The end of be an original … or not?

It’s been almost a year since my last post on be an original. You could say I took a sabbatical year away from the blog, albeit an unplanned one. It has been a beneficial time in many respects though.

As you know I blogged about personal development and personal productivity. And I liked it – in the early years anyway. I was growing and learning, and I shared my progress and my insights. It was fun.

I learned to blog

But in time I learned some more about blogging … and then I learned some things about how to write posts that attract readers … I learned about what it takes to build a voice … and to build a (personal) brand. I liked some of it, and disagreed on other things. But in general I grew and adjusted to what I had learned.

In the meantime I also got quite proficient with the technical aspects of blogging. I have a tech background, and I really enjoyed learning how this stuff works. Sometimes out of necessity, most of the times out of interest.

Personal development

I also read other personal development blogs … I read personal development books … I even watched some movies about it. And the more I learned about it … the more I started hating it!

I saw a lot of parallels between different authors, the same stuff over and over again … I saw a lot of regurgitation … writers claiming new insights as their own … while they were essentially repackaged insights, most of the time without attributing it to a source. Where is the originality in that?

But it wasn’t only the repackaged content, I also grew to hate the “let’s only tell the good stuff” writers, showing perspectives of fame and fortune, but omitting the effort and perseverance one needs to even get in the vicinity of that fame and fortune. They’re deceiving their audience and that bothers me (a lot actually!). The fact that the audience is also buying it (literally and figuratively) bothers me too. I didn’t want to be a part in that.

I also hated the “Listen to me – I’ll tell you how to live your life” writers, a pretty common trait among personal development writers. I’m guilty of this attitude in a couple (and then some) posts on be an original. I don’t regret it, it’s been a part of my path and it has helped me to get to new insights about myself (and the industry). But it’s not the attitude I’m going to have towards writing anymore, especially in something as personal as your development. Who am I to tell you how to live?

Life is not a set of easy step-by-step tricks. Life is complex, it’s emotional, and we all have a different starting point, different paths to follow and different lessons to learn. There is no such thing as “the best way” to live your life.

My path

By following a path that was not my own, it dawned upon me more and more that it did not feel authentic … even though that’s something I can only say in hindsight. I just felt a growing dislike of the blog and a serious lack of inspiration. There was no productivity solution to get me motivated again. There was no inspiration I could find to get me back on track. It bothered me at first, but after a while I accepted it as part of my path.

And now – almost a year later – that I can say that it was life (or my heart) telling me that it did not want to get back on that track … because it wasn’t my own. The further I moved away from my path, the more I lost my voice and motivation. Whether I moved away from my path, because I changed my voice, or vice versa … I don’t know. It’s not important.

It’s all about taking action

My last post before the sabbatical was a self-made photograph of a hot air balloon seemingly flying to the moon. I added a quote in it, that appealed to me, but that I did not understand very well. It’s been on my mind a lot in the past year.

touch the stars

It took a while for me to really understand that the emphasis in this quote has to be on TRYING (even though I did put an emphasis on it in the image). It doesn’t say:

“Every fool knows you can’t touch the stars, but that doesn’t stop the wise from knowing you should try anyway.”

It’s not about the knowledge, it’s about the action. And I have been taking action, while following my heart. And in hindsight I can relate them all back to my personal core values. I’ve focused on working as a teacher (Growth), I spent time with my family (Love), I’ve started working more as an entrepreneur (Freedom) in areas I really enjoy (Fun). Keeping in touch with my Authenticity is my challenge though, but it shouldn’t stop me from taking action. Through action comes insight.

So is this the end of be an original?

The answer is Yes, if you’re here to get quick recipes for how to live your life, or parts of it. I’m not going to do that (anymore). The answer is No, if you’re here to have a piece of my mind.

This blog has been most valuable for me when I was actively working on improving my life. At the times I was working on my goals. And when I was writing about how my values influence my life and my decisions. I’m going back to using be an original for that purpose. Goal setting, progress reports, core values and my opinions about stuff I encounter along the way on the path. My path.

Posted in 15 bean soup on Sun 2011.05.15

{ 10 comments }

Brett Legree May 15, 2011 at 23:32

I know exactly how you felt, how you feel, because in many ways, I felt and feel the same. I closed 6 Weeks down because it had served a purpose for me for a time, and then, it was time to move on. I could have put it on ice, but I knew that it wouldn’t be what I wanted it to be when I was ready to return anyway.

The most important thing I read, which put me on the path I am on now, led to me closing down 6 Weeks, and opened up so many doors for me, was this:

“Remember who you are.”

Wise words from Hugh at http://gapingvoid.com/2010/03/28/remember-who-you-are-seth-godin/ (with a little help from Seth)

I took the time to do just that. Remembering who I was, who I am, who I will become, has been key to my success so far. Embracing that has opened up many doors, and I can see there will be many more.

Will I blog again? Yes.

Yes, and it will be 100 percent Brett Legree, from the heart.

Who I am, and nothing more.

May I wish you all the best – I’ll be looking forward to reading your words.

Lodewijk May 16, 2011 at 00:55

Brett my man!

So awesome to see you comment here first. It doesn’t really surprise me to see you’ve gone through a similar process … I’ve seen 6weeks grow silent … and yet I also noticed that you were moving to other areas that gave you fulfillment.

Hugh/Seth’s posts is powerful. “Remember who you are” / “Decide who you are” … it is about that. But it’s also a hard thing to do, and something I have to do over and over again. It’s like Hugh says in the comments “you define yourself by the battles you are willing to fight” … I trust my heart to tell me what battles to fight.

Unlike you I decided not to close down “be an original”, since I’m still behind it. I just had to decide that it’s a personal blog, and that there’s nothing wrong with having a personal blog :)

And as you may remember … I carry your inspiration around … ever since I named my small company Six Weeks ;)

Brett Legree May 16, 2011 at 02:18

So awesome to be here with you, Lode – I think for me 6 Weeks was a step on my journey. Like giving myself 6 (extended!) weeks to get on my way to becoming who I wanted to be before Tyler Durden came looking for me :)

And then, having reached the point of “remembering who I am, knowing who I am, deciding who I am and who I want to be”, I was ready to go to the next steps. Those steps are going on right now, behind the scenes, and will finally be unveiled to the world when they are ready. I suppose some of them already have been to some people (e.g. my nuclear consulting business) and there are some others that will see the light of day soon – I am so excited about all of it!

I agree with you too.

Remembering and deciding who we are is something we have to do over and over again – life is dynamic, as are we, as we must be – and if we listen to our hearts, trust our intuition and inner voices, we will do the right thing.

Believe me, there is definitely nothing wrong with having a personal blog – in fact, I had planned to launch another one shortly after I closed 6 Weeks, however, I was not ready.

Today, as a result of our interactions here, as well as some conversations I have had on Facebook and by email with others, I think that time has come.

I am ready.

So much as I inspired you to call your company Six Weeks (which has always made me feel good, to have inspired just one person), your inspiration here today has helped me see more than ever, “the time is now to shine”.

beth May 17, 2011 at 04:51

Hi Lodewijk,
I must say, I have always found you to be so thoughtful and so helpful in A-list bloggers, and want to make sure you know that! I commend you for following your intuition and recreating your blog into something that resonates with where you are now. As you know, writing can also inspire the growth and change. My two blogs are connected to each other. I am an artist who teaches, so I write about creativity and inspiration (or not!) in the creativity blog and share my art in the other. Reflecting on the process of creativity helps me as well as others and my paintings and drawings communicate visually. I like to see the work together and enjoy selling it as well!
Peace to you, I wish you the best, and will continue to check in at beanoriginal!

Lodewijk May 20, 2011 at 01:10

Thanks Beth!

I will definitely continue to write here, and also about self-improvement. It’ll be from a different perspective though.

Your comment about how your blogs are connected makes me wonder how I can do something similar with my blogs. Something I’m going to think about some more over the coming days …

Rolf F. Katzenberger May 17, 2011 at 22:11

Lodewijk:

:-)

Rolf

Lodewijk May 20, 2011 at 01:10

:-)

Julie May 22, 2011 at 22:28

Good for you. :)

Lodewijk May 20, 2011 at 01:27

The risk of going back to “remembering who I am, knowing who I am or want to be” is that it can easily have you running in circles. Knowing who you are is important, but it shouldn’t keep you from experimenting …at least that’s how I feel about it.

My mind can have me running in circles, but whenever I actually start to DO something, I learn more than I could’ve come up with by just thinking. So doing stuff is where the value is for me ;-)

I also think that life is also giving hints as to what the next lesson or the next step can be. By listening to that – and by doing an inner “how do I feel about this” check – you can speed up the process. So as to your recent discovery … I’d listen to that and see how I could take authentic action on it. Curious to see what you’re going to do with it.

And you know … Tyler’s watching ;-)

Brett Legree May 20, 2011 at 02:43

You bring up a good point, Lode. I guess I consider things like this to be tools – and much like tools, it is up to the user to decide how to use it, and you might swing your “hammer” differently from the way I swing it. Sometimes the user may even use the tool the wrong way…

So in my particular case, I believe I had been experimenting *too much* and perhaps taking too much action on different fronts, which meant that I might never have been able to make anything work – I was too far away from my true self, and that doesn’t work either, I don’t think.

Not that I disagree with you – DOING is where the true value lies, for sure – and of course, whether through thought or experimentation, eventually doing the RIGHT thing.

That is where I know I am right now… :)

-Brett

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