This quote is attributed to Albert Einstein:
“Insanity is doing the same thing over and over again and expecting different results.”
Whether or not Einstein did in fact say this, the point is valid. How else can you explain trying the same thing again and again — with little to no change — and expecting the result to change?
This is not the notion of seeking the difference between variables in an experiment to get data. This is making a choice that you know has failed before — but expecting it not to fail this time. The results will only change if you have learned from past mistakes and don’t do the same thing again.
This is where I am currently. Both working to do some new things while striving to avoid my past mistakes — hopefully having learned from them — to get different results.
What have I been doing?
In March of 2019 I lost the part-time job I really liked and THOUGHT I was good at. Rather than lament this loss, I chose this time to push to advance my dream of writing full time.
And so, I did. Daily I post to Medium, maintain posts to my websites, while also working on publishing more books in addition to what I already have. In fact, since April 2019 I have published 3 books — with 2 more coming before the end of the year.
Yet still, writing full-time — while awesome and exciting — wasn’t paying the bills. No matter what angles I have taken and even with a growing audience, I have not hit the numbers necessary to earn a decent salary via Medium. Sure, all my books have had some sales, but not even enough to cover what I have invested in editing, marketing, sales attempts, and cover art.
Writing is in my blood. This is my love. I continue to work at improving my craft while looking for new and better marketing avenues.
Because of changes in what I do, I think I have staved off the definition of insanity as above.
But, since bills need to be paid — I went job hunting at the end of 2019. This led to an unexpected opportunity. That turned into a perfect job.
I received great pay. As a freelancer, I set my own hours. Opportunities came up to work and earn more — and I learned to better navigate WordPress, hone my content writing skills, and learned lots about an industry that previously was an ironic notion in my life.
As summer comes to a close, this job is changing — and may be no more.
What do I do now?
The work I am doing to — and doing differently in many respects — to earn me money as a writer is going to take some time. Also, I still need to work out better marketing to get more readers to my books.
I keep writing articles because that’s a part of who I am and what I love to do. Still believe I can break that barrier and be a top earner at Medium.
I have, over the past year, become much more consistent in my meditation practice. Though I may miss a day or two here and there — overall I am meditating daily.
I started using a timer to make this more standard.
It began with 10 minutes a day. Then, after a couple of months, 12 minutes. Another month or so, and 15 minutes. Then 18 minutes.
Now, I meditate for 20 minutes a day. And I love what it does for my energy, my psyche, and my overall being.
During meditation, the other day an idea — a really complete idea — popped into my head. It was clear and detailed — and I took it as a message from the Universe not to be ignored.
It is, unfortunately, a slightly new path to take. But at the same time — it’s an old path I tried before.
Hence, the question — am I embarking on a new path or just living the definition of insanity?
My new path — again
First, key facts about who I am. Yes, I recognize that I have some privilege in even having the option to consider this — but maybe that’s all the more reason to.
Corporate America and I don’t mix. My previous attempts at working in a standard office structure, 9–5 cubical farm situation haven’t gone great. I have made the mistake — when the boss asked for input for improvements — of giving that input. My experience, for the record, was that such a request was bullshit and not truly desired.
I’ve done much better in small business settings. Little companies and I — where I get to wear multiple hats — mesh better. Still not perfect, and I get frustrated by idiotic policies and nonsensical structural elements — but it’s more tolerable.
Freelancing — such as I have been doing this year — is PERFECT for me. Enough hours to make a good salary while still pursuing my real love. I managed to make it work once — maybe I can do so again?
What it boils down to is that I am best off as my own boss. Thus, as a full-time writer, I focus on my Brand and that is my business. I get to be the boss.
Years ago, I tried to start my own business. I had this broad, rather vague idea for what to do — but because it was unfocused, I just couldn’t get it together. I built the website, got a business bank account, a phone, and haphazardly (and, frankly, half-assedly) started it up. But it went nowhere fast and I closed it down with even less fanfare than I opened it with.
The new path that I am pondering now is another business. But this time — I have a narrower focus, more direction, and a more easily marketable idea.
Is this new path really where I desire to go?
That’s the big, nagging, elephantine question in the room.
As my current situation winds down and changes, I can’t help but believe that this new idea — and its arrival in my mind so complete during meditation — is worth exploring.
My vision for this venture is not grandiose or with an eye towards legacy. It’s a way to do something I know I have talent at — and make real money doing it.
Recently, I read Derek Sivers’ Anything You Want — 40 Lessons for a New Kind of Entrepreneur. He started a business that he had intended to keep small and intimate — which instead grew organically into a beast.
Like the venture Mr. Sivers discusses in his book, my business idea is not a legacy-maker. It’s the idea of taking a new path which I already have been on — but of my own making. Make use of a specific skill I have to help others with their ventures — while still having the time and inclination to continue writing.
And of course — this venture includes writing as a part of it.
I am still questioning if this is a good idea — or defining insanity. But I know where I went wrong last time — and if I can find the line between overly-ambitious and unwilling to sell — but apply the necessary ambition and sales skills to generate business — this has potential.
The Universe presented this to me while I was meditating. It was a clear vision, down to the business name. The timing is too perfect to be a coincidence. I am already starting to look down this new path. Tentatively, I am beginning to walk it and see if I am really embarking on a new path — or just living the definition of insanity.
Thanks for coming along with me. So what about you? Are you treading any new paths that may or may not be old paths?
Know that you are worthy and deserving of using mindfulness to find and/or create the reality in which you desire to live. When all is said and done our thoughts, feelings, and actions matter, as do whatever paths we choose to take.
Originally published at https://titaniumdon.com on August 26, 2020.