By Patrick Griffith on July 2, 2016

I’m a Fraud. But So is Everyone Else.

All Articles I'm a Fraud

This was supposed to be a weekly blog. But there’ve been six weeks of silence.

Not because I’ve been short on thoughts. Not because I’ve been too busy to write those thoughts down. But because everything I have to say is bullshit. And because I’m a fraud.

I mean – not entirely bullshit. And I’m not entirely a fraud. The general advice is on point. I think. Minimalism will make you happier. Intentional living will probably make you more appreciative of life. Blah blah.

But do you need to read four blog posts every week on how to own less and live more intentionally? Probably not.

Here. I’ll summarize:

  1. Spend more time doing what you love doing. This might mean spending less time doing other stuff.
  2. Spend more time around people you love being around. This might mean spending less time around other people.
  3. Use the possessions that bring you the most joy and/or the most value. This might mean getting rid of some of your other possessions.
  4. Ask yourself “why” occasionally. Reflect and alter accordingly.

And now you’re free to unsubscribe from 92% of the minimalist blogs you follow. That would be the minimalist thing to do, after all.

We’re All Frauds

This past weekend my friend Jeff Sandquist (from Intentionally Wandering) and his wife Laura crashed with us for a night as part of their long road trip.

Jeff, Laura, Sarah and Patrick

Left to right: Jeff, Laura, Sarah and myself

A few minutes after arriving Jeff commented “man, you make Laura and I look like maximalists.” But they didn’t see what our apartment looked like two days before their arrival.

Sarah and I always clean up before guests come over. But I’d be lying if I said that we didn’t take it to a bit of an extreme this time. I knew Jeff probably had certain ideas about how I lived based on my online persona, and I wanted to make sure I lived up to those expectations. Like a fraud.

It was so nice – and so different – to spend time with a like-minded couple. I found myself being vulnerable and trusting – something I struggle with in face-to-face communication – freely discussing my worries and my (perceived) inadequacies. I’ve never before had a chance to talk with people who shared such a similar mindset. I liked who I was in their presence.

“I feel like a fraud” I told Jeff, Laura and Sarah. “Here I am trying to blog about intentional living and minimalism and I don’t even have my own life figured out. I almost feel like the deeper I dig into intentional living the more I realize how unintentional I am. And yet I’m trying to come across as some ‘expert’.”

Jeff was quick to ease my concerns. He reminded me of the very real Impostor syndrome. And he reminded me that nobody on the Internet leads the life we think they do. To a degree, we’re all frauds. So I shouldn’t be so hard on myself if I paint a slightly brighter picture than is my reality.

“We teach what we most need to learn” is something Jeff kept reminding me. That runs counter to my thinking. And counter to what I’ve been taught. Every resource I’ve come across stresses blogging your expertise rather than what you’re still in the process of learning.

And so I sit in silence. How can I be giving advice on something I can barely grasp myself?

But this isn’t a blog about web design or programming. This is a blog about intentional living. It’s a blog about something that isn’t solveable. About a path that has no destination.

So I can skip as many weeks of blogging as I want for fear of being a fraud. But that’s not going to solve anything. If I wait until I’m an intentional living expert before I start blogging again? My silence will be permanent. I’m not there yet. I’ll never be there. But I’m getting there.

I don’t have all the answers. But maybe I have just one more answer than you have. Or maybe I have a different perspective than you have. Or maybe I have the exact same perspective as you have and it’s comforting for you to read a second account of it.

I’m going to keep writing, but at my own pace. And I’m going to keep redefining the direction of this blog over time as I become more in-tune with what I want it to be.

Understanding Wants

This blog isn’t about making money. There are other more efficient means for that. And in my list of weekly priorities, as you may have noticed given the six weeks of silence, this blog is not even close to the top.

These posts are a way for me to work through things in my own life, and to give a voice to those things. Hopefully a few people connect with what I’m saying and get value. But if not – as long as this blog continues to help me grow – then that’s okay. Because that’s what I want from this blog.

And so, if this blog is for me then why write posts that don’t make me happy? Sometimes when I finish a post I can’t wait to tell Sarah about it. Other times I never even mention it. Why write the posts that I don’t care about?

I initially wanted to write a post every Saturday for my audience, without ever missing one. But it’s okay to break my own rules, I’ve realized. At this point, given my reflection about what role I want this blog to fill in my life, I’d rather take a few weeks off than write a series of posts that I’m not proud of.

This is my first post after six weeks off. I’m guessing that there will be more stretches like that in the future. I’ll try to be better about avoiding such long gaps. But I’m not going to try too hard. I know what I want out of this blog. And bullshit posts out of necessity are not what I want.

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