what this is all about
In December 2007, I started blogging on Alibytes.com. As an online marketing consultant, I wanted to blog personally for professional growth and my friend and colleague suggested a list format because I loved them. Still an accurate characterization, I accepted that lists are how my brain organizes information. In 2.5 years, I wrote 267 lists. While I stopped in May 2010 for many reasons that I’d be happy to share over a glass of wine, I want to share why I’m starting again in January 2013 as a promise to any readers who may happen to read.
There’s a belief that people who start things are mildly aggravated. Aggravation is precisely my impetus to rejoin the noise-polluted Internet. I hope to align myself, and maybe others, with what I think we need most.
It pains me to say this, but lists are ruining us.
7 simple tips, 5 easy ways, 15 seconds, 3 quick things; these lists are everywhere from Harvard Business Review to Fast Company to Real Simple. They are insidiously doing to us what Victoria’s Secret models do to 13 year-old girls. Even when we don’t notice them, we’re getting subliminal messages that we’re not ok, that being better is easy, and that if anything is hard (from weight loss to being a boss), we’re clearly doing something wrong. While lists are not a new phenomenon, they’re getting dumber. Articles about 5 trends to ignore and 3 ways to stop procrastinating are as oxymoronic as they are moronic. The unfortunate truth is that there are no shortcuts and that tips and tricks are not the path to growth, change and learning.
What we need to do is start practicing.
We become better people from experience, good old-fashioned trial and error, practice and failure. It’s a process of trying behaviors on, like clothes, to see if they fit or throwing behavioral spaghetti at the wall to see if it sticks. Whatever analogy suits you, practicing means regularly, personally testing different options. Educational experts would say that learning is actually impossible without failure. No number of “best pieces of advice” will do that part for you; instead they’ll continue to cause us to waste time reading rather than doing and entice us to seek easier answers and be disappointed when they don’t work.
Focus on the change.
Focus on the results and you’ll never see change, but focus on the change and you’ll see results. Too often we’re focused on losing weight, being more creative, getting a promotion, running a successful business but these are all outcomes, results we’d see if we focused on the change. Here’s a tip you should take seriously: you likely have all the information you need. Practicing is picking one or two things you think might work and trying them onyou suck sometimes and it’s not meant to be simple or easy or fast or be only about a couple of things that fit into one blog post.
Here’s my promise for Ali Bytes.
• I will no longer read or write articles that have these words in the title: quick, easy, simple, tips, tricks, ways
• I will help people consume byte-sized info so that they can go back to relationships where change happens
• I will write to reinforce practicing, accountability, connection and community.
• I will seek to add original, valuable perspective to a topic, not overtly echo another opinion.