in Words of Wisdom

Fluff, Bullshit, and Brilliance

What the hell does Life Without Pants mean, anyways? I’ve asked myself this time and time again since setting out on this Maiden blogging voyage in February of 2009. What started as something completely random, with no real sense of direction, has evolved into a story about a Gen Y guy living his life with a few less restrictions and promoting a few others to do the same along the way.

It’s fluff – it’s bullshit – it’s Gen Y brainwashing – it’s regergitated nonsense, and it’s absolutely brilliant.

I’ve heard it all – and THROUGH it all I’ve learned that one man’s trash is  very much another man’s treasure. This is a creed that rings true in every single thing you’ll ever write because, this just in, you’ll never please everyone, and you shouldn’t even bother trying. It’s a lost cause.

I have great, great friends who could give a damn about what I write here but support me every step of the way, others who label every word as complete garbage, and strangers who send me personal emails to tell me how grateful they are of something I’ve said here. I have the full specturm of lovers and haters and 1) I’m OK with that and 2) I actually appreciate it. Everything constructive has value and as one of my new favorite writers said recently (talking about his blog) “Don’t read this blog if you want to be ordinary” – The long and short is, this blog, any blog, isn’t for everybody.

Stop fighting and start embracing your ‘labels’

I would have never considered myself the Tony Robbins of the blogging circuit or the Chris Brogan of Gen Y (thanks, Rebecca) – but I’ve been ‘labled’ (for lack of a better word) as both. Except I’m much smaller than Tony and don’t have nearly as cool of hair as Chris. Instead of trying to fight a label, I’ve embraced it. Love them or hate them, they are both extremely successful at ‘what they do’ – they serve as an example – hated by many and loved by even more – regardless of who you are, that’s the way the world works.

I can’t think of a single person or thing that has ever existed that had the unanimous love and appreciation from the general population (except my Furby’s…how could you not love those cute, cuddly, creepy as hell looking things). So unless you’re a Furby, you’re shit outta’ luck.

For every single person who tells you that you stink and that you’re not going to get where you want to be in life, think about every other person who’s personally reached out and told you that you’ve had a positive impact on their life. Actually, scratch that, think about one – just ONE person who’s reached out and shown appreciation. If it’s ever happened to you, you’re doing something right, you’re making a difference, you’re having an impact, your voice matters. So keep talking…

I was leading a Social Media Workshop with my friend Nicole last weekend and someone came up to me and asked me what I wrote about here. I didn’t have a good answer, because it’s not clearly defined, and it doesn’t have to be. I have a niche, you have a niche, whatever that may be – it works for me. Time and time again the door has been opened to new opportunities – and I don’t plan to stick to a set path – it’s going to be all over the place, which may lose some people, and that’s fine – at least I know my Mom will always be out there reading, commenting on my Facebook status and sending me text messages about how much she loves me. (right, Mom?)

So to everyone who has stuck with me – thank you, your support means the world to me.

To everyone who continually challenges me – keep it up, I need you around more often to avoid complacency and get me thinking outside the box.

To the haters, keep hating

To the lovers, keep loving

Keep doing what you do, and me, I’ll keep writing…

(Note: Yes, the image above was a 60 second MS Paint job and no, I don’t have a good reason for including Trent Reznor, other than he is awesome).

Add Your Voice

Comment

34 Comments

  1. Wow, I haven't been to this blog in some time and the first post absolutely resonates with me. I think it's funny how you said

    “If it’s ever happened to you, you’re doing something right, you’re making a difference, you’re having an impact, your voice matters. So keep talking…”

    because it's absolutely true. I started my website in October 2008 without a super clear idea in mind about what I wanted to do or where I wanted it to go. Now I find myself consumed by the fitness community, giving back and answering my readers requests and emails for article topics and other discussion.

    I even find myself making some money now and again as a result of lending a helping hand and giving back to the audience I've managed to build.

    I love interacting with them and it's the only reason I continue.

    thanks a lot for this piece…

  2. Hey JC…it has been a while man, good to see you here again. You hit the nail on the head here, because in my opinion, the community and collaborative environment here on the blog and around the web is what keeps me invested into it. If I wasn't learning, if I wasn't meeting amazing people and creating outstanding opportunities, I wouldn't be here. I love writing, but I love the interactions that come from writing even more. Also, to your point, you get what you give when it comes to this space. The more you're willing to put in, the more your undoubtedly going to take away…

  3. Absolutely agree with all points.

    I enjoy the writing part of this equation but what I enjoy more is the endless emails from people who've found my articles to be “just what they were searching for,” or that my ebook “completely shifted their mindset about this or that.”

    And this is a stretch to say this but I've actually made some really great friends……. as of a result of being on the internet. Yes, I used to be embarrassed to say I'd made real friends on the net but it's reality. In fact, next month I'll be attending a fitness conference and actually meeting up with all these awesome people I've been connecting with this past year.

    Finally, I'll get to put these voices and email handles with some faces over a few cold beers and great conversation.

    All because I decided to write and give freely.

  4. Great post, Matt. I hope you keep doing what you are doing, because I def love reading it!
    On a completely different note, what would we do without our moms? I swear sometimes that my Mom is the only person who reads my blog.

  5. I really appreciate that Blake. And you're so right about our Mommies, at least if everyone else hates us and stops reading, Mom will always be around to give us a pat on the back, right? ;)

  6. No reason at all to be bashful about admitting that great friendships have been forged online – I'm in the exact same boat. Hell, I moved to Chicago not knowing a single person – no friends – and in the past year and a half I've made some great connections that have pretty much all stemmed from this blog or on Twitter.

    A few years ago, that would have sounded incredibly creepy – but in today's world, it's a part of life. And yes, like you, it all started with a decision to start writing here…Good times man, good times.

  7. Matt.. Brilliant as usual. It's very easy to get caught up in all the naysayers of the world but you're absolutely right that when you think about just one person you've helped things change.

    I've had times in my blogging “career” where I've doubted the impact I've had on others but just knowing I've helped just one person allows me to sleep at night.

    You have to stay true to what you believe in, even if that means a few people who will disagree.

    As the popular saying goes: haters gonna hate ;)

  8. Agreed on the staying true to yourself point. The minute you start to waiver and flip flop, you lose credibility and ultimately the trust of your audience (this isn't only related to blogging, but the business world in general).

    There will always be critics – they can come in both constructive and destructive forms. The constructive ones are valuable and are great because they push you out of your comfort zone and get you thinking in new ways – nothing wrong with disagreement and civil argumentation. The destructive, on the other hand, is a waste of energy – it'll come, but there's no point lingering on it.

    And what I've learned through personal experience and from friends and colleagues is that the critics will ALWAYS pay much closer attention to you then even your most loyal followers.

    Making a positive impact on even ONE person makes it all worth it though, doesn't it?

  9. I love that you threw Trent in there for good measure!

    Serious note – you make good points about how each blog isn't for everyone. In the end, we choose to write a blog for ourselves, and no one else. If people like it, then awesome, if not, then that's great too!

  10. Haha, he sort of fits in there, right? Full disclosure I may have a totally heterosexual man-crush on Trent.

    You may not read half of my posts and I might not read half of yours, and that's OK – it doesn't at all effect our friendship. We don't have to have the same interests to get along and in fact, if we thought the exact same way, we'd probably never have an interesting conversation. You have a great audience over in your neck of the woods and I have an amazing group of people here – For every person who thinks you suck, there are 10 more you think you're a rock star.

  11. LOVED this post, Matt! Since I started blogging I've had many of the same experiences – haters, lovers, and people completely indifferent, but it's the one email in a thousand I get saying “thank you” for making a difference in someone else's life that keeps me going. :)

  12. Hmm… and I pay $30/hr for a shrink to tell me the same thing you just did and I'm at work getting paid to read your blog. Crap, I'm a dummy. :) Great post Matt. I need to be reminded that I can't please everyone, and I'm glad that you understand that too because I get so sick of reading blogs that are all happy and fake. I like how you tell it like it is and that you can take constructive criticism. I responded to a blog the other day, only to realize that person moderates and only posts the positive feedback. That isn't exactly a fair representation. So I respect the fact that you take the good with the bad, which is going to make you almost as great as Trent Reznor one day. ha!

  13. That's ALL that matters in my mind Emily – One positive erases all the negative. It's much easier to focus on the negative, but getting too caught up in it will forever hold you back…

  14. Haha, drop the shrink and…maybe do some work at work, I wouldn't want to be responsible for getting you fired (but what a way to go, huh?) – I have to learn (and am continuing) to learn that criticism isn't always a bad thing – it CAN be, depending on it's nature, but some of my closest friends have given me brutally honest criticism that has really helped me get to where I am today – we all need those people in our lives – ones that push us to be better, challenge us, but are also there for us and will go grab a beer with you after work.

    Also, I will never (ever) be on the same playing field as Trent, I've accepted and am OK with that, lol.

  15. Matt,

    I know we had a pretty extensive chat about this the other day so a blog post seemed it was like next evolution :). I'm glad you posted this because it's something we all need to learn how to handle. When you get bigger and more well known the critics will come out of the woodworks. Often with success comes envy. That's usually because it's easy to hate on people and if the naysayers can get you to give up, then they might have a chance to catch up.

    But, I think if anything, you've just proven that the naysayers can actually be the fuel for the fire and if everytime they hate on you, you come up with new blog post ideas, make improvements in what you're doing, etc, etc, then really they're doing you a favor without realizing. They'll be consumed in their hate, while you take it and do something with it. Smart :).

    Cheers,
    SRini

  16. I'm too late to the commenting game, and the ever-wise Srini has already brilliantly said what I wanted to tell you, Matt. (Thanks, Srini! :) )

    There's some kind of amazing thing that happens between the negativity of the haters and the positivity of the lovers: you're pushed forward. Remember your post about running out of your comfort zone? Well, sometimes we're pushed/shoved/kicked out of our comfort zone. You can choose to learn & grow from it, whether you voluntarily run out of that comfort zone or involuntarily get shoved.

    Did you *really* use MS Paint? If so… awesome.

  17. Once you're hated, you've reached success – isn't that how the saying goes? I'm glad you wrote this, I almost felt you breathe easier once I was finished reading.

  18. Exactly, don't worry about the labels – at least they taking their time to give you creative names ;)
    ANd yeeah, double-high five for the focus on positivity – hack away all the dark clouds !
    It starts with one person that you have helped and inspired for the better, and from that it will only go uphill !

    Soon you'll have movement and rock the world,
    well, that's delusional, but anyway, keep rocking, Matt

  19. I don't know if I'm improving and I don't think I proved anything with this post Srini – I'm a human being so of course the negative stuff is going to get to me. At the end of the day, *I* love what I'm doing and the support of good friends like you is the only fuel I need to keep my head up and keep rockin' out. Good or bad, there's something to be learned from every single experience life throws our way – so I'll focus on continuing to learn, and maybe I'll write about it here and there along the way.

  20. If there's one thing I've learned it to expect the unexpected. You can't always prepare for change (hence the branding of my ebook 'The Inconvenience of Change') It's just that – inconvenient and can be extremely trying. But it's all a learning experience…

    And yes, this was a total 2 minute Paint job…I got skillz (with a 'z').

  21. Funny that it has to be that way – that somehow 'success' and 'hatred' go hand in hand – I'd rather focus on doing what I do than what everyone else is doing. In general, society is way too worries about what's happening around them.

    That, and oh by the way, I'm not some mega success story, just a guy trying to pay the rent. :)

  22. Your support means a LOT to me Laurie – it's great to know that you're out there reading and that every once in a while something hits home. PS – I know we talked about it before, but I'd seriously love to chat sometime when you have a few, so let me know and we can figure that out.

  23. I know, we really do need to finally Skype! Okay, it's on. You available this weekend?

    (PS – You're going to be so proud of me. I finallllly just recorded my epiphany moment. Uploading currently in process.)

  24. This weekend = not so good – SO much to do for my wedding (in 3 weeks). I'm assuming days are out? Maybe one evening next week? And PS you rock RE: Epiphany Moment! Thanks for adding your story!

  25. Had no idea you knew Nicole. I co-host #JobHuntChat with her and @cornonthejob on Mondays. It's a small social media world. Didn't realize it was you in her FaceBook pic.

    Awesome!

    Jessica

    @blogging4jobs

  26. Hi Jessica. Nicole and I are GREAT friends – personally – and we're working on a lot together professionally. Rich – exact same thing, great GREAT friend of mine. I've heard nothing but good things about you Jessica and I'm looking forward to (hopefully) chatting with you soon. Cheers!

  27. Hi Matt,
    Thanks for the little bit of inspiration to make an effort with my own writing. I hesitate because I don't have a 'pure' vision for what I, and my writing, is about. And that apparently isn't how it's done.
    However, you have made me remember all the moment when people told me what I had done mattered to them and the negative feedback that made me better than I was before I heard it. And the fun of saying *!@%$ you, I'm going to do it my way anyway :)

    thanks!
    natasja