Monday, August 29, 2011

The Plan

I like to read blogs about people who have inspiring success stories. Mostly they live really unconventionally. They are self-employed, and spend their time doing work they love and/or very little time doing work at all. They have flexible schedules and strange lives, but they also have enough money and resources to do all kinds of crazy fun stuff. Travel, mostly, and have cool hobbies. I don't know if there is a name for this kind of blog, but there are a lot of them out there. When it comes right down to it, many of them seem to earn awesome livings off of the fact that they have cool lifestyles so that people are willing to pay them for some sort of coaching or advice. This is a very strange infinite loop, and a pretty amazing racket. I wonder, how did they get started? Is it a fake it 'til you make it sort of thing?

I think that it must be a little like the psychic scam where you start out predicting, say, the outcome of football games. Tell half your customers one answer, and the other half the other. Repeat this over the course of, say, five games, and for every 30 people you started out with, about one should end up convinced that you have pierced the vale of time and space.

What I mean is that a lot of people must start off trying to achieve an awesome, flexible lifestyle like that, but for the most part, you only end up reading about the ones who are successful in every sense of the word. I thought it would be interesting to try that process backwards - beginning at a point when, sure, some foundation has been laid, but I'm broke and unemployed and mostly uninformed about how to be a successful freelancer (which for blogging purposes should be close enough to point zero). Then we will see where I end up and, retroactively, how I got there.

I also want to take a close look at success, and how I'm willing to define that. Sure, I'd love to make enough money to feel more stable, to allow J to quit his current job, and to enjoy certain luxuries like travel. But nothing is ever perfect. If we could retire at age thirty-five I know I'd still have problems, and if we never make it above the poverty line I think I'll still feel pretty lucky. I want to define success in a way that allows for the human condition (specifically, the unique condition of this particular human) and lets me be happy right now, instead of maybe never.

A lot of success, I think, is figuring out the best ways to work through our problems. It's easy to write about that once it's done, and much harder when you're still not sure how well you're going to solve them. Since I'm going to write about this stuff, though, I'm going to try to do it honestly.

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