Sharing is caring.
The act of sharing your resources, knowledge, time, wealth, etc is a beautiful and kind practice. However, here I want to talk about sharing your thoughts, ideas, process online and why I feel it is a very impressive idea.
I recently read Show Your Work by Austin Kleon and it completely changed the way I feel about sharing things online. So, in this blog I want to talk about my biggest takeaways from this book.
- It’s not self-promotion, it’s self-discovery.
Right at the beginning of the book, Kleon establishes that all the people he looks upto have a routine of sharing bits and pieces of their work and ideas. When I took a moment and looked around I realised that all the people I idolise – Naval Ravikant, Tim Ferris, Julie Zhou, Bill Gates, Ankur Warikoo, Elon Musk – constantly talk about their learnings and thoughts online through blogs, podcasts, tweets, etc.
Self promotion to me felt narcissistic. ‘Hey! Go see this video I posted’ or ‘What do you think about my blog?’ were not things I was comfortable saying until Show Your Work introduced the idea of ‘self-discovery’. Putting yourself out their is not about promotion but about building a community of people with similar tastes. Certainly your work has to be good for your audience to find you. But you cannot be found, if you are not ‘findable’ and that cannot happen unless you put yourself out there.
I was sold on the following idea which also happens to be my favourite paragraph from the book-
Imagine if your next boss didn’t have to read your resume because he already reads your blog. Imagine being a student and getting your first gig based on a school project you posted online. Imagine losing your job but having a social network of people familiar with your work and ready to help you find a new one. Imagine turning a side project or a hobby into your profession because you had a following that could support you. Or imagine something simpler and just as satisfying: spending the majority of your time, energy, and attention practising a craft, learning a trade, or running a business, while also allowing for the possibility that your work might attract a group of people who share your interests.
- The more you give the more comes back to you.
There is a saying where I am from, “your knowledge multiplies when you share it”. This is especially relevant in the era of the Internet. It is so easy now more than ever to share my work, influences, and tastes with the world. Since we are not bounded by geography anymore I can be in one part of the world but my work can be accessed in many different parts. When you make stuff you love and talk about stuff you love, you attract people who love that kind of stuff.
Kleon quotes Paul Arden why we shouldn’t be hoarding and I think it best expresses how giving more also means receiving more,
The problem with hoarding is you end up living off your reserves. Eventually, you’ll become stale. If you give away everything you have, you are left with nothing. This forces you to look, to be aware, to replenish… Somehow the more you give away, the more comes back to you.
You can’t really expect anyone to be interested in you if you are not willing to listen to them. What we need to realise is that nobody owes us anything so we should share our work for others to see but should be equally eager to listen to feedback and thoughts of others. If you want fans, you have to be a fan first.