“This was mean.”
“That was insulting.”
“Well, that was the rudest e-mail I’ve ever gotten. I’m unsubscribing.”
To say something I wrote recently upset some people would be … correct. (You thought I was going to write, “would be an understatement,” didn’t you?!)
If you take things that come from a website or e-mail list personally then you are being, for lack of a better term, an idiot.
At a certain point in life it’s time to man up. (For some of us it takes quite a while.)
If a guy you don’t know can write something on the internet that’s not directed at you and you take personal offense to it this is what you need to do:
- Get a life.
- See #1.
It will instantly help you become unoffendable.
When you have a life things random people like me say on the internet don’t offend you.
Sometimes I get unsubscribes and people tell me why they unsubscribed. (It’s an option in Aweber to share why you unsubscribed from an e-mail list.)
Sometimes that reason is, “you don’t write as well as you used to” or “your recent writing sucks compared to the stuff you did on RidiculouslyExtraordinary.” My initial reaction is something along the lines of “ooohhhh, ouch!” But that’s followed by, “Who is this random person anyway? Nobody. They don’t matter to me.” Random people can’t offend me. Though they can trigger that initial “ouch” reaction.
Who am I kidding? I’m lying to myself. A little. There’s a drastic difference between random insults and direct insults. I don’t deal well with direct insults, no matter where they come from. They instantly depress me, take me back to my younger days, and I immediately want to get some kind of terrible revenge. I think vile, destructive, thoughts on par with Patrick Bateman.
I read a 1-star review for Gratitude Journal yesterday and had thoughts of disassembling an iPhone by way of that reviewer’s sphincter. His review essentially said, “I like simple, but this is too simple.” Really? I’ll show you simple …
I’ve learned the best way to deal with emotions is to let them emote. Trying to suppress bouts of depression or hatred only magnifies them. There’s probably a pharmaceutical-company-backed study about that. Wouldn’t that be an innovative pill? Something that suppreses your feelings instead of letting them naturally run their course? Wait, I think a few dozen-million people already take those pills. Maybe they’re not so good after all. /tangent
After an undetermined length of time I finally get on with the,”This person doesn’t matter to me” self-talk. Which actually works. Though it depends on the insult. If it’s something I’m confident about I can get over it in seconds. If it’s something I’m not confident about the feelings of vitriol will linger for a while longer. A few minutes, an hour, a day. Though a day is a rare occurrence. I don’t care enough – we’ll get to that in a second – to hold a grudge for long.
Let’s get back on track.
This blog isn’t like a lot of others. I write for myself. It’s not for your entertainment or your benefit. That’s all ancillary and I love it, but if I didn’t write I’d go insane. I think some people just say that, but sometimes I’m afraid I would kill a man if the thoughts and ideas swirling around my brain weren’t afforded an outlet.
I almost think I wrote that last paragraph to convince myself. But actions speak volumes and in the year I’ve moved my writing here I haven’t done anything to directly grow readership. Growth has been consistent, but slow. (This year I’ve sent guest post pitches for the first time since 2011, but it’s more for the app business than this blog.)
Most of the things I write you will never read – probably because it’s the worst – but it’s fun to post publicly and get feedback. It’s easier to improve when you’re being judged.
You understand what that means, right? It means I don’t care about you. I care about myself. Which sounds really selfish, but you only care about yourself as well.
Before I get the “no! but, but, but” responses, if you care about your son, daughter, mother, father, girlfriend, cat that still means you care only about yourself. Those are all selfish things to care about.
Things I care about, in no particular order:
- My girlfriend
These are the things I think about in some way or another, without fail, every single day. That stuff’s all about me. “You” isn’t on the list.
Seth Godin says, “The goal of a blog is to help you reach your goals.” It’s true. Blogging has positively affected my life like nothing else I’ve ever done, but I don’t use it specifically for reaching my goals. I use this blog and e-mail list as, among other things, a testing ground. (Which happily results in filtering out readers I don’t want.)
“I wonder what would happen if I wrote ‘[!firstname], you suck at goal setting‘ instead of ‘do you suck at goal setting?’ as an e-mail subject.” One headline elicits a gut reaction (result: e-mail gets opened and read; I get more unsubscribes). The other headline is ignorable.
That said, in that particular instance (which prompted this whole essay) I didn’t think much about it and didn’t realize it would be taken as a direct insult. I figured most people knew the name insertion was computerized. It’s fake. I have to actually know you to know if you suck at something and I don’t know most people who read this site. (Maybe one day?)
I know a lot of people who enjoy my work get it that I like to experiment. You understand life is an experiment. I’m not afraid to fail with these experiments, whatever they happen to be. I make lots of mistakes.
If you’re still reading this I probably like you and have a feeling you’re cool. Also, what I said above about not caring about you? That wasn’t entirely true. (I was kind of fishing for more unsubscribes.)
- When you write me page long e-mails about about something I wrote and you connected with do I like to read it? Yes, I appreciate it very much.
- When you write me with a question or a problem do I try to help? Yes, if it’s something I can actually help with I love to help.
- When you ask my opinion am I not flattered? I’m definitely flattered you think I have something to offer.
Whether this site has 2 million readers (not yet), 2,000 readers (thanks y’all) or 2 readers (hi Mom) I’ll keep creating. I’ll keep shipping. I’ll keep doing what I do. If you understand what this is all about then thank you, you’re always welcome here.