“You can learn something every day if you pay attention.” - Ray LeBlond
Believe it or not, becoming a blogger was never something I planned. In fact, when I tell the story, I always mention Becoming Minimalist was originally started as just an online journal for our decluttering and minimizing journey.
But somewhere along the way, I began to notice the positive effect it was having on my life and others. Not only was this website becoming an inspiration to thousands (eventually millions) around the world, it was beginning to change me in positive ways I had not expected. Sure, it served its purpose of an online journal, but far more than that, the discipline of blogging was forcing me to learn new life skills – life skills that are highly transferable to other endeavors.
11 Life Skills I’ve Learned from Blogging:
1. Writing. Certainly blogging has helped refine my grammatical skills (less vs. fewer, affect vs. effect, etc.). But far more importantly, blogging has forced me to formulate arguments and communicate inspiration using the written word.
2. Risk-taking. Every time I hit “publish,” I take a risk. There is always going to be a sense of risk associated with good writing as it seeks to advance a particular ideal. But the more practice one gets in expressing their opinion, the easier the risk becomes.
3. Being Entrepreneurial. I’ve never considered myself the entrepreneurial type (one who organizes, operates, and assumes the risk for a business venture). But blogging has allowed/forced me the opportunity to do just that… and discover the excitement that comes with it.
4. Networking. Sitting at my computer when I created an account for www.becomingminimalist.com, I never dreamt it would provide such opportunity to meet and develop genuine friendships online. But as a result of networking and connecting, there are now numerous fellow bloggers around the country that I consider true friends (if they asked me for help, I’d be there… and vice-versa).
5. Selling. “Selling” may sound like an odd life skill coming from an author who routinely criticizes our modern culture of consumerism. But blogging has helped teach me the art of selling – a life skill that deserves to be on this list. Because every day of our lives, we sell. We sell our ideas, our opinions, our worldviews, and even ourselves to the people that we meet.
6. Taking criticism. Not all comments are positive. Not all reviews are positive. And not all links leading to this website are positive. In fact, some are downright mean. But humbly learning from criticism is an important life skill that I am glad to have developed from blogging. (And knowing when/how to completely disregard a negative comment is also valuable).
7. Being observant. Once a person begins writing about life and the thoughts that shape it, they begin thinking more intentionally about who they are, who they are becoming, and what factors are shaping their journey. As a result, I have learned to become far more observant to the world around me in almost every imaginable way.
8. Reading. It’s true what they say, “Writers read.”
9. Promoting others. Blogging has helped teach me the pie is not finite – there is plenty of success to go around. One man’s/woman’s success does not mean less opportunity for my own. In fact, their success can be yours if you help them get there. In short: Compete less, encourage more.
10. Promoting self. There are hundreds of millions of websites. Your blog may provide valuable information to readers. But if nobody knows it exists, it isn’t helping anybody. At some point, you are required to promote your work to others… and that requires the confidence and humility to engage in healthy self-promotion.
11. Balancing. Family, work, rest, blogging, community, exercise. Striking a healthy balance among each of them is required for long-term success in any of them.
Could I have learned these life skills elsewhere? Absolutely. But for me, it wasn’t until I started blogging that I was forced to explore, research, and develop these highly-transferable skills. And for that, I am very grateful. Becoming Minimalist has been (and continues to be) a life-changing adventure. Thanks for being part of it.