You know, I’ve seen a lot of things in my day.
From ebay to amazon…
…from youtube to membership programs…
…from product launching to paid advertising…
…it’s safe to say I’ve been around the block.
Feels like long enough to go from the hero to the villain (blatant Dark Knight reference). Successes and failures litter my journey like notches on some old gunslinger’s belt.
“Oh great did this prick just relate himself to Batman? This should be a real humdinger…”
You’re Goddamn right I did.
Can you relate?
I admit, I don’t take back the things I say around here very often either…
…if I said it then I meant it. So I’ve burned a lot of bridges along the way.
People like to judge people. Everyone’s got an opinion. My opinion is fuck what you think, I’m too busy.
Sometimes it holds me back. Sometimes it fuels my success.
Can you relate?
Seems like I’ve been chasing that 7 figure dream online for years but I’ll probably never get it.
It appears I have found myself stuck in the “online middle class.” Just like my parents were stuck in the real life lower middle class, before me. Just like their parents were stuck in the lower class before them…
The socioeconomic road is a rocky scenic route with many detours it seems…
The “online middle class” is an okay place and far better than working for someone else, I’ll give you that…but it’s not the laptop lifestyle that sucked us all in.
I’m 42 years old and I’m still on my grind. Dream a little dream.
People say my content has gotten darker and more negative….
People say I should keep it upbeat and light. Be fun, positive and hopeful.
People are always saying something. The opinions collect like rotten leaves in my rain gutters…
…but keep it fun.
I look around and I see new dudes who aren’t new at all…
…but instead have been struggling to make money online for 1 year, 2 years, 3 years…they haven’t made a dime.
People who WISH they could get to the “online middle class.” Like I have anything to complain about. What a joke.
I don’t see anything upbeat about a dude with health issues who is spending every last fucking dime trying to make a few bucks online because he doesn’t think he’s going to be able to work at his normal job much longer…
…Nothing light or fun about that.
But I hear stories like that everyday from people. Their stories haunt me a little bit. I never know if they are telling me the truth or bullshitting me. I trust less people every year around here it seems. Feels like everyone has another angle sometimes.
You know why my content seems more dark and boring? Less pie in the sky?
I’ll tell you. Because I’m not about that bull shit.
I’m about the real shit.
When I win online it’s because I went hard as fuck in the paint (random basketball reference for you) and because I was really, really smart about it…not because I pushed some magic “easy” button.
When I make mistakes, when I get too careless, I fall short like everyone else…
…And I do. Happens all the time. I’m human.
I’m that bastard people come to on the way back down after they lost most their money to some 7 figure “guru” whispering sweet nothings of millions in their ear, cruising around in a Mclaren they bought on the hopes and dreams of every chump that came before the last sucker…
…and there’s one born everyday but…
…Now, the honeymoon is over.
When I get them, they are bitter, about to give up, and jaded as fuck. They are just trying to find SOMETHING that would prove they haven’t wasted the last 5 years of their life.
They always say the same thing about me when they come knocking too. “You just seem down to earth and honest man.”
Mr. Down to Earth and Honest. Mr. Non Flashy Boring Guy. Mr. Help them finally start earning a few bucks online and re-adjust expectations guy.
Not winning any ribbons for excitement that’s for sure.
It’s funny because most people have to go a long way around before they come back to a place where some disheveled dude with bad fashion sense…
…is teaching them how to start a business that will probably take about a year to really get going well.
That’s not sexy at all. Not one fucking bit.
Nobody wants to hear they are going to have to spend the next 12 months learning a bunch of shit they don’t want to learn, just to get a business going…
…spend the next 12 months building something that takes a commitment to consistency and adjustment. That’s not why they came here. Sounds too much like starting a real business. Too much effort.
…so it’s no surprise not many are interested in that. It takes heart to stomach the truth. It takes courage to embrace the work and not run from the work.
Key point in a long diatribe…Don’t run from the work, embrace the work.
Hell, I wouldn’t have been interested in that either when I first got started. I was on that easy shit back then. I wanted the push button dream.
Interesting thing about that dream…
…It’s easy to believe in because that’s the same dream that everybody tells you doesn’t exist…yet in the next sentence on their sales page, tries to sell you.
It’s that double speak you must be used to by now if you have spent at least 15 minutes of your life in the MMO space. That’s “make money online” for those not fully indoctrinated.
If you listen very closely you can hear them now, like hearing the ocean with a conch shell pressed against your ear…
“Push button doesn’t exist…want me to teach you how to make $320 in the next 20 minutes? YOu can scale it bruhhhhh!!!!”
No bruuhhh…I don’t want to scale it bruhhh…because you’re full of shit bruhhh. Your making your money off of me buying your bullshit bruhhhh…
And the game is rigged too. Just like that Browns v Raiders game yesterday. Fucking rigged. From the universe to the platforms…there is always something trying to keep you in your place. It’s going to take a special effort to break the loop. No doubt on that.
Doesn’t mean you can’t do it. That’s why underdogs are special. That’s why we love a good rags to riches story. Because it’s rare. You were never meant to do it. It’s going to take a special effort.
Around here you are going to get a lot of people putting a positive spin on things. Not telling you the whole story. The whole story comes with failure. I’ll tell you the whole story…
…the guy who risks it all, learns fast, and goes hard in the paint all the time probably wins. I say probably because this is life…we don’t always get what we deserve.
Does a guy win if he gets to 25k a month but loses his wife in the process, because she’s sick of being ignored? You tell me, I don’t know anymore. Sounds subjective.
We don’t always get what we deserve.
Actually scratch that…we don’t deserve anything. We get exactly what our actions dictate. And if we are good at analyzing what happened we get better and better at it.
Yeah that’s it man. What we deserve in life is in direct response to the action we take and how we adjust to our mistakes. ANd I feel like that’s important. I feel like this post is important.
But at the end of the day…what am I trying to say?
Look To The Losses For Your Truth (or Why You’ve only Been Getting Half The Story And How to Find Real Success!)
People are always crying about getting ripped off around here.
It reminds me of when I was in the Navy. All the new recruits used to cry the blues about how the recruiters lied to them.
I’ll admit, I just used to laugh at them back then.
And do I laugh at the newbies now?
Not exactly. Let me explain.
I am a firm believer in the idea that none of us deserve anything. If you work hard enough, you are clever enough and ambitious enough…
…then maybe you get to win. Not because you deserve anything, but instead because you figured something out.
I think the fact that you are not rewarded because you “deserve to be” is important to remember in these dark days of mass entitlement.
None of us really “deserve” anything.
The gods of Internet Marketing don’t give participation prizes…
…not because you hung out in a bunch of IM forums and facebook groups for years and not because you doinked around, brilliantly half assing it on every low ticket product from WarriorPlus Drive to Clickbank Avenue…
What is required is a paradigm shift.
A way to break the cycle.
A loophole in the fabric of the universe…
…a universe that says you are destined to work at a dead end job that you hate for the rest of your life.
I will tell you how.
Look to the losses for your truth.
The truth is you are not being told the whole story.
Would it be hard to put together a 286 piece loft bed with only half the directions? I’ll answer that for you…it would be pretty damn hard, I have some experience in this.
Do you think it would be easy to understand the movie if someone edited it down to JUST the action scenes? I mean, you might get the gist of it but you probably couldn’t write the movie review.
Remember when you were in elementary school and you were supposed to read a book and do a book report? You had that amazing idea to just write the book report from the “back of the book” summary?
That shit didn’t work did it (lol).
Well, many times in the world of internet marketing it is the same thing.
Marketers are a prideful, arrogant lot who like to win.
It’s embarrassing to lose. So like anyone else who is embarrassed by something, many marketers do not speak of the losses.
I’m not saying there is anything wrong with speaking on the wins and focusing on the positive. It’s good to be positive and focus on the positive…
….but as marketers we don’t just focus on the positive.
We do full blown courses on the positive. We create giant blog posts on the positive. We construct megalithic case studies and turn them into grand products that focus on the positive…
We sell the dream.
But the dream is not the whole story.
ANd without the whole story…it’s a little hard to achieve the same results that the story is showing.
I mean, think about it. Could Dorothy ever have gotten out of Oz if nobody bothered to tell her about the Yellow Brick Road? What about those shoes? What if she would have never gotten those ruby shoes?
It might have been a different story right? Maybe not such a classic?
Do you know what happens to new people who get sold the dream and only understand half the story?
They walk away with their brand new, shiny step by step actionable instructions and they tend to fail quite a bit.
After that, they curse the stupid “guru” who sold them the dream and they move on to the NEXT dream.
Eventually, their bitterness turns introspective and they begin to wonder if perhaps they themselves, might be cursed…
…afterall, everybody seems to be winning and making money except them.
What is the problem?
I’ll tell you what the problem is.
You only got half the story. You only saw the action scenes. The negative aspects of the story were purposely withheld from you in an effort to make the story…
…more sexy. More convenient. Easier to swallow. Like a nice dose of “tastes great, less filling…”
But not the whole story.
I once spent 5 years in the United States Navy as a Hospital Corpsman.
Before I left, the Navy told me they had given me an education worth about 100k and I had enough field experience to test out for my Nursing license (lpn)…
…and I did what any blue blooded 24 year old American Male who was sick of the military life would do…
…I moved to Rhode Island and got a job unloading trucks. After I got sick of that, I went on to working maintenance at McDonalds with my 100k education.
While at the Golden Arches, sweeping floors and living up to my Generation X background of squandering my education masterfully and wasting my full potential…
…I noticed that all these old timers were always hanging out there all the time talking about their trips to Foxwoods (nearby casino.) It was a daily thing. A ritual.
These old guys always lounged around at that local McDonald’s like a bunch of salty dogs in good ol’ Rhode Island talking about their wins.
As I swept the floor each morning I would begin to wonder if these old bastards ever lost. I mean…
…what the hell am I doing sweeping this floor…these guys seemed like they were winning every single time they went to that casino. I mean…I want to win too…I like easy money…
I started thinking…”Hell, that must be the winningest Casino known to man because these old timers are striking it rich daily!”
And then I visited that damn casino for the first time.
It looked like the goddamned Emerald City as we rolled up. Literally, glistening in the sun a bright jade green color. Parking lot full of people, shuttle busses to give everyone a ride up to the place.
I thought, wow, this is awesome. It was all systems go for me. All green lights!
The place was beautiful inside with everything you could think of to do in there but no clocks and the main attraction?
Gambling. And off I went…time to get MINE!!!
It took me about 2 hours to figure out that those old dudes at McDonalds were not telling the whole story.
There was a lot of winning going on in there all right…for the casino.
I quickly realized why this place was so amazing looking. It was all built on the dreams of it’s “guests.”
It does not take long to lose lots of money in a Casino. They know all the tricks.
So people leave many times feeling like fools for losing a ton of cash.
They aren’t interested in reliving that and they definitely aren’t interested in telling other people about how they just lost their ass at the casino last night…
No sir, they are going to keep going back until they get a win. And then they to will have something to talk about. Something cool and awesome that makes them feel good…like a winner.
Now, I’m not saying that marketers are like addicted gamblers who don’t know when to say when. But I am saying that embarrassment is real and most people are not too interested in talking about losses.
It’s a paradox though…
…I mean, how does someone win if they don’t have the whole story? How does someone understand what to do if they don’t know about the losses AND the wins?
They are going to have an unrealistic expectation from only being fed half the story.
Maybe, they puzzle it out for themselves by exploring multiple strategies from multiple people, until they stumble upon something that is working for them.
Or maybe they give up feeling like a fool.
Kind of like throwing a bunch of stuff against a wall and seeing what sticks. It leaves a lot of people in frustration.
When I started Epic Conversions in 2016 I adopted a strong “share the losses AND the wins” mentality.
I didn’t want to be like those old salty dogs at McDonald’s all those years ago. Fooling people with the wins and hiding the losses. The losses are just as important as the wins.
If you don’t believe me, go ask anyone who’s ever been married.
Yeah, it would be embarrassing to share the losses.
Yeah, I would be perceived as probably less successful than some.
And yeah, my business would probably grow a little slower because of it.
I mean, do you want to be taught how to succeed by the seemingly “mega successful” lambo driving dude who appears to really have his shit together?
Or do you want to be taught how to succeed by the middle class, sleeveless shirt wearing, redneck who talks about messing up his last sales page on facebook?
If we are being honest…people go for the sexy dream most times.
I usually get them on the way back down when they have sworn vengeance on all things internet marketing, made like 20 guru’s their mortal enemies…
…and are now just trying to figure out how to make a little extra money online (lol at that imagery…been there.)
I am the practical guy who will tell you about my mess ups. It’s important to me for you to understand I am a real guy and this is a real business that you can do…and it’s okay to mess up.
We all mess up. And if you are like me you mess up over and over again, each time adjusting and getting a little better at what you do.
This last product I launched, The Easy 23, was a solid launch. But I did make a pretty big mistake.
I got too cocky with my sales page. Too overconfident, and when it didn’t convert like I wanted it to, I had to make another one.
I literally spend the afternoon of the first day of my launch penning a brand new sales letter/page because the one I had in place was converting at a miserable 6%.
I was wasting a ton of traffic. I was losing a ton of money. This is what was buzzing through my head as I cursed my stupidity on that first day furiously typing a 3rd sales page.
So finally, I got my new sales page in place and by the beginning of the second day I had my conversions up to a blazing 31%. The product launch was getting salvaged and things were looking up.
However, how many affiliates mailed for me once that first morning and when the product did not convert, moved on?
I estimate I probably lost around 2k on that little mistake.
So the lesson there?
Always work from a template on your sales letters and pages. Don’t get TOO creative in that department. Always roll with a back up and make sure that backup is hitting on a different angle.
This is real marketing and I am a real marketer. If you want to know the whole story…
…if you want to know who you should follow and learn from?
…take this small piece of advice to heart.
Look to the losses for your truth.
Find the marketers out there who are putting their losses on display for the world to see.
And I don’t mean some long lost mistake they made in the beginning of their career back when they were still living in “a trailer.”
I mean, Jesus, it’s like every internet marketer now started their journey in a trailer with a bunch of drug addicts…
…but that was a long time ago…before they bought a Bugatti.
Now, shit is different right? Now that you have a super car and live in a mansion…you don’t mess up anymore right?
No mistakes are ever made?
Here is what I am saying. Finally, to the point.
Everyone messes up. Even when they win at a high level, they still mess up. To be fallible is to be human.
If you want to win here you need to see the whole picture. Look to the losses for your truth.
That’s all I got! Good luck out there! If you can make it here you can make it anywhere!
How to go from ZERO to LEVEL 60 DRAGON SLAYER when your wife hates you, your kids ignore you, and your family laughs at you!!! (or 23 steps to running with the big dogs)
First let me just say something…
…I want you to adopt a strong “fuck what you think” mentality throughout this process. You’ll thank me later. Half the people you know don’t give a shit about you and the other half want to see you fail so seriously…fuck what they think.
Alright you got it? Cool…let’s do this.
Step 1. Pick a niche
Step 2. Go to your favorite PLR site and find 3 special reports on said niche. Download them. Make sure you have Master Resell rights on these reports.
Step 3. Break apart all the chapters of all the special reports into individual articles. These articles are very synergetic and flow well into each other.
Step 4. Turn the articles into emails. Be sure to lead into the next email at the end of the previous email. Now you should have a package of at least 30 to 50 emails on one subject. This is an autoresponder sequence that can be packaged as a product and sold. It is utilitarian in nature.
Step 5. Come up with a title and subtitle for your new product. Hit them in the mouth with the title and tell them why you did it with the subtitle.
Step 6. Go over to Canva(dot)com and create a cover for your new product.
Step 7. Create a license for your new product. YOu can model this license after the ones that came with your PLR special reports. But in your case only give [personal use] rights.
Step 8. Zip the emails, and the cover, and the license into a zipfile. Call this file [FE PRODUCT] Congratulations, you now have a finished product.
Step 9. Copy file [FE PRODUCT]. Rename this file [OTO1]. Create another license but this one will give the user PLR rights to the emails. Replace the personal use license that is in OTO1 with the PLR license. Congratulations, you now have an OTO for your product.
Step 10. Go over to wix(dot)come and create a new free website. Call it something that makes sense for your niche.
Step 11. Create 2 new pages on this website. One will be called FE-sales and the other will be called OTO1-sales.
Step 12. On your FE-sales, you need a sales letter to sell your product. Go back to your favorite PLR website and see if there are any PLR sales letters you can use. FInd one that you like and adapt it to fit your product.
Step 13. Go over to WarriorPlus and look at the top 10 selling products today. Find one that resonates with you and model your FE-Sales sales page aesthetically after that. It won’t be perfect. They probably used clickfunnels or leadpages and you are using wix. DOn’t worry about it. The road to success does not go through perfection. It goes through effort and productivity so your good.
Step 14. Put on a clean shirt, point a camera at your face and record a video in which you tell people:
Step 15. Start a youtube channel and upload that video as an unlisted video
Step 16. Embed that video on your OTO1-sales page.
Step 17. Create product listing for FE PRODUCT and OTO1 on WarriorPlus. Upload the zip files directly to warriorplus.
Step 18. Create a new offer on WarriorPlus with FE PRODUCT as the main product and OTO1 as the upsell.
Step 19. Put the buy buttons on FE-sales and OTO1-sales pages (be sure to put a “no thanks” link on OTO1-sales right below the buy button)
Do you know about The Empire Strikes Back Effect?
You see, The Empire Strikes Back is a really funny movie…
…not ha ha funny either.
I mean it’s the kind of funny that leaves you thinking you’re not quite sure how you feel about it.
It drops you off at a really dark point in the story with all these cliffhangers…all these open loops.
Sure, from 2018 we might look back on it as one of the greatest films ever created but in 1980 when it was released…
…people didn’t feel like that.
Think about it…they had waited 3 years from the original Star Wars until The Empire Strikes Back came out.
And it would be 3 MORE years until Return of the Jedi closed all those storylines that Empire left people hanging on.
From Luke losing the duel, his hand, and maybe even his mind a little bit to Darth Vader, to Han Solo being encased in carbonite…
…let’s face it The Empire Strikes back ended our heroes on a dark note.
It was met with mixed reviews too.
People weren’t quite sure how they felt about it but honestly…I think they were mad because they got left on all those major cliffhangers.
They got no closure.
Years later, we love The Empire Strikes Back. We hail it as maybe the best Star Wars movie EVER! But we get the luxury of having a 3rd movie to watch.
They didn’t have that back in 1980.
So what the hell is my point here?
Why am I talking about The Empire Strikes Back for God’s sake and what the hell does that have to do with making money online?
It’s something I discovered when I started mentoring people.
A weird phenomenon.
You know how people always say that once they figured out they could make their first dollar online they were off to the races and they never looked back???
Yeah, that’s not true for everyone.
Some people experience a little success online and when it comes time to rinse and repeat they run into all kinds of trouble.
It’s like an effect that comes over people after they have achieved a little bit of success, but not as much as they had pictured in their minds…
…and now they know what they have to do to truly win.
A whole bunch more of what they just did.
Only now…nothing is new…or at least it doesn’t feel new anymore. The novelty is worn off.
Now comes the rinse and repeat portion that you always hear marketers talking about.
You know…”let me show you this easy way to make money online…then you just rinse and repeat until you’re RICH!”
Nobody tells you what that’s like, “rinsing and repeating.”
It requires more discipline and dedication to stay with it, than when you had never done it before and everything was brand new.
The truth is there is MORE to learn and there is another frontier. The place you were trying to get to…
…only to get there you have to slog through a bunch of stuff that you have already done before and that isn’t exciting.
It’s kind of just a bunch of work.
That must be how Luke Skywalker felt at the end of The Empire Strikes Back.
Here, he thought that he was going to go duel Darth Vader and save the galaxy…
…but all that happened was he lost his hand, got his butt kicked and figured out that Darth Vader was actually his dad…
…He must have been hanging from that antenna thinking…
“damn…this is going to be much harder and take way longer than I thought…I have really underestimated my task. And on top of that my dad is a freaking Level 60 Douchebag!!!! Damn it!”
(wait until he figures out Princess Organa is his sister lol)
Anyways, to me…
…the greatness of Empire Strikes Back is that the fans watching the movie were left in a similar emotional state as Luke and the rebels when it comes to the story.
They wanted to know what happened. Instead they got left with a bunch of crap where NONE of their heroes won at all!
It sucked. Zero Closure.
It’s a lot like the first time someone launches a product. They might have won a little bit…
…saw maybe a little profit and put some valuable buyers leads on their list…
…but for the most part they are hanging from an antennae thinking…damn now what the hell am I supposed to do…
…I have to do ALL THAT AGAIN???
It’s the Empire Strikes Back Effect and my friends the struggle is real.
This is a point where many newer marketers give up.
They have experienced a little success but they have worked hard for it.
And now they think they know what’s behind all the hidden doors. How everything works and why everything happens.
Now they are left with the…”rinse and repeat.”
That can feel frustrating and boring.
And many times they go running into the warm and waiting comforting arms of the next shiny object sitting in their email inbox.
And the cycle begins again. It’s ironic and paradoxical.
ANd this is how people get demoted and stay at the bottom of the “marketing pile” for years.
I want you to take comfort in something here.
Luke Skywalker did not give up at the end of The Empire Strikes Back.
He went on to become a badass Jedi Knight and defeat Darth Vader.
Many of you set out to accomplish something online.
Learning how to do something and seeing a little success with it is a great benchmark for the future.
It proves that you are on the right track.
But you have not accomplished what you set out to yet.
Do not fall victim to The Empire Strikes Back effect and give up here.
True success online has allies.
The ability to learn from failures.
And The ability to adjust strategy.
These things have gotten me further than anything else.
As a coach and mentor to quite a few people now I can tell you without a doubt that…
…lots of people give up after they have seen a little success. They lose a few of the critical allies of success, namely ambition and consistency.
Don’t be that person.
Knowledge is power and now that you know about The Empire Strikes Back Effect, you can be ready for it.
Go forth, conquer, come on back whenever you need another Star Wars analogy lol!
That’s all I got!
The truth is no one ever succeeded at anything by having the most options. By knowing the most ways to do something or having the most tools…
…You don’t need to be the smartest person in the room to succeed. You do need to be the most certain. The most clear.
Success in business and in life is earned through clarity of vision and purpose.
On social media, everyone has an opinion. I do, you do, your neighbor who judges you because you don’t cut your grass often enough does…
Have you ever felt like you didn’t fit in somewhere?
I know someone who has.
The Man of Steel was born on a planet far away that was pretty much destroyed when he was born.
And although he resides on earth, and fights the good fight, he is not one of us.
I love that movie Gladiator. Have you ever seen it?
It’s set in ancient Rome around the time that Emperor Marcus Aurelius, the great stoic philosopher was in power.
I think it’s really cool because it’s about a guy who just wants to be a farmer, and hang out with his wife and kids, but he can’t because he has this very special skill set.
His name is Maximus, and he is a great soldier and leader of men. So of course the Emperor needs him to command his Army. Keep in mind, Maximus has been away from his family for 3 years…
I remember this one point in the movie, he turned to his assistant Cicero and asked him if he found it hard to do his duty.
Cicero looks at him and said:
I want to take you behind the scenes of my most recent product launch, Talk Show Empire. I admit to struggling to put this post out. It requires me to humble myself. But I do so in the spirit of helping others succeed.
At the end of the day, it’s not about me and it never was. It’s always been about you.
PART ONE – THE SET UP
Step 1. Turn off your computer, go to the park and take a walk.
Step 2. Get a pen and a piece of paper and find a quiet place. Write down a plan to be successful online. Give yourself 12 months to achieve this.
Step 3. Come to terms with the art of not playing it safe. Adopt a strict “beat fear into submission policy.” Accept the worst that could happen for what it is, your fear trying to keep you in a comfortable miserable place.
Step 4. Take your 12 month plan and break it into 4 three month quarter plans. Each should move you closer to your 12 month goal.
Step 5. Take your 4 quarter plans and break them into monthly, weekly and then daily do lists.
Step 6. Execute. The best laid plans are meaningless unless you respect them. Take action on your daily tasks. Get things done.
Step 7. Understand that the true key to success is to keep moving forward. Take time to celebrate your victories and to understand your losses but only a day or two. To win here you must keep moving forward.
Step 8. Respect your time. Give a dedicated amount of time each day to practical tasks that move your business forward. Your family and friends do not need to understand. They only need to understand that this thing is important to you. Success leaves clues. Some of those clues are scars.
Step 8. If you falter, see Step 6.
Step 9. If you grow cowardly, and you will know by the extreme uptick of second guessing and hesitation…see Step 3.
Step 10. Own every decision, every failure, every success like a boss. Blaming others is for victims. Blame yourself and fix it.
I have. Literally and figuratively.
Not long ago I found myself painted into a pretty interesting corner.
You see, I make my living on the internet, and that is incredibly liberating because I set my own schedule, call my own shots, and just generally do all the things a boss does.
It’s good to be the boss.
So good that you might overlook a couple little details. Details like spending more time staring at a computer screen than walking around in the real world.
Who ever set out to build an entrepreneurial empire and imagined themselves staring at a screen all day like some mindless robot drone?
Not me man. That’s not my idea of a good time.
And yet…it was my reality.
I would be on the desktop…
I would be on the laptop…
Checking emails on the tablet…
Watching videos on the mobile…
…then for fun? You guessed it…xbox and netflix with a side of Hulu for good measure.
I started doing the math and I realized that I was literally spending more time staring at screens than actually looking at the REAL world.
It was kind of terrifying. It’s not just me either.
I was reading an article last year that said people are now spending an average of 8 hours and 41 minutes on electronic devices.
That’s 20 minutes more than they spend sleeping.
Basically we are getting to a place where we are just always connected.
It seemed somehow wrong to me to always be “connected.”
It has a sinister feel to it, like that movie “Needful Things” where the old guy in the Boutique is giving people all these cool items that help them…
…but really he’s the devil and everyone who gets one of those items is F*CKED!
Yeah, maybe I watch too many movies but that’s the kind of feel it has to me when you say people are spending more time staring at screens than doing anything in the real world.
I had an idea.
I wanted to know something.
What would I do if I didn’t spend ANY time online staring at screens?
How would I spend my day?
What would I think about?
Would I be productive?
How would I entertain myself?
What would my life look like if I took things back to 1995 for a day?
Challenging I know, since the internet is actually my job…but I never backed away from a challenge before.
So I decided I would spend 24 hours straight “off the grid” so to speak.
Nothing that involved me staring at a “black mirror.”
I thought that it would be a day filled with anxiety, fidgeting and boredom but what ended up happening to me was actually so eye opening that I have decided to go off the grid like this for 24 hours…
…every. single. week.
Here are 5 of my takeaways from disconnecting for 24 hours straight:
ONE – The world slowed down
One of the first things I did that morning was buy a newspaper because I figured I’d need something to do.
What I noticed was that I casually spent the entire day coming back to various parts of the paper and taking in the news. I felt like I was controlling the narrative of my life a little bit more.
I wasn’t just being blasted with a steady stream of new content. I picked that paper up and put it down as I went about my day. It was nice and it felt like the world had slowed down.
One thing that bugs me about the world today is how fast everything appears to move. News and information zip along at a blindingly fast pace.
I truly do not think we as a society even have time to process most of it anymore before we are bombarded with the next thing.
TWO – I actually enjoyed reading
I didn’t just skim. I must have bought a newspaper no less than 5 times in the last 5 months and never even got past the front page.
This day was different.
This time I was actually enjoying the ritual of reading the newspaper. And when my kids got home I gave them the comics section. It was a good feeling.
THREE – Going clear
As the morning turned into the afternoon I was thinking more decisive than normal. Decisions were coming a little easier. Things didn’t seem quite so jumbled.
I noticed that the majority of the articles in the paper were negative in nature or presented problems. Everything except the ads…
…they were pretty positive.
I saw an ad that took up a whole page that was done like it was supposed to be an article. It was cool because it was a hero’s journey style sales copy. It had pictures and testimonials and the pitch was at the bottom.
It made me smile because it was well done and I thought it was cool. It was the most positive thing in that whole paper.
I know because I counted all the articles and kept score of the negatives, the positives, and the ones that presented problems to you (I.E. The homeless problem downtown is at an all-time high and the temperatures are dropping for the winter.)
The only positives in that whole paper was the sales copy of ads.
What do you think the meaning of that is?
I don’t think I would have had the focus to mess with it or even notice it in my normal life. Let alone fathom what it meant.
FOUR – Remembering Projects
As my focus improved I started remembering things that I wanted to get done that had been put off for months because I just felt there wasn’t enough time.
The internet makes you feel that way.
It speeds you up to this pace of content and you have this underlying feeling that you don’t have time for a lot that doesn’t have to do with being online…
It was an illusion.
I had the time.
I got these curtains put up in our house that my wife had wanted up for a while…
…I got some doorstops mounted that I had bought last month…
…and a book called, “How to Rig an Election: Confessions of a Republican Operative” that had been sitting on my bedside table for 5 months…
…I finally started reading it.
I had felt like I just didn’t have the time. That book had sat right next to my tablet for months which I always had time to pick up every single night.
I read 150 pages of that 256 page book. It has been a long time since I read that much of any one thing. A renewed sense of focus I guess you could say.
The book was absolutely fantastic and eye opening.
FIVE – Ideas come flooding through
I noticed that when I slowed the world down, ideas started coming to me. Ideas for products, for blog posts, for youtube videos.
I started the day with a blank composition notebook for any ideas that might come to me. In the morning I remember staring at it with a pen and just thinking…God…I have nothing to say.
So I gave up and started reading the paper. As the day went on though I started coming back to that little composition notebook and sketching out concepts for products. Notes for blog posts. Even ideas I had for songs.
I’m a musician but I haven’t written any new songs for years now or even played my guitar for months.
This article you are reading now was actually something I thought up that day when I didn’t “connect.”
It felt like as I disconnected from “devices” I began to reconnect to self.
SO WHAT THE HELL IS THE POINT?
Here is what I believe.
There is good in the world, there is bad in the world, and then there is balance.
I do not think the internet is a bad thing. I like the internet. It changed my life for the better.
But I think that sometimes something so interesting comes along that if you are not careful you can get lost inside it.
The idea of having the world’s knowledge at your fingertips is one such thing.
A place where you can learn about anything, get instant validation and feedback for any ideas you might have, hear any song, watch any movie…
It reminds me of when Friedrich W. Nietzsche said, “”He who fights with monsters should be careful lest he thereby become a monster. And if thou gaze long into an abyss, the abyss will also gaze into thee.”
I’m not interested in becoming a monster and I’m not interested in the abyss staring back into my soul.
I will take 24 hours off every week from now on to reconnect with reality a little bit. I think it’s important.
What about you?
How has the internet changed the way you live your life?
What the hell did Friedrich W. Nietzsche mean when he started talking about monsters and abysses?
Let me know!
That’s all I got! See you in the next one!