The law of attraction or just plain luck? Who knows. Probably a bit of both. Opportunity takes have no regrets.
Learning from Negative Comments
It’s funny – I was reading some hater comments recently. Not ‘real’ haters but people who didn’t like what they read and instead of entering into discussion, they go down the route of what they think are insults:
You haven’t been around long enough to prove that you have the chops to keep going and the content doesn’t look like it is any different from what we can find a 1000 other places. Hell, you haven’t even been a father long enough.
When I read this, I laugh.
My first reaction is to be glad that my writing is provoking a response. If what I wrote was a big ‘meh’ like the majority of parenting blogs, people wouldn’t comment like this.
Instead I’d get the glib, patronising rubbish like ‘You’re doing great. I LOOOOOVE the site. Your family days out are soo interesting to read about.’
Wrong, actually. I started my first blog in 2009. It was a political blog and I wrote under a pseudonym. People read it – it was pretty niche. One post on Libya went viral. I shut it down after a few months.
I then tried to make it as a freelance writer – I even worked solidly at it for almost 2 years. I was freelancing on Elance as well as working with some brands.
It was during this time that I started to get into Twitter and was running feeds for brands and celebrities. If you like a celebrity Twitter account, chances are it’s being written by someone like me with a little input from on high.
The only problem with my fledgling freelancing career was I didn’t know what the heck I was doing. When I look back now with the knowledge I’ve gained from reading guys like Mike Cernovich and Robert Koch, I’d have made a much better go at it.
I had some pretty big breaks in news stories. I was writing a lot about MMA and the UFC. One MMA fighter agreed to give me an interview (they now fight in the UFC). I never followed through. I missed the opportunity. And I regret it.
I was good at writing news. I wrote my first press release in 2003. I still write press releases and people still pay me money for it.
But hey, that’s life. Things don’t always work out the way you thought they would and sometimes that’s better. I did learn a lot in those 2 years of writing. I met some great people, particularly at an evening class for aspiring writers.
If you’re looking to improve your writing, I recommend going to a course. It will push your boundaries, plus you’ll make some great contacts.
The second part of the comment is this:
2. You haven’t even been a Dad that long.
Which is funny – I didn’t know I needed permission or to have served a certain length of time before I shared my life experiences. If this person had actually read my writing (clearly they didn’t, just this one post that popped up on their Facebook page) they’d know I don’t really write about ‘parenting’ all that much.
Because I think it’s pretty presumptuous to give advice on something that takes 20 years to see if you’re any good at it or not.
That said, don’t ever be afraid to share your journey. Whether it’s fitness, fatherhood or personal learning. There is always someone that can learn from you.
I write about the things that I love, not necessarily what I’m good at. I’m in my early 30’s and have done things in my life old men can only dream about. Opportunity takers have no regrets, right?
(It’s possible this guy regrets giving me his rifle to hold.)
If my writing comes across as being the same as 1000 other places, great. Go somewhere else and read another site – I’m not sure I could care less.
I’ll keep writing what I’m writing. If people read it, great. If they don’t like it, they can go elsewhere until they find something they do like. I’m not going to pretend that my writing style or personality is for everyone.
The concept of a ‘personal brand’ is an interesting one. I used to talk about it a lot but I think I was meaning ‘personal reputation’ rather than a brand (I was listening to a great podcast about this recently.)
I don’t think I have a ‘brand’. I’m just me. This Dad Does is me, my other projects are me, my historical projects were me. Some people like it, others don’t. Great. Variety is the spice of life.
I do feel sorry for negative people. Your life sucks. I know for a fact because I’ve experienced real negativity in my life. Sometimes it comes back for a few hours but not like what I used to experience.
Always having a negative outlook on life is really hard so give haters a little sympathy. Their lives are pretty crummy.
When my writing flows, it’s better. It feels more real.
I’ve written most of this post free-form. I won’t edit it much – maybe add in some links and some photos of me on a mountain somewhere.
Quitting Before you Reach the Summit
Which reminds me (and is probably a good point to wrap this all up) – I was climbing a mountain recently and watched someone give up a couple of hundred feet from the top. They just stopped and gave up. I didn’t hear them say it – their body language told me they were defeated.
Not by the mountain but my themselves.
Their desire to climb the mountain wasn’t stronger than their desire to give up. That little voice that says ‘quit, while you still can’ – sometimes you need to switch that off.
When I was doing military training, we were working as a team. One of the instructors said something that stuck:
This is not a physical test. This is a mental test. Do you have the mental toughness to keep going when every part of your body is screaming at you to stop.
Hopefully I’ll never forget that. Turning off the doubting voice in your head is necessary for success. Doing so opens up so many possibilities. Opportunity takers have no regrets. People who quit 200 feet from the summit do.