“I must create a system or be enslaved by another man’s; I will not reason and compare: my business is to create.” William Blake
I’m often struck by the way people will toss off the advice to just be yourself without acknowledging that this is a slippery and complicated mission. It requires a vulnerability that our culture has trained us to avoid, so much so that we construct an entire ‘false self’ to protect our tender souls. In order to just be yourself, you have to crack apart that persona and expose the meat of who you are. You need the skills, and enough mastery of your craft, to project that truth of self in your work. When the gap between who you are and the projection of who you are (your ‘personal brand’) is as narrow as possible, you ring true. We call you authentic, and are that much more likely to engage with you or do business with you.
That said, I spend a lot of time writing, which is a form of promotion. I do this not to advertise my books or web services, but because I want to help others, and writing is the best way I know how to do it en masse. So my writing is definitely promotion, but that’s a side effect, not a reason I do it. I don’t think I could write good sales copy to save my life. But, I do want to share what I know, and writing information- and opinion-type articles and books is the best way for me to accomplish that goal. Writing also allows me to explore my ideas in public. I don’t usually know if an idea is sound until I write about it. When I share it with someone else, they either agree or look at me sideways. If it’s the latter, I re-evaluate the idea, re-evaluate whether that person is my intended audience, and sometimes I just move on.
Everything I Know by Paul Jarvis
“We all are learning, modifying, or destroying ideas all the time. Rapid destruction of your ideas when the time is right is one of the most valuable qualities you can acquire. You must force yourself to consider arguments on the other side.
— Charles T. Munger”
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Disclosure of Material Connection:
Some of the links in the post above are “affiliate links.” This means if you click on the link and purchase the item, I will receive an affiliate commission. Regardless, I only recommend products or services I use personally and believe will add value to my readers. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255: “Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising.”