Arrogance and the Self Improvement Movement

A Randomly Occurring Upside Down Cross

I know one of the reasons I don’t get more attention on Medium. I mean, there could be lots of others, but this is one.

What I write on Medium focuses on me. This is because of arrogance.

Not the way you think though. I’m arrogant sometimes, but not about my writing. I’m insecure as hell about my writing, and if I were to say “This is how you should be doing things” I would feel like that was unwarranted arrogance. Instead what I have to offer is honesty. This is what I have tried that worked, this is what I tried that caused me to fall flat on my face.

At least I’m consistent. I read people in the self-improvement sphere, and I find them incredibly arrogant. There are exceptions. Kris Gage strikes me as humble – of course she mostly talks about herself and her relationships.

Yann Girard too. He talks about himself a lot, about what worked for him, and what failed. I haven’t tried out too much of his stuff, but I’m starting to. He’s a decent writer, and I like his approach.

The one that bugs me the most is Benjamin Hardy. Now, I will freely admit that jealousy probably plays a role in that. He’s got a reach that’s in the millions, and he’s clearly done very well for himself while being quite a bit younger than I am… everything about him just seems so smug though. That’s a public persona, and my reaction to it probably stems from the fact that I wish I was in his position. It’s also worth noting that I have found large portions of his advice valuable, even though I have a deep dislike of anyone who treats friendships as units of utility and recommends that you only have friends who benefit you in some way. Also, because I do follow a lot of people who know Benjamin Hardy I hear them talk about him, and they all say good things about him. Maybe he’s actually an incredibly nice guy and I malign him for no reason (okay, probably). I did say honesty was the only thing I had to offer right?

It’s something about sounding like you have the answers that really bugs me. Maybe because I know I don’t have the answers, I know that I’m still trying to find all the right questions, a task that I expect will take me my entire life. Anyway, whatever the cause, I don’t think any of us really have the answers, we just have the answers that have worked for us so far, if we are lucky.

Then again, maybe I don’t like the answers. See, I’m a storyteller. I write because I have these stories in my head that I want to communicate. The answers a lot of folks in the self-improvement community seem to have started with “find out what your audience wants and write that”. I could, but it would destroy the whole reason I’m trying to pursue this career, I’m trying to tell these stories. There is no other elements, just the stories. Sure, I would like telling these stories to be the thing that I do for a living, and I think it’s possible, but if I’m not telling the stories I want to tell I might as well go back to writing software.

Maybe it’s the same for you, maybe you don’t want to be a “success”, maybe you aren’t arrogant enough to think you already have the answers. If that’s the case, please join me, and let’s see if we can come up with a way to do this as storytellers, not “Authorpreneurs”.

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