Tuesday, June 26, 2018

Why I'm No Longer Chasing Rainbows

Scott Gese
Me a couple of years ago

Since this is my first post for “The Joy of Oregon”, I might as well start at the beginning. I'll elaborate on my “About Me” profile and why I've decided to write this blog.

Most people write blogs for one of two reasons. Either to gain recognition for themselves or their website, or to make money. Usually both.

In spite of what some people might say, the bottom line is that our ego either wants us or needs us to be recognized by others. What better way than to blog on a popular topic. You can become recognized by using social media to get thousands of people to follow you. Then, if your goal is to make a bunch of money, you can sell them a program or some other product. It's a dream that many chase but very few people succeed at.

Fame and fortune, it is the American dream, right? It's what we all need to make us happy... right?

I disagree and here's why.

I chased that dream most of my adult life and no matter how successful I was at catching it, it never made me happy. Now that I'm retired I've finally come to the realization that happiness is not about seeking (or finding) fame or fortune. True happiness isn't found on the outside. Searching for happiness through external means to make yourself internally happy is nothing more than an ego trip. You might reach what you think will make you happy only to realize you were wrong. Now the chase is on for the thing that will really make you happy, or so you think. It's a never ending cycle that will never make you happy.

Happiness isn't made, happiness is a state of mind.

What I've recently come to realize is that true happiness, the joy in life, isn't found through external means. It comes from the inside. It's living your life with purpose one day at a time. It's learning to enjoy the moment by focusing on the things you love and do best. If you focus on the things you like, do them for the sheer joy of it and do them well. The money, if that's important to you, will naturally follow.

Don't get caught up in the “I'm doing it for the money and then I'll be happy” trap. Don't put the money first. That's like chasing rainbows. It's an illusion.

For me, I'm no longer chasing rainbows.

Yes, I've been successful and I've made my share of money. I continue to run a popular niche website. I've had it for twelve years now. It's not a real money maker by any stretch of the imagination, even though that is why I started it.

Over the years the site has gone through many transitions and taught me many things, like the necessity of learning how to not only write, but to write well. Plus the importance of using my talents to help others succeed. I've also learned not to depend on outside forces, including other people to make me happy. It will never happen. It's like I said, happiness is a state of mind. My website is a self sustaining hobby site that allows me to help others achieve their goals. I'm happy with that.

My ability to write has taken me down several paths. Paths I would have never been able to travel without this ability. I once thought writing would make me rich. Not so. I don't pursue it hard enough. I do supplement my retirement income through writing, but these days I no longer need to look at it as anything more than a supplement. My full time working days are behind me. I now write for the sheer joy of it. It's no longer about making a bunch of money. It really never should have been.

With this blog I'm trying to resist all the standard ego traps.

  • I do accept comments, although I'm not looking for pats on the back (or sales leads). Constructive feedback by those who actually know what they are talking about would be good, If your comment can help me improve my writing or photography ability, I'd love to hear from you.
  • I am following SEO guidelines to a point, but I'm not concerning myself about where these posts end up in the search rankings.
  • I'm not focusing on keyword research before I write a post because again, I'm not concentrating on where they end up in the search rankings.
  • I'm not concerning myself with my numbers or my metrics because it's not about how this blog or my posts is “doing”. It's about how I'm doing and I don't need numbers to tell me that. What I need is good feedback.
  • I'm not promoting this blog on social media because I'm not actively looking for “likes” or followers ... because I'm not writing this blog for fame.
  • I will never monetize this blog because I'm not writing these posts to make money. I'm writing these posts to improve my skills. I'm writing for the sheer joy of being good at what I do.

It's not that I don't know how to do these things. I do have a very good understanding of SEO, keyword research and the use of social media. I use them extensively on my website and I'm fairly good at it. I'm writing this blog because I want to focus on improving my writing and photography skills with posts that aren't written around SEO rules and strategically placed key words.

I'm writing this blog for the joy of doing what I love to do without having to concern myself with writing for search engines.

I chose The Joy of Oregon as my topic because Oregon has been my back yard for over 50 years. I know it well. I enjoy writing about the people, places and things I've had the pleasure of coming across in this state and occasionally beyond the Oregon border. 

If you should happen to find this blog I do hope you enjoy it, you can follow me if you like. The option is there but truthfully, I'm not concerned about gaining followers.

I'm writing these posts to improve my skills, so when I do write for others, I'll have something worthwhile to offer.