Blog Review: Year One

Mar

26

2010

On April 1st, this blog will be a year old. Yes, I chose that date on purpose.

So how do I feel I did? Okay, I guess.

That’s not a great answer. Unfortunately, this year that’s the best answer I have because I didn’t set clear goals when I started this blog. When I set clear goals for success, happiness is simple.

With clear, measurable goals, I get one of two results. Either I complete my goals and after having a success, I get a self-esteem boost which makes me happy. Or I don’t complete my goals and after having a failure event, I am unhappy. Those two states are productive states for me because I celebrate when I’m happy and I make new plans when I’m unhappy. I don’t mope when an action doesn’t get my desired results because I start thinking about all the possible new actions I should take next.

For this blog, I avoided measurable goals. I have a bad tendency not set goals when I’m in a low period because I don’t want to risk failing. It’s a vicious cycle. I start a new project to boost my self-esteem and to get myself out of my down cycle, but then I avoid setting goals. I feel great for a few weeks or months because the project is something new and exciting. However as my project continues, I feel less and less motivated because I haven’t set goals so I don’t know if I’m doing good or bad. Eventually, I’m just doing something new that’s become old and I forget why I bothered in the first place which puts me back in my down cycle.

Having no set goals means I can’t fail. Not failing is very comfortable place to exist. Not failing helps me avoid being unhappy. Unfortunately, being not unhappy is not the same thing as being happy. Not failing isn’t the same as having a success. Any measure of discomfort that I avoid from not failing is outweighed by the gradual loss of self-esteem by not succeeding over long periods of time.

Without clear goals and more importantly, written goals, I neither succeeded nor failed. With this blog, some things went better than I thought and others didn’t even come close. So what I’m left with is this in-between state where happiness is fuzzier. What I dislike about this in-between state is the time I waste trying to figure out how I feel about a project. I would feel stuck which would turn into procrastination. What I was really doing was attempting to make up my mind whether to quit or to continue.

Don’t worry, I’m not quitting this blog. If this would have been 10 years ago, you wouldn’t be seeing new posts for a month while I was making up my mind. Nowadays, it takes an hour. I do my Wrong-Right-Zero Base process.

Wrong: What did I do wrong with the blog?
Right: What did I do right with the blog?
Zero Base: Knowing what I know now, would I have started this blog in the first place last year?

What I did wrong

I started two blogs

I started INFP Blog and my personal blog around the same time I joined Twitter. I wanted to use Twitter to drive traffic to both, but I couldn’t do both effectively. I stopped writing on INFP Blog for 5 months because I was busy redesigning, networking and writing for my personal blog. I shouldn’t have done both.

I didn’t set up FeedBurner

I should have set up FeedBurner sooner. My blog is information. Having a news feed gives readers the option to subscribe to that information. Giving people more choices is never a bad thing. Wordpress has it’s own news feed, but using FeedBurner lets me count my number of subscribers.

What I did right

Naming my blog “INFP Blog”

I considered a more artsy, esoteric name for my blog, but after 14 years in web development, I knew the name “INFP Blog” would be better for SEO (search engine optimization). I estimated that I’d get 20% of my traffic from Google. I was wrong. Google brings me 50-55% of my site traffic.

Social networking on the forums

Originally, I planned to drive traffic solely from Twitter. Then I remembered how much dialogue occurred on Tribe and MySpace INFP groups. Globalchatter, the biggest INFP forum at the time, had recently shut down. INFPs have always grouped online so I knew the Globalchatter community would move elsewhere. I tracked down the most active forums and started commenting. I get around 20% of my traffic from commenting on forums.

Waited on my site redesign

After redesigning my personal blog and getting zero traffic. I decided to focus on INFP Blog. Instead of spending a lot of initial time and effort on the design, I concentrated on writing and networking. I knew I didn’t have energy for both. Focusing on the networking and writing attracted readers and comments which motivated me to keep writing. Otherwise, I think I would have been burned out trying to redesign and build traffic.

Zero Based Thinking

Zero Based Thinking is letting go of all the time and energy I invested in any given endeavor and asking myself one simple question: if I knew then what I know now, would I have started this in the first place?

If the answer is no, I immediately try to end whatever I’m doing. If it’s a bad project I got suckered into because I was too nice, I’ll see if I can find someone else who’s more eager and I enlist the help of the person who suckered me into it in the first place. If it’s a person that’s bad for my life, I just stop calling them. If it’s a personal project, I’ll put it away and call it done.

Knowing what I know now, I definitely would have started writing INFP Blog.

Now comes the fun part, figuring out what’s next. That’s the next post.

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Thank you for commenting

8 Responses to “Blog Review: Year One”

  1. Kheiron Quayle

    Mar 26, 2010

    7:22 pm

    AWESOME! I’m glad you decided to continue. I think your writing is very relatable; I enjoy it. 🙂

    Kheiron

    [Reply]

  2. MichaelINFP

    Mar 26, 2010

    8:36 pm

    Hey Corin,

    I’m glad your Zero Based Thinking leads you to the conclusion to keep writing your blog. I’ve only recently stumbled upon it, and I find your writings intelligent, informative, and with a (constructively) bracing quality (perhaps less than common among INFPs).

    Happy 1st blog anniversary, and thanks for sharing your ideas and experiences with the rest of us.

    [Reply]

    ockhamdesign Reply:

    Whenever I’m in my molting phase, I do a Life spring cleaning, I evaluate everything with Zero Based Thinking. It’s hard because some things and people, I’ve invested a great deal of time on and only now do I realize that some of the stuff I do and some of the people in my life don’t help in getting closer to my Ideal Self.

    It’s really hard to let go though, especially with the people.

    [Reply]

    MichaelINFP Reply:

    Yes, letting go of people can be difficult, perhaps stimulating guilt within, or anger from without…or a sense of loss, and/or conversely a sense of “I should have done this a long time ago.” And, of course, when dealing with people, various values may come into play, making it a complex decision–personal development vs. generosity/altruism, and so on.

    But when we decide we must leave someone or something behind it can be with some ambivalence. Perhaps most of what we invest in is not without merit–it’s just that we have only a limited amount of energy and time, and investing in the “okay” keeps us from investing in the good or the great. So we might say that life demands of us periodic prunings, because she gives us only so much nourishment and sap, so much sunshine and air.

    It may also help us to remember that even a project or a person we decide to leave behind may have served a good, even noble, purpose for a time in our lives (and, in the case of a person, perhaps we served a good purpose for him or her).

    I live on a property with acreage that I’ve spent several years improving–renovating a large one-of-a-kind gambrel-roofed barn, putting in a lot of work on a big old farmhouse, clearing and improving fields, planting an orchard, etc., etc.–and now I’m getting ready to put in on the market. I will miss the place, but I keep in mind that all those hours working in the fields mowing, or cutting and clearing fallen trees, or hauling brush, or building or painting or supervising renovations to the structures…all those activities had a value for me at that time in my journey. Now I’m in a different “place” existentially, but then I needed to wrestle-dance with earth and tree and stone, and to confront various sensory realities and challenges. In short, though I won’t be staying on this property, I need not regret having invested my energies in it for a time. I have been influenced by the experience, learned from it, was deepened by it, in many ways.

    Or at least that’s what I tell myself. 🙂

    [Reply]

  3. Albert

    Mar 29, 2010

    11:51 am

    You say: “Being INFP is like left-handedness in an environment that doesn’t favor that trait. (…) Like left-handed people, INFPs learn to adapt.”

    Don’t you think you are composing this blog as a kind of “rectifying” course to make left-handed people write with their right hand? Don’t you think it would be great to implement some “INFP-handed” tools/ways in the world the way there are left-handed ones?

    [Reply]

    ockhamdesign Reply:

    Yes, I’m writing this blog to get left-handed people to write with their right-handed when needed. The first part is recognizing when they need to. The second part is sharing things I’ve learned from various books that I’ve had to modify for my INFP-ness.

    INFPs want things that are completely incompatible with INFP behavior. There’s no way to get certain things we want if continue with that behavior. Either we compensate (I like the word better than rectify) for that behavior or we can continue blaming the world for not accepting us for who we are.

    For example, INFPs like do things because we feel inspired. So should clients be more accepting of the excuse that I didn’t get your project done because I didn’t feel inspired. Would you like it if the guy you hired to fix your plumbing came over and told you after 5 minutes that he wasn’t really inspired and can’t do his best work right now. Clients hire people who are on time and will deliver work on time, which favors a J preference. Either the P learns to adopt certain J behaviors or Ps won’t be able to compete.

    INFPs have goals like any other type whether is writing the next bestseller or finding the perfect girl. I haven’t found anyone who’s written any advice called “Procrastinate You Way To A Successful Writing Career”. In every piece of advice I’ve read from successful authors, there hasn’t been a single one that tells me to write whenever I feel like it. It’s very INFP to do things as we feel inspired or as things move us. Of course, someone who wants to be successful writer, can continue their INFP way of writing and wonder why they haven’t gotten as far as they liked. The other course is to follow the advice of successful writers that say you need to write every day whether you like it with a set goal of a specific number of words which is very J behavior.

    Honestly, I don’t think there’s anything wrong with typical INFP behavior unless it stands in the way of getting what we want. Maybe there’s is an INFP way of doing things that will get us to our dream lives. I wrote an blog post called You Are What You Believe about the System, the system, the Games, the Rules, and the Rewards. Rules for the Games are discovered by the people who have gotten the Rewards. Those people tend to write books about the Rules they discovered to get those that Reward.

    The “Become a successful novelist” Game has Rules as discovered by the previous successful writers. The Reward is having a published book that people will read and hopefully monetary compensation. I can either choose to follow the Rules to get the Reward. Or I can waste a lot of time trying to find the INFP method of Procrastinate You Way To A Successful Writing Career. Honestly, I prefer to have my Rewards sooner rather than later.

    [Reply]

  4. Maria

    Mar 31, 2010

    11:06 am

    While this may be true for everyone, it is especially true for an INFP. You are your worst critic.

    I love your blog and think it is just fine the way it is. I’m sure any improvements you chose to make will be good ones. Your blog entries are insightful and inspiring. Sometimes I find myself giggling because you always point out all the little quirks. It’s nice to know I’m not the only one.

    I am the same way with goals. I either accomplish them or I fail and make new ones. I often wish I could just enjoy what I have created for myself rather than always needing to find something new and better because I get bored easily.

    In response to your previous post, I’m a left-handed INFP so I think I’m super special 🙂

    [Reply]

  5. ictoan

    Apr 4, 2010

    8:34 pm

    I found your blog from Personality Cafe and really enjoy what you are doing. Keep up the good work! Looking forward for a 2nd anniversary 😀

    [Reply]

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