Stop Trying to be Remembered

“The biggest challenge after success is shutting up about it.”
Criss Jami

We all want to be somebody. We all want the cool job title. When someone asks us what we do for a career we want to say: I’m a writer, I’m an entrepreneur, I’m the head of a Fortune 500 Company, I’m [fill in the blank].

There is nothing wrong with wanting to be somebody, but when wanting to be somebody i.e. (wanting recognition and praise) becomes more important than the actual work we do, there is a terrible problem. When our personal reputation is more important to us than our work itself, our work will suffer.

If we let out reputation take a front seat, everything we do will become a sort of image control. We’ll stop caring so much about how our work impacts others or makes the world better, and start to only care about the way it makes us look.

So many of us want the attention, the recognition, or the fame but we care little about the work itself. We just want to feel important but we don’t really want our work to be important.

We all have a choice. We can choose to chase fame, wanting to be noticed and given attention, or we can choose to be influential, where the things we do, whether we get acknowledgment for them or not, actually make an impact on society.

This choice does not only apply to those who are in the public light. It is not only for politicians and professional musicians. It applies to all of us. No matter how public our life is or how important our work is, we all have the same choice to make.

Fame or influence

Being or doing

Recognition or impact

When I was young I attended church fairly often. There we many occasions when the pastor would ask the question “what do you want to be remembered for?” At the time I thought it was a good question. But now I’m having second thoughts.

The intention behind the question is good. It is meant to make you reconsider the way you are living in light of how people will remember you when you are dead and gone. But what if we could as the same type of question, but in a better more useful way?

How about… what kind of influence do you want to have in your life?

This question may seem the same on the surface but it is really quite different. The question the pastor asked was very self-centered, what do you want people to remember you for? It is essentially a question about reputation.

My question, on the other hand, is a question based on action and accomplishment. What kind of influence do you want to have? How will your actions impact your community?

It doesn’t matter what people remember you for, you’re going to be dead anyways. What matters is doing something that changes people. Doing something that will make the world better, even if it’s something that seems small and insignificant.

This desire to be influential should not be driven by ego either. You shouldn’t want to do things that have a positive influence because it will make you seem important, you should do so because the work is important.

Are you willing to risk your reputation for the sake of your work? Are you willing to stop chasing fame so that you can be truly influential?

If so, let’s keep the conversation going in the comments!

Little Things are Big Things

It has long been an axiom of mine that the little things are infinitely the most important. 

~ Arthur Conan DoyleThe Memoirs of Sherlock Holmes (Sherlock Holmes, #4)

When we talk about being successful we like to talk about our big goals and our dreams. Things like publishing a book, getting that promotion or making a certain amount of money. This type of thinking is not bad in and of itself, but it often makes us feel like the small things we do are worthless.

This is simply not true.

The little things are equally, if not more, important than the big things.

If we do not do the little things correctly our whole project will likely fall apart. For example, if you’re writing a book, taking time to edit every chapter may seem like a chore. It may even feel like a waste of time. It’s not really helping you make money and it might even be pushing back your release date.

In the long run, however, having a well-edited book will help you be more successful. If your book is full of errors, you will lose trust with you readers and they will likely not purchase the next book that you write. As an author, the trust of your readers is one of your greatest assets, if you lose their trust it will be hard to get it back.

The little things, like editing a book, are often boring and tiresome. They can even seem pointless. But in the end game, they may be the difference between your project being a success or a failure.

Let’s look at another example.

I’m an avid fan of hip hop music. I even occasionally make beats on my laptop.

If you were to sit down and talk to any popular music producer like Mike Dean or Noah “40” Shebib, they would likely stress how important the little things are when producing music. Music producers take great pride in their craft and pay great attention to the littlest of details.

If you only listen to music on iPhone headphones you may not have experienced this as much as the rest of us. Try listening to music on a good pair of studio headphones. There’s so much more to a musical piece than what you might be hearing.

Producers spend so much time perfecting every bass line and making sure the timing of every snare is on point. We should do the same for our respective crafts.

Everything you do that has to do with your craft should be taken seriously. You should never look at part of a project as just some simple or menial task. Every little thing is important. The little things are the big things.

Do not allow yourself to fall into the trap of carelessness. Do not get to the point where you are treating your work like a chore. Everything you do is important to your success.

Strive for excellence in all things that you do even some aspects seem pointless. Take your work seriously, even the parts of it that annoy you or stress you out. Care about your craft, care about every detail.

Do your best work, even if you’re not making an abundance of money or getting notoriety. Have the humility and awareness to treat your work as more important than your reputation. Do the things that will go unnoticed with the same care as the things you do on stage. Only then will your work flourish.

Care about the little things. Care about the nuisances. Care about details.

Because, in the end, little things are big things.

The Path Towards Authenticity and Finding my Artistic Voice

For the bulk of my blogging “career” I’ve found myself writing the type of articles I think other people want to read. I’ve been writing the sorts of blog posts that seem to get good amounts of traffic.

I have stolen (in an artistic sense) from other articles and writers that I respect or emulate. That is part of the writing process, gathering information and using the work of others to inspire yours. But I am at a point where I want to do this less. Now I want to find my own voice.

I’ve found myself trying so hard to be like other self-improvement writers. I just wanted to “make it.” Desiring to get a certain amount of views on my website or get a certain amount of shares on social media. Now I’ve realized that “making it” is pointless if you do so in an inauthentic way.

Allow me to explain myself.

I consider writing, even of the non-fiction genre, to be an art. Just as much of an art as painting, sculpting, or poetry.

Art is best done in an authentic and free flowing way, as an extension of the artist. Art is at its worst when it is mended based on market value or the attention-seeking of the artist.

Much of my writing in the last year or so has, in my current opinion, been driven by ego and/or insecurity.

I wanted to see my name on websites. 

I wanted to get click bait shares on social media.

I wanted to feel and look successful.

My writing was coming from this place of ego and validation-seeking, rather than a place of honest creativity and advice-giving.

This is probably a result of my maturity when it comes to blogging. I am still very new to the craft and have not yet found my artistic voice. I don’t really know who I am as a writer.

Despite this fact, the direction of this blog is going to change. I will be spending more time really finding topics that are more engaging and helpful. I’m going to put in the time and effort necessary to create a good product.

I ,in no way, regret anything I have written over the last few months, I do, however, feel like I’m in a new place as a person. I no longer think that an article about “5 Apps for College Students” is really helpful or needed on the internet anymore. If you want to find articles about helpful apps, just Google it, don’t waste your time on this site.

I’m no longer going to force content onto this blog. I probably won’t be posting every week anymore. I’ll only be posting when I write something I think is actually constructive.

If I’m honest, I’m not sure if I’m even qualified to give any of the advice I give. I still live with my parents, I don’t have a job, I’m in college (but my parents are paying for it), and I’m by no standard successful.

At the same time, I’ve experienced things most people my age have not. I’ve been to eight countries, I’ve read a good amount of books about a wide range of subjects, and I’ve experienced and worked through depression and anxiety for the bulk of my young life.

I’m not a self-help guru, a millionaire, or even a college graduate, I’m just some kid trying to find his way through life. Trying to find himself in a world that never fails to be baffling, for both good and bad reasons.

So, my dear reader, how is this article helpful to you at all?

Well, maybe it isn’t. Or maybe it is. I’m not going to let my insecurity about whether or not you like what I write to control me.

Maybe it would be helpful to ask yourself, as I have, am I being authentic in what I create? Am I doing what I do (blogging, business, school, etc.) because I want to or because I’m seeking some sort of validation?

Let’s, for a moment,  shift this conversation about authenticity out of the blogging world and into something more relatable.

I’ve been going to the gym off and on for about a year. When I do go, it’s often because I feel social pressure.

All my friends go to the gym.  

If I go I’ll be considered cool.

If someone asks if I work out, I can actually say yes. That should earn me some points, right?

If I decided that I wanted to go to the gym because I actually wanted to get in shape because I care about my health I’d probably go more consistently.

Point being: anything done for the sake of validation or attention is often done badly or falls apart when you fail to feel validated or receive attention from doing said thing.

Validation is vain. It is only when you begin to get it that you realize how empty it is.

People might like what you’re doing, people might praise you for what you’ve done, but if your heart and soul are not into what you’re doing you won’t feel good about it, at least not for a very long.

Validation works at first. Your ego grows and you begin to feel good about yourself. But eventually, you will realize that the good words of others don’t mean as much as you thought they did. You will come to a place where your conscious will tear apart everything that you do.

When you’re living in a non-authentic way, you often know it but you seldom admit it.

Admittance is the first step, and probably the hardest one. It hurts to admit your faultiness. To admit that you might not be doing things for the right reasons.

If you’re still struggling with this idea that authenticity might not be for you, let’s look at a few more examples.

When someone who is gay and decides to come out of the closet, they say that they feel free. They feel free because they can be who they are. They don’t have to hide or wear a mask anymore.

The same is to be said about people who come out about their mental illness. I have social anxiety. Although I haven’t explained it to my parents, I have had conversations about it with a friend and written about it on the Internet.

The more I’m open about my internal struggle with anxiety and depression, the more liberated I feel.

The more open and authentic we are, the easier it is for us to grow. Authenticity brings progress, in business and in relationships.

In recent memory, businesses have begun to become more transparent and public about their finances and business interactions in general.

Why?

Generally, it is because it makes companies more trustworthy. Customers can actually see where their money is going and what it is being used for.

Transparency always allows for a great level of trust. This is why I have written this blog post, I want to give my readers more trust towards me. I want to show them that I am doing what I think is right and that I will continue to write this way.

Maybe this blog post isn’t helpful to you. Maybe what I’m saying doesn’t really make any sense. And I’m totally okay with that.

My goal is to write well and write righteously. By that, I mean that I wish to write in a way that is both well formulated and with a backbone. Writing that comes from both my mind of mind’s and my soul of soul’s.

I’m on a mission to find my authentic voice. I am not there yet, and that’s fine. I don’t know what kind of writer I want to be, and I’m okay with that, and I hope you are too.

My hope is that this article was helpful to you. If it was, please keep the discussion going in the comments.

Thanks for reading.