Sometimes I ask people where the joy is in their words and wonder they are writing if they cannot find their own smile.
That is because they produce sterile copy that reads like it was made for the insomniac theater on 33rd and Western.
“But Josh, it is hard to make writing about insects sexy and interesting. I can’t write about concrete in a way that is more interesting because it is just dull stuff.”
I shake my head again and ask them to explain why they settle for the simple and wonder why they don’t push harder.
“But Josh, I do, I just don’t do it where you spend most of your time. Blogging is secondary, Facebook is primary.”
I shake my head again and wonder if it is them or me. I look at the blog as being the hub of your online presence but they don’t.
Maybe I don’t have the like stuff.
Do You Have The Like Stuff?
Friends, family and colleagues have spoken with me about Facebook and told me that I could build a bigger base and generate more opportunity if I worked harder on obtaining that like stuff.
I think about it and ask myself what could it hurt to spend time trying to get more people to engage on the Facebook page.
Maybe there would be more benefits by doing so. Maybe by building there I would find a way to take those likes and turn them into comments.
Comments could lead to community. Community could lead to who knows were.
It feels a lot like another online gold rush which might help explain why so many of us run to where the others are.
Can’t tell you how many people I know post on their blogs and to Medium, and yeah, that includes me too.
Shouldn’t be surprising coming from the guy who wrote about The Law Of Self Promotion In Life & Blogging.
My children often impact and influence how I approach my personal and professional lives.
Many times if I am uncertain about how I feel about a position or action I think about what I would say to my children and that helps inform how I determine to proceed.
That is not to say I can’t make decisions without that moment of thought because it is not. What it means is that we spend so much time racing through the day to try and accomplish this and that we don’t always stop to think about why we do what we do.
Mindful action isn’t a bad thing.
Circle back to the beginning and think about the writers who write without joy and whose hollow words hold no weight upon the page.
Ask yourself why you would ever want to push that sort of stuff out upon the world and tell me why people would read it.
Don’t tell me about style or talk to me about how taste influences what we like or don’t like because this isn’t about that.
Substance is what I seek and what I see lacking in so much.
Too much time racing like a hamster on a treadmill doesn’t present many opportunities for quality. It just moves us to produce fast food quality content.
The kids hear me talk about these things, they listen to me mutter about how sometimes I get frustrated at the pickup basketball games because of how we lost or even how we won.
Sloppy plays and selfish players and a dose of tunnel vision prevent us from painting the sort of picture people want to watch, er play.
Lack of effort and lack of attention kill creativity and diminish us, making us less than we were and could be.
Sometimes they ask me to explain, sometimes they tell me I live in my own world and I smile.
It is true, I do spend chunks of time living upon the mountaintop, ranch, beach or palace in whatever dream I might be passing through.
It all comes back to my not needing to have that like stuff because it reminds me of a bad meal.
I am not talking about food poisoning or anything like that. I am talking a Potemkin’s village of a meal.
You know the kind where it looks amazing and then you discover that the looks cannot hide the bland and tasteless filler food on your plate.
It Is About Effort
The guys and I have been playing together for years and they have learned that I will chase after balls with reckless abandon.
If I am going after the ball I’ll go through other players, try to jump over chairs and or hit the wall.
When I don’t get to it you’ll often hear me mutter or curse to myself but there is usually a smile associated with it because in my mind I didn’t get it because I ran out of court, not out of effort.
That is what it is about to me…effort.
You don’t have to be perfect and you don’t need to be trapped by overthinking things. No paralysis of analysis here.
But let’s clarify what effort means, it means working hard and playing smart.
I can win and I can lose with grace when those are in play. I can sleep knowing I did what I could with what I had.
Ask those who know me best and have known me longest if I have mellowed with age and I think they’ll tell you the fire burns as bright or even brighter than it ever did.
The difference between then and now is the focus.
A Final Word
When you ask me why I keep pushing and why I keep chasing after dreams I’ll refer you to the bit about basketball.
And then I’ll take you back here and say that the secret to success is three parts luck, four parts work and 33 1/3% other stuff.
That like stuff is nice, but it is overrated.