Winners and Whiners
There's an interesting post and comments discussion over at gapingvoid about why a few weblogs seem to flourish whilst the majority seem to go nowhere and a good wake up call for those who like to blame others for their lack of traffic. Hugh then cuts through the bullsh*t and summarised succinctly in a follow up post with this -
1. "Nobody's going to read your blog unless there's something in it for them." -Seth Godin.
2. "Nobody's going to link to your blog unless there's something in it for them." -Hugh MacLeod
I agree. Cold comfort for the whiners who like to think they are somehow hard done by, but in my opinion accepting full responsibility is a great place to be if you want things to change - from here you can do something about it.
If you look under the surface of any 'success story' you're going to find original content - something perceived as new and valuable has been brought to the table. So called 'a-list bloggers' have I beleive, a knack of producing good, relevant stuff. Not always, but often enough to make a real difference.
But how to do that? - instead of making excuses for ourselves isn't this the question we should be asking? This is what interests me - and not just in the world of weblogs but in life generally.
The answer, I believe, has little to do what we do but everything to do with why we do it.
My guess is that the only differences between the ones we call geniuses and the rest of us is that they have got to a point in their lives where they recognise that satisfaction comes from the work itself, from the joy of adding value, from giving just for the hell of it, and that has made all the difference. Creativity flows naturally when our focus changes from 'what's in it for me' and 'how am I doing', to 'how can I be really helpful'
You see, to be truly creative, to produce work that's original and valuable, you have to go beyond what is already know and embrace the unknown, otherwise you're just adding to the slush pile of what's already out there, like rearranging the deck chairs on the Titanic instead of making yourself useful. But here's the thing:- When we honestly ask ourself, 'How can I best help?' we are setting aside the ego, it's neediness & what we already know, and opening up to what our heart is leading us to know - to what is new, fresh, valuable and relevant.
It is very difficult to 'try' to be creative, to 'think up' good stuff and to battle with procrastination, but thankfully we don't have to. When we choose to focus on 'how can I best help' instead of our own self interests, we sidestep our ego and our habitual thinking patterns completely and create a space where our true, creative, resourceful nature can shine upon whatever we do and whoever we're with.
The ego is characterised by its comfort zones, what is known and familiar, taking rather than giving (based on an illusion of scarcity instead of a recognition of abundance) and efforting rather than allowing. In short, it is closed, limited and fearful - a concept of limitation. Once we recognise that this is not our true nature and we always have ready access to a far more powerful and joyful way of being, then our whole self concept begins to change to reflect this new awareness - and here's the fun bit, our whole 'world' also seems to magically change to support and reflect this.
So makes the difference and I believe the only difference, is where we're coming from - our head or our heart.
Sounds simple doesn't it, but in practice this ego chappy is a bit of a slippery character. Once we open the door to our genius it has a sneaky way of getting in on the act by disguising itself with 'good intents'. When we have a genuine intent to help, we're not bothered if someone nicks our ideas, plagiarises our work, doesn't give us due credit, criticises us personally or professionally, and traffic or any other 'measure of success' just doesn't matter. The great paradox is that when it doesn't matter we do our greatest work and when we no longer care about success it comes flooding in abundance.
So now the big question is, how do we get to the point in our life where we choose to come from our heart and not our head, trust our intuition over our reasoning, and allow our divine spark to shine instead 'working' for a living? I'll write about this soon. The good news is that, IMHO, it's nowhere near as difficult it might seem.