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.
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.
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.
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.