Medium — The true power of a community
I am on a break from work. Because I have managed to do everything that one could possibly do to ignore health ( and to some extent, relationships). But thanks to the support of an incredible family and extremely generous human beings who are my fellow co-founders, I have the luxury of “taking a break”.
Since the primary focus of using this time away is to address my health related issues, a large chunk of my time goes into “Ayurvedic” Treatments and such.
But along with the treatments for the body, I also have to address a serious ailment that I have “acquired” over the last decade (perhaps even earlier).
That is the disease of negative thinking, allowing stress and depression to control my eating habits and utter lack of discipline when it comes to taking up projects which are outside my immediate and short term goals.
When you are not quite into your forties and have this “lifestyle” crisis, the problem is that you are possibly the only one in your friends’ circle with these issues. Or atleast, the only one who is talking about it.
And when you embark on a journey, which is tedious and boring in its very nature, staying motivated is a huge challenge. And there is only so much that you can depend on outsiders for motivation.
What happens then?
For me, Medium happened.
I installed the APP. I selected all the usual and popular tags. “Startup”, “Entrepreneurship”, “Motivation”, “Self Improvement”…you get the drift.
Initially I started looking at the feed and opening up the articles if I found the title to be interesting. I usually tend to look at the author AFTER I have read the piece.
Then I gradually started noticing a pattern. The articles that most resonated with me — those were mostly by the same authors.
At first, I just read. Then I started adding a comment every now and then, very hesitantly. I realized that not only are their advises helping me but sometimes I find that I want to express something and almost immediately I read an article written by them on the topic ( of course, written in a much better fashion that I can.) That’s when I started sharing their work via twitter so that more people could benefit from them.
So in between all these “likes”, shares, “highlights” and “responses”, I started thinking of them as friends.
Allow me to share with you 3 such authors who have made an indelible mark on my habits in the last 6 months.
It was at the beginning of this year that Todd put out an article about “Stream-of-consciousness” writing. Till then I was struggling to kick start the writing habit. But what do I write about? I didn’t know. The mere act of putting words to paper was Soooooo frustrating — because I knew that I wanted to write and I had NO clue what to write.
I needed every word to be perfect even though no one ever saw them. But the idea of writing without looking at the screen… It was like giving me permission to make mistakes. While I still have a long way to go, I am writing pretty regularly and that itself is a HUGE achievement for me.
Every now and then, Todd gives me a shout out via a short video on Twitter. And each time it makes me smile. This man who sits somewhere in the US ( a country I have never visited) and I who sit in a flat in Kochi, a small city in the small state of Kerala in India, have connected Thanks to Medium.
What has been one of my biggest learning in this forced sabbatical? It is about understanding the importance of incremental changes. I have written quite a few pages dedicated to this subject and hidden itaway from the world. It is hidden away at this point mainly due to 2 reasons — one because they are written repeatedly so that it stays ingrained in my system ( a bit like learning by rote). And secondly because I think it isnowhere near the state where it can help another human being.
Did I say 2 reasons? There is a 3rd reason. That is an article written by Chris on elevating your mindset(Part 3). It is written so well and encompasses everything I have to say ( just that he says it much better) that I feel I don’t have anymore to add onto it at the moment.
But it is this very article which made me notice Chris the author. Since then every single article he has written on Medium has been consumed by me. Each time I read his article I think of it as a word of advise from a close friend who is helping me along.
Just the other day, I read this article where Chris talks about moving ahead when you don’t have all the answers. It was relevant not just for me. How many of us refuse to take the Road-Less-Traveled because we don’t have all the answers? These articles are a constant reminders that our problems are not always unique. While there may not always be magical solutions to the problems, there are ways to overcome them with resilience. And there are people who do so everyday, around the world.
What the writers share here is their journey. It is so personal . And they do so without sounding pedantic because of the inherent honesty in these words. It strikes a note with the audience, because it is so true.
Chris gives me the courage to stay on my course even when I don’t know the outcome. Thank You, Christopher!
I was brought up in a household where prayers were very important. And while I was born a Hindu, my parents were very clear that all religions pray to one Supreme entity; it’s just that She/HE is known by a different name. If you leave only a single legacy for your children, then it must be the ability to pray.
When I read articles by Thomas Oppong, they are a bit like words of a prayer to me.
Life, our purpose in life, etc are topics very difficult to write without sounding highfalutin but Thomas somehow manages to make it real — when I read his work, I know that its OK to be confused about our greater purpose in life. He encouragements are almost like a promise. And I am left with feeling confident about the path I am on.
As I write these, my “circle of friends” on Medium is growing. There are more and more wonderful people reaching out with an encouraging word, and a helping hand.
While the world laments about the perils of internet, I believe I am discovering some wonderful people who are influencing my life in the most profound manner. And that , I guess is the true victory of Medium as a community.
Thank You, Medium!