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Finding a Voice Amidst Cynicism

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My voice is hoarse. Internally.

I’ve been shouting at myself for weeks now. Talking in a louder than normal voice to myself. I think that’s why I have a hoarse internal voice.

It could be because I’m trying to speak loud enough to hear myself above the noise of knowledge work (client work), social media, and content marketing.

Is it the repetitive cacophony of disjointed, and often misdirected opinions online that has led to this shouting? Maybe.

Is this the breaking point where I find myself scream shout loudly, internally, for weeks on end?

I’ll clear my throat. I have to. Its still hoarse. I’ve been shouting. And I’ve been doing so for such a long time, its like a reflex and I’m not aware of it any more. Constantly.

Maybe I should write my shouts a bit more, to level out the loud internal talk.

Perhaps if I write down more of what I’m shouting about, it will make things easier for me to articulate….instead of being in a state of singular, pointed, continuous bellow.

Who Are You Listening To?

“They’re all wrong”. Mostly. Mainly.

Mostly they are. Let’s be honest, hasn’t it been a while since you read, watched, or saw some actually genuinely useful content online? Something that could really have a positive effect on your business? Something that wasn’t just trying to sell you something else new?

Everyone’s blogging, and so there’s a trend now: More experts than apprentices. More masters than students. More specialists than journey-men….

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and in rote fashion they are all churning out the same content, one by after the other. Expert content. Master’s wise words. Yes, but mostly with stale ideas that have already made the rounds and are now obsolete. Ivory Tower rhetoric at best; which in fact helps no one. Not even them…whoever they are.

Its great that there’s a lot of content choices available now. Most places you look, there’s a blog with “authority” content. We’ve all got a claim to knowledge and fame, it seems. But who made us or them an authority? Is it our monthly income? Number of subscribers? Followers? Peer reviews?

In fact, how many blog posts are peer-reviewed? Maybe some. I know this one isn’t..

Here’s the thing: there’s a high chance that a lot of the business and website advice you get online (from blogs and such) could be wrong.

You know that, right? Too many cooks and all…

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Different opinions (albeit unregulated) is not such a bad thing. In fact, it could be a good thing. More voices give us more diversity; more democratization. An internet of the people, for the people, by the people.

…until the people start spreading incorrect, or misleading information…then..yeah.

Unfortunately, I rather think we’re being misdirected by a lot of the repetitive, second-hand rhetoric that seems to be everywhere these days. Many of our online sources simply don’t hold water, and they cannot help you move the needle on your business or on your website.

For example: The idea that we have to be everywhere at all times, doing all the things, and knowing all the things.

Or the concept of the aggregated, curated list: The 33 bestgreatest..top….

All good. But perhaps we should take a second look.

That’s why I’ve been shouting internally. There’s no way that all of this cacophony can all be right for everyone. Or useful, for that matter.

There’s no way that all these multi-directional maps and myriad opinions can lead to the same destination of business success.

I’m sorry folks…ain’t no way.

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I guess that means that not every online advice is meant for us.

It is not possible to take advantage of every single opinion, advice, recommendation, or tutorial that we are currently subscribed to…ain’t no way.

Stop Exposing Your Business to Abuse

We open ourselves to too much battering from the experts. Up to the point where it becomes easy for us to accept that perhaps we’re inadequate in some way..unable to self-start ourselves, even though it was us who took the brave first step of starting or running a business. The experts didn’t do that bit for us.

Our new teachers encourage the belief that there is one more bit of information, which we are lacking, which someone else has (i.e. them), and which we need, in order to move forward.

Whether that’s in business, or in life, or for our website, or in our online course, or ecommerce store….or whatever.

Just that one last course. One last training material. That last blog post, and we’ll be ready.

NO. it wont be enough.

It is never enough.

Stop Waiting, Start Doing

There will always be that one last thing which you don’t have, which you need, which is holding you back from pushing forward.

It’s a human condition, and I wish there was a solution…an amicable solution to it all. But there isn’t.

It’s a human condition. Deal with it and ignore the experts.

But marketers know all this. True marketers understand the human condition, and they capitalize on it. Oh Yes.

Why?

Because they are the “candy man”.

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The Candy Content Syndrome

In a way we’ve developed a sweet tooth for “rich” content. More More More. More blogs. More infographics. More business advice. Where is the next post?

And like a gradual decay, we’ve eroded our discretion filters. We’ve nearly arrived at the point where we accept anything, because it could be that last bit of “something”, which we need in order to succeed in business or in life.

And the Candy Men are laughing. the devils!

That’s why I’ve been shouting myself hoarse. Trying to protect myself from too much sweet stuff..otherwise, I’ll have to pull out my rotten, content-filled tooth with my own bare hands. That would hurt too much…

A Distracted Focus

A few days ago, I read an article by Alex Denning ((Denning, A. (2016). Deep work in practice: reimagining my workflow for radically less distraction. Retrieved [03/11/16] from Alex Denning)), where he talks about the effects of distraction and deep work. Alex gets it, and I can relate to the premise of that article, which I feel is relevant to both knowledge workers like me, and business owners like you. Deep Work ((Newport, C. (2012). Knowledge Workers are Bad at Working (and Here’s What to Do About It…). Retrieved [03/11/16] from Study Hacks Blog)) uses your experience and training to create rare and valuable results, and that is what will help you move your business forward. Without a doubt.

The distraction arising, however, from the disruptive nature of continuous content, reduces the effectiveness of deep work; and this is one thing. The other thing is that the quality and value of our resulting self-belief system comes under further threat; and that is a potentially insidious side-effect of the constant content feed.

How would you feel if you spent all this time consuming myriad content, posts, videos, etc, only to discover that the information you’ve been feeding your sweet tooth is incorrect, misled, inaccurate…leading you down a grassy, greasy, garden path..?

That’s why I’ve been shouting myself hoarse.

Get Clean. Get Clear On The Content You Accept

Maybe its time for a cleanse. Something which I tend to do in cycles. say once every 3 months. delete it all. the feeds, the blogs, everything. and start over.

Maybe I should start over.

Where were you last year? You weren’t the same awesome person that you are now. You’ve grown. You’ve changed. You’ve evolved.

And so has your business. And so has your website (if you have one).

That’s why you should also evolve the quality and source of information that you consume.

That’s why you should throw away any content source that does not give you or your business valuable ROI for your time.

That’s why all content should not be equal, as far as you are concerned. As far as I am concerned.

Content should only have value inasmuch as it either inspires or empowers us. Directly. Not because it is available to be consumed.

As content consumers who have a very sweet tooth, we should start developing better filters for the type of content that we accept, and we should show more discretion in the way we apply it’s recommendations to our businesses and to our lives.

Just because one blog says so, that does not mean that is the way it is. That does not mean it is right.

Remember that the road curves differently for each of us.

Differently and uniquely.

Reflective Questions

This is part of the question that I’ve been asking myself (with my hoarse voice).

What is the point of speaking if all you’re adding is more rhetoric? More Noise?

For the sake of recognition, for lead-generation via content, does it make sense for me to present the same hackneyed topics? E.g.:

  • increase your website traffic
  • avoid content lock-in platforms
  • your website means nothing without sales
  • your website is only as good as your hosting provider
  • ecommerce is about human relationships
  • lay dynamite under your ecommerce checkout process and destroy it, because it is making your kids hungry

Haven’t they all been covered? Adequately? Will this not = more noise? cacophony? Will I be able to add new perspective usefully?

Perhaps. I don’t know. What do you think?

Or maybe that’s just my excuse for not writing great, authoritative content ((Patel N. (2012). Learn To Write Content Like a Pro. Retrieved (05/11/16) from The Advanced Guide to Content Marketing)).

Yeah..No.. that would be because I am not an authority!

In any case, I think that you…and I, should only accept and consume content from people whom we know and trust.

ONLY.

The internet is wide and unsafe. Don’t base your small-business decisions on a blog post that is unverified at best, or inaccurate at worst.

The Rising Influence of Content Curators

This is where content curators can possibly have more influence than content creators. If curators understand the sentiment of their audience…

OK, I get it..that in itself is perhaps an Ivory Tower rhetoric, but you get the point, yes?

An example of a great content curator is Maria Popova ((Popova M. (2016). Brain Pickings. Retrieved (05/11/16) from Brain Pickings by Maria Popova)), whom you should check out if you are inclined.

Brain Pickings

“What you see in a total eclipse is entirely different from what you know,” Annie Dillard wrote in her classic essay on the otherworldliness of totality.

Fact is though, that rather than distract ourselves to insanity with all the blogs and their advice, we should focus only on the few sources that we trust. The sources that “get” our business, recognize our values, identify what we stand for, understand our challenges, and address our problems.

DIRECTLY.

I’m clearing my internal throat again. Its not too bad now.

Perhaps I have a voice after all, I croak.

Live if you wanna live ” ~ Bob Marley

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