I have a TON of content in the pipelines but I think this is one of those emotionally-charged articles that simply cannot wait. I’ve been catching up with my social media optimization (SMO) and blogging efforts. In doing so, I’ve met some really AWESOME geeks that, in a few words, have reminded me why I love a good storyteller!
I want to talk about two of these awesome geeks, little-known (at least for now) rockstar bloggers and storytellers, the elusive JJ and the ass-kicking Spartan Dino Dogan. I’m not usually one for fanboy rhetoric, I deplore it actually, but these two are amazing bloggers, brilliant visionaries, and smart business people. Here’s the main reason why:
They consult and insult in a professional manner that drives REAL value, without hype or excessive bias.
In our a world full of opinions, over-zealous believers (in anything, not just religion), and blind fanaticism, we’re bound to offend some with our contrasting thoughts and beliefs. The stronger our convictions, the stronger the offenses. Julie and Dino realize this so they don’t bother to walk on egg shells. They simply share their positions and beliefs on things and then explain what brought them to formulate their overall worldview and principles.
When sharing information and opinions, you have to balance passion in what you believe to be true or right with being open-minded and sensitive. The latter is huge. If you make some strong statements, be ready to back them up and receive criticism, which leads me to the next point…
Criticism is a GOOD thing.
I’d like to think that I am rather humble and approachable, but even I get excited when buckets of accolades come pouring in. Everyone needs some degree of ego rubbing and I’ll admit it’s nice. Affirmation, motivation, and support keep us driven and there’s only so much you can do within yourself to meet those inherent needs. We humans are social creatures, even if some of us dislike the masses due to ignorance and chest-beating hypocrisy.
Paul Wolfe’s article on stopping comment luvin’ really drives home what may be uncomfortable truths to some. Here’s my own take-aways or, better yet, revelations from the article:
- Not everyone likes you.
- Most will oppose you.
- You may be “flying blind”.
- Your ideas may just suck.
Let’s be REAL here: it’d be a dreadfully boring world if we all agreed on everything. The things that separate us can also bring us together. If you’re mature and dynamic enough, you’ll learn and change, as needed.
The real rub here is that your truth may be someone else’s lie. The bigger you get (and the more pervasive your personal brand, or virtual resume, becomes), the more you will be inevitably scrutinized and insulted. This is a necessary evil if you want to improve yourself and evolve your ideas.
I’ll recycle one of my favorite quotes to put it simply (and less wordy than I usually do):
All truth passes through three stages. First, it is ridiculed. Second, it is violently opposed. Third, it is accepted as being self-evident. –Arthur Schopenhauer
What this means to you and I is that great thinkers and innovators will always be met with contention. There is a very thin, almost invisible line between genius and crazy. You may be the latter but you never know until you take the plunge. To that end, I like Chris Brogan’s painfully simple “Launch And Learn” system: don’t over-think or worry, just go out and do it!
A simple shift of perspective goes a long way. Instead of viewing critics as mere trolls, try to draw value from what they say, even if the message is muddled with insults and stupidity. Call me a silly optimist but every bad situation can be turned around into something good!
Don’t just disagree for the sake of disagreeing.
Sure, I just said it’s good to disagree or be disagreed with but now I’m contradicting myself? I’m such a hypocrite (that’s good too because it shows evolving thoughts and personal growth). Seriously, what I mean here is simple: don’t be THAT guy.
Who is THAT guy?
The guy in question is the elusive individual that some refer to as a know-it-all or proudly stupid. These are folks that may be too oblivious or self-absorbed to see that they are just ignorant. They may dress up their attacks with so-called good intentions but, really, they just like to get a rise out of people.
These same people make bold statements to draw fodder for their mental warfare. It’s all about trying to uncover supposed fallacy, inconsistencies, and hypocrisy. That guy likes to discredit people to steal their thunder. Quite often, it’s because they have no real good ideas so might as well shoot down those others share openly. Whatever their motives, they are dangerous because they use knowledge for selfish and/or destructive things.
Don’t be THAT guy, m’kay?
You. are. a. cunt.
Depending on who you are, you’ll either laugh at that or be grossly offended.
Marketing, creative works, communication, business, simple human interaction.. Everything that involves opening up, storytelling, and being a bit vulnerable has a scary risk: people will often resort to insults when you made them feel small. You may have done it on purpose or by accident. Either way, you have to deal with it. Ignorance set ablaze can be quite damaging, to say the very least.
Women particularly get a raw deal when it comes to “getting intimate” with an audience. If a man shares a strong opinion, he is considered insightful or revolutionary (insert synonyms and other buzz words HERE). When a woman does the same thing, she is merely opinionated.. Or a cunt.
If communication is at the core of your business, and it should be, you have to become a word maven. Be wary of words and their connotations. Some topics and words are hot-button items, sure to set someone off. On the flip side, don’t be easy to offend. Words are, ultimately, what you make of them.
If heated debate after sharing a compelling story is unavoidable, try the following:
- Thank them for the participation.
- Relate to their stance somehow.
- Share a story and your findings thereof.
- Be authentic and as civil as possible.
Being the bigger person pays huge dividends and it’ll make the other person look like more of an ass too, if the situation calls for it. Kill ’em with kindness, as they say. Sound like a plan?
Take no prisoners. Go for the gusto. Stir debate. RAWR.
Back to Dino and JJ! Did I mention I love these two geeks? While their target audiences are slightly different, they both excite me because they take no prisoners. Love them or hate them, they keep pushing onward. They go all the way, with no hesitation, stirring debate to provoke thoughts and sharing useful, valuable stuff every step of the way. It’s awe-inspiring!
They each have their own unique style, underlying themes, and target audiences but they both:
- Tell it how it is, making no apologies about it. At the same time, they’re not looking to call people out or mud-sling.
- Write in a hard-nosed, emotionally-stirring manner that still manages to be focused, direct, and objective.
- Value their supporters in real ways, rather than merely patronizing them.
- Avoid hype and excessive bias or spin, sticking to facts and figures.
- Share stories we can all relate to somehow, even if the subject matter is a bit obscure to some.
- Know when to rub egos or give you a dose of reality, as needed (SEE Insultant and Consultant in Dino’s House (DIYBlogger.net))
Last but not least, JJ and Dino are amazing at edifying their peers and supporters. This makes stories really hit home for a wider audience. Their creative works feel very warm and inclusive. They’re not creating little elitist clubs for mere self-gratification and that, on it’s own, is truly remarkable!
Tell your story and be authentic.
Let’s gather around the campfire…
Good storytelling is hard to come by. Authentic experiences are all the more rare. With all the faceless, soulless entities out there, it’s easy to stand out if you’re simply being REAL. Each and every day, I am trying to become a better storyteller because I know it’ll help me become a better person (yes, it sounds cheesy.. sue me). More importantly, I know I am providing unique, valuable content, not peddling propaganda, rehashed junk, and silly, empty rhetoric.
Simply put, being authentic means not being under-handed. Be direct with your ideas and forthcoming with intentions. Don’t try to be a salesperson. Just do something that people will want to talk about and good things will come.
I know I derailed here a bit but I urge you to read any articles written by Dino, JJ, and their friends. It’s almost always guaranteed to be a good read if you keep an open mind. Just remember: when you tell a story, talk TO me, not AT me. Remarkable stories turn into engaging conversations.
Think back to the last time someone told you a story. Consider what inspired you or pissed you off…
- What makes you feel like you really connect with someone, even if only afforded a few minutes to interact?
- Do you prefer a more preachy or serious tone, or something different?
- What differentiates storytellers most for you (think businesses, web sites, blogs, and other stuff)?
- How do you think a creative gets a message to really hit home with an audience?
Any other thoughts? Please share. If you disagree with me, even better. Let’s be mindful of the other guests: keep it clean and constructive. I look forward to your wonderful and thought-provoking ideas, folks!