“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.
If you are interested in starting your own blog, I have written a helpful article just for you, “How to Start a Blog.” I think you will find the information to be both practical and inspirational.
Crystal @ Prairie Ecothrifter says
You and I learned alot of the same lessons!!! I started blogging in early 2010 and my key lessons have definitely been “Being Entrepreneurial” and my writing. Blogging was also my first real introduction to a large community of sorts.
I also just recently started up a blog and although I enjoy it I find I have to really concentrate hard and focus in order to get out posts in a timely fashion. Thanks for the article Joshua. It’s an encouragement!
My blogging has really taken off since I decided to stop trying to be someone else. We spend our lives fitting into the world, but now the world is fitting itself around me. It might sound arrogant, but it’s just about being self-possessed – put your stuff out there in an intelligent way and whether people like it or not you will learn something about yourself.
Joshua – thanks for the thought inspiring post.
Beth @ Aunt B's Kitchen says
Good post. Blogging has brought a lot into my life too. I’m grateful for it.
Fiona @ everydayspiritualwisdom says
I love that you’ve learnt so much, it makes me hope for the things I’ll learn :)
I’ve been writing for a long time but only publishing/blogging for a short time. I’m inspired by reading your work & some of my other favourite bloggers. I hope to be reading your work for years to come,x
Joshua – Great post, and so true! Thank you for your encouragement and help. In just this short time, I’ve realized the great responsibility and privilege it is to speak into people’s lives and affect them. I’m greatly humbled by the experience so far and I’m sure you have been too. Your tips have not fallen on deaf ears…like Aloysa noted, the balancing act is a challenge!
Aloysa @ My Broken Coin says
Aaahhh…. could not agree. If anything, blogging helped me to sharpen my writing and, most importantly, it helped me to find my writing voice.
Balancing is quite a challenge, I have to admit. I have not learned it yet. :)
Derek Mansker says
You are really a rock star in every way Joshua. Keep on rocking!
Lorilee @ Loving Simple Living.co says
Yes to all 11 and Sarah’s 12 :) I feel I have so much to learn in all these areas, but I am working at it. I have also learned a lot more about technology. It didn’t use to be so important but it is more and more of a life skill now.
I’m a new blogger myself, and I’m learning a lot about commitment. I know no matter what, I am going to sit down every Sunday night and write that post!
joshua becker says
That’s a good one Sarah. I had “perseverance” on my original list as well.