In the short duration I have been writing to this blog I have received a lot of feedback. I greatly appreciate this feedback whether it comes as a comment to an entry I’ve made or a personal message sent to me via my contact page. Getting these messages from all of you has been enormously helpful in making this website better and better. But I came to one interesting thought the other day. If feedback has been so helpful to myself, perhaps I should offer some feedback of my own?
In writing to a site that is designed to help you get the most out of life, I realized that I never really put any hints or tips to help get the most out of this website. Whether you recently stumbled upon this website and like what you’ve read, or you have been browsing the archives for months, I would like to give you some insights into my own process for writing posts and some tips so you can get the most out of this site.
Before I go much further into getting the most out of this website, I think it is important to clarify how I come up with topics to write about and find solutions to problems. I don’t think my process is the same as many other authors in the field of personal development and I think these distinctions make a big difference in how you should use the information even if they look like similar content.
When writing posts I look mainly to one source, my own life. Virtually every single post I have written here has not come from books or analyzing others problems, they have come from my own. So when I write about discouragement, fear or procrastination I am writing about the problems I have faced in these areas and what I do to overcome them. This inside-out perspective is also why I never tackle issues I haven’t personally combated. Divorce, raising kids or winning the stock market are not areas of experience so I don’t touch them no matter how strong my opinions on how to solve these problems are.
Once I have found a problem that I am either facing or have previously solved, I look for as many possible ways to combat the problem. Finding solutions is part creativity, part research and part experimentation. Usually the solutions I come up with are a blend of past information I was given and what has worked for me. Whenever I am trying to solve a problem I try to focus completely on actionable information. I hate reading vague garbage that says the key to solving a problem is “having a better attitude” or “being more creative”. Although I am not perfect I try to find techniques that are precise and applicable to most people.
The final stage in solving a problem is I tend to generalize. So instead of dealing with a very specific case of procrastination, I try to generalize the problem to reach as many people as possible. Although I occasionally handle specifics, I try to abstract specific problems to common, more general ones. In doing this you can often lose critical details that vary in every situation, but hopefully it means the essence of the solution can be applied more broadly.
My posts vary from being techniques I have mastered to relatively new ideas. Although I never post advice that I haven’t tried out, my articles will range from solutions that I have been using for months and years to new techniques that I have recently discovered. Because of the ease of creating a blog post, there isn’t a huge time delay between when I discover something until when I decide to write about it.
The one obvious downside of writing from an inside-out perspective is simply that my solutions are only tested on myself first. What works for me might not work for you. So some of the advice I give will be completely useless to you even if it has helped me immensely. If something doesn’t feel right to you, ignore me. Personalities and individual differences are often very complex so each situation can differ no matter how much I try to make the information applicable to everyone.
Tips for Using This Website
Given my own process and how I feel you should ingest any ideas I throw at you, I will offer some tips for getting the most out of this website. Of course you are free to use the site however you would like. These are simply tips that I believe would help most people get more out of the site.
Use Articles as Starting Points, Not Guides
I would say that the majority of the posts I write are of the how-to stream or look at an idea from a viewpoint of practical application. Although I make a lot of posts that are intended to spark ideas and new frames of thinking, most of the posts I write are intended to give you new tools and methods to overcome real problems.
In this spirit of how-to advice, I can often appear to look like I am writing a comprehensive guide on how to solve a problem. Unfortunately, most personal development problems are rarely simple enough to fit neatly into an article or two (or even a book or seminar for that matter). Instead you should use each post as a starting point for your own methods, never as a complete guide.
It is my hope that with each post you are able to take away some new ideas that can spark your own creative insights to solve problems. Some of what I write will resonate with you and some won’t. Some of my advice will work great and others may not work for you at all. It is up to you to continue exploring and figure out what will work for you.
Check Out Key Articles
There are various concepts I frequently refer to in this website, and unfortunately if you missed the main articles when I introduced them, you may be completely confused. Some of these concepts are fairly common, but others I my own inventions as a way to describe some idea. If you feel a little lost when I’m writing, it would be good to check the Popular Posts section of the sidebar to see what your missing.
Here are some topics I frequently refer to:
Vertical and Lateral Growth – The difference in these two types of growth is difficult to summarize in each post, so I’d suggest reading the articles I’ve written specifically about this topic. The articles: Introduction, Part II, Part III.
Velocity Based Paradigm – If you aren’t sure what I am referring to when I mention this concept, read my essay Balancing Today and Tomorrow on the subject. Although this doesn’t receive as much attention as some of my posts, this concept is probably in my top three list of the most fundamentally powerful and useful ideas I’ve ever found.
Growth/Personal Development/Personal Growth – As much as I hate to say it, I use these terms way too much and I’m worried they are going to lose meaning. What exactly is growth or personal development? The answer is very simple: whatever helps you get more out of your life. What that is specifically is often hard to pinpoint and it varies for each person, but that is the definition I am using whenever I use those terms.
Use the Archives
My content is generally pretty time independent. If you haven’t read all my articles, I suggest going to the archives and picking out some ones to read when you have time. Although I try to drag back links from old posts and insert them into my new articles, it is often inconvenient to switch which article you are reading. With over a hundred posts there is a lot of content to go through.
This is YOUR website not mine. Without readers this would just be another online diary collecting cobwebs. Although I derive great benefits from writing this blog, it’s primary use is as a way for me to reach and help others. So I want you to take advantage of your blog and have your say in what gets written here.
Give More Feedback – This is still a medium sized website, so I can handle a lot more feedback before I become overloaded. I generally receive 3-5 blog comments each day and an e-mail or two. Unfortunately this isn’t enough opinion to really gauge how most people feel about the site. So if you have been lurking here for awhile I invite you to speak up.
Suggest Topics – Most of the feedback I get tends to be appreciative comments on either something specific I have written or my blog in general. I love getting these comments, but I really appreciate it when readers bring up a topic or problem they are facing. When I am choosing what to write, I think about what issues will be the most relevant to others. By getting specific feedback I can be a lot better at finding what everyone needs.
Give Criticism – Although I don’t appreciate flames or blind criticism from those who haven’t devoted the time to read what I am saying, I do need you to keep me on my toes. If I’ve written something you disagree with, speak up. If I wrote something that didn’t work for you, tell me. There are posts I have written in the past where I don’t have nearly the conviction of ideas did when I provided them. If I can disagree with myself, then I’m sure you can voice some yourself. I’m not calling on you to insult or complain, but to ensure that the quality of this website can continue to improve.
If you aren’t sure how to contact me, you can simply go to the contact page and leave a message in the form or with the e-mail/snail mail address provided. Otherwise just leave a comment on one of my posts. Just remember to leave your proper contact information so I can get back to you!
On a final note, I get a lot of feedback lauding me as an expert on something from productivity to habit changing to something else. I am here to clear this all up right now. I am not an expert, but just an extremely enthusiastic and growth-oriented person. This has certainly given me some experiences and insights, but I am still very much in the process of growing.
If I accidentally leave the impression that I have got life all figured out, then you are sorely mistaken. Each day I wake up to look around at how profoundly ignorant I am and how much growth I have to make. There are many people I greatly admire for being light years ahead of me in various areas of growth, and there isn’t a single area of my life that I am not feverishly trying to get more out of.
I write to this website not as some expert who has figured everything out but as a friend who is still struggling to understand this thing we call life. At the age of eighteen, I have only experienced a blink in the universe and everything I add to here is just a feeble attempt to describe it. Hopefully you will continue to join me in that attempt. Thanks for reading.