How To Drastically Improve Your Life … In Less Than 12 Months

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Just about a year ago, I set out on the road. Seeking my fame and fortune, looking for a pot of gold.” – John Fogerty

Exactly one year ago today I made a step towards drastically improving my life. Unlike Mr. Fogerty (the best song writer of our time), however, I didn’t set out for fame or fortune or a pot of gold.

What I did set out to do was change my world and inspire you to change your world.

How I did that is simply stated:

I started this blog.

The first article ever published here at RidiculouslyExtraordinary.com is called “An Unlikely First Post: Notes From How To Build A High Traffic Blog Without Killing Yourself.” These were my notes from a presentation by Tim Ferriss.

If you read the article you’ll see that I followed quite a bit of the advice … lots of it subconsciously since I haven’t actually read that article or watched the presentation in a year.

The most important piece of advice in the presentation is actually a quote from Tucker Max: “Important thing is not being a good writer, but having a voice.”

Voice and Promises

When I first started my voice was still in its infancy and the words weren’t coming out quite like they should have been. But I made two promises.

First promise: I would focus on a set schedule and stick to it.

That schedule has changed a couple of times, but I did stick to it and this is article #112. (Currently the schedule is Monday, Thursday, Saturday.) Whether an article was perfect or not was not as important as simply shipping. Practicing, getting my words out, and improving.

Second promise: I promised myself that I wouldn’t give in to convention and I would just be myself.

What you get here is essentially what you would get from me in person. In a way, this blog gives me a little more freedom with my persona, because sometimes I hold back in person (out of respect for others).

Being A Polarizing Figure

Some people get upset with what I write. Some people get upset with who I am. Some people don’t like me.

You don’t see any of that because as much as I hate censorship I don’t tolerate personal attacks. When someone is negative or attacks me it’s much more fun to delete it than get into an argument. :) (Life Lesson #8: Arguments are pointless.)

To be honest, I’m still on a quest to be more polarizing, but I’ve done an OK job so far.

I’m not afraid to be the same person in public and in private even though I very well know that it affects me negatively as far as certain contacts and business prospects. Social climbing isn’t worth it to me if I have to be fake. You will find very few bloggers (with non-personal blogs) who are truly open. That’s neither good nor bad (well, it’s good for the aforementioned social climbing), but I can’t do that.

Now I’m going off on a tangent. :) (You know how I love those.)

Opening Up My World

The first time my life drastically changed was when I joined CouchSurfing. It was a revelation. “Wow, I can literally go anywhere in the world and hang out with awesome people.”

With blogging it’s similar, but different. It’s a more natural progression of friendship with you and other bloggers. E-mail/skype/in-person meet ups. There is a natural arc to relationships built through this blog.

Similarly to CouchSurfing, blogging has opened up the world to me. I’ve met other bloggers in Australia, New Zealand, Thailand, and Germany. I’ve met readers all over the place as well.

5 Ways Blogging Has Changed My Life

I’ve read a lot of blog posts about blogging changing people’s lives. I actually got an e-mail a few days ago from a reader who asked me how it has changed mine.

1) I’ve made great friendships with quite a few awesome people.

I’m not well known in the blogging world by any means. That’s much less important to me than actually connecting with the people who do know me.

2) Blogging has given me an outlet for my writing.

I’ve always enjoyed writing, but I never knew I would absolutely love it. There are not many pursuits I’ve undertaken that have been so fulfilling as writing for you.

3) I’ve connected with like-minded people.

This is different than friendships, but just as important. I’ve received so many amazing e-mails that break down to: “Wow, you are exactly like me” and reading that never gets old. :) It’s very rare for me to meet people similar to me in every day life, but blogging has made it happen more than I could imagine.

4) I’ve been incredibly inspired by you.

I have a label in Gmail called Awesome E-mails. A lot of times I forget to mark e-mails as Awesome and I only started the label on January 22, 2010, but even so there are currently 47 e-mails under that label. This label consists of positive, inspiring e-mails from you.

5) I’ve discovered my future without even knowing I was looking for it.

I’ve tried to deny it many times over the past few months, but this blog is my future. There is not as much money in blogging and releasing products through a blog as through doing affiliate marketing, but it is much more fulfilling. As you already know money, in and of itself, is not what makes me happy.

5 Reasons You Should Start Blogging Today

I’m going to preface these reasons with the following: you should start a blog in a niche that you love and that you can see yourself writing about for the next 10 years.

1) You will meet awesome people. There is no denying that. It takes time, but it will happen.

2) Fun opportunities are everywhere for bloggers. Depending on what your goals are you can make sweet contacts, get a new job (assuming you want a job), earn your own income through your blog, and sometimes even get free stuff (if that’s what you’re after; I’m not). I could go on for a few hours on the opportunities available to you. Suffice it to say there are many.

3) You don’t have to be a great writer (as stated above). What you need is a unique voice. That may take time to develop so starting today will give you an edge.

4) You don’t need any technical knowledge. Get a Web host, install WordPress, and start writing. Follow Darren Rowse’s 31 Days To Building A Better Blog (free article series) for guidance.

5) You will begin building a legacy. If you die tomorrow what gift are you leaving the world? A piece of you via your blog is a great gift to leave behind.

Closing It Out

If there was a more epic expression for thank you I would use that, but there isn’t one. Thank you.

Photo Credit

{ 66 comments }

Henk

Very nice post Karol!

i totally agree blogging makes loads of friends, and will help not only with your buisness, but also with your personal life :).

i am launching 2 blogs once i finished my database/time schedule management site.

1 a personal blog on a asian site.

2. a blog similar to this one,telling personal experiences and trying to get people to to reach freedom aswell:)

Karol

Thank you for your support Henk! :)

As for launching 2 blogs: launch 1 instead. ;)

Andrew

Karol,

When I first started reading this blog (which would probably have been last November or December), I was, in equal parts, fascinated by and made uncomfortable by your writing. I have always liked reading things written by people who are doing great things with their lives, especially things that are out of the prescribed social norm. But (like Godin and others note), it had always been me looking out at them (you) and thinking “I could never do that.”

I started my blog in March 2010 with, actually, the inverse set of ideas from which you started. I see myself definitely as a writer, but I was a writer without a forum, an audience, or possession of any (ANY) kind of high-end computer savvy. And I’m still not there, not by a long shot, but the fact you’ve shown me (and probably numerous others) that my choices as a writer aren’t just “starve/have no one read or care about my work” OR “sell out” is worth more than I can express.

So thanks, in a much bigger way than I can express by typing in a comment box.

Karol

Rock on! Thank you Andrew. Keep up the awesome work!

Srinivas Rao

Karol,

I”m in completely agreement with you on this. The way blogging has changed my life has been quite dramatic. IN my mind a blog is one of the most phenomenal personal development tools because it gives you a way to track progress towards your goals and also a group of people to hold you accountable for achieving those goals. One of the things I do every quarter is write up a marketing plan and share it with my audience. One thing that happened in Q1 was somebody found my marketing plan about 6 weeks in, and it was a great reminder to get back on track with some of the things that I had planned. On to the specifics:

1) Awesome People: When I spoke with Maren Kate @Escapingthe9to5.com she told me that the #1 reason anybody should start a blog is for the network. The network that I have built through blogging has been instrumental in helping me do my day job and helping me stay on track to many goals. It’s also opened up many new friendships. I think it’s kind of cool that I could go anywhere in the world almost and from my twitter network I’d have people to hang out with.

2) Opportunities: I’m glad you brought this up. Too often people get caught up in just the money making opportunities that come from blogging. But I think it opens up so much more. Annabel Candy got an all expense paid trip to China, courtesy of Coke because of her blog. Its funny because they weren’t interested in her traffic or subs, just the voice

3) The Voice: I’ve seen people develop their voice over time. Like anything else, the more you do it the better you’ll get at it. When I look back at the way I wrote when I started vs. now, its’ very apparent to me that I’ve found a voice. But I think that it takes time and people need to keep the long term in mind.

4) Tech Skills: That’s perhaps one off the greatest things social media has done for us. It’s wiped out the technology barrier that used to exist between the idea machines/marketers and the techies who really understand how to write code.

5) The Legacy: I think the legacy and influencing/inspiring people is one of the most rewarding things about having a blog. Those emails that you get that tell you how much one post helped somebody definitely make you feel on top of the world.

If you are on the fence about getting started and you read this blog, get started. There’s a whole bunch of us here to help you get off the ground.

Scott

Dude, that is awesome. I have only had a personal blog before and had never really considered blogging for any of the reasons you listed. I think that I am going to have to get on that…

Karol

Thanks Srini! I feel like most bloggers who have been doing it for any length of time have achieve dramatic life changes. How awesome. :)

And to everybody: Srini has it right on here –> “There’s a whole bunch of us here to help you get off the ground.”

Joel

Karol-
Congrats on your one-year anniversary. Keep it up.

For the record, I don’t think you’re polarizing =)

Karol

Thanks Joel!

But damn … if you don’t think I’m polarizing then I’m not doing a good enough job. It may almost be time to bust out that vegan article. ;)

Ruddystranger

Great post!
I agree that you just have to get going in a direction. Everything else will come together if you let it.
I just recently closed my business and shifted by blog over to a writing platform.
Take a look a give some feedback if you have time. I know that it will evolve as I go along and I am grateful to resources available like you to help me find my way.
Have a great day!

Karol

Thanks Ruddystranger! :)

Lauren

Hey karl, I recently came across your blog on the middle finger project and I can’t wait to read more.

In regards to this post in particular I truly connected with it. I guess you could say I’m in the beginning stages of blogging. I’ve recently “seen the light” as to just how kick-ass it really is – from meeting like-minded people, to being inspired by those that are reading your posts, to improving my writing and finding my “voice” and everything in between.

And in terms of what you said about being truly honest and open – I appreciate that. I try to do the same in my writing. Because in the end, there is just too much bullshit out there and the world needs more REAL people.

Anyway, can’t wait to read more posts and see where you take this blog a year after its start :) Its inspiring to see how it has inspired you as I’m where you were a little less than a year ago now.

Karol

Hey Lauren! Awesome, thank you for finding me via the always wonderful Ash! :)

“there is just too much bullshit out there and the world needs more REAL people.” That is exactly why I do it!

Have fun with your blog! It will exciting to see where it is in a year.

Adam

Just the other day I made a commitment like you did in “Voice and Promises”. My two year anniversary of my blog will be tomorrow and I only have 178 posts. Of those 178, I would say about 100 are complete crap. They aren’t even in my voice.

Last week I realized that it’s impossible to write the perfect blog post or get 100,000 readers overnight. I wrote about it in a piece titled, “Perfection Doesn’t Exist”. Now knowing that, I almost feel like I am releasing pent up blog posts in my mind. I am no longer worrying about what other people think.

Looking ahead, I am sticking to a schedule (almost identical to yours) and just posting what’s on my mind. Thanks for the encouragement!

Karol

Thanks Adam. RE: perfection –> http://www.ridiculouslyextraordinary.com/how-to-achieve-perfection/

As far as the 100 complete crap posts: they did their job. That is, they helped you figure out that a lot of your blog isn’t in your voice. :)

Scott

That’s awesome. I like that you keep the inspiring emails. If it is appropriate, it would be cool if you got permission to publish some of them.

When I read blogs like this one or read other articles online, I often times think “Man, everyone is doing this, the market must be saturated”, but then when I return to reality, I find that NO ONE is doing this. Not only that, but people have no idea what I am talking about. They are lost if I talk about affiliate marketing, info products, SEO or whatever, but they seem even more confused if you try to talk to them about FREEDOM.

I tell them of my goal to move to the beach and do little more than soak up the sun, surf, play video games, read books, hang out with my wife, travel and just simply live and they think that I am talking about retiring in 30 years. I tell them that I am planing for about 1 year from now and I get that look that says “ha ha, ok, yeah right.”

It may take longer, it may not be how I expect now, but I know that I will make it out of this middle class trap because my eyes have been shown that this Happiness in Slavery life is little more than a glitter covered cubic zirconia ruse.

Karol

Hey Scott,

The Freedom Fighters ecourse isn’t uncopyrighted, but every single blog post on this Web site is –> http://www.ridiculouslyextraordinary.com/steal-this-blog

As far as your soon-to-be retirement: I already did that. It’s not fun. That’s why I’m so happy I do work that I love doing. :) Sitting on a beach drinking margaritas isn’t personally fulfilling. Without fulfillment we get bored and depressed.

Cheers!
Karol

Scott

I am sure that I would not be able to sit still for long. I always have a couple of pots in the fire! Of course I am willing to give it a try for a couple of months first! :)

Heather

Karol,
I found your blog on 6/19, read a couple posts promptly purchased your product(htla) and I have to say that I am totally inspired. Through you, I have allowed myself to think of other possibilities for myself.

Karol

Thank you Heather! You rock for that! :)

Alicja

Thank you for this post, especially for what you said about voice and being yourself. I’ve been considering starting blogging for quite some time, but always in very vague terms. Possibly waiting for perfection to arrive and cast its light over me, magically making my (non-existent) writing brilliant and amazing. As if such things ever happened, ESPECIALLY when you’re just sitting there waiting, doing nothing. Not gonna happen ;) So I’m starting today!
And I wonder how many people have made the same decision after reading this post! :D

Karol

Thanks Alicja! You’re right, nothing will happen by waiting, the time is now! And I hope this post inspires everybody who doesn’t currently blog to start doing it. :)

Marcin

I totally agree with everything you wrote, Karol. I think that the best thing is the opportunity to connect with like-minded people. Also, the opportunity to express yourself and share your ideas is awesome!

Karol

Thanks Marcin! :)

Deb

Congrats! And thank you for consistently delivering such amazing content.
I haven’t been reading your blog for very long, but you’ve already inspired the hell out of me!

I’m pretty new to the blogging scene and, like Scott, I’ve felt like everyone is already doing all this stuff… but it seems like nobody in my day-to-day has any clue what I’m talking about. It has been great to find support, guidance, ideas, inspiration, and more from your blog and others. It makes me feel like I’m part of a wonderful community of “like-minded people” and not just flying solo.

I’m still working to find my voice, but I suppose the best way to get there is to keep writing!

Karol

Thank you Deb! I appreciate that. :)

As for your voice: you got it, keep at it!

Karol

Conor Neill

Ripping off Bodhi’s girlfriend in Point Break and adapting for my purposes “Blogging is the source.”

Nuff said.

Karol

That’s over my head, but that’s OK. :) Thanks Conor!

Conor Neill

I will take that as a compliment ;-)

Shana

I had heard of couchsurfing just about a year ago. I just signed up today… before I read your post. I also have been thinking a lot about voice and wondering about how other people are handling “censorship” when they are trying to facilitate good messages and not perpetuate fear, anger, and hate. (I am fairly new to your site, so I haven’t caught up on posts yet)

So! Thank you for your post – I love serendipitous signs to reinforce that I am on the right path… and headed the right direction. :)

Karol

Hey Shana! Thanks for signing up for CS. It’s good to know more awesome people are joining!

As for censorship: most people who leave hateful comments aren’t going to come back to see if there’s a response anyway. Not worth wasting more than the few seconds it takes to hit delete.

Also, an article on censorship (different than what we’re talking about here though) –> http://www.ridiculouslyextraordinary.com/why-cursing-is-good/

Tammy Strobel

LOVED THIS! Thanks for being an inspiration and continually delivering kick ass content. Keep rockin’ the universe. :)

Karol

Thank you Tammy! Your continuous support is most appreciated! You keep rockin the universe as well. :)

Sonicsuns

Congrats on all your success!

I’m still figuring out how to do stuff. I have a blog, but admittedly I’ve been very lax on the schedule. That’s probably my #1 problem right there. I’ve also set up an online info product recently, but I haven’t made any sales yet. (I should probably review the FF emails…)

But anyway, your success is an inspiration to me, and your advice is very helpful.

Freedom for one and all! =)

Karol

Thanks dude! :)

Young

I agree with this artical…My problem is, I prefer handwriting to typeing the words with a keyboard. Somehow I feel like stoping thinking when I am in front of the computer. Maybe I can write a story on the paper in 30 minutes, but even if I use a machine to work for 3 hours, I cannot even remember what the story is. I guess I am a conservative. :)

Karol

Hey Young,

You could always write by hand and then type it all out. :)

Cheers,
Karol

Dave Thielen

Karol, congrats on all your success. I honestly cannot believe you’ve only been doing this for a year!

I am going to agree to disagree about Fogerty being the “best song writer of our time” though. Dylan? Lennon & McCartney? Neil freakin’ Young? Tom Waits, Stephin Merritt or even Nick Cave? I love Fogerty’s music, but I’d take any of them. ;)

Karol

Thanks Dave.

All those are guys pale in comparison to Fogerty. Especially N Sync, I mean the Beatles. ;)

Dave Thielen

Bah! The insane, screaming teenage female fans does nothing to diminish how awesome the Beatles were. :)

Karol

I did see N Sync live once. Not only am I not afraid to admit that, I think I’d choose them over the Beatles. haha!

Marilia

Thank you for the big help and inspiration you provide. You deserve all the success this blog has.

Karol

Thank you Marilia!

Steve

Great article as usual. At 58, I’m probably older than most of your readers, but your writing style is very entertaining. Thanks.

Karol

Woohoo! That’s great to know Steve. Thank you! :)

Rasheed Hooda

Hey Karol,

Congrats on your one year anniversary. You rock, man!

You have been an inspiration to me and a guiding light. I love what you’re doing, and I am on the same path, but a little behind you, so, thanks for leaving the trail for me to follow.

Rasheed

Karol

Thank you Rasheed! You’re welcome for the trail. :)

Krystyna

Hello Karol. I want to take this opportunity to say thank you for being yourself and
sharing yourself. I am a few days away from starting a blog and an internet site and I am so pleased to be part of your Freedom Fighters, listening, snooping and learning about the internet world. For me,writing brings the love out from deep inside into the light of day. It nourishes me and makes me a better Krystyna. Happiness is writing :)

Jak tam w Wroclawje ;-) Ja was kocham ? Dzienkuje
(Born in Australia, this is my attempt at Polish)

Karol

Dziekuje Krystyna! :)

Bardzo fajnie tutaj we Wroclawiu!

Marcin

Nice post, especially the part about meeting new, similar people and having an outlet for your writing. In the end, that’s what keeps you going, right?

PS. Dawno mnie we Wrocku nie bylo, trzeba sie bedzie przeleciec ;)

Karol

Dziekuje Marcin. :)

Meg

Agree totally about meeting like-minded people! I’ve been blogging for a few years, but starting my minimalism blogs was the best thing ever. Thanks for being so much fun and so inspiring. Onwards & upwards!

Karol

Yay! Rock on Meg! :)

Nalini

Hi Karol,
Interesting read. I live in India and I have started a blog of my own. I need all the advice I can get. Your articla is informative and I will look up some of the links that you have mentioned.
Keep it going, girl!!
Nalini

Cyril Ashby

I emailed you last week asking if your program would be a good fit for a retiree, me. This is my email:

“I came across your site whilst surfing and have read a number of your blogs,
joined the free course and am seriously considering purchasing your “how to
live anywhere………….” material.
I have little in common with what I perceive to be the member profile or
your target market. I am retired, in my late 60′s and have been wasting far
too much time, for way to long being suckered into this and that program to
get me on the internet. Sadly or maybe thankfully, my cynical side sees much
of this as pure B.S. That applies to top dogs and all. Your material on the
other hand, is refreshing for it’s candor and honesty, and being totally
free from all the standard rubbish that goes into a squeeeeeeeeeeze
page/sales pitch, whatever. I also share many of your beliefs and visions. I
am keen to do my own thing and create and market my own material, if for no
other reason than all the so called “gurus” say it can’t be done by a
beginner and one must follow their program in order to be successful. My
best research suggest that I have about as much chance of doing that as
being reborn tomorrow at age 26, with the advantage of all the knowledge and
experience, good and bad that I have gained over my.”

Simple question, is your program good for the more mature “newbie”. I grit my teeth every time I see that word and now I’m using it.

In your response which I appreciate you said ” I don’t know if it’s a good fit and I have a rule that whenever someone e-mails me asking if they should buy I tell them no. I would say just take action on all the free stuff. :)

I am enjoying the free stuff and your blogs. They are challenging and honest, but I’m also a free spirit and will most likely forgo your suggestion and purchase the course anyway.

Finding your content and teaching on the internet has been a revelation and is so refreshing for all the reasons detailed above. I don’t mind being inspired by someone a lot younger than me.
To freedom at any age,
Cyril

Karol

Thank you Cyril! :)

Financial Samurai

Karol, have you found your “purpose” yet?

If so, what would you describe it to be?

Maybe an easier question is, what have you found that you really love to do, and can support your life with?

Rgds, Sam

Karol

Are you asking me or everybody else? I feel like this whole article answers that. :)

Financial Samurai

I’m asking you. “Changing the world” I guess is admirable, but anything more specific?

Blogging is fun, and I’ve got one too. So is your goal to simply put be an inspirational blogger who can help change the world while earning enough money through the blog to live your life?

Karol

Check the about page. On my iPod or I’d link to it.

Financial Samurai

Cool, read it. Is there a specific post on how you are earning money? Just curious to know. Might it be in one of the links in your about page too?

Karol

It’s all over the site. Again, I’d link you, but I can’t. Suffice it to say: affiliate and info marketing, but as this article stated I’m shutting down those more profitable income streams to focus on Ridiculously Extraordinary.

Michael Dunn

Karol, thank you. I feel funny writing this as we’ve never met, and I’m not big on social media relationships (i.e. not a Facebooker), but really, thank you. You have inspired me. Not just this post, but the RidiculouslyExtraordinary.com site in general. I found you through http://www.ZenHabits.net, and I instantly subscribed to your Freedom Fighters newsletter.

So the inspiration? I got off my ass and did something! I started small with regular Tweets & Twaiku on twitter.com/jmichaeldunn…baby steps towards kick-starting a voice I allowed to go dormant the last few years. Then yesterday I started a Wordpress blog and posted my first entry. I decided on a schedule immediately thereafter. Thanks for affirming this decision in this article here.

I know it will take a while to find my voice. And I’m really struggling with finding a niche. However I know they will come if I just keep doing something. Again, thank you. I think I’ll turn this gushing thank you note into my second blog entry…

Karol

Wow thank you Michael! Awesome to see you’re getting started! :)

Marilia

I´m not that far as Michael Dum, as in I haven´t started anything public yet (congratulations for making it happen mate!), but I can proudly say that I started writing the content of my future blog. Also figuring out my voice and exact niche, but into having a flow of work to get this through. Thanks again Karol.

Karol

Awesome! Looking forward to seeing what you create Marilia!

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