Be obsessed

I was very lazy growing up, and in many ways I still am. Success in life is often desired but rarely pursued if it isn’t handed to us in the form of a lottery ticket. We know what we want, but knowing and getting are a million miles apart. We know where success is, it’s on the other side of that vast expanse of water. Way too far. And getting there means we get our feet wet, and today is not the day for that. It’s too cold. Or maybe we are too tired. Regardless, there are more excuses than the desire to go for it.

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On top of that, if we start today, there is a 99% chance we will still not be at success tomorrow. That would be way too easy. And the fact that it is harder than that is great because it means most people turn back. We have the choice whether or not we want to be the ones that go all the way. Statistically, they don’t. Statistically, we won’t either. But we can change our minds and knowing they aren’t leaves much more space for us to sail on over there.

I remember one of my favourite footballers, Steven Gerrard, talking about being obsessed. A Liverpool and England superstar, he said we need to be obsessed. Now of course he was referring to football in this instance, but it is relevant for us all in whatever we are doing and want to achieve. He said every day on the way to training in his car he would be obsessed to be the best player there and if he wasn’t, he would go home and think about it and try to do it again the following day. Every now and then his talk comes to mind and gives me a little boost for the day. It reminds me that having an obsession isn’t always a bad thing.

To be okay at something we need to do it regularly. To be great, maybe even the best, we need to be obsessed. That is the difference between the two and I think we all have something we are either obsessed by, or capable of being to succeed to the heights we want to.

It’s hard to be obsessed with something if we aren’t seeing the benefits from that obsession. But it is impossible to gain the rewards without the effort. Effort is an investment we should accept without the pay, as the pay will come in time. It will reward us in ways we will never be rewarded in a life we aren’t truly living for ourselves. For most of us that is often the life on this side of the water. Stay if you wish, but the hard work getting over the water is an incredibly small sacrifice for a lifetime of freedom.

 

Featured Photo by Matt Lamers on Unsplash

Second Photo by Paul Gilmore on Unsplash and edited by me.

 


 

Thank you again to all my followers and regular readers, and hello to you if you are new to my blog!

New to this site? Click here to visit my About My Blog section

Want to keep up with my travels? Click here for my Travel Diary or follow me @samest89 on Instagram

Want to introduce yourself and your blog and discover new ones? Click here for my meet and greet page.

Happy blogging,

Sam

How I visualize my blog stats to comprehend them

Yesterday I posted about the time I celebrated 500 followers. Today it is two years exactly since it was posted and I remember it like it was yesterday. I was delighted to have received this news and to try to visualize 500 people reading my posts was pretty cool even if a little difficult to do. But to visualize it makes it more real to me. On a screen full of text and numbers it can be easy to disregard such numbers. WordPress alone has over 75,000,000 sites according to online sources, I mean how are we supposed to comprehend such a number!?

I remember some of the very first followers I ever had. You know who you are, I still talk to some of you every day and it is fantastic. When we are talking numbers in the tens it is much easier to take in, however fun to think about. What I sometimes imagined was sitting on my computer at home and having ten people listening and watching me as I chatted away and typed up a post. I mean that is pretty nerve-racking to have ten people listen to you. I hated it during presentations in school and even as an adult in meetings. Presenting to an audience is not my thing.

So yes, imagine ten people listening to you read your blog posts out loud in your home, suddenly it doesn’t seem like a small number anymore.

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I visualize everything. The views, the visitor numbers, anything that turns a number into a picture to help me analyse what’s going on. And before you know it, all that hardcore blogging pays off and you have 500 followers looking forward to each post. Amazing.  I’ll add here what I posted in the link above when this notification from WordPress came my way back in 2017. It certainly shows how significant this number is.

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Again, thanks to moth dad over on Twitter to help with this visual. Now I admit, we have to space everyone out a mile to get the distance, but 500 is still a very large number. It doesn’t seem so with the ridiculous follower numbers we see some people have on Instagram, however some people are just freaks. I mean another way I think of how significant 500 is, is this. Imagine you were sentenced to 500 days in prison, or told it would take 500 days for your WiFi to start working again. Or if 500 wasps were heading to your home or your team lost by 500 points. All will ensure sheer turmoil, and this gives me a nice little boost for the day.

But anyway, back to the map. If you have 500 followers, this is how far they would stretch if a mile apart. Supposing Brexit didn’t cause a problem at the border that is. If you don’t quite have that number of followers yet that’s cool, as 500 views works too and is a nice number to aim for moving forward.

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My best month ever views-wise was January 2018. I hit 10,877 views for the month, visitor numbers were half this. But lets go with the 10,877, you know it’s our blog so we can make those kinds of decisions. We’re now talking about a small town population here. One with at least five pubs, there’s always one you just don’t go into as an outsider if you want to come out alive. One of those sized towns. Instead of seeing a number I see a thriving community, I see actual people all doing their own thing and living their own lives. Imagine that, a small town following what you do online and talking about it in the local fish and chip shop as they wrap the chips in the newspaper with your name as a headline.

I am providing the stereotypical British village/town visual for everyone, but I am sure you have figured that out by now. Feel free to change this for your local village setting.

And then, lets increase the statistics timeframe to one year. In that same year of 2018, I totalled 57,140 views and 23,961 visitors. But again lets go for the larger number. Why not? It gives me an added boost to see the glass half full.  Now lets imagine we are walking up the steps of a football stadium and step out to this view…

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This is the Vicente Calderón, a 54,907 seater stadium in Madrid. If these blog views were people, this venue would hit full capacity. Think of the noise this amount of people would make. The atmosphere and the buzz. Amazing. Now I know none of us are going to be sitting in the centre circle of such a venue with such a crowd simultaneously, that’s not how blogging works. But I just wanted to share how I visualize the numbers over the years. From a room full of people to a stadium full of people. Wherever you are on the scale, keep moving forward and keep watching your blog and community grow. My community is amazing and I have been very lucky to meet and talk to so many cool and interesting people through this site.

I hope this was helpful, even if a little weird, hopefully both. But we need weird or we are doomed.

Thanks for reading, and let me know if you do anything similar!

 


 

Featured Photo by Eric Perez on Unsplash

Meeting Photo by rawpixel on Unsplash

Village Photo by Stephen Oliver on Unsplash

Stadium Photo by Liam McKay on Unsplash

 


 

Thank you again to all my followers and regular readers, and hello to you if you are new to my blog!

New to this site? Click here to visit my About My Blog section

Want to keep up with my travels? Click here for my Travel Diary or follow me @samest89 on Instagram

Want to introduce yourself and your blog and discover new ones? Click here for my meet and greet page.

Happy blogging,

Sam

I am having an unusually productive day

Today is going great. Firstly I have five whole days off which is awesome for blogging and doing things I want to however tragic for my pay. But these five days will help me catch up on things and be organised.

I say I am having a more productive day than usual as I am finally sorting through my emails.

4,234 of them.

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I feel I do have a lot of productive days as I love to write everyday and I am always out of the hostel. However one thing has stressed me out recently despite not doing anything about it and this is my emails. I decided today to bite the bullet and get through them. This has felt incredibly therapeutic.

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Yes, yes I do.

For anyone else in the same boat, it is surprisingly easy to get rid of 4,000 emails. Firstly, see which ones you get ALL the damn time from the companies you don’t care about. The spam that you always see and for whatever reason just turn a blind eye to. Type the name of the company in the search box and bam, 100+ emails are deleted with a click of a button.

Also make sure to click on one of the emails before deleting and hit that unsubscribe button. What I was worried about was whether companies would make my life difficult and tell me to go through all sorts of logins and pages to unsubscribe. This isn’t the case, so thank you to all these companies for making it pretty easy to stop getting emails from you.

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Yes, yes I will.

Literally a thousand emails deleted in the space of an hour or so. That’s a shit tonne of useless emails clogging my laptop and brain space. Why didn’t I do this earlier?

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I was at first reluctant as I knew I could be spending my time doing other things. But this is totally the wrong way to think. If I was doing other things I would be thinking about my emails. Once this is done and out of the way a huge weight will be lifted and I’ll have clarity and be much more relaxed. An afternoon of email deleting is such a wise investment in time, as is any kind or organising. It will mean the things I feel I should be doing instead will now be done without my mind being distracted and will be much more enjoyable now I have this out of the way.

I say that however I’m only half way through. But by this evening this will be down to zero and tomorrow will be feel amazing. I can’t bloody wait for that feeling. Years of procrastination reversed in a matter of hours.

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Sometimes what we perceive as the biggest mountains are the smallest molehills, we just need to face them to realise. Here’s to the next 2,594.

 


 

Thank you again to all my followers and regular readers, and hello to you if you are new to my blog!

New to this site? Click here to visit my About My Blog section

Want to keep up with my travels? Click here for my Travel Diary or follow me @samest89 on Instagram

Want to introduce yourself and your blog and discover new ones? Click here for my meet and greet page.

Happy blogging,

Sam

Being lazy in a life without the guarantee of tomorrow

As time goes on I have found myself living with a lot more urgency to do things. Just to be active in general really and not wasting time doing very little. This could simply be getting out of bed without a lie in or taking a walk, if I am not doing at least something, I hear that life clock ticking.

This is why I have travelled to Australia. To pursue travel, space to blog on my own, experiences to gain and stories to share. But even when I wake up in my bed and feel the humidity instead of hearing the rain hitting my bedroom window back in the UK, it isn’t enough to convince me I am doing something different. I still need to get up and get busy.

Living in hostels I have encountered some backpackers that are happy to sit in bed all day. Reading a book with towels and sheets draped over the bunk above, their den is made and that is where they stay. I couldn’t do that, I just find it very hard to sit still without my brain making a mental list of the things I can be doing instead. Admittedly a walk down the river isn’t really being more productive, but my mind is at rest when my muscles are moving or mind being stimulated with changing views.

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Another factor is time. The older we get, the more we value time. Or at least we should. I remember years used to seem like decades as a child, and with every year passing at an increasing speed with the losses that are inevitable over time, our hourglass seems to shrink.

The problem with this hourglass is we cannot see it. We don’t know when that last grain of sand will drop and our experiences come to an end. We can only accept and acknowledge this, make the most of the time and remaining grateful that it isn’t today. This is what gets me out of the house every day.

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As a kid I always struggled to think of what I wanted to do as an adult. The obvious ones provide ambition and excitement as a young child, you know the thought of being a professional footballer or an astronaut. The time when we don’t know our limits and in reality, didn’t have any. As we mature a little into our teens our ambitions tend to dwindle. The harsh realities of life become apparent and get in the way of the things we want the most. This can be a major obstacle between what we wanted way back as fearless children and what we will become in later life. Some professions are highly unlikely however, such as working for NASA or playing for Manchester United. But our ambition for at least something should remain.

I remember at 17 my English teacher suggested I become a manager of a leisure centre as I enjoyed sports and the leisure and tourism course I took up. I was at an age when I felt that I had to sacrifice big dreams and tone it down a little. Be more realistic and settle as after all, what are the chances of us doing what we actually want to do in life? I found that my teenage/early twenties phase to be like that and after getting out there and exploring a little bit more of the world I managed to break free from that mentality. To get out of the bubble I had been in my whole life and see the world from a different perspective and mindset. This was the best thing I could have done and I am so happy I did.

I may have to settle for a job I don’t really want to do. But I have a love for writing, travel and photography from my iPhone and if I can free as much time as I can to pursue this then I will be a much happier person. It has motivated me to try and reduce the amount of time I am working by finding other ways to earn an income, if one day I start to get paid for blogging well enough to afford a professional camera or to only have to work part time, I would be twice as happy and more content in life than to do a job simply to pay the bills. This is why I blog and get up every morning, to constantly try to think of ways to achieve this. And without knowing how many grains of sand are left in the glass I have a huge reason to do so.

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Too many people ran out of sand too soon, many of them not fully experiencing a life they wanted to. We will all run out of sand, and knowing this doesn’t have to be a curse but a blessing, for this is a way to truly find motivation to achieve and experience a life fully lived.

 

Featured Photo by Aron Visuals on Unsplash


 

Thank you again to all my followers and regular readers, and hello to you if you are new to my blog!

New to this site? Click here to visit my About My Blog section

Want to keep up with my travels? Click here for my Travel Diary

Want to introduce yourself and your blog and discover new ones? Click here for my meet and greet page.

Happy blogging,

Sam

Daily blogging and why consistency is key

When it comes to daily blogging, consistency makes such a difference for me. Daily blogging isn’t the easiest thing to do with full time work and other commitments, but I enjoy it. It is very important for anyone wanting to watch their blog grow to keep that ball rolling and no matter how often you post, keep the posting consistent.

I find it fascinating to watch the view count when I am blogging everyday. I put at least a couple of hours into my blog daily before or after work, and more if I have a day off. I know when I am not working on it as much as despite the daily posts, the less time I spend on it everyday is reflected in the stats.

Take this snapshot for example.

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You can see the pattern emerge on October 18, in which I continued to post daily however spend more time on the blog. Before this you can see another similar pattern on October 3rd, a big spike (probably a day off) and then a gradual rise before a drop again on the 15th. The reasons are simple. Less time on the blog, less engagement.

Again, the same can be seen with the weekly view count. When I finished my farmwork in August, I started to travel down the east coast of Australia. I can tell from the stats why my view count is where it is, which is cool. Farming meant I had little signal a lot of the time and little time in the day to daily blog. So I didn’t. In fact, I only posted nine times between April and June. That is nothing for me, and a little regret of mine. But that’s life. It is only this month I am back on track with posting daily.

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And of course, the stats are reflected in the longer term. I didn’t blog too much between 2014 and 2017, I did keep it active and had productive spells however these were short bursts and rare. When I landed in Sydney in September I spent a lot of time alone, and therefore much more free time to blog. I changed my blog theme, took plenty of photographs and had a ton of things to blog about. I kept this up and blogged full time, peaking in December before I had to leave Sydney and head up to the farm for my second year visa. The circled section is the same circled section in the weekly shot above, and despite the ups and downs seen above, it is clear that with every month my blog continues to grow at a steady and consistent pace.

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I love the pattern in this one. Daily stats are going to vary, however my monthly shot has such a satisfying and continuous increase- a bit like a set of stairs- showing that when I blog consistently, I am rewarded. Readers like consistency, whether it is daily, weekly or monthly. Knowing what to expect and when keeps us coming back for more and the reason I am still subscribed to so many people. Inconsistency makes us unsure whether or not someone will deliver, and this makes us lose interest. Fast. This is why I have unsubscribed to some, be it social media, YouTube or WordPress. If you want readers, prove to them why you deserve their time, and vice versa.

And in the longer term. Such a huge difference between where I am now and when I started all the way back in 2014. I was very happy with my stats in 2014, despite being almost invisible now. The rise in views keeps me going and I know I have viewers that have been there since day one and I couldn’t be more grateful. Whether you are new to this blog or not, thank you so much for the engagement.

If I had any advice it would be to keep an eye on your stats. It is such a great tool to help monitor your growth and to help build your motivation moving forward. I check the yearly stats as much as the daily as it shows how far I have come. And thank you so much for that.

What a difference a few years makes.

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Have fun blogging, keep it up and watch it bloom. What has your blog got in store for 2019?

Whatever it is, stay consistent!

 


 

Featured Photo by Jungwoo Hong on Unsplash


 

Thank you again to all my followers and regular readers, and hello to you if you are new to my blog!

New to this site? Click here to visit my About My Blog section

Want to keep up with my travels? Click here for my Travel Diary or follow me @samest89 on Instagram

Want to introduce yourself and your blog and discover new ones? Click here for my meet and greet page.

Happy blogging,

Sam

Convert negative feelings into a laser beam of awesomeness

I often find days when I am in a low mood and totally demotivated. The days in which I think ‘what’s the point?’ and everything just feels a little shitty. I wanted to post this as a reminder that this feeling can be hijacked and used to our advantage. I want to type this to reflect on, as well as possibly help others stuck in this rut.

The good thing about these problems is that they are all in our head. The problem with these feelings is, well… they are all in our head. For me the mind can be a pretty claustrophobic place, no matter where I walk or run the bad thoughts are right there around me. Physically escaping them is virtually impossible. This is why it is much better to instead of try to escape the thoughts, mold them into something of worth.

This is the very reason why I blog and started to back in 2014 after my father died. I use it as a machine to transform all of my negative emotions into something of worth. I am tired of wasting time because of negative emotions and doing nothing until my mood lifts. We simply do not live long enough to spend hours of the day procrastinating and being slaves to our mental health. If we can use this feeling-down time as rocket fuel alongside our feeling-good time, think of how much progress we could make every single day.

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Whether this is to blog, or to work out or whatever the passion. Negativity only pushes us further from the finishing line. I mean no matter how we feel, we want to get to that finishing line, right? Whether it is a career or marriage or whatever we want in life, feeling sorry for ourselves for not being there won’t get us there. What will get us there is taking steps. One by one.

Now for me personally, I want to build my blog so it is successful enough to do it at least part time. I also want to be successful enough to publish a book with a big enough audience that want to read it. I can’t get that overnight, so I blog every day. Some days I ask myself why I spend so much time here without pay. Why I think I am even capable of doing this. But this is a natural state of negative self reflection and the reaction to these questions determines if those thoughts are right or wrong.

I could respond by saying ‘you know what, I am doing this for free. What is the point?’ and never pick up my laptop again. I could let those few down days a year demotivate me and convince me that I am not capable of going further. Even if I am not convinced I am going anywhere 36 days of the year, that is just 10% of my time. To allow 10% of my time to dictate the other 90% would be utterly crazy and I would be doomed to fail. When I am in that 10, I think of the other 90. Nine times out of ten I am moving forward, no matter how fast or slow towards the goal. The finishing line never moves, it is always in that same spot for us to reach. It is down to us to keep making that distance smaller.

If I am angry, I think of how I can convert it into blog form. Writing it down and using it to come up with a post others can relate to and feed off. Why am I angry? Is it because I am not where I want to be? Well, anger doesn’t help. At all. What does help is knowing that if I keep at it, I will be where I want to be. Again, where some people stop or even leave the race, these moments in which we decide to keep going despite everything determines how quickly we get there. We can put it off for another day or get there a day earlier than we would have. In time, these days accumulate into months and years. Today deciding not to do something, and that day next week, and the five or six days next month will determine whether we achieve our dream in 2020 or 2025. Or never. Just because we can’t see the finishing line over the peak doesn’t mean it isn’t there. And how fast we climb that hill determines how soon we will be able to enjoy the descent down the other side.

The same goes for feelings of frustration, jealousy and sadness. We can use them as an excuse to put a hold on things, but all that means is we either fail in our aims, or just delay reaching them as fast.

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To help with this, I picture myself being in first class on a long haul flight. It is always something I have wanted to try and I have never afforded it. I have always peered into that section of a flight since being a child, between the countless grey seats directly in front of my face and wondered what it would be like to be there one day. Just once. I will be there one day. But will it be next year or in 30 years time? Whenever I feel like slacking I picture being there in 30 years time. ‘Are you happy with that decision, Sam?’, I think to myself as my productivity meter plummets to zero. And then I picture myself in the seat thinking to myself ‘I could have been here 30 years earlier if I tried’.

Regret is a horrible feeling, but what is beautiful is being able to know that in the future I don’t want to look back on laziness and regret it. Aim to predict where regret would lie in your future and change the future by closing that gap to success today.

The reality is we won’t be where we want to be today. But the day will come, how soon that day will come is determined by how much we put into today. Every day wasted is a day further away, and every productive day means we get there a day sooner. Negative emotions such as the ones I have experienced recently should be a motivator to not experience them again. And what better way to escape these feelings than to pin them to the ground and use them as a stepping stone to that goal. The main reasons as to why I am sad is because I am not currently where I want to be, and knowing one day I will be where I want to be makes every bad day a catalyst for progress.

 

Man on road photo by Christopher Burns on Unsplash

Airplane photo by Gus Ruballo on Unsplash


 

Thank you again to all my followers and regular readers, and hello to you if you are new to my blog!

New to this site? Click here to visit my About My Blog section

Want to keep up with my travels? Click here for my Travel Diary

Want to introduce yourself and your blog and discover new ones? Click here for my meet and greet page.

Happy blogging!

A few things I’ve learned about hotels from working in hotels

I had an unexpected night in a hotel last night and as I sip my morning coffee, felt it was a good opportunity to talk about what I learned from hotel work. 

I spent numerous years working in hotels. I loved it, I hated it. It was relaxing and crazy. How could I be punished with 60+ hour shifts one week and a four day weekend the next? And how come a job with such low pay got me so close to celebrities? This, is the hotel trade.

Some guests genuinely have interesting names…

As I currently spend a night in one I remember what it was like to be on the other side of the desk. To be approached by an arrival claiming to be called ‘Ben Dover’ asking what the policy is for bringing prostitutes back. That kind of comedic genius. Mind you, I once checked in a businessman genuinely named Harry Potter, it’s all about spotting the trolls without infuriating the good guys.

Fear the ‘shettle’…

Once during a floor walk a housekeeper found a kettle sitting outside of a room that a stag group checked out of. She opened it to find a human dump staring back. This actually happened, and from now on I ask for a pot of boiling water from the bar to quench my thirst for tea. Flavoured tea is popular, some flavours aren’t so welcome. 

I always double lock my door

In an age of keycards you can relax knowing that the door will lock behind you after you leave, gone are the days in which we have to remember to physically lock the door after us. This doesn’t mean the door cannot be opened without some fairly simple information. To get a new key to a room we are often required to provide a name, room number, I.D or to state the address on file, although this isn’t always so strict. I’ve been given a room key by using the right name and room number, easily obtainable by listening closely to the person checking in before you. I have never heard of such a trick being used to gain access to another room, thankfully most people are good and any creeps looking to abuse such a system are often terrible at going under the radar. It is still good to be over cautious. 


A ‘do not disturb’ sign doesn’t always work

Prepare for a housekeeping invasion around 9am, they are easily the hardest working department in my eyes and like anyone, want to get the workload out of the way. Rest assured the hand squeezing through the door isn’t you dreaming of the anticipated zombie apocalypse, it’s just housekeepers eagerly wanting to swap your towels for fresh ones.

I don’t go into attack mode if something  goes wrong

As much as the unexpected 6am fire alarm wasn’t my fault, it probably wasn’t the fault of the reception staff either. As much as I want to vent it is important to remember that the staff are only human and if they are shown compassion, will probably be a lot more helpful and understanding with an understanding guest. We are emotional creatures and whether we like it or not, this impacts how a situation unfolds. Staff aren’t there to make your stay difficult, this would make hotel work very difficult indeed. A civil conversation is just as effective as anything.

I still love staying in hotels

I always thought going into the hotel industry would kill the magic, a bit like working at Disneyland but on a much smaller scale. It didn’t and if anything I appreciate the work that goes into making a stay a great one a little more. 

I do certain certain things differently now from the experienced I gained however this is not a hindrance. I’ve adopted many of the do’s and don’t at home, too. I just trust the kettle a little more. 

I hope you’re in a hotel right now and if not, very soon!