Today I removed the opt-in form from my blog that allowed you to join my email newsletter, and I’ve decided to stop sending email updates to people in my list. It’s gratifying to know that a few people are willing to follow along with my musings and writing. Thank you for being a part of it, and I hope you’ll continue to follow along via my rss feed or just by checking in occasionally. I’ll still be posting my monthly income reports, and other essays.
Since about 2013 when I quit my job and had to pack everything I owned into a relatively small car, I’ve had a desire to own less stuff. Traveling for a year with a single backpack to hold all of my worldly possessions reinforced the idea that physical possessions are not what I want to accumulate in this life. I’d rather be free of the shackles of stuff so that I can focus on creating an experience rich lifestyle. More recently I’ve consumed a spate of media about minimalism including the minimalist documentary, Everything That Remains, and The More of Less. I generally agree with all the concepts pontificated within these volumes. Last night this passage from The More Of Less resonated with me:
Then I had another revelation. I had done the same thing with books. A part of my motivation for cramming my shelves with books was to signal to anyone who visited my office that I was well read, intelligent, and worthy of esteem.
Understanding this about myself, I felt embarrassed. And as I removed the two-thirds of my books that I didn’t really need, I resolved to no longer seek to impress others by the number of books on my shelves.
When I first started writing about Postcard Panda, I had some vague notion that I wanted it to be a serious endeavor. I was hoping to build a large email list and gain some recognition for the (hopefully) up and to the right products that I build. There are people out there who have done this, and they all proclaim that email is their best source of revenue. I follow some of these people, and they seem to have the superhuman ability launch new businesses with the press of a button that fires an email to their massive lists. They are masters of self-promotion that use their own name as a brand.
The above passage made me realize that I was defining ‘success’ through the looking glass of other people without taking the time to ponder it. Opt-in forms are what serious bloggers do, of course I should do that too. Actually visualizing myself in a future where I accomplished building a massive email list made me anxious. Sure, it would be nice to have an audience to launch products from, but it would ultimately stress me out. Even putting the form on my website had wormed a thought into the back of my head that I had an obligation to write about a specific subset of topics. So I’m calling it quits for my email list, and taking the stance that I don’t want that future stress in my life.