December 15, 2008

Creating Value

One of the constant battles (and more so as this entity grows) is creating value for you, the reader, without diluting the content. I don’t want to be a blog that creates 15 posts a day on subject matter which has no relevance in your life. I also realise many of you are a little addicted and want fresh content on a daily basis. A good mix between sport, life, humor and things to keep you thinking.

Creating value for you to come back drives you back this way, and hopefully, gets you to do that great viral marketing thing for me, telling your friends about something you read on here, and sharing it. The greatness of this is that I can affect someones life in a positive way without ever having come in contact with them. That will continuously amaze me.

I trawl the web looking for good topics and pictures after hours looking for things that might make you gasp or think about a moment in your past which really rocked. I research methods of training, coaching and racing. Indeed, I am always learning about how to live life and create meaning from the way I live my life. I am looking for ways to stay focused and motivated to achieve my goals. I share all of these things with you. I am not an eternal source of knowledge but luckily I love to learn.

I am of course looking to make an impact on your lives with what I write here. It`d be selling myself short if I thought anything less. I love the conversations that come from what I write, and the interaction with new people and random people who I come across who have found this page randomly.

Suppose I post a new article, and lots of people send me feedback such as, “Great article, Raoul. That was awesome! Thanks for posting it.”

Does that mean I created real value? Well, maybe I created some. I can see that some people felt good, but is that a tangible positive change? I would say no, not really. The impact will probably be short-lived. I can’t say I delivered much real value.

Lots of bloggers write articles that generate this sort of feedback. You might read such articles and think to yourself, “That was a cool article.” But a week later you’ve totally forgotten about it, and nothing in your life has changed. The only value you actually received was perhaps a moment of entertainment or distraction. There isn’t much evidence of tangible positive change.

So even though this might seem like positive and encouraging feedback, I would interpret it as an indication that I provided weak value. Weak value is better than no value of course, but if this is all I was able to do, I’d probably be struggling financially.

Take note that I receive this type of feedback every day. For any given article and any given reader, there usually isn’t a huge amount of value being transferred. And that’s okay. Creating impactful articles is very challenging. I don’t always know what will deliver strong vs. weak value.

The value received depends on the individual reader and the circumstances of their life too. Some people receive tremendous value upon re-reading an old article that previously didn’t mean much to them.

These days it’s pretty easy for me to write something that will generate plenty of positive “cool article” feedback. I can consistently deliver weak value without much effort.

Lots of other bloggers have reached the point where they can consistently deliver weak value as well, and that’s where they stagnate. They keep getting “cool article” feedback on every post, but they still aren’t getting the results they want. They wonder what’s missing since the feedback seems to suggest that they’re doing great. The problem is that these bloggers never make the transition from weak value to strong value. They don’t raise their standards to the point of creating impact instead of just entertainment.

The Internet is already overloaded with weak value. You could spend the rest of your life soaking up the weak value that’s already been posted — reading blog posts, watching videos, etc. It’s endless. But ultimately it’s nothing but info-crack.

If you pump out more and more weak value, you aren’t helping much. Hardly anyone would care if you stopped since they have plenty of other sources to turn to.

If you can figure out how to create strong value though, you differentiate yourself. You’re no longer part of the herd pumping out feel-good drivel. Now you’re actually doing something real. I hope you grasp this point because it’s an important distinction to internalize.

It is very challenging to create and deliver strong value. What can I say or do that could permanently change someone’s life for the better? The answer isn’t obvious. But you can reach this point by becoming a prolific creator AND by seeking to continually increase the value you’re creating. Put a lot out there, and gradually figure out what matters and what doesn’t.

The commonality is that we can see some kind of evidence that positive change has occurred. Some sort of shift has happened. Someone having their first lucid dream is a positive change. Someone going from no relationship to having a girlfriend is a positive change. Someone moving to a new city and beginning a new chapter of their life is a positive change. All of this goes beyond the “cool article” type of feedback.

It isn’t enough to hope that you’re creating tangible positive changes. You need to see evidence that you’re having this effect. One of the simplest is that people will tell you how your creative work has affected them. Are you seeing any evidence that your work is producing tangible positive changes?

Some changes are small and subtle. Other changes are big and create massive ongoing ripples.

Note that the value you deliver to the world doesn’t have to be earth-shatteringly huge. It could be something small and simple. You may do something that only benefits a single person in a small way. That’s terrific.

Over time you’ll learn to deepen the value you’re able to share. A song can have a deeper impact than a few minutes of distraction. A comedian can do more than entertain. A T-shirt can do more than clothe you.


Taking Action

I don’t know what to do is simply not a valid excuse. That’s just fear and cowardice talking. You know you can do better than that.

Seriously, if the Three Stooges can create value, why not you? Were they geniuses? Perhaps not. But they took a lot of action.

If you really, really don’t know what to do though, simply go outside and walk around. Don’t go home until you’ve figured out something you can do to take a stab at creating value.

This isn’t rocket science. If it takes you more than an hour to figure out something you can do to create value, you’re being way too hard on yourself. And the whole time you’re creating nothing. You have to figure this out by doing, not by sulking.

If you think you can sit at home and compute the perfect value-creation formula and then begin taking action from that place of perfect insight and understanding, you’re delusional. You’re suffering from the delay tactic known as perfectionism, a word derived from the Latin wimpus maximus.

You’ll figure out how to provide strong value when you’re in motion. Only the act of creation will enable you to figure out how to create strong value. You’ll figure it out as you go along.

Your first guess at how to create value isn’t going to be perfect. Please rid yourself of the myth that if you just come up with the right idea, you’ll be a high-level value creator from day one. It just doesn’t work like that.

Each time you create weak value, it serves as a learning experience. Every time you hear feedback like “cool song” — or worse… maybe cricket sounds — you can learn from it. You can say, “Well… that sucked. I’ll have to try something else.”

So here’s the rule to follow: Create more than nothing.

That’s it really. The only way to totally screw this up is to sit around sulking and feeling powerless. That’s the only way to fail. Doing nothing is failure. Creating nothing is failure. Creating something, however crappy it may be, is success.

So go out and create something today. Stop thinking about it and just go do it. I am also at fault here, we all are. We are not taught to pursue regardless of others. Our dreams are traditionally based on the safety of those around us.

I am going to try and stop this stupid behavior in my life. I am going to create value for you and everyone else who roams in my circles of influence.

I am going to go out there and just do it.

You coming?

Of course you are…

5 Comments on “Creating Value

Doc G
December 17, 2008 at 4:03 am

Cool article. No seriously. I get a lot out of your writing. Optimistic, thought provoking. It’s part of the human condition to flip from clarity to confusion. We need to rediscover things over and over again. If you think you are there, you’re not. A daily dose of insightful writing helps many in ways the author may not realize.

Urban Ninja
December 17, 2008 at 10:40 am

Thanks Andy.

Comments like this keep me writing.

December 28, 2008 at 3:35 am

nice copypasta, my friend.

December 28, 2008 at 8:11 pm

indeed Anon

there is a section of the article which is sourced from another article. it got passed my way via email and was so good i couldn’t alter it. if you could point me to the source i’d happily give the author due credit.

every now and again, a worthy source of knowledge comes around and i love sharing. you will find i quote the relevant author where applicable.

i don’t pretend to own everything i publish on here. i hope you can point me in the right direction so i can applaud the author for his amazing piece of writing.

March 26, 2010 at 8:58 am

Hi Raoul,
The article is by Steve Pavlina:

All the best


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