John Muir on the Beauty of Fall

Muir reflects on the singular, counterintuitive life-affirmation of autumn:

In the yellow mist the rough angles melt on the rocks. Forms, lines, tints, reflections, sounds, all are softened, and although the dying time, it is also the color time, the time when faith in the steadfastness of Nature is surest… The seeds all have next summer in them, some of them thousands of summers, as the sequoia and cedar. In the holiday array all go calmly down into the white winter rejoicing, plainly hopeful, faithful… everything taking what comes, and looking forward to the future, as if piously saying, “Thy will be done in earth as in heaven!”

Amen. 🍁 🍁 🍁

John Muir on the Calm Assurance of Autumn as a Time of Renewal and Nature as a Tonic for Mental and Physical Health

Handwriting is the BEST

Then there’s memory. Print book readers retain more information.

As a new study from the Developmental Neuroscience Laboratory at the Norwegian University of Science and Technology argues, the same goes for writing. Handwriting helps children and adults remember information better. Typing is a shortcut.

The team, led by Professor Audrey van der Meer, hooked 250 nodes to each participant’s head to collect 500 data points per second. Once they were strapped in, a dozen 12-year-old children and a dozen young adults wrote by hand, typed, or drew. The clear winner: using paper, not devices.

This makes me happy.

Why?

Because while I do love my tech and productivity apps, there is just something about writing (journaling, note taking, etc) that cannot be matched.

Seems scientists agree.

Handwriting shown to be better for memory than typing, at any age

One Year In…Choosing Fulfillment over Victory

If you want to lead better, work better, live better…and help others do the same, then join me on this journey.

One year ago I pushed publish on my very first blog post here.

For some odd reason, that is still my highest viewed post ever. That may be because of the way my site was first set up (requiring a click to view each post) vice how it is now (endless scrolling with full posts). It really doesn’t matter as that is not the whole reason I started yet another blog.

I was quite up front about trying to see if I could make any money from my “side-hustle” site this go around. I’ve tried affiliate links to amazon, signing up for various affiliate services, creating merchandise to sell, and a couple other things. I’ve posted almost every day over the past year and worked towards better SEO…although I wouldn’t say I did so aggressively. (I do have a family and a full-time job)

All of that has resulted in zero money but, more importantly, a few realizations on my part.

excerpt from The Infinite Game by Simon Sinek
excerpt from The Infinite Game by Simon Sinek

1. Creation is One of My Favorite Parts of Starting a Blog/Site

I really enjoy the act of creating a site.

I love pouring through templates, seeing what is new that people like and what is old/classic that I still prefer.

Selecting and testing out fonts and color schemes scratches some sort of artistic itch that I’m not sure I could identify or satisfy otherwise. Serif versus Sans Serif, complimentary color schemes, underlining links that change color on hovering over it (via customized CSS), viewing spacing and sizing of headers and paragraph text. I love it all.

Is that weird?

I don’t know. Maybe.

I enjoy it nonetheless.

2. Volume is Not What I Want to Do Right Now

Coming up with 6 posts a week is not a lot in terms of a normal website volume. Yet, if you’re running your site solo, then it can add up over time.

Don’t get me wrong, I was able to get a pretty good routine that allowed me to come up with 3 weeks worth of material over the course of a Sunday, but that normally excluded my Wednesday posts. I tried to make those Wednesday posts a little more of an “actual post” that required me to sit, think, write, edit, and smooth for publishing.

And shocker…those Wednesday posts tended to be my more popular posts…those and the Saturday affiliate link posts. (according to my google analytics stats)

Remember though…I was attempting to make money this time around and I thought a consistent post a day would translate to something over the course of a year. Which it didn’t. At least not for what I was posting about.

That’s ok.

I’ve experimented, learned, and will adjust.

3. I Want “Fulfillment over Victory”

Those Wednesday posts I mentioned I actually enjoyed a lot more. The critical thinking aspect of writing them is often what I look for when I get that urge to share a revelation, thought, or growing concept that I want to process.

That is probably why I enjoy making my Vlog so much…it takes planning, knowledge, experience, experimentation…technical curiosity, creativity, and effort.

The thoughtful pieces are so much more fulfilling that working towards that Google SEO to try and bring in more clicks.

I don’t really want to “win” in blogging…I want fulfillment in what I do and share with others.

Basically the payoff is in the journey vice the destination.


What is Next?

I have quoted Simon Sinek a few times here and read his first two books, Start With Why and Leaders Eat Last.

I just started reading his newest book, The Infinite Game, and I realized that I have been expending all this effort on my blog for purely selfish reasons…reasons that I don’t really believe will succeed.

I don’t really think that I will succeed on this blog if I am only doing it to try and make money. That has never really been a driving factor for what I do in life and I’m not sure why I put that as my foremost reason here.

I Am Sorry

I should have known better than to stray from what really drives me in life and work. People who know me, know that I want to lead people be better versions of themselves and to teach them how to help others the do same.

I can’t do that when money is my focus.

In life, at work, or via this website.

Adjusting Course

My focus should be, as Simon Sinek says, on the “infinite game”.

So should yours.

Ask yourself:

  • Why am I doing this?
  • Do I have an “infinite mindset”? (a just cause that will outlive me)
  • What drives me to make others better?

This blog will change from here forward.

The name will stay the same for now, and I will occasionally post some of the same things I did before (interesting links, inspiring quotes, vlogs) but my focus here will be to make you better and to teach you how to do the same for others.

Quality over quantity I suppose.

I do not know how this process will play out going forward…but I do know that I am more driven by that purpose and will thus be more likely to stick with it.

If you want to lead better, work better, live better…and help others do the same, then join me on this journey.

God bless.

Scott

Links of the Week (7/20/2020)

SEO all day…

Your website is probably sitting on a gold mine of keywords.

Using Google Search Console as a Keyword Ranking Tool


Before you just jump in and buy the first domain name that suits your fancy, here are some things to consider to make sure you’re picking from the cream of the crop.

How To Find A Good Domain Name For Your New Website


…throughout all changes in the SEO field, the one thing that remains constant is content. Here are five SEO writing tools for optimizing your content.

5 SEO Writing Tools for Optimizing your Content – ReadWrite


I lost my love of reading in high school. Required reading and comprehension quizzes bashed it out of me.

It wasn’t until my senior year of college that I rediscovered my reading passion. Malcolm Gladwell helped me find it.

Malcolm Gladwell’s Top 13 Writing Tips

Just ONE

Surpasing 100 Direct Subscribers…

Thank you.

I recently surpassed 100 direct followers and I wanted to thank everyone who has commented, liked, and hit that follow button here.

If you see my about page, you’ll see that across all my platforms I am over 8,000 followers…but I’ll let you in on a little secret. I hit a hot streak over on Tumblr a few years back and most of my “followers” are from over there (where I still cross post). That was back when I was climbing and photo focused.

Tumblr’s state of affairs is a whole separate topic, but please know that I consider my followers here much more “present” as I see a lot of interactions via likes and comments from you all.

I remember posting over there once that I was shutting down an old website of mine. Of the over then 7,000 followers I had I got one email.

Just one.

However, that one email was from someone who told me that my posts had inspired him to start his own climbing inspired website. He even sent me a climbing chalk bag that I have to this day.

I had posted over there as the “caffeinated climber” from my now defunct climbercafe site. A site that I enjoyed creating and building but ran out of time to keep up…but I inspired one person to action.

Just one.

And that one made it all worth it.

If you take anything away from this today, remember…write for the internet you want…you may just inspire that next one to action.

Best (all) Brass Fountain Pen

When I came to my current job, I was in the mood for a “fancy” pen.

I had never owned a fountain pen so I did some research on what was out there. There are A LOT of options for those looking for anything from plastic to a few hundred dollar Mont Blanc.

My taste for quality did not quite get me to the high end stuff. However, I found that I gravitated towards a smaller selection of pens like this brass Kaweco SUPRA. The all brass construction really appealed to me and let me tell you…it feels really good to write with.

I don’t use this as my daily driver per se, but whenever I journal, this is what I am writing with. They’re selling for a good deal over on Amazon right now too.

Links of the Week (5/25/2020)

The benefits of coffee and all the blogging tips and tricks…

How does your morning coffee really impact your brain? Most importantly, are there certain times of the day where your latte-caffeine boost is better for your health?

​Good thing I like coffee. ☕️

What your morning coffee really does to your brain


So how do you go from having lots of cold readers to having a bunch of raving fans? Well, that’s what I’ll be focusing on over the next few weeks.

How to Warm Up Your Readers and Make Them Raving Fans


Remember the 80/20 rule: 8 out of 10 readers will read your headline copy but only 2 out of 10 will read your entire post.

Since headlines persuade your audience to read your content, you should dedicate 50 percent of your efforts to writing magnetic headlines before you write the rest of your copy.

Here are 10 compelling tips to help you win the battle for your audience’s attention.

​Some GREAT copywriter inside info here.

10 Ways Specificity Helps You Build a Profitable Audience – Copyblogger


Whether you are entirely new to email marketing automation, or still have reservations, you should know that automating your email promotions will make you money in the long run.

If you’ve ever been curious to start something like this like I have, this is a good place to start educating yourself. There is a lot here to learn from.

Email Marketing Automation Bible – More Then Detailed Guide From Email SaaS Experts

You Want the Best Traveler’s Notebook? Start Here.

If you ever hunt for buried treasure…this is your notebook…

I jumped down this rabbit hole a while back and got lost in the sea of the “Traveler’s Notebook” community.

There is the “official” Traveler’s notebook from the Traveler’s Company based out of Japan, and then there are a bunch of others that have iterated off of their brand.

I had no idea that there were whole communities built around something so small…correction…something so complicated. I ended up with the smaller, blue version of the original that I use at work and then have the below larger version (from another company) for some personal journaling.

Check them out here and here.

Setapp for the Work at Home Save

The Netflix of apps pulls through in this “work-at-home” world we live in right now…

I have written about Setapp before.

Just the other day I had a great work-from-home use case and I thought I would share it with you.


At my work the software we are given to manipulate boring things like PDFs is lackluster to say the least. Last week I needed to convert over 200 pages of a word document (that was broken up in to 60 word files) in to a PDF.

Yes, I could have printed all 216 pages and scanned them to a PDF…or… I could make good use of the various Mac apps I have at home.

PDF Expert

My primary PDF reader/editor I use on my Mac is PDF Expert by Readdle. In my opinion it’s the best app that works across the Mac and iOS platforms. However, when I was trying to figure out the best way to use the software to open up 60 word documents and merge them in to one big PDF I was stumped.

PDF Expert

That is when I remembered some PDF software I used pay for before I found PDF Expert…PDFpen.

PDFpen by Smile Software

This was one of the first PDF editing/manipulating pieces of software I ever paid for a few years ago and it’s still a fantastic piece of software…but I eventually got priced out of the Pro version that had the advanced features I wanted.

When I was a recruiter I used to work from my home office a lot, and had to collect various documents and merge them and send them off for processing. PDFpen was my go to mac app to get this done.

As I was trying to figure out how to use PDF Expert to do just this, I remembered my past workflow…but I didn’t own PDFpen any more.

Damn!!

That is when Setapp popped in to my head. Did the “Netflix of Mac Apps” have PDFpen PRO?

Setapp search function

Setapp

You’re damn right it did!

I opened it up, searched for PDFpen and had it downloaded and open in less than a minute.

PDFpen let me open up the first word document directly in it, then all I had to do was drag each of the 59 other word document to the side bar. That’s it! Once I had them all over in the left hand thumbnails area, I just saved the document and boom…a 216 page PDF.

Easy breezy.

Worth It?

With the way that most apps are moving to subscription models, I would say YES.

Rather than paying $150 a year for various applications that you will use, you can pay about $100 a year (or $10/month) for those same apps and a ton more!

There is always the risk that one of your “must-have” apps isn’t in Setapp…but they’re updating their repertoire often.

Might at least be worth checking out.