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The Importance Of Authenticity – Guest Post by Srinivas Rao

Srinivas Rao

Srinivas Rao

Srinivas Rao from The Skool Of Life has become a great friend of mine.  He is very, very smart and uses his great intelligence to go surfing all day because it makes him happy.  That should tell you all you need to know.  Today Srinivas has written a post about why it pays to be yourself–whether you’re a blogger or not.  Enjoy his wisdom.  He learned it from a mermaid he met while surfing.

by Srinivas Rao

One of the things that I think holds many bloggers back is the fact that every article they write feels forced.  You can sense it because they don’t write often enough and they get overly obsessive about trying to make the post fit all of the important criteria of a good post.

I’m all for following many of the wonderful tips that people offer in the blogosphere. I share mine, I read ones that other people give, and I even implement them.  But, if there’s anything I realized in my interview with Kelly Diels, it’s that we often hide behind our blogs and who we really are gets overshadowed.

The sad thing about that is that we are doing ourselves and the blogosphere a disservice. One indication of this was when I wrote a post called 25 Things I’ve accomplished while I was unemployed. In all honesty I thought it was just a list of a bunch of crap, but I got tons of comments on it. People seemed strangely fascinated by it, perhaps because it was a dose of the “REAL ME.”

This afternoon I came home and thought, “well I have no idea what to write about, so I’m just going to create a post called a collection of my incoherent ramblings.”   So, now the question becomes how do I become more authentic.

10 Tips for becoming a more authentic blogger

1. Don’t take this list and use it as a formula to be more authentic. That in and of itself goes against the very idea of being authentic.

2. Tell us things that you might be scared to tell us.

3. If  you think something sounds really insane or weird, write about it.

4. Tell us about one your biggest failures

5. Tell us a really funny or crazy story from your life that has absolutely nothing to do with the focus of your blog (i.e. the time I got held up at gunpoint in Tijuana after a high speed car chase)

6. Share an embarrassing moment. (Robert Sutton used women’s deodorant recently and created a whole blog post, twitter commentary, and new followers, by wearing his wife’s deodorant).

7. Remove all filters from your communication and see what ends up happening to your writing.

8. Write as if nobody was ever going to read what you wrote and you could care less

9. Write as if you just found out 1 million people would read your blog post tomorrow

10. Don’t force your writing. Write whatever comes to you and fix it later.

Authenticity for Non-Bloggers

If you’re not a blogger authenticity is a still a really important part of what will carry you far in your relationships with other people. I always encourage people to embrace your imperfections because they make you who you really are. One experiment–if you dare–and it might not be for the faint of heart, is to go to a party or event and communicate with no filters. You’ll find that so few people have that level of comfort with themselves that they will be almost magnetically drawn to you.

Srivinas Rao writes the Skool Of Life, a personal development blog about surfing, living a happy life, and why getting an MBA doesn’t mean you’re going to be a success.

Comments on this entry are closed.

  • Monica November 14, 2009, 4:21 am

    This is a very interesting article. Whatever blogs I’ve had in the past are now gone because I was always so uncomfortable with putting myself out there and of what people would ‘think of me’. I was censoring myself on a daily basis. After reading this, I realised that I wasn’t really showing who I was in those blog posts and that maybe that was at the root of my problems, I wasn’t comfortable in my own skin.

    You’ve made me ponder on this and as always, WSL continues to inspire.

  • Lisis November 14, 2009, 7:31 am

    Hey, Srinivas! I could not agree more. If there’s one thing I’d change about the blogosphere, it’s the zillions of generic, impersonal blogs. I’m all about people and stories. If I wanted straight info on something, I’d google it (or visit my favorite librarian).

    Some of my best posts (and by best I mean, the ones readers most relate to) have been the ones I wrote years ago in my pen-and-paper journals… before I thought anyone would read them. The reason is, those aren’t crafted for an audience, or forced to fit a scannable, SEO-able format. It’s evident in those that there was no filter whatsoever between my heart, my thoughts, and my pen (except maybe my crappy hand-writing).

    Anyway, I’m all for authenticity. Haven’t figured out how to make it pay the bills, but it sure does make me a happy camper! 🙂

  • Boris Bachmann November 14, 2009, 8:36 am

    Nice piece – well done!

  • Robby G November 14, 2009, 9:54 am

    Nice post mate. I find it useful to just sit down and start writing away, and love story posts most. Live like a rockstar and post about it–makes for some good content. PS Your Tijuana car chase guest post will be up within a few days.

  • Srinivas Rao November 14, 2009, 10:58 am

    Josh: Thanks for the opportunity to guest write here. I’m glad to have connected with you and look forward to working with you more in the future. BTW, I love your description of me (happy surfer). I’m actually on my way out the door right after I finish this comment.

    @Monica: Definitely let yourself go when you write and I think you’ll find something that is really magical inside you comes out. We all have this inside us, and to hold it back is fighting our best self.

    @Lisis: That’s awesome that you have pen and paper journals. I never really did much writing when I was younger although I think blogging has given me a way to express what I’ve been holding back for years. Yesterday I met with the coordinator of my international program at Pepperdine who seemed convinced my calling in life was to be a writer

    @Robby: Can’t wait to see the car chase post up :). Hope your readers enjoy it.

    • Lisis November 14, 2009, 11:12 am

      I think your coordinator is a genius! I’ll second what he (or she) said.

  • Miche - Serenity Hacker November 14, 2009, 12:43 pm

    Great article! I think the posts that “flow” from within you, the ones in fact that don’t always fit the “criteria” of a good post, are the ones that end up being the most authentic.

    They are the ones I like writing most, and reading most as well.

    Thanks for sharing this!

    Miche 🙂

  • Lori November 14, 2009, 12:50 pm

    Hi, Srinivas!
    I love that you surf. Having lived on California beaches for the last decade definitely puts me in tune with you. Shaka that, brother!

    I really loved this post, too. It seems that ever since I started blogging, I have the most fun, feel the best, and get the most out of the posts where I try to be as *me* as possible. I love asking my readers for their help and advice, too. Which, is actually quite odd since I initially started writing what I’ll call “teaching” posts.

    Now, it seems that I do a lot more listening than talking, actually. Thanks for sharing!
    P.S. I’d love to hear about your incident in Tijuana if you’re up for talking about it. 🙂

    • Srinivas Rao November 14, 2009, 8:57 pm

      Hi Lori,

      Surfing has had an amazing impact on my life even though I just started about 8 months ago. But, I’ve done what most people do in 2 years because of my time off post bschool. I come up with almost all my ideas for my blog while I’m surfing. Regarding the TJ story, it’s going to be published this week on Robby G’s blog, so I will get it to you.

  • Christa Avampato November 14, 2009, 3:23 pm

    Love this post – the ones that really got me was imagining I had one million readers and then imagine I had none. Finding that balance truly gets at the heart of authenticity.

  • Martin Berkhan November 16, 2009, 10:52 pm

    Good article. I can relate to sometimes feeling like I’m holding back. There’s a lot of nonsense in my industry that I feel I should attack with greater fervour, but avoid doing in order to not alienate people and allies. However, when I did let people know how I felt about one particularily controversial topic, it spurred over 200 comments and caused my traffic and visitor count to skyrocket for several weeks.

  • Marly November 17, 2009, 8:50 pm

    This is such a great reminder. It’s so easy to forget to be ourselves – whether in blogging or in life!