This post used to be in my “About Me” page but thought it was more suited as a regular post.
This blog is an experiment for me. I have recently discovered the blogging world from not really having any idea about what I want to do after college, mostly career-wise. By reading tons of Gen Y blogs and getting the feeling that I am not the only one confused is a great relief. Thus I want to join in on the party. I am looking at this blog as more of a journal than a “blog” (sort of insurance if no one reads any of this). Like a journal I will comment on whatever compels me to write at the time. Maybe blogging will be the new form of journaling, just far more public.
Since I’m entertained by things from economics to cooking and books to fitness, this blog will touch on what I find perplexing, interesting and exciting. I think of myself as a learner most of all. My curiousity for pretty much everything keeps me pretty busy, I don’t get bored anymore. I hope to learn as much from you as you can expect to learn from me. I also look at this blog as a way to improve my writing. I’m hoping blogging will make it easier for me to convey what I feel to paper and to people. I’m sure this blog will evolve a ton and this post will be meaningless very shortly.
I tend to ask my girlfriend what she thinks before moving forward with a task or action. Overtime I have relied on her more and more for advice on smaller and smaller things. This is wrong for several reasons and is something that happens a lot online. How do I know? I know because of the prevalence of “how-to” blog posts. I as much or as more than other people love to learn, which is the point of a how-to post, but there’s a point where self-reliance gives way to reliance on others to tell us how to think and how to do what.
The advice on several blogs I read religiously have “how to” posts. How to do this, how to do that. It is not hard to find posts that tell you how to do something better. I enjoy them immensely and have learned a lot. But all this “how to” advice seems to be contradicting maybe the most common advice online: take action, do something, now. If you are reading “how to” posts constantly, you are not taking action. The time used reading how to write “amazing content” for instance, is lost when one could have just started writing and developing their own methods that work for them. There’s value in learning “how to” do something, but there is even more to gain from figuring it out yourself and learning from your failures and victories (another common piece of advice out there: try a lot of stuff and don’t be afraid to fail).
The fault isn’t necessarily in the blogger who writes the “how-to” post (unless all their posts are “how-to,” or the information is so vague and obvious). Most bloggers have a wealth of knowledge and are doing a service to their readers for providing free information that would be much harder to obtain a decade or two ago. The fault is in the reader that over-saturates themselves with “how-to” content. It is up to the reader to gauge how much learning is too much. And it’s the reader’s job to take action in their own lives. But it’s the readers job to be critical of the blogger. Ask hard questions, don’t believe the blogger if you know better. Innovation in life stops when everyone agrees and follows the same process. Think for yourself and you might be surprised how much you can do by yourself.
There are many posts about the benefits of blogging. From networking and bettering your career to developing writing skills and examining the world more closely. I think there is one benefit that has been overlooked: increased initative.
To be an amateur blogger takes lots of will power. To be a professional blogger not so much because it’s a job and it supports you. No body is making amateurs write. The blogger has to have the initiative to do it. It is easier to be a spectator and just read, read, read, admiring other author’s ideas and creativity. Believe me I know. It took a whole lot of strength for me to even build my blog (which is rather primitive by most standards). It was a whole other story just to get my first blog post together and with all of life’s distractions blogging remains a happy struggle for me personally. I often fall into the cycle of reading other blogs instead of writing my own. But the ones who stick with blogging and churn out great nuggets of wisdom consistently, are people I greatly respect and see as self-starters that take charge of conversation.
People who blog have more initiative than the average person. It really is that simple. And the best part is if you don’t take a lot of initiative in your own life blogging is a great way to develop that mind-set. I feel that I am an example of someone who stood in the background in many situations before I started blogging, but now take more initiative daily. That’s right, blogging can help you build initiative! For example, in group projects at school I more or less went with the other group member’s ideas. I tended to not fully engage in conversation and brainstorming. Now, in my group working on a LEED ND (leadership in energy and environmental design for neighborhood development) project, I am far more comfortable leading discussion, interacting, bringing up ideas and action items and overall taking more initiative.
But initiative is only a product of the greater confidence that blogging creates. When I write about ideas and the way I feel about life so that everybody in the world can read, I have to be confident in my views. I also have to be willing to take potential criticism from others with a different angle and with different life experience. The confidence blogging instills is a huge asset to anyone who writes. Bloggers are continuously testing their ideas, thus gaining perspective when a commentator teaches them something new, or growing their confidence when they receive positive feedback. There is no way to lose by blogging.
Are you afraid to blog? Don’t quite get it? How has blogging changed you? Tell me about it.
“The Supreme accomplishment is to blur the line between work and play.”
I recently read an article in Esquire magazine called Why Are You Working So Hard? which hits on the conversation of meaningful work, going on in the Gen Y blogging community. Blogs such as Modite, life Without Pants, Mad Grad, The Art Of Nonconformity, Small Hands Big Ideas and Penelope Trunk (See blogroll for links) have many good posts, and are a good place to get in the conversation. As a student nearing graduation day and getting closer to entering real world life, the subject of meaningful work weighs heavily on my mind. I used to think that the most salient part of a job is a high salary. Today I know a job is much more.
After an 8-week internship this summer I realize the importance of loving what you do, or at least liking it quite a bit. Spending 40 hours of your week at work is a long time. Eight plus hours everyday at work is will probable take up most your time. You will not have much time to “have a life” when the work day is through. I found myself coming home from work drained and usually spent the next hour on the couch. This was after sitting in a cubicle in front of a computer most of the day. Imagine being on your feet or doing some sort of labor!
Because of my experience this summer I am determined to not only find a job, but a career I’m proud of and enjoy spending 40 hours of my life devoted to every week. I find it encouraging that my peers feel the same way as I do as well as the Esquire article. I find the prospects of putting my heart and soul into my work only to be unfulfilled and unhappy very discomforting to say the least. For years people have put up with work that does not enrich their lives and making excuses for a crappy job and life. I for one will not and know I am not the only one.
The times where people put in their hours every week, write up their reports, and be good employees only to buy a 42-inch LCD TV are hopefully coming to an end. In the Esquire article Stephen Marche asks, why are you working so hard, is it to come home from work to sit on your ass and watch TV for the rest of the day? I hope not. Call me selfish but I want something more. I want an extraordinary life, not one filled up with stuff. I see the first part of living an extraordinary life is loving the work you do that sustains your life. Without that love every other part of your life suffers. Americans need to reevaluate what is meaningful in our lives in order to become happier, more sane people.
Seth Godin – Tribes Presentation – Personal MBA Insider.
Great presentation about what Godin calls Tribes: basically a group of people that share a common interest. Hits on leadership, social media and ways for companies to build strong brands through tribes.
Also, check out the Person MBA website itself a bit. If you are thinking about doing an MBA you might want to just read some of the books in the reading list instead and save a few thousand dollars.