Have You Noticed? I Was Out AND There Is Life After Blog-Death.
If you’re an old fellow to UYM you might have noticed that I have been away for a while (well it has been over a year). Most people will tell you that such a blog is virtually death. But I found out that there is life after death and even during death – read on. Find out why I rather preferred a painful blog-death than becoming a regurgitating cow.
The Reasons of Absence
Although me bailing out was a process that happened over several weeks, there were several key factors that made me take that step.
I was unhappy with the direction UYM took
First I made this step because I was unhappy with the direction the blog took. Not that it wasn’t successful. For the short time it ran, it was pretty successful. But I noticed that it was heading into a direction and trend that I have noticed most other Personal Development blogs took and that I didn’t like.
I would compare them to glossy self help magazines, touting the latest, fastest, hottest trend every new week. You know those magazines, who regurgitate the same handful of ideas over and over again. Like you buying Mens Health or similar magazines praising the newest, latest, sexiest, easiest, fastest way to … loose weight, get more abs, have more sex, [fill in what else you crave to have, without effort on your side, here].
I’m not pointing fingers here. I have bought more than one copy of Men’s Health going for the fast, easy, sexy promise they make. But trust me I didn’t get ripped abs from buying them and I highly doubt I would have got them from subscribing to it either.
The Sad Truth – No Article and No “X Magic Steps” Description Will Change Your Life
And neither have I become more balanced, productive, healthier or happier by reading any blog article. Although I was (and I guess most people are) tempted by the illusion that I need to just follow those mighty (but easy as pie) promised magic steps from that shiny blog article to change my whole life around. Sorry, that’s not how life works. (Real) Life happens the moment we move our asses away from those articles and DO something in the real world.
Life happens after reading!
Do We Really Want to Create Success? No! Here Is What We Really Want …
We (and I count myself into that “we”) want to fall into that illusion that we’re about to change our life by reading those blogs, magazines, listening to those life-transforming tapes, etc. Because all of those aspirations should classify us as a maker, a leader, an achiever.
Bullshit, we don’t want to work for success, we don’t want to get on the though road – we want to win the lottery, sit at the beach and have a beautiful masseuse (or the male equivalent) stroke our backs in the nice sun. That’s what we really want! Come on – admit it. But, that’s not what you want to admit (I know you, because I know me). So by reading those pesky articles, we at least play the game of “Oh, we surely want to be successful, look at us reading those articles about becoming successful”.
Okay, now I might exaggerate a bit, but if you spare a minute of real self-reflection you will realize, that the exaggeration is not so far from the truth.
Reading articles about personal development and productivity is at least 99% of the time only an escape from the things we should really do
I bet that Men’s Health and similar magazines get 90% of their readership from people who will never achieve the promised result, because they prefer to read about it way more than going for it. If only those who take action would buy magazines the whole industry would crash in a matter of months.
When It Comes to the Power of Changing Ones Life I Think Blog Articles Have Little Impact Most of the Time
That is a frustrating (but I believe very true) realization for any aspiring personal development or productivity blogger. If you want to get into that field, just accept that most of your readers want to (subconsciously) use you as an excuse not to change. You will only get a fraction of those people to act upon your information.
Again I am not pointing fingers here, because I am just the same. If you are just a little bit like me – just imagine the amount of books you’ve read in the last year alone on personal development or productivity or becoming more successful in any area of your life. Add to that all blog articles, CDs and seminars and I am sure you will come to a pretty big amount of information. Now select those books, articles and CDs, that really (and I mean REALLY REALLY) made a huge impact in your life because you acted on its advice. If you are honest to yourself I doubt it’ll be more than a handful. At least that’s my reality.
A Frustration That Could Be A Revelation
Now this might be a frustrating realization. But it could also be a revelation, because (at least for some of us), there has been change coming from books, articles and CDs (if only the tinniest selection of them). How come? I tell you it weren’t from those that regurgitate the same ol’ same ol’. If at all it was from those people who had something unique to say. Who enlightened us in the true sense of the meaning with their information. Their information became a beacon that showed us a new part of our path and therewith allowed us to move forward. Their uniqueness was their light.
How Can UYM Become Unique and Avoid the Trap of Regurgitation?
I for myself made the commitment to stop following the established rules of blogging success, if I don’t feel them being in alignment with my intention.
Here are some rules I am about to leave behind:
1. List Articles or Step-Articles Are a Sure Way to Attract Subscribers
Sure, but who cares? I really dislike most list or recipe-style articles anyway, because I think they are fad. I even more dislike big collections (“100 best ways to …”). It is true that these methods attract lots of readers. I used those methods myself successfully. UYM was one of the fastest growing blogs from the first A-List-Blogging-Bootcamp (BTW most of the rules I learned there – and even if you agree with me, then I still value Leo’s and Mary’s Bootcamp pretty high. It is a fantastic learning experience and a great community of people. If you want to learn the ropes and rules – go there. You know, you gotta learn the rules first, to break ‘em).
I used these methods myself, yet I never felt good with those and nowadays I nearly always skip blog articles who start that way (especially the long lists don’t get me). Why? Because nearly always are they used to bring up the same stuff that you haven’t used when you read them last month. Lists are a quick way to fill an article and attract people, yet most of the time they don’t bring up something new or stimulate change in people through a provocative idea stream.
Oh by the way, I am not against lists per se (did you noticed that this is a list here), since nearly all things we do successfully could and should be broken down into a series of smaller steps to achieve an outcome. But I guess you know by now which lists I am speaking of.
2. You gotta have a regular posting rhythm to increase your subscriber base or your blog dies
Again that might be partly true, but putting myself under stress to come up with a weekly article created that dilemma of me feeling like a regurgitating cow in the first place. Let’s face it, the weekly (or monthly magazines) are 99% of the time just repetitions of the last episode. It’s just about changing clothes. If you are up to that and you like to repeat yourself often, then go for it. But that’s not my thing.
So don’t expect any regularity here in the next time. I will post, whenever I like to. That might be several articles a week followed by months of absence (or better said incubation, because only in silence can something new be created).
3. You gotta write often or your blog will die
And when it comes to the myth of a dying blog I can now disagree. It is interesting to notice that although I haven’t touched here for over a year there are still a lot of people who google for content on UYM. Yet I noticed recently that I still am the No. 1 article on Google for the search term “fear of scarcity” – one of my more prominent articles.
I had lots of readers contacting me and asking me about advice or stating how much they felt UYM helped them, and how much it stands out from the crowd.And receiving several hundred visits a day is pretty interesting for a blog that was out of the newer-faster- stronger-sexier-article-this-week-game for over a year.
During that time UYM was voted one of the best personal development blogs by guidetoonlineschools.com (with other prominent members like Leo Babauta’s ZenHabits or Merlin Mann’s 43Folders – check out his Scared Shitless speech). You bet, I feel pretty honored by that.
4. You gotta write short blog posts or people will move on
Again, who cares. I already pointed out, that most readers won’t apply my advice anyway, so why even care for those who skip because my article has more than 1,000 words in it. If you think you get more wisdom in a 300 words and 5 supermagicalstepssuccessblogpost then more power to you and you are free to move on, on your ever lasting quest to the ultimate and magical blog article that will resolve all your problems. Unless that article comes as the iArticle from the iBlog of his Steveness (the one who brought us the last magical device no article will ever achieve that mythical endeavor.
5. You gotta go for lots of retweets, stumblings, comments, etc.
Again I received lots of those myself, yet I often ask myself (especially with comments) how many of those were really interested in the content. One of the mechanisms of the blogging scene is that people do comment out of several reasons, one being to be seen and attracting readers to ones own blog. While this is a valid approach, it often feels a bit awkward. But again I started with it myself, because that is what is being taught as an effective growth strategy, especially for beginners. I refused to comment on 99% of blogs myself in the last months.
Where Is My Wall? Or Did I Picked The Wrong Ladder?
Am I running away from success. Maybe, but what I really notice is that I am bored pretty fast. And that is a good sign. Yeah, I know what people are thinking: - you need to push through - you need to commit - you need to …
I don’t need to do anything. If there is one thing that I am shitless scared of (to use Merlin’s language) than it is to climb up a ladder of success, investing lots of energy and life span on it and then realizing that the ladder is leaning against the wrong wall.
Did that ever happen to you. Have you ever woken up and realized that all the time you were walking on the wrong path and climbing a ladder that’s leaning against the wrong wall. That could happen in business, relationships and in life as a general .
So, you might say, then find out what your path is, where your ladder is. And right you are, but there are people who might not have that pre-determined, easy to spot path. For some (actually I guess for a lot of people I know) the path is more winded, changing directions throughout life several times, yet the cultural indoctrination doesn’t allow for that (“Boy, you gotta find out what you want and then stick with it”). That’s why most people stick to long with a decision that once felt right, but now only gives pain. And although, there can be tough times that you might have to get through, there is also a point after that sticking will bring no progress, only increasing pain. The difficulty is in just realizing when that point has been reached.
What does this mean for UYM
Still, I am not sure, how I will continue with UYM, but I won’t go for the routine again. So, expect no regular things here (they might happen or not, so subscribing is still a good thing, so you don’t have to come by just to check and be disappointed).
I will just post things when I (and this is a big I) feel ready. Very egotistical I know. Sorry, but I – the author – decide when I feel ready and not you as the reader.
Still Wanting 5 Magical Steps To Become Fast And Sexy?
Oh and btw where you scanning for 5 fast and sexy reasons? Well, I am always about over-delivering.