Six years! That’s how long I’ve been writing this blog. For you long-term readers, thanks for taking the journey with me. For new readers who maybe got pulled in by my hair odyssey and decided to stick around to debate immigration and Brexit, welcome!
Category: Metablog (Page 1 of 2)
It’s possible to have a career without really thinking about it. Nothing wrong with that. I’ve had at least three-and-a-half accidental careers so far.
- I started doing computer support and database design right out of college, just a few hours a week, at my dad’s friend’s company, learning as I went. Ten years later I was the Senior Database Administrator for the San Francisco Symphony, and I still do freelance db work to this day as my main source of income. But none of my friends ever remember this, because it’s so boring that I never talk about it.
- My record label business partner wanted to start a weekly happy hour at an art gallery. I thought it was a terrible idea. The ayahuasca-snorting gentleman he initially partnered with to throw the event got a little squirrelly and they parted ways. I reluctantly stepped in, and under our management we had a decade-plus run as one of the biggest dance music events in San Francisco, lines around the block, written up in international guide books, DJs from around the world eager to play to our crowd.
- I had no interest in DJing. But we needed to promote our album. So I learned to DJ at my own party, trainwrecking mix after mix. Spesh put me through DJ bootcamp and I got a little better. Soon we were headlining the biggest dance clubs in San Francisco, voted among SF’s Top DJs in the Nitevibe poll, on the cover of The SF Weekly, and touring in Europe. But eventually I quit because I don’t like travelling, or listening to hundreds of promo tracks to find the few good ones.
- I started a blog in 2009. I can’t remember why. Probably to practice writing, to express myself, to share my ideas. Eventually some of my health posts (about sleep and artificial light, about the paleo diet) got popular. The blog hit a million views. CNN interviewed me. A TV show The Doctors flew me to Hollywood to be a guest. I experimented with advertising. Then I wrote a post about how I regrew some of my hair by intensively massaging my head, and things went crazy. Views through the roof, readers begging me to make instructional videos, asking for personalized advice. Should I take up hair regrowth coaching? I thought about it. Maybe I could help Tim Ferriss regrow his hair, or Prince William. But I’m not patient enough to be a coach, and I didn’t want to be the hair guy. Or another paleo guy. So I made it clear to my readers that though while I would still write the occasional health post, the content of this blog was much broader (systems for living well, self-experimentation, the creative life).
As regular readers will have noticed I switched WordPress themes. The new theme is called Lovecraft. It’s big! I like it. Lately, I’ve felt like going big. I threw a big birthday party. I’m writing lots of words. Big big big.
The reason I switched: the font size of Coraline (my previous theme) was too small. I found a way to make it bigger in the theme customization options, but the latest WordPress update got rid of that option, and my font size shrunk again. I know I could have fussed around with css, but screw it — it was time for a change anyway. I got rid of that picture of myself wearing that hat and holding the empty wine glass, and now the banner has some great pictures of our planet, courtesy of NASA. Thanks NASA! (And once again, big!)
Lovecraft. That reminds me of a story. A story about a story.
About once a year I blog about this blog. It’s an opportunity for me to reevaluate why I blog, and an opportunity for you to evaluate why you read it, and what you might expect in the coming year.
Currently, the main reason I blog is to better understand the topics that interest me. Writing about these topics publicly forces me to think more clearly, do the research (even if my findings disrupt my preconceptions), and ultimately commit to a course of action or lifestyle change based on how the writing process changes my beliefs.
What I’m personally interested in doesn’t always correspond with what you, the readers, are most interested in. A disproportionate amount of interest in this blog is dedicated to the health and nutrition posts. That’s fine with me, but I’m not writing as many in-depth posts on these topics as I have in years past. That said, I do plan to write a detailed post on lifestyle and diet changes that may help prevent cancer, and the research behind such recommendations. I’ll look at fasting, ketosis, exercise, and various culinary seasonings (like turmeric and garlic).
There has also been a bit of interest in my scalp massage hair regrowth experiment. I’m still doing the head massage technique, but only for about 5-10 minutes a day. I’m not sure if my hair regrowth has plateaued or if my hairline is continuing to advance. Remember this is a slow technique — I didn’t see any regrowth at all for the first four months. I will do an update post, probably this summer, even if my hairline hasn’t changed much.
So what about this coming year? I plan to keep writing about work habits for creative types, making and reaching goals, sector investing, lifestyle experiments, family life, and the like. I’ll probably weigh in on a few political and environmental topics as well. In terms of post frequency, I’m shooting for once a week, slightly more than my historical average. Currently I have no shortage of ideas. Here’s a short selection of possible posts I’m taking notes on or have drafted to some extent:
- Calling Your Shots (Why We Like Conor McGregor)
- How To Invest a Lump Sum
- The Effectuation Method
- Quantity = Quality (More On Creative Work Quotas)
- Visualizing Your Ideal Life While Feeling Gratitude for What You Have
- One Month No Car Experiment
I hope that gives you some idea of what to expect from this blog in 2016. Feel free to holler back!
Yesterday I received an angry email from a reader that gave me pause for thought. The reader asked me to do something I wasn’t comfortable doing and I declined. The reader became frustrated and let me know in no uncertain terms. Their argument went something like this: Why was I presenting myself as someone helpful if I wasn’t willing to help them?
It wasn’t a terrible interaction — just a frustrated person venting — but it did get me thinking about what I’m trying to do here. This blog is subtitled “Systems for Living Well” and that’s mostly what it’s about. I share my own experiences, insights, and knowledge, and hope this blog benefits others. In the past I’ve framed that as “helping people.”
But I’m wondering if “helping” people often leads to dysfunction and codependence. How much responsibility should the “helper” take for the circumstances of the “helped”? Is there a danger of the person being helped surrendering their own power and agency to the helper?
“Helping people” has been a core value of mine since grade school. To reevaluate and possibly jettison this guiding principle is a big deal for me. It’s not that I want to become less altruistic or less giving (especially in relation to friends and family), but I think the old language doesn’t work anymore. I need to replace “helping” with more specific verbs, in both my thinking process and in terms of real life actions.
Some thoughts re: the future direction of this blog:
What I Want to Retain or Move Towards
- writing posts that educate, inspire, and/or entertain readers
- sharing personal experiences that might benefit others
- providing specific, clearly defined assistance to others when I am moved to do so, when it is mutually beneficial, or when I am being compensated
What I Want to Move Away From
- helping others out of a general sense of obligation, because I have a “helper” identity
- writing blog posts (or anything) that prescribe or recommend a particular course of action (“you should” or even “how to”)
- presenting myself as an expert or authority
- taking responsibility for other people’s actions or choices
I’m thinking out loud here. I don’t want to be less generous just because a few people feel overly entitled. I have no problem setting limits. Still, I may need to be clearer about what I’m offering, and where those limits are.
I hope you found this post educational, inspiring, or at least mildly entertaining!
It was only a few months ago that this blog passed one million views, and now we’re quickly coming up on two million. I’m happy that so many people are finding value here! Thank you for stopping by — I realize your time is valuable and you don’t have time to read the entire internet everyday.
If you’re new to this blog and not sure if it’s for you, here are some topics I’ll be writing about in 2015:
- A series of “how to invest” posts written specifically for millennials (but hopefully useful to everyone). These posts will also go into gory details re: each of my own major investing mistakes and what I learned from each one, and go on to reveal my current investing system.
- Share a natural hair-regrowth method I am currently using that is causing my hairline to actually advance (as opposed to retreat). I’ll also introduce you to the young man who told me about this method and has some interesting ideas about what causes hair loss and how to reverse the process. Before and after pictures will be included.
- Updates on my fiction writing progress and daily writing habit, including a new method I am using to consistently break the 1000 word/day target (I realize many authors write much more than this already, but for me it’s a breakthrough).
- A planned experiment, at least 30 days long, where my family goes from car-owning or car-leasing to walking/biking/occasional car-sharing.
- More posts on my evolving life system that encompasses conscious prioritization of personal values, defining life purpose, effective goal setting, motivation methods, planning and strategizing, and daily production commitments.
That’s what’s in the pipeline!
Here’s a gift for you house music lovers. It will put you on the Loöq Records mailing list, which will expose you to even more fantastic, deep, house and ambient music (just so you know what you’re getting into).
One final thought … here are my wife Kia‘s old and new lists for how to experience the holidays. I think it’s a good rearrangement of priorities, don’t you?
1. Getting it all done.
2. Surviving it.
4. Having a nice holiday.
1. Have a nice time with my family.
3. Experiencing holiday joy.
4. Enjoy yummy food & beverages.
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