When you’re reactive, you treat the symptoms that you have. When you’re proactive you prevent the sickness from ever arriving. Sure, in some lines of work you might be able to get along without being proactive. Perhaps if you work on the factory line you don’t have to be.
Freelancing is not one of those fields.
There, proactivity decides if you’re going to prosper or perish. Heck, even the strain of freelancing will be inversely proportional to how proactive you are. This is because being proactive will let you counter the natural freelancing cycle. You might see a period of slow work coming and push extra hard to find new clients to fill the gaps. It is also how you keep yourself and your skill set current. And that’s the only way you can stay ahead of the curve.
This makes it an essential freelancing skill. So what do you do if you don’t have it? That’s what we’re going to cover in this article at the hands of:
It happens to us all at one time or another. You find a formula and a groove that work well for you and settle into it. For a time it works. You improve, write more engaging texts, boost your readabilty, and get more popular. Then the effect tapers out. You plateau. You know you have to change things up, but you don’t know how.
Your groove has become a rut.
What’s more, you’re afraid. You’ve been doing things in one way for a while now. What if you change things up and your readers don’t like it? Or what if you can’t write in the way you’d like to? Wracked with indecision you keep going the way you are. It’s not so much that you think ‘if it isn’t broken, don’t fix it’ but more that you don’t actually know what to fix.
I hear you. I understand your pain. I’ve been there myself. (As I said, it happens to us all). Still, you can’t let that fear rule your writing. It’s time to, be more proactive, change it up and start experimenting if you want to be a successful writer. In the rest of this article, I’ll explain why.
Continue reading Why Experimenting Will Make You A More Successful Writer
We don’t understand ourselves that well. The more time the behavioral sciences spend studying us, the more judgement errors they find. For example, Daniel Gilbert spends a whole book on how bad we are at figuring out what makes us happy.
At the heart of the digital nomad life resides a similar misconception. We have an inborn need to belong and be part of a community. And yet many people seek out this life to be free and unattached. They don’t seem to realize that when a need goes unfulfilled it ends up dominating your mental landscape. (Try locking yourself in a room without seeing anybody for a week if you don’t believe me). And when a need goes unfulfilled it ends up leeching the color and enjoyment out of everything else.
Yes, I did cover this at length in why most digital nomads fail. Don’t worry. I’m not going to get into that side of it again. Instead, today I’d like to discuss the other side of the coin. If we have an evolved need to belong what advantage does our community give us? To paraphrase Mont Python, what has the community ever done for us? And why if it is so meaningful, do so many of us fail to recognize it for being as important as it is?
Continue reading Why It Is So Important To Be Part Of A Community
There is so much going on when you’re living on the road that it can be hard to stay productive. That can be stressful. At the same time, it’s not all bad news. In one regard, the road gives you a huge advantage. It allows you to easily crush your bad habits.
How so? Because many habits are at least in part linked to things and places. For example, seeing the balcony might cue you to smoke. Similarly, when you pass that doughnut place where you know everybody, the call to go in can be irresistible. When you’re on the road, all those external signals fall away. This makes it easier to shed those nasty unconscious subroutines that you’d rather get rid of.
Continue reading How To Easily Crush Your Bad Habits On The Road
Hey, I get it. You want to get in on the digital nomad life. Who doesn’t? Travel the world, see some beautiful places, wake up to the sound of waves and make money all the while. It’s living the dream (and yes, that’s still true even if you disregard the myths or the disconnect). But that can soon turn into a nightmare if you can’t avoid digital nomad scams.
I even get why that happens. People get so excited they lead with their heart instead of their head and end up leaping before they’ve looked. That’s dangerous. There are sharks in these waters.
I talked to Pieter Levels from Nomad List about this. “Getting a digital skill is ruthlessly hard,” he told me, while “building a business takes years.” In our instant gratification society, many don’t want to wait that long. “So they try to find a shortcut.” And that’s where the scammers come in.
In effect, it’s another version of the get rich quick scheme, but this time with swaying palm trees in the background.
Continue reading What You Need To Know To Avoid Digital Nomad Scams
Your brain is a pretty damn amazing, but it’s hardly perfect. It is riddled with innate biases, oversights and weak spots that can lead you astray. Even worse, unlike other tools, you can’t put it aside and use something else for a while. The result is that often you’re blind to the unconscious mental mistakes you’re making.
In fact, most people are convinced that other people make mental mistakes but they themselves don’t. This mistake is called the ‘bias blind spot’. It’s not a bad name though I prefer the ‘I know you are, but what am I?’ bias. Whatever you call it, it might be the worst ones out there as it means you take no action to correct your other errors.
It’s like that rude friend who keeps offending people but insists it’s everybody else’s fault.
Continue reading 3 Big Mental Mistakes Which Distort How You See The World
Do you know why most digital nomads fail? Most people pick something like, ‘they can’t get their careers off the ground’, ‘they chose the wrong enterprise’, or ‘they can’t hack it as freelancers‘. Others will say it’s because they run out of money, they didn’t budget well, or they got scammed. And yes, these can all be the straws that break the aspiring nomad’s back. The thing is, often these are only symptoms of a much bigger underlying problem.
What am I on about? I’m talking about what I like to call the digital nomad disconnect.
Most travelers eventually feel the need to go home because they’re not socially integrated. The digital nomad’s existence of drifting from place to place might sound appealing, but it has some serious problems. In time, these lead many to pull the plug.
There are two main reasons why this lack of belongingness affects us so. I’ll cover each in turn.
Continue reading Why Most Digital Nomads Fail (And How To Avoid It)
Picture by Etienne Koch.
This is the Judgment Fairy! Isn’t he pretty? Yes, he does have green hair, but don’t judge. It isn’t some statement of rebellion. He was born that way.
His whole family is a bit different. They’re all in the fairy trade. Like his sister the tooth fairy and his mom, who you might know from the Cinderella stories, he does his job at the edge of sight. But where his sis loves enamel and his mom has a thing for pumpkins, his interest lies elsewhere.
His obsession is those who judge.
Continue reading The Judgment Fairy
It’s terrifying to take the step from a sedentary existence into a digital nomad life. Even if you have enough money saved up, it’s a leap into the unknown. After several years out here, I’d kind of forgotten that. But the more I talk with those who want to take up the life, the more I’m reminded of how I too used to wake up in a cold sweat at night. I spent days worrying at the question if heading out or staying in was the bigger mistake.
Just like these people I was talking to, I’d wished I had a bit more certainty. I wondered if I knew enough about the travelancer life. I questioned if I had the right personality to be a digital nomad.
I dealt with the first question last week. So this week I’ll deal with the second one. And if you’re going to ask any questions about personality, well then you have to turn to psychology.
So, for a second time in a month, I’ve put on my psychologist’s hat. After a bit of research, I realized there’s a lot out there – far too much to cover in one article (here are two more about our need to belong and about mental mistakes).
Continue reading Do You Have The Right Personality To Be A Digital Nomad?
We travel because it makes us happy. From the cubicle, the vagabond existence seems idyllic. It is full of swaying palm trees, sandy beaches, and so many smiling people you’d think it’s a cult. The thing is unless you join a cult you can’t be happy all the time – not even then, actually.
Every existence, even the one on the road, has its shades of blue.
For example, you might feel lonely. You might tire of the hedonism and want more engagement and meaning. Or you might have been going for so long that you forget why travel is good for you and start seeing ‘normal’ life through rose-tinted glasses.
It happened to me two weeks ago. A wave of despondency hit me. I spent days questioning the vagabond existence. I shut myself away, went soul searching and wrestled with my demons.
It’s not like it is the first time. I knew it would pass. It always does. This time, though, rather than just battening down the hatches and waiting it out, I decided to do something about it. I dusted off my psychologist’s cap and took a positive psychology refresher.
Continue reading How to Find Happiness on the Road (and in ‘Normal’ Life)