Beliefs and opinions are formed information from media, personal interests, and experience. Some of your views may be easily challenged, others will stay with you until the day you die.
I respect those who have the integrity to stick to their beliefs, even when it is not always in their best interests to do so. For example, my younger brother is vegan. He does not eat meat, fish or dairy. He also does not use animal products like leather. This means that he frequently goes to the houses of friends and cannot even sit down because they have a leather sofa. Whilst I do not feel as strongly as he does about these issues, I have a lot of respect for him sticking to his beliefs. His life would be a lot easier if he conformed to what others think he should do…but he never has, regardless of the social pressure.
Do You Have an Open Mind?
Most of you who read this blog work online in some capacity. Many of you are bloggers, some of you are developers, and others are just about to start their online journey.
When people first start working online, they are like sponges, constantly looking for more information about what they should or should not do.
The longer you work online, the more you form opinions of how certain things should be done. This is not always a bad thing. We all develop our own style and develop a particular way of working online.
Let me ask you this: What happens if someone challenges your beliefs? Do you always listen to their side of the story?
“The measure of intelligence is the ability to change.”
― Albert Einstein
I would love to tell you all that I always have an open mind, but I do not. I have been working online a long time, however I still occasionally read articles from people who have only been working online a short space of time. When I read something that I disagree with, my natural reaction is to think that the author is new and inexperienced. Maybe this is not the right thing to do. Perhaps it is in my own benefit to be more open to the ideas of others, even when I have more experience than them.
I form opinions based on my own experiences but the world is not always black and white. As the saying goes “There’s more than one way to skin a cat”.
This is something I have been thinking about a lot recently. Last week I shared my blogging goals for this blog with all of you. The review of my traffic reminded me that I need to increase the number of referral links to this blog; both to raise my presence in search engines and to increase referral traffic.
I have been working hard to write good content for this blog every day, however not enough people know about the blog in order for it to grow quickly. It is therefore important for me to get my name out there and and raise my profile. This has led me to rethink my whole policy on guest posting. I believed that you should always get paid for the work you do online and should not be writing articles for others for free. This was a close-minded view as every situation is different:
- The websites that pay me to write articles for them are not always closely related to the topics I post about here. It would be in my interests to guest post on websites which have a similar target audience to mine.
- The review of my blogging goals reminded me that my primary goal at the moment is not to make money. It is to raise my profile and increase traffic to this blog.
Therefore I plan on writing guest posts for some other blogs and seeing what kind of return I get. I have not actively written guest posts for others for a few years so it will be interesting for me to get my views across to a different audience.
My review also raised the issue of income reports again and whether I should be open about my income with all of you. It is something which I have been sitting on the fence about. Joe from JoeCanWrite left some fantastic comments explaining his view on the subject. He explained that he gets a lot of value from people who share what they do online and he finds it easier to trust someone when they have showed exactly how they have been successful.
I do not share this view entirely as I think it is easy to trust someone’s advice if they own (or have owned) a successful website. What Joe made me realise was this: I do not have to agree with his view 100%. I just need to appreciate that there are people out there that do find value in income reports.
“Your assumptions are your windows on the world. Scrub them off every once in a while, or the light won’t come in.”
― Isaac Asimov
Listen to Your Readers
Joel Friedlander wrote an article on The BookDesigner last year entitled “Author Blogging 101: Listening” in which he asked: Do you think bloggers are broadcasters, or conversationalists? It is an interesting question. Broadcasting is not interactive. The message is simply sent out to the world and the audience can take it or leave it.
That is not what blogging is about. When we write articles, we present information to our audience, however we should also listen to what readers say. That is why the majority of blogs allow readers to leave a comment and why they encourage readers to share their articles. In essence, your article is only the start of the conversation, not the end of it.
“Most people do not listen with the intent to understand; they listen with the intent to reply.”
― Stephen R. Covey, The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People: Powerful Lessons in Personal Change
Interacting with readers is one of the most rewarding aspects of writing on the internet. Book authors cannot get instant feedback on their ideas in the same way that bloggers do (unless they blog!!). It one of the things I love about blogging.
All great blogs listen to their readers. They listen to what they have to say and they take their ideas on board. This does not mean blindly agreeing with what your readers say just to make them happy; it means actually listening to their point of view and not just waiting for your turn to say what you want to say.
Think about how annoying those people are in life are who do not listen to you. You know the type of people I am referring to; those people who just nod their head to whatever you are saying, simply waiting for the chance to tell you what they want to say. You quickly realise that the other person has no interest in what you have to say and before you know it, you are searching for an extra strategy. That is what blogging is like if you never listen to your readers.
If your readers want you to focus on a particular topic, why not deliver it to them?
Let Your Beliefs Be Challenged
Living your whole life with a closed mind will ensure that you never evolve as a person. You should never be scared of others taking a different viewpoint for you and challenging what you believe to be true. This does not mean giving up your beliefs the second that someone challenges them. It simply means that you need to listen to what the other person is saying. It may even encourage you to completely re-evaluate your position on an issue.
“Begin challenging your own assumptions. Your assumptions are your windows on the world. Scrub them off every once in awhile, or the light won’t come in.”
― Alan Alda
I use KevinMuldoon.com as a way to share my experience from working online and give my opinion on many issues. My hope is that readers get something from the articles I write. I always ensure that I am 100% honest with readers, however that does not mean you should always blindly listen to the advice I give here. If you disagree with someone I say, you should challenge my viewpoint. What has worked for me may not work for you.
Whether it be telling the world why a film sucked or why your club should buy a particular player, blogging is the perfect medium for sharing your ideas with the world. Take advantage of that position and listen to what others say. You never know: You may learn something 🙂
Thanks for reading,