In the self-development and self-improvement industries, there is much wisdom offered around the basic idea that we should always ‘do our best.’
This is not exactly a new concept; many of us heard the phrase ‘do your best’ from parents and teachers, when we were growing up.
This article takes a look at some of the more practical reasons why ‘doing your best’ really does matter, especially as it applies to writing content online.
But I just want to dabble…
A lot of people say this, especially when testing the waters on new projects and ventures.
Even writers do that– they might sign up to write on a new (to them) site like Seekyt and just want to test the waters, typically by just writing ‘something’ and seeing what happens. Unfortunately, they often end up disappointed with their results and conclude that ‘it’ is not working, or not worthwhile.
But did they really give it a fair shot?
Downsides to not doing your best…
Of course, one of the problems with not doing your best (or ‘dabbling’) in such a situation is that it completely fails to give you accurate results. It’s a bit like buying a cheap frozen apple pie to test the market to see if people would buy your delicious home made apple pie, made from your grandmother’s recipe.
That doesn’t make any sense, does it?
So why would writing 300 words entitled ‘I wonder if this site is any good‘ be a fair test of the writing experience on that site?
‘Dabbling’ is merely one expression of a human tendency to try to ‘take the easy way out,‘ rather than taking the time and effort to do a good job. The irony of that is that many of those who offer up substandard products or performances are among the first to complain about low quality things!
The ‘Money for Nothing’ trap…
Although the principles of this article can be applied to a wide range of ventures, consider the long and bumpy history of ‘revenue sharing’ sites for writers.
These are nothing new– the earliest (and long gone!) incarnations made their debut in the latter part of the 1990’s. From the beginning, they faced the same dilemmas: How to attract quality writers and pay them, while still remaining financially viable enterprises.
The ‘easy way’ to attract writers is to promise the potential for lots of income. Sadly, such promises are often made without first ‘checking in with reality.‘
It’s almost as if the underlying company philosophy goes something like ‘We MUST attract 50,000 members IMMEDIATELY! We’ll worry about being able to pay them, later…‘
In recent times, we’ve seen the functional outcome of such a philosophy in the case of Bubblews. Over 15 years ago, we saw a very similar thing happen with a site named Themestream.
Of course, before we tar everyone with the same brush, let’s keep in mind that site owners often have good intentions, when they make their tall promises.
What they generally don’t have is degrees in Psychology and Human Behavior.
Many human beings are lazy and greedy…
The ‘unexpected problem’ (although one has to wonder why nobody ever seems to clue IN to this?) arises because the promise of ‘good money’ tends to draw large numbers of what might be characterized as the ‘bottom feeders’ of the web.
These are the ‘get-paid-to-click’ nomads who drift from web site to web site, looking for the next ‘opportunity’ to earn some cash with little to no effort. And they become the ‘game spoilers’ because they don’t actually care even the slightest what any given revenue sharing opportunity is ‘about.’ It could be about ‘writing articles’ or ‘selling tacos’ or ‘earthworms for Africa,’ the only thing they care about is ‘getting paid.’
Why is it a problem? Because they are actually no good at any of the things they are being asked to do. Metaphorically speaking, they are ‘ditch diggers performing brain surgery.‘
If we return to the recent downfall of Bubblews, for a moment, it’s a fine example of how these situations arise. In the early days, a few thousand people were getting compensated quite well for writing ‘real things.’ The idea of a ‘social blogging’ platform that paid writers was intriguing and promising.
But when word got out that you could make $100s a month with relatively little effort, membership quickly swelled to over 300,000 people… 90% (maybe more?) of whom were trying to ‘cheat the system.’
The site was no longer about ‘the writing,’ it was almost 100% about ‘the money.’
Being Impeccable and Doing Your Best…
In his well known book ‘The Four Agreements,’ author and Shaman Don Miguel Ruiz shares two valuable principles for living:
‘Always Do Your Best‘ and ‘Be Impeccable With Your Word.’
When you combine the two, we are essentially invited to be ‘impeccable’ with our actions and deeds, as well.
Our world is filled with mediocrity, and contributing more ‘half baked’ content to the Web does nothing to set anyone apart from the crowd. And if you are doing nothing to set yourself apart, it is no surprise that your results are disappointing… and it is not ‘the site operator’s fault’ that you’re not getting paid $100 a month for putting a random jumble of words on a web page.
It is YOUR fault. Because you are not doing your best, nor being impeccable.
Of course, this can be applied equally to those who start and operate revenue sharing sites. Are YOU doing your best, and being impeccable with deeds and words? Or do you allow greed and the desire for a fast buck to derail you from gradually creating something of lasting value? Do you have the courage to build a quality venue, based on realistic expectations, rather than wild promises?
Some final thoughts about caring…
Maybe it’s just a reflection of our times that there seems to be a growing cultural undercurrent of ‘not caring.’
People just want results (or income, or fame, or power, or influence) and don’t ‘care’ what comes between where they are now, and where they want to be.
It seems like a shame– and even a bit of a paradox– because the things we often remember most are those centered around situations where people did care; where there was compassion and empathy for the cause of another. Or ourselves.
Thus ‘doing our best’ is really about caring, as well. So next time you automatically reach for ‘the easy way out,’ ask yourself why you don’t care… and reconsider your actions!