Who the Heck is Steve Pavlina?
The first time I heard his name back in the year 2010, I asked that same question. I learned about StevePavlina.com and the 4 Hour Work Week by Tim Ferris all on the same fateful day. Both successful internet icons, I just came late to the party and didn’t know about either one.
Although I have not directly communicated with Steve Pavlina (heck I only JUST found out what he looks like by visiting his about page for the first time!), I feel like I know him intimately. That’s why I am going to take the liberty to refer to him simply as Steve for the rest of this post. He runs one of the most popular personal development blogs of all time. His tagline, ‘personal development for smart people’. I think that last part is what really drew me in.
Steve is an influential figure in the online blogging niche and needs no further introduction. Go read his about page for yourself to find out more.
Note: I don’t agree with everything Steve writes about. In fact, I find some of his writing about polyamory and pseudoscience to be a bit weird, and I just don’t identify with it. What I like is the messages he delivers about courage, love, fear, and other self improvement truths.
Purpose Driven Friends
Some individuals come into your life at certain times for express reasons. I have absolutely no idea how it happens. The alignment of stars, divine intervention, call it what you will. It just seems to happen. You ask for help, direction, emotional support, or advice, and a new person enters your life to assist in solving your dilemma.
Purpose driven friends exit your life just as quickly, having completed their assigned task.
In one such case a few years ago, a young girl (I’ll call her Jane) started working in the same office as me for a short 3 month contract. We found ourselves sitting alone at a table in the cafeteria a few days after she began work. It was a surreal experience; we quickly connected on an unusual wavelength and I felt an immediate mental attraction.
The conversation turned to topics of personal development, living a lifestyle different from the norm, and all the good stuff I now evangelize and enjoy and in my own life. Both Tim Ferris and Steve had infiltrated Jane’s mind and how she thought about the world. In term, she made it her mission to pass on the gospel to me.
Jane came into my life at the right time and for the express purpose of suggesting that I read both Steve’s blog and Tim Ferris’ best selling book. I had just turned 30 years old a few months prior and was struggling with the direction my life should take next. I didn’t know it at the time, but both Tim Ferris and Steve’s wisdom formed a part of the antidote to what ailed me.
The Power of Ideas
“Great minds discuss ideas; average minds discuss events; small minds discuss people.” – Eleanor Roosevelt
Very true Mrs. Roosevelt.
I enjoy discussing ideas. Gossiping and discussing people makes me anxious. Ideas are like fruits and vegetables that make your mind strong; discussing events is similar to eating nuts, good for you in small daily doses; people gossip is mainly junk food and should be avoided. Strive to nurture the idea part of your mind.
I bought Tim’s book and also started reading Steve’s blog articles. I become obsessed with devouring as much content as I could from as many sources as I could find; I fell down a personal development/online entrepreneurship rabbit hole too big to ever climb out. And I have never looked back.
Reading, analyzing, and integrating the parts of what others teach with words is a powerful tool.
How many people have read the Bible?
How many have read The Art of War?
How many have read The Republic by Plato?
Or any of the other most influential books ever written …
Ideas change your entire perception of the world and have the ability to change the direction of your life. Once the seeds of an idea from another person have been planted, the good ones are given time to germinate and grow. They feed on other similar ideas and form a living organism that becomes part of you. If the idea is strong enough to root and take hold, it changes how you perceive your daily interactions in life, changes what you want out of life and what you want to give back, and makes you want to teach others in whatever way you can.
How Steve Does It
Arranging words on a computer screen to come together to make a persuasive argument is hard work. Coherent, articulate, efficient articles take time and effort. Say too much and you bore with unnecessary detail. Say too little and your audience won’t fully understand. All the while time ticks on. You have to click the publish button at some point, or else no one will ever read your novel, ebook, essay, or blog post. Perfection in writing is illusive.
The amalgamation of words that Steve crafts for each article teach powerful lessons and harbor insights that are easy for anyone to extract.
Steve’s style of writing resonates with me, as I am sure it does for the millions of other people who read his work. He is witty, personal, emotional, and knows how to ensure you keep reading a short 7,000 word article. First and foremost he writes from the heart. He’s not afraid to write what he truly believes and holds dear. Nor is he afraid to discuss controversial and/or taboo subject matter in an honest and open way. He sticks with his core values, always.
Writing style plays a big role in communicating a message. One must choose: short sentences with easy to understand words vs. long sentences that show great mastery of the English language. I strive for brevity whenever I write. As the saying goes, ‘Why use a ten dollar word when a ten cent one will suffice’.
One such post from Steve’s blog that changed my thinking about work is called 10 reasons you should never get a job. I laughed, I cried, and then I took to heart what he wrote. In his writing he makes the argument that getting a job is paramount to income for dummies, too risky, and loss of freedom. I tend to agree.
Like Steve, I strive to be unemployed for a very long time, living a life of blissful joblessness.
How My Life Changed
My life didn’t change overnight, and Steve certainly didn’t personally have a hand in changing it. A few years went by before I finally assimilated the ideas from people like Steve into my own consciousness. Eventually, I got to a point where action was no longer a choice, it was a necessity. I had to take action and change my life. I couldn’t keep doing what I was doing and living how I was living.
Sure, I had a well paying job with great colleagues, close friends, an abundance of food, nice digs, and all the trappings of an otherwise good life. I am sure outsiders without a good job, shelter, or food would look at my life and be envious.
I wasn’t unhappy, but I could feel I wasn’t living how I was supposed to live.
Something finally clicked. Within a short time period I found: a sense of my true self, a girlfriend who would become my future wife, and my passions once more.
I made a long term plan to extricate myself from a meaningless job in order to provide better value to the world. I planned to pursue my travel aspirations, to start a business, and to do all the things I kept telling myself I would do … someday.
Someday is a long time in the future.
“Instead of working for money, which I found to be a hollow and ultimately unsuccessful pursuit, I decided to center my work around expressing my creativity, caring for people, providing value, exploring and experimenting, and creating positive ripples in the world. I do what feels inspired, and I let the universe handle the rest.” – Steve Pavlina
I had to think about the above statement for a long time before its meaning really became clear to me. After all, isn’t money the reason for work? Doesn’t money provide the basis from which to measure and judge everything and everyone around you?
Of course not.
Steve’s writing portrays a raw, fluent view of the world. Through his writing he proves that he has a unique voice. He is not afraid to create and deliver true value to the world. Some love him, others (probably) hate him. Regardless of detractors, nothing holds him back. He keeps creating from his heart, not for commercial gain. Any gain that comes is simply a byproduct of authentic success.
That was likely the greatest seed that sprouted in my own thought process. Don’t be afraid to write, create, and deliver your own unique voice. Some people may think my writing stinks, others may resonate with what I have to say and keep supporting me.
Constructive criticism can be a helpful tool to improve. Negativity should be avoided at all costs. Regardless, don’t ever be afraid to explore, experiment, and create inspiration for others. Don’t let money drive your decisions or get in your way. Finally, have the courage to live a life true to yourself.
Thinking about my own writing, Steve has had a big influence. Steve’s creative work has allowed me to become a better writer. I have read many of his articles, allowing me to absorb his writing style for my own use. Modeling those who have come before you is a fantastic short cut to success.
At least, I know that’s what Tony Robbins would tell me.
I feel like this is my coming out as a writer. This is one of the first personal articles I have written for Nomad Newlyweds, though I have many other articles in reserve ready to go out into cyberspace.
Publishing personal thoughts is a scary proposition. I know I will feel vulnerable hitting the publish button for this post. That’s a good thing as it means I can contribute, learn and grow as an author.
For all of the above points I have to say a big thank you to Steve Pavlina. I hope one day our paths cross and I am able to express my heartfelt appreciation in person!