Continuing the interview with Steve Pavlina here is part two. You can read part one here -
Steve Pavlina Interview – Part 1
4. How To Reach More People
You use the slogan “Personal Development For Smart People” and talk about raising levels of awareness. The majority of people in this world are probably not at a level of awareness to seek out self development materials like you produce. Many don’t have access to the Internet and few who do will ever stumble across your blog. Given these restrictions, how do you plan in the future to expand your readership and influence?
I’m not here to directly reach every man, woman, and child on earth. My general purpose is to help people grow in consciousness and awareness, but that’s more of a direction than a path. My more specific mission is to influence the influencers.
Single-handedly raising the level of consciousness of the whole planet is too much for me to handle, at least at my current stage of development. Triage is essential. I have to say no to a lot of worthy causes, and sometimes it’s heartbreaking to do so, but if I try to help everyone on earth directly, my specific mission will fail, and I cannot allow that to happen.
Influencing the influencers is my particular leverage point. I specifically aim to catch people in their 20s and 30s, a large percentage of whom are Internet-savvy, and help them realize that there’s more to life than getting a job and making money. These people are the future leaders of tomorrow, and if just a small percentage of them learn to listen to their hearts and not just their heads, it will make a world of difference.
Like many others my age, I have little faith in our current business and political leaders. I don’t vote in any elections because there’s no point. The people and issues that make it onto our ballots are spawned from a very low level of consciousness. Our leaders care more about power and perception than they do about truth and service. That’s cowardice, not leadership, and it needs to change. But the only way I see change happening is if enough people raise their own consciousness to the point where they refuse to be manipulated by fear and falsehood. We need leaders who are conscious and compassionate, who care more about serving the greater good than they do about enriching their egos. But we also need people who are willing to accept having an honorable leader in power, and that requires that people learn to manage their fear so it can no longer be used as a means of manipulating them.
Fortunately, I’m not alone in this mission. There are thousands of others who share a similar purpose, each serving a vital role. It’s very encouraging to see others working to help shift the dominant mode of human consciousness from fear to love, from competition to cooperation.
As long as my web site continues to enjoy such rapid growth, it makes sense for me to continue focusing my attention there. When the growth rate slows, I’ll expand into other media to reach more people. But I intend for the web site to remain the central hub for all my work. This is just the beginning.
In 2005 your blog was one of the fastest growing individual blogs. As a blogger, what do you think the future holds for blogs and blogging? What direction would you like to see blogs take?
I’m hugely optimistic about the future of blogs and blogging. Blogs are quickly changing the face of media, injecting a much needed dose of truth. Bloggers tend to be an ornery lot, myself included, having little tolerance for the phoniness and falsehood that infests traditional media. Some bloggers take things a bit too far, but it’s nice to see that blogs are acting as checks and balances on mainstream media. Typical newscasters look ridiculously phony when compared to typical bloggers. I think this will ultimately force changes in mainstream media. They’ll have to change as they begin losing business. The advertising dollars are already flooding into blogs, and that’s only going to increase.
More and more people are coming to realize that traditional media has betrayed them. For too long the media has placed corporate interests ahead of truth. As the movie The Corporation points out so chillingly, corporations are legally bound to put profit ahead of any other concern. A corporation has no honor, no conscience, and minimal accountability. Consequently, the behavior of a corporation can very easily become like that of a psychopath, even thought it may consist of rational human beings. But a blogger is not a corporation. As an individual human being with a conscience and a sense of honor, a blogger has a much easier time putting truth ahead of profit. Bloggers also have a high degree of accountability to their readers and to the world at large. A corporation doesn’t care if people dislike it, as long as it continues to make a profit and expand its business. But a human blogger cares about more than profit, assuming the blogger isn’t a psychopath.
I believe that blogging is going to be a very disruptive influence on systems that are invested in falsehood, especially corporations and government. Blogging is providing an outlet for intelligent people of conscience to finally be heard over the paternalistic, fear-based blabber of traditional media. A corporation or government entity can start a blog, but if it tries spouting the same nonsense it puts in its Ã¢â‚¬Å“for dummiesÃ¢â‚¬Â TV ads, it will soon find itself shredded to pieces by the blogosphere. The bloggers who are honest and credible will continue to draw more and more traffic. People are desperate to hear genuine truth, so herein lies an enormous opportunity for bloggers to build traffic. A blogger can afford to speak the truth on subjects where a corporation or mainstream media entity cannot. A willingness to speak the truth is a blogger’s greatest asset.
I want to see blogs continue to grow in the direction of truth, truth, and more truth. This is a very exciting development because it fits so well with my mission to help people grow. Truth is a powerful enabler of growth.
Making a profit from blogging is all well and good. I expect money will continue to flow into the blogosphere. But I don’t want to see it get in the way of truth. The Internet is such a great equalizer because it’s a lot easier to build a high-traffic web site than it is to create your own TV network.
As a small business owner you face many unique challenges every day. How has developing on a personal level helped you as a business person? What do you consider to be the key ingredient(s) to start, build and grow a successful small business?
Obviously the answer depends on your definition of success. I’ll assume a blended definition of success: making a meaningful contribution to the world, enjoying a healthy profit, and finding your work deeply fulfilling.
The single most important factor I’ve found in creating a successful business is accuracy. The business (and the entrepreneur) must be driven by an accurate model of reality, and according to that model, there must be a hugely compelling reason to create the business. If creating the business is merely an option instead of an absolute must, then you shouldn’t create the business. You’re just wasting your time.
When I started my games business, my original purpose was to have it be an outlet for my creativity. It was a vehicle for me to create and sell my own games. A secondary purpose was to entertain and challenge people. But as a purpose, this was only so-so in its level of inspiration. In the grand scheme of things, the work I was doing didn’t really matter to anyone but a handful of people. Nevertheless, this business took a significant amount of my time to build.
The accuracy of my thinking increased when I acknowledged that the world didn’t need another games business, not even a good one. There were far more important needs to address. Eventually I was able to connect the dots between the most crucial human needs and my own personal talents and abilities. For me that connection was personal growth. Helping people grow, especially in consciousness and awareness, was the very best work I felt I could do. There was nothing more inspiring to me. And I felt that it was something I had to do personally. Because of my particular experiences and skills, I saw that I could make a significant and unique contribution to this field if I were to devote a significant portion of my life to it. Furthermore, if I chose not to make that contribution, something wonderful would be lost. I’m not saying this out of ego or vanity Ã¢â‚¬â€œ it was simply that I realized that there was a particular area where I could make a valuable contribution to the world, and if I decided not do it, there would be an unfilled void left in its place. If I didn’t fill that void personally, then among other things, a suicide might have occurred that could have been prevented, as I mentioned in question 3.
The key to succeeding in business isn’t some particular technique or strategy. It’s the why that drives the business. When the purpose behind your business is truly important to you, you’ll be driven to learn the skills and take the actions necessary to succeed. Many people in business don’t even apply what they know. But if you have a great purpose, you’ll use what you know and then some.
The purpose behind my business is a huge source of inspiration for me. My purpose drives me to work on my self-discipline, to stay organized, to keep up with the latest developments in my field, and to write hundreds of free articles. Who cares about fame or fortune when you can experience the privilege of saving a life? In the grand scheme of things, money just isn’t that motivating. Sure it’s nice to have a good income, but once your basic needs are met, money won’t be the driving force behind your work. It has to be something much more meaningful. Basically, the true purpose of your business must be some form of genuine and much needed service to the world.
If you’re thinking about starting a business, ask yourself if there’s a greater need on earth than the one your business idea will address. If there is, and if you’re capable of filling that need to some degree, then dump your original idea, and find a way to fill that need and have it generate plenty of income for you.
Do you have any mentors? If so who are they and in what areas of your own self development have they helped you?
I have a number of mentors. Some are local friends that coach me on my speaking skills. Others are people who’ve created the books and audio programs I’ve devoured. And finally there are my spiritual mentors.
The last group plays the most significant role in my life. While I’ve gained many ideas from people and books, the best mentoring I receive comes from an internal process which includes meditation and journaling.
Whenever I feel I need guidance, I spend a few hours alone either meditating or journaling at my computer. I ask questions and then wait for answers. At various times I’ve filtered this process through one philosophical framework or another. Depending on your particular belief system, you can think of it as prayer, connecting with spirit guides, channeling, communicating with the subconscious, brainstorming, etc. The mental framework isn’t important. The important part is the act of turning inward and seeking answers from within.
Most of the time I use a journaling program on my computer, and I type up a list of questions. Then I work my way through these questions, listening for answers and typing whatever comes to mind. Whether the answers come from some divine source or my own subconscious, I don’t know. But I almost always get good advice whenever I do this. The advice isn’t always easy to follow, and sometimes I disregard it, but in the long run, it usually turns out to be correct. I’ve been using this process for about 10 years now and have found it invaluable. I’m never at a loss for what to do next.
Continue reading part three of the Steve Pavlina interview…
And learn how to build a better blog.