Something I Wish I Could Tell Myself In Grade School That Improves My Blogging

by Robb Sutton

There are certain life lessons that apply to both business and life. There are also those that you wish you could just go back in time, shake the crap out of your ‘old self’ and scream…”JUST LISTEN TO ME! I’LL MAKE YOUR LIFE EASIER!”. But…then again…it is the lessons we learn throughout the mistakes in our lives that really brings us success and happiness over time. So as we look at our blogging and those lessons we have learned, what is it that I should have known in grade school that know helps me tremendously in my blogging?

I Wish I Could Tell This To Myself

Back in the day, I was a pretty geeky kid growing up. I was also that kid that was obsessed with fitting in with the ‘cool crowd’. I wanted to hang out at the same places, do the same things, wear the same clothes…but the more I tried to ‘fit in’ the more I was kicked out. A funny thing happens when you focus all of your energy on being someone you are not. You get the opposite reaction that you were looking for. Up until about my junior year in high school…that was me. That geeky kid just trying to be one of the crowd.

About half way through my junior year in high school (after beating my head up against a wall since 6th grade), I finally just gave up. I found a group of friends I could connect with and started acting like me instead of a person that I thought everyone else wanted me to be. It was almost an instantaneous switch that changed my life. Now…all of those same people I wanted to be like actually wanted to hang out with me. Not because I was exactly like them, but because I was being like me.

Now…all that time and energy was being spent towards being myself and enjoying time with friends who actually gave a shit how I was doing that day…and that confidence and uniqueness attracted others. Funny how that happens.

How Does This Help Your Blogging?

Far too often, I see bloggers struggling with who they want to be online. They see someone else in their niche who is successful and they emulate that formula expecting the same results. They are no different than my confused grade school self just trying to fit in. What they forget is that blogger made it to where they are because they brought something unique and different to the table. That uniqueness bred the success…not trying to be one of the ‘cool crowd’.

Daring to be yourself and stand out from the crowd will gain you the respect and individuality that is required to be apart of the ‘cool crowd’. The weird thing…99.9% of people and bloggers go about it the exact opposite way by trying to copy someone else.

It is time to be different.

It is time to stand out from the crowd.

It is time to see success by being yourself.

It is time to stop worrying so much about what other people thing when you are probably wrong.

It is time to be you.

Through being yourself…you will find success. If you want to copycat someone else and focus on the wrong aspects of your blogging, be ready for frustration and disappointment. Blogging is about that connection between the blogger and the reader and if you are too worried about being like someone else…you will never get that connection and you will never see success. People want to connect with something unique. If you are just like someone else, they will just to read the real thing.

Image by Chris Gin
6 comments

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6 comments

Curtis Chappell March 8, 2010 - 5:55 pm

Robb,

I’m of two minds on this one..you’re absolutely right about finding your own unique voice, especially from a personal development point of view.

But using your school experience metaphor, you don’t want to be that kid who is SO unique that you alienate others as well. I’m sure you had at least one of those kids in your school?

So what is the fine line between creating unique content and being unique enough to draw a crowd? You could ask the same thing of every famous author, rock star, artist, or in this instance, successful blogger. How do they stand out from the crowd?

I don’t know the answer, but do know I was one of those ‘cool kids’ in school. That experience, while fun at the time, has done absolutely nothing for me as an adult.

What has given me a unique perspective is my life experience since leaving school.

As an American who has lived in several countries, this personal perspective is colored by the exposure to a mix of cultural differences, and while the number of my blog readers is still quite small…it’s growing! From a blogging point of view, it’s all about content and “findability”.

You can be the most unique blogger on the planet, but if no one can find you, you’re that tree which just fell in the forest…and no one heard a word…

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Robb Sutton March 9, 2010 - 7:48 am

Curtis,

There is a lot of truth to what you say. If you alienate yourself too much by being to ‘out there’ then you will not have an audience to attract.

Balance is key in any business.

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Mick Morris March 9, 2010 - 2:17 am

Now, without sounding mean and sarcastic, I’m going to use a Forrest Gump quote
“stupid is as stupid does”, and trying to be anything other than who you really are is stupid.

Trouble is that it is a lesson that most of us take a little while to figure out in life.

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Robb Sutton March 9, 2010 - 7:49 am

If you are anything like me…you have to finally learn it after beating your head against a wall a lot!

I always have to learn the hard way for some reason.

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K9 Coach March 11, 2010 - 1:35 am

Great analogy!

Dog trainers these days are an interesting crew. Many spend a lot of time trying to convince people they need dog training.

I took the approach to write about life and how dogs reflect our own behavior. Most of the dog trainers who have tried copying my marketing in the past can’t figure this one out.

The people I’m talking to get it though… and there’s a lot of them.

Live the life you love. Love the life you live… I say anyway 🙂

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Robb Sutton March 11, 2010 - 8:11 am

You found a way to connect and not preach…that is key!! You have no idea how many people don’t get that simple fact. That connection converts much better than the “I know and you don’t” mentality.

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