Adversity breeds clarity.

When shit hits the fan, all you can do is think about how life works, and embrace your reality as it is. This means that if you are to move from Point A to Point B, your willingness to adapt is a necessity.

The truth will not change itself based on your inability to accept it.

If you're unhappy, consider that it's because you have expectations. You show up and start comparing what's in your head with what's actually happening, taking yourself out of the present. Reality can only be seen by one who is detached.

*  *  *

Hey, friend!

Can you relate to this?

You've started a blog, created some great content, and you'd hoped to attract visitors through proper SEO and consistent posting, but people are hardly reading your posts. It's been over six months.

You do a little more research and start building backlinks and using keywords that you know will increase your visibility, and thereby, traffic.

Lo and behold, progress is born. You've got more traffic, but it's slow progress.

With progress comes new challenges.

You now notice that even with increased traffic, you also have an increased number of bounce rates.

Don't worry. Excellence doesn't just magically happen. It's not smooth, it's never easy, and doesn't usually just fall into place.

Growth is always intentional work, but it's never a linear road. More often than not, it's failing forward.

*  *  *

The process sort of reminds me of what startups go through.

Whenever I read about some young startup whose founder is overly-eager to get a VC to fund them, I often feel the urge to encourage them to slow their roll.


Their goal has shifted from organic growth to forced growth, which is a sort of devaluation.

While, yes, growth is important, it's not always a good thing on its own. In fact, uncontrolled growth can be detrimental to a company's health, just like cancer in the brain, or using an Apple product (for any reason, ever).

It's important to understand where you want to go so that your company can thrive without sacrificing its values, or its future.

Taking money from the right people is important, but knowing when to say no is even more important.

At some point, Startups need to focus on building a real business, generating real profits, and sustaining themselves, without relying solely on investor capital.

It's interesting to note that sometimes, venture capitalists may expect their startups to behave like bootstrappers, even though they are the ones who provided the funding, to begin with. It's like an owner of a sports car complaining about their mileage. They chose to buy the vehicle, despite knowing how much fuel it requires. 

In the business world, this will sometimes end up forcing the startup to make decisions that go against its values in the name of profit.

Finding a VC can sometimes mean premature optimization, and that never ends well. Be sure that you're ready.

It's not surprising, though, as it seems to be the way of the game. Venture capitalists tend to get their returns from a relatively small number of successful investments out of a much larger portfolio.

Similarly, content creation. Once you start writing for AI (AdSense, to appease bots, etc.), your values will invariably shift.

Content creation takes time, and just like for a chair to be stable, you need at least 3 legs to stand on.

It's crucial to strike a balance between growth and sustainability to ensure your longevity.

Traffic isn't necessarily indicative of pageviews.

For example, there may be 100 people at any one Target location, but only 50 of 100 buy something. 

This is what's called a bounce rate

As a manager, you want to understand why 50 people chose to leave without buying something. Was it the prices, do our competitors offer more? Were the ads or sales not compelling enough? Was the store a mess?

Your job as a content creator is no different.

  • Is your site's layout clean?

  • Are there any spelling mistakes?

  • Is the text easy to read?

  • Is your site responsive, adapting easily across various devices and browsers?

  • If you show ads, are they appropriate? Are the ads intrusive?

All of this plays a role in determining your Domain Authority.

D.A. is simple.

Imagine that you want to play the latest version of Elden Ring, but your piece-of-shit computer doesn't meet the required specs for smooth gameplay. 

What do you do? Instead of typing with your fingers, you lazily ask Siri to search for “powerful gaming laptops.” 

Begrudgingly, Siri searches Google for the query, and a bunch of websites come up (SERPs / Search Engine Results Pages.).

Domain Authority tells you how trustworthy and reputable a website is.

Websites with high Domain Authority scores are more likely to show up at the top of the search results and have most likely been around for a while.

*  *  *

Knowing the road is what makes a great guide.

A few years ago, I volunteered at a hotline for individuals who suffered greatly due to various forms of abuse. 

I learned a lot of lessons that year, not the least of which is that post-trauma, it's easy to embrace a life of material wealth and spiritual poverty.

“I'm damaged”, I'd hear. “I'm broken and beyond redemption.”

It's cruel and ironic that abuse survivors take on the identity of these labels when it's the environment and people around them that fit those terms the best.

Do you know what the scariest part about helping someone who's drowning is?

That they'll drown you.

It's true.

We all live wearing two faces.

We struggle between balancing who the world needs us to be and who we need ourselves to be.

The trick is to compartmentalize and show up to a situation wearing the right mask (or uniform, more accurately). If you're not at your best, if you're not a part of the solution, then you're a part of the problem.

The more callers I spoke to, the more emotional self-control I had to practice. I had to remind myself that I couldn't save everyone. That was never the point, and that will never be the point.

Deep down, even though it's not realistic, I so badly wanted to save each one of them. It's not because I had a Messiah complex, but because as a fellow human, I hated seeing anyone suffer in the way(s) that these individuals were suffering.

What people needed, and perhaps will always need, is a safe space and some guidance. Resources that they could utilize so that they could do their own bit of saving.

Hope is the only thing stronger than fear.

Over time, what became most apparent (and understandably so, in this case) is that we as a society love making decisions based on the subset of the whole.

Take, for instance, The Story of Tommy.

The story of Tommy highlights the devastating impact of feeling like the world and its people have been complicit in his suffering.

Every day, Tommy returns home from school to a drunken father who beats him severely. One day, his father's abuse is especially bad, and Tommy runs to the window for help.

Through the window, he sees his neighbor Greg sipping on his tea and staring back at him. Greg sees Tommy's father violently pull him away from the window. However, instead of calling the cops, Greg closes his blinds and goes back to watching something on his phone.

Tommy now sees Greg as complicit in his abuse and misery. He feels let down by Greg, who had the power to help him but chose not to.

The next day, Tommy goes to school with a black eye, a scar, and an arm brace. In the back of his mind, he thinks that his teacher will finally say something and get him help when she sees what his father had done to him.

However, even though the teacher notices the bruises, she says nothing.

Tommy now sees another individual, his teacher, as complicit in his abuse and misery. He feels like the world is against him and that everyone is like his teacher and his neighbor.

Tommy's experiences have led him to understand that it's profoundly difficult to be a productive member of society when you feel as though the world and its people have been complicit in your abuse.

“Seemingly nice prospective employer, but would she have been the one to close the blinds, or would she have helped me?” “Seemingly nice colleague, I want to ask her out, but... would she have also closed the blinds? Can I trust her if I ever wanted kids?” 

One cannot be a productive member of society if they feel as though they have been wronged by the world.

As he grows up, he realizes that he's made decisions based on the subset of individuals who said nothing to stop his abuse and apply it to the whole of the world, and yet, doesn't change.

Tommy ends up living a very sheltered life; and one day, as he drinks his evening tea, he looks out of the window and sees abuse happening. He's triggered and remembers being in an eerily similar situation in his childhood.

Instead of calling the cops, he closes his blinds and goes back to watching something on his computer.

Tommy has now become exactly what he hated all those years ago: people who didn't stick up and say something when they knew that what was happening was wrong.

At a certain point, he realizes that the only way he can truly make a change and find out who people really are is to be a productive member of society and give people a chance.

He comes to understand that everyone has their demons, but not everyone is given the chance to right their wrongs, and not everything is what it seems.

Perhaps his neighbor Greg had endured some trauma that he'd not been ready to deal with, all those years ago. Maybe there were cultural differences, and he was taught never to intervene. You simply never know.

Not everyone is as bad as you think they are. We could all use a bit of help, understanding, and some productive growth.

As ironic as it may seem, for many survivors, home is the battlefield. It isn't their actual home, not anymore. 

The survivor is always in battle, but of the one in their heart and mind. 

They have learned to love the darkness of their crucible because it's what they've known for far too long. 

It takes a lot of courage, but I'm filled with delight every time I read a story about how a survivor came out of the darkness and into the light.

We are all far stronger than we think we are, and far more capable than we could even imagine.

It just takes the right push.

As I said in the beginning, though, growth alone isn't necessarily a good thing.

Whether we're talking about content creation, running a business, or in the case of Tommy's story (mental health), we need balance, we need guidance, and we need 3 legs to stand on. We cannot live by only one way of thinking and being. We must adapt or die.

My memories, good or bad, are an indefatigable source of elation.

I've been to hell, and I came back.

And that's fucking exhilarating.

Only by comparison to its opposite do we fully understand the magnitude of what we have.

Refusing to update your assumptions about things is equivalent to giving a monkey a gun and hoping he doesn't shoot us in the fucking face or fling its poop at us.

I know, it's a completely ridiculous comparison, but so is living life rigidly.

Ultimately, life's like a tray of food. 

There will be some things you like and some things you don't like. If you only focus on the things you dislike, you will be at the mercy of the things you give so much power to, and consumed by overwhelmingly negative emotions and be unable to enjoy the other aspects of your life. 

However, if you learn to adapt and find ways to appreciate what you have, even if it's not always what you want, you will have more flexibility and be better able to enjoy the truly wonderful parts of life.

Contrast is what makes life so beautiful.