough.
While I don’t completely disagree with this (I love 4HWW, even though I doubt Tim has worked a 4 hour week in his life.) – I’ve never had a real career and now have been traveling for the last year and a half – this modern zeitgeist is predicated on the logical flaw that we need to make a lot of money from a personal business in order to achieve this dream of fulfillment, freedom, or whatever particular fantasy we favor.
There are a ton of people taking advantage of this. I remember seeing an interview about a guy who moved to Thailand and then made a living teaching people how to quit their jobs and start a successful business, maybe even move to Thailand…
Am I the only one that finds this logic fucked right the hell up?
If not, please, buy my $1000 info product. Before the price goes up. Pretty please?
Here’s the problem:
All of us are subject to a mental bias called: “Illusory superiority“ or the Lake Wobegone effect, so called after a fictional town created by broadcaster Garrison Keillor where, “all the women are strong, all the men are good looking, and all the children are above average.”
This bias shows that people, in general, overestimate their abilities relative to others, whether it’s driving ability, IQ, leadership skills, or chances of surviving a deadly illness – people, as a general rule, think they’re the exception and not the norm.
This of course, is impossible.
So when a guru peddels their miracle money making advice – even the well meaning ones – we’re inclined to think that even if it’s an unlikely opportunity, we of all people could make it work.
But the problem isn’t just one of talent, it’s of math.
There’s a limit pool of attention/time/money that’s distributed between every blog and business. And most of it’s already accounted for by established players.
So what to do?
I’ll tell you what most people do. Most people try to be the statistical exception – the equivalent of winning an Olympic gold medal, and waste an inordinate amount of time and money doing so. A small few succeed, which only helps perpetuate the system by providing “inspiration” to the masses that didn’t have the right combo of timing, skill, and luck.
Oh yeah, in one of his books (forget which one, I’ve read a ton), Richard Branson gives luck as one of his 3 key elements to success. You know, the guy pioneering space tourism. So this isn’t just me ranting, I’ve got the coolest mega-billionaire in my corner.
Other people give up. This is only slightly less depressing than wasting decades in futility.
Finally, a tiny group of people give the finger to all the hocus pocus going on and start living their dreams and creating their most beautiful work for the world now.
This is the group I aspire to be in. And every day I’m getting closer.
You don’t need my permission, but I’m going to give it anyway since the vast majority of the messages we receive are of a contradictory variety:
You don’t have to make a single dime from your passion, your talent, or your dream.
You do, however, have to start living it.
You have to stop spending your free time and energy on entertainment, and start investing it in what you do best and/or love most.
- Do it to change the world, do it to leave a legacy, do it just because it fills you with a sense of euphoria.
- Do it. Because nobody lays on their deathbed and thinks about all the wonderful stuff they bought.
- Do it. Because Call Me Maybe is far from the pinnacle of human musical achievement. Because our airways deserve better.
- Do it to help emancipate others from the fear and doubt they have about stepping outside the lines and doing something extraordinary.
That’s a rebellion worth starting and one worth fighting for.
And that’s why you need to be blogging.
Because we desperately need more people who are showing off their crazy, chaotic, creative lives and lifestyles and not just feeding into the “make money online and solve all your problems” propoganda machine.
Change isn’t easy. It isn’t quick. It’s a slow, ardous struggle that requires massive time, energy, and committment.
And the first things that change are our ideas and attitudes.
For that to happpen, we need volume! As the Asch Conformity Experiments and others have shown, we will change our minds and our behavior for better or worse with a sufficient volume of external pressure.
In this case we’re talking positive peer pressure at it’s finest.
Consider for example that in between monolithic construction projects, the United Arab Emirates first gave women the vote in 2006. As crazy as that sounds, just imagine how things would be different had they not had the rest of the globe (minus Saudi Arabia) to look over at as an example.
Every voice on the side of human emancipation and progress counts.
Freedom of expression and creation are a part of that.
Add yours to it.
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