Earlier in the week, I wrote about a major project and life change that I decided not to undertake. Today I want to talk about the smaller projects that often distract us. We all have them. The ideas that pop into our head. The domains we decide to buy. Moments of perceived brilliance followed by the invention of a fantasy version of ourselves that undertakes them.
Within these ideas are the right ones, the things we’re meant to do. Alongside these are the distractions that derail us, the things that knock us off our path. It’s not to say that these are all bad ideas, just that they aren’t right for us.
A big part of achieving what you want out of your life is deciding what you’re not going to do. With that in mind, I want to publicly abandon a few of the projects that I’ve had rattling around my brain. It’s not that I’m getting rid of the domains just yet (let’s not be crazy), but I want to shift any of my attention away from these and figured that saying it out loud (or in writing) was as good a starting point as any.
Here are five ideas that I’m abandoning. They run the gamut from serious to utterly stupid and don’t really fit in my current big picture. Hopefully it will encourage you to ditch a few of your own extraneous projects in order to focus in on what really matters to you. Or perhaps they will spark an idea for you.
Five Ideas That Have To Go
The Nexties – Finding an audience when you’re starting out your blog can be a real challenge. A big part of getting attention on the social web is based in having social proof. People often tend to give you a chance based on the word of others. For many bloggers, this includes things like the Ad Age Power 150 and other deserved accolades. The Nexties aimed to be this for new bloggers. I referred to it as “The Blogging Award You Don’t Deserve… Yet”. The goal was to work with established bloggers in a few verticals (e.g. Social Media, Technology, Productivity, Health) and ask them to help anoint and mentor the next wave of writers.
Cause Keggers – Every time I go to a charity event two thoughts cross my mind: Wow, they are wasting a lot of money that could be helping the charity and boy do I miss the good old days of a keg and a bag of chips. Cause Keggers was the holy alliance of the two. It wasn’t meant to be charity specific. They idea was to offer a platform that any charity could use to throw a simple event based around conversation, kegs and the beloved red solo cups of our college days. It would maximize the amount of cash that could go to the charity and potentially remove some of the unneeded pretense that goes into the average charitable event.
Digital Cooking Class – The more you learn how to make things with your Mac, the more you tend to want to show others just how easy this can be. For a while, I thought about creating screencasts or hosting local how-to events to help others get more out of their computers. To make things a bit more enjoyable, it would have had the feeling of a traditional cooking class. A similar step-by-step feel and perhaps I’d even wear a stupid hat. I’ve worked the screencasts into my current site, but decided to get rid of the kitsch. I also never felt the name was quite right as this could just as easily been mistaken for a traditional cooking class (even if I had used a tagline like “Make More With Your Mac”).
I Respect Your Life Choices – One of my less ambitious and more “base” endeavors, IRYLC was meant to be a shallow project similar to Fail Blog. Living in NYC, you see some questionable life choices, you also tend to take pictures of them with your camera phone and share them on Facebook. I’ve used the line “I respect your life choices” both seriously and sarcastically for years (much to the “joy” of my wife and friends). In a moment of drunken stupidity, I came up with the idea of creating a Tumblr blog where people could submit their own judgmental moments.
Bacon Cheeseburger Jew – Ok, I’m going to hell for this one… A little backstory: I’m officially the world’s worst Jew. In fact, even calling me a Jewish is probably an overstatement and likely as insulting as this idea is to those who take religion seriously. For years when people asked my religion, Bacon Cheeseburger Jew was my stock answer. It told the person asking everything they needed to know. As a relatively unhealthy person, I also have a special place in my (likely unhealthy) heart for literal bacon cheeseburgers. The idea was to combine my heresy with my gluttony and review as many Brooklyn-based burgers while offering a t-shirt with a likely offensive, yet unfortunately amusing logo.
There Is Still More To Go
While some of these were easy to let go of (I think my father or my cholesterol would have killed me had I gone with the bacon cheeseburger blog) others were far harder (I still believe in the need for something like The Nexties to encourage new bloggers to keep going). As I hone in on what I want to accomplish with my life, I need to eliminate the things I’m just not likely to do. Eventually I’ll have to go even deeper, eliminating other potential projects that still sit idle, but this is a start. There are still some ambitions that I don’t yet have the courage to either attempt to abandon.
Have Any Of Your Own?
Are there projects that you’ve been sitting on for far too long? Are there small dreams that are keeping you from your big goals? If so, consider following suit, making a list (it can be public or private) and letting them go.