My Intentions for This Site

April 2nd, 2005 by Steve Pavlina

I’ve received some reader comments and private feedback that suggest this would be a good time to clarify my intentions for this site, so here goes….

It’s always been my intention to cover all aspects of personal growth and development: mental, physical, spiritual, and social. If it relates to personal growth in any way, it’s fair game.

Instead of doing a different post every day on a new topic, I like to take one topic and go really deep into it for a few weeks or months. This is the same way I tend to read books and do research: dive deeply into one field until my mind is practically overloaded, then switch to something completely different while I integrate and reflect on what I learned in the previous cycle.

Occasionally I’ll intersperse non-related topics or bobble around a bit, but generally I like to stick with one subject and stay with it until I’ve virtually exhausted it.

So far I’ve done a lot of writing about work/career, productivity, motivation, and living on purpose. This past week I’ve written about philosophy and metaphysics. I realize now that it must have seemed like these topics were coming from out of left field given the previous themes on this site. Eventually I want to cover relationships and health too.

If you’re only interested in one aspect of personal growth, like just the productivity stuff, then just be aware that it’s only going to be a small slice of the content. If that means you find subscribing to the site’s RSS feed less useful, then you may wish to just sign up for the newsletter instead, so you can just get monthly updates and don’t have to keep downloading content that isn’t of interest to you. I haven’t sent out the first issue yet but will probably do so this summer.

As this site has grown over the past six months, the site’s header and home page have changed a few times to reflect the evolving content. I can see it’s time for me to update them again.

In March 2005, StevePavlina.com received 128,000 visitors, and I expect April to put that figure to shame. So clearly every post won’t appeal to every reader no matter what I write about. This site will be most useful to someone who’s very dedicated to their conscious growth in every area of life, someone who wants to improve their health, relationships, spiritual growth, career, thinking & beliefs, etc.

Because of the variety of topics covered, some posts will seem utterly irrelevant to you while others may seem like I’m reading your mind. That’s just the nature of writing about personal growth. Everyone is at a different point in their life right now, including me. Whenever I switch topics, I receive both praise and criticism for doing so — I think that’s to be expected.

If the idea of working consciously on your own personal growth is relatively new to you, then you may be unaware of just how connected all these disparate subjects really are. I’ve been amazed at how many times I’ve worked on a “problem” directly, only to find success by coming at it from a completely different angle. For example, if you feel you want to improve your productivity and you’re only making tediously slow incremental progress, you may find that when you change your diet or begin a new relationship, your productivity suddenly skyrockets. This is very common. So even though a topic may seem like total bunk to you, there’s always the possibility it may present a backdoor solution or perspective you never considered. You’ll have to be the ultimate judge as to whether a line of inquiry has potential or is likely to be a waste of your time. In my opinion spirituality and philosophy are hugely relevant to personal growth because they can dictate your perspective, which will largely define which problems in your life you can solve. If you pursue personal growth with a passion, you’ll eventually reach a point where you’ll need to redefine your whole perspective on life in order to make further progress.

You won’t always agree with my points of view — that’s to be expected. I enjoy healthy debate, since it can lead to new insights. I’m always looking to assimilate new perspectives, and I’ve revised my opinions on many previous topics based on reader feedback and discussion. Plus when readers suggest extra books or resources to check out, I often read those too. There are plenty of gaps in my own understanding, so I appreciate it when others help me fill some of them in. This site is a vehicle for my own personal growth too.

Eventually, I may post something that you find offensive (if I haven’t done so already). That’s to be expected too given the size of the audience, my desire to challenge people, and the nature of the subjects. While I don’t believe in personally attacking people, I see ideas as fair game, including ideas you may consider sacred and untouchable. So if that sort of thing bothers you, you can choose to be bothered by it or you can stop visiting. I’m OK either way. And if you feel inclined to take a few parting shots at me on the way out, that’s OK too. But at least write something clever and witty so we can all have a good laugh.

You may see me write something that contradicts something I’ve written earlier. That’s to be expected as a natural consequence of my own growth. I always do my best to be truthful and honest; however, since I shift my perspectives and beliefs often, the context for my writing frequently changes. When my context shifts to a point very distant from yours, you may think I’ve gone wacky. I am wacky, so that’s OK. I don’t know too many other people who see human belief systems as a continent to go exploring and adventuring. Consequently, you can expect a lot more wackiness in the future. I expect to attract a pretty diverse crowd over the next few years. I think it will be a lot of fun. One month I may be writing about time management techniques, and the next month I might post interviews with people who believe they’re alien abductees.

I take a very experiential view towards life, and I’m intensely curious. One of my core beliefs is that belief itself is a choice that can be made of our own free will. I believe we can proactively choose to believe whatever we want instead of merely letting our beliefs coalesce as reactions to events. I exercise that freedom a lot and dive in and out of different perspectives and belief systems … just so I can experience and learn from them. Consequently, you’d have a hard time nailing me down and trying to label me based on my beliefs because I’m a moving target. I don’t belong to any religion nor to any political party.

At least for the near future, I intend to keep putting up content for free. The Google ads have been effective, and most of the time they seem relevant, so I don’t feel they degrade the quality of the site — in fact, they’ve made me aware of some interesting new resources myself. I may add donation buttons in the future too, but right now I don’t plan to make payment for any content obligatory. In fact, I may very well turn this site into a nonprofit venture.

Some people have asked me about podcasting or putting up video content. I’m not interested in those presently, although I’ll likely get into audio/video content in the future. It’s extra work, audio/video content isn’t easily searchable, and I’m doubtful that the aggregate benefit to visitors would justify the time. Right now I’m keeping that possibility open though.

I have a lot of little changes on my to do list for this site, including making articles and blog entries more easily printable. I expect to implement those in the weeks ahead.

My public speaking skills are progressing nicely. I’ve been at it for 10 months now, but I’m not at a professional level yet. Probably 1-2 more years will do it. I still have a great deal to learn, but I’m a fast learner. One advantage is that I have no fear of making a fool of myself in front of an audience, so I’ve been trying a wide variety of subjects and styles to see what works best for me, similarly to how I experiment with different belief systems. My next speech is in two days.

My motivation for doing what I do is very basic: to pursue personal growth and to share the pursuit of growth with others. That’s my purpose and the fire that burns within me. I don’t care about ego gratification or fame or fortune. Those things just aren’t real to me, and they don’t possess the power to motivate me. Whether I win the lottery or go broke, become publicly idolized or demonized, lose my legs or grow antennae, … I’ll just keep doing the same thing. Only my context and my capacity to do it will be affected.

I don’t care about building a brand or a business. Those are only means to an end. My actions may indirectly align with those things from time to time, but if that happens, it’s merely incidental. I do like building a lot of web traffic though, since it means I get to mess with the minds of even more people. ;)

Expect change. Since I pursue growth with intense passion and energy, and since I do so in a hands-on experiential manner, I undergo shifts which often alter my personality and my writing style. And that’s only been increasing since I’ve turned this pursuit into a new career (if that term even applies). If you get too attached to your model of who you think I am, you’ll only be disappointed and frustrated with me when I fail to live up to your labels. But if you really like labels, “slippery beast” is pretty accurate.

That should about do it. :)



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