Moving On...New Passion Project

Hi guys! It’s been a while!

I’ve been reflecting on where I want to go with regards to blogging. I enjoyed blogging best in 2014-2015 when I used to have an old school WordPress site. Although I have changed a great deal, I still like the old style of blogging when everything was more conversational and raw.

It’s currently set to private, but after adding a substantial number of posts, I’ll set it to public.

I have so many ideas and I really can’t wait to share this project with you all!

 
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Balance Is The Key To A Life That Feels Good

Throughout your life, you've probably picked up on bits and pieces of contradictory advice on how to live a better life, because let's be honest, all of our lives are messed up in various ways because we're all inconsistent and imperfect, and sometimes life throws things at us that we can't handle, even to the best of our abilities. So it's no wonder why we're constantly seeking more, trying more things to better ourselves, and changing our environment so that we have more control over things external to us.

However, we often go to unhealthy extremes when we're making the effort to change our lives for the better. We either excuse ourselves too much when we procrastinate and escape from our lives, under the guise of "self-care" and "slowing down" or we work ourselves until we're so burnt out and exhausted that we can't have good relationships with others or take care of our health. We lie to ourselves and say that we can do more than what we're physically and mentally capable of, but in the end, all that rushing leads to a dead end full of emptiness and purposelessness.

Why do we want to live a good life? What exactly does a good life mean? Is there a specific vision for the future that we are obliged to work for? Is it even possible do everything we want without worrying about how it's going to be received by others? Do we even need to aim for something more, even when we're already exhausted from our current lifestyle?

What we all need is balance. We need to balance our goals. We need to balance our expectations and keep a healthy perspective that's evened out by both skepticism and idealism. We need to have a solid purpose for what we're going to do, but we also need to give ourselves room to evolve because we rarely ever turn out the way we thought we would, and old dreams and plans will fall by the wayside while newer and more purposeful ones take their place.

We often hear contradictory pieces of advice when it comes to improving our own lives:

1. You should accept yourself the way you are, but you should also never settle for less than what you are capable of.

If you're starting out in the pursuit of a new way of living, particularly after a life-changing event that shakes you awake from complacency (death in the family, broken relationship, job loss, failure in education, unexpected emergencies), you've probably alternated between periods of hyper-productivity in which you pump out work like there's no tomorrow and periods of lethargy in which you get absolutely nothing done because you're so sluggish and full of negative emotions that seem to control you and render you helpless. That's because a new life takes time to establish and you can't expect yourself to change overnight, right after a traumatic life event. 

Self-acceptance is necessary because you can't build a foundation on self-loathing and inadequacy - that will only intensify the tension within you and make you believe that you're unworthy of anything good in life unless you chase after external validations to prove yourself. It’ll cause you to procrastinate and be so held up by performance anxiety that you never start working on your goals. However, you also need to realize that you can’t just accept your deficiencies and do absolutely nothing about them - to move forward in life, you need to confront the bad coping mechanisms that are holding you back from creating a life you love and do so with a sense of urgency. It’s always better to start today than to wait “until you’re ready” because you’ll never be ready if you keep postponing your plans to better yourself for a day that might never come.

2. You shouldn't pursue endeavors just for the sake of success because that's a selfish and ego-driven motivator, but you should set goals to improve yourself so you can get the life you want.

Whenever people are driven to do something they want to do, others around them say that they shouldn't do it for the money. Although this can apply to all fields, here's an example that pertains to writing:

If you say that you want to make writing your job, people are quick to judge you for being greedy, money-minded, and naïve because the reality is, so many writers never get to see a dime from their writing throughout their lives. People will also judge you for doing it for the wrong reasons and think you’re just doing it for the money, the followers, the "luxurious life” of the wealthiest writers, and for getting back at people who thought you would never amount to anything.

However, if you say that you love writing and claim that you're only doing it as a passion and don't expect anything external rewards from it at all as a way to show how you’re above it all (thus, subconsciously putting yourself into “starving artist” mode), you're not going to push yourself to treat it the way a professional does - you'll end up doing it sporadically or whenever you "feel like it" or most commonly, "when inspiration strikes." So as a writer, especially when you're starting out, you experience great internal conflict and war against yourself and question everything you've been taught to believe about writing. You’re expected to push yourself to stand out from the crowd of wannabes and create works that people can relate to, yet you’re also shamed for wanting more out of your art, especially when you’re at odds with what you currently do for a living and what you’d like to do if your current life circumstances weren’t so constraining.

If you know you want to make some level of income from writing, write on a more consistent basis, tell stories and anecdotes that resonate with others, and connect with people who find value in your work, you need to bridge the gap between loving what you do and being able to do it consistently so that you meet job requirements, which involves producing a measurable output. But you also know that you want to find genuine enjoyment in what you do because that’s what will keep you going longer than those who just do it for the end result (fame, fortune, success) and quit so soon because they’re impatient with how much work it takes to reach that level.

The best way to approach this is to ask why you want to write. First, you should start writing what you need to hear because chances are, there are people out there who will resonate with your experiences and you do have a way of sharing your ideas in a way that other people haven’t done yet. But you cannot expect a large number of followers overnight or to be able to quit your day job, nor should you write for those reasons alone.

3. If you don't push yourself, you'll fall behind and be unprepared for the future, but you should slow down, fall in love with life, and appreciate the small miracles of today. 

From a circumstantial perspective, the existing socioeconomic system is made to catapult the majority of people into abysmal failure, and it's evident that billions of people do not have opportunities because of political corruption, inequality, and scarcity. This is why people who started out with less are more fearful of falling behind and have to break their necks and work themselves to death just to be a little better off than the previous generations. 

The life that most people want involves having more control over your circumstances, which equates to having better way to earn more money, which means having more time to do what you want instead of slaving away at what you don't want to do, which leads to more choices in life without being bound by things out of your control, which ultimately gives you more chances to succeed and live in prosperity.

But we tend to approach the future in a way that debilitates us mentally and physically: everything is rooted in the fear of falling behind. This brings about short-sighted beliefs of success and it's why workaholic culture exists in the first place. It's why people get panic attacks whenever they miss a day of work. It’s why people beat themselves up for not doing enough, even when it’s to the detriment of their health. It's why people pull all-nighters in hopes that it will get them ahead of the competition. Because we live in a society that views the bottom 25% as burdensome and the top 1% as sources of inspiration, a lot of us have done things in order to avoid being in the bottom of the pile and hustle hard to reach the top 1% or at least get closer to there than we were before. 

This is a backward approach to life. If we're so caught up in the struggle and race to the top and if we're in such a hurry to reach the next level in hopes that we "don't have to worry about anything anymore," then we've missed the whole point of life - we need to evaluate ourselves honestly and be ruthless in weeding out ideas of success that are ingrained within us because they might not even be what’s best for us.

The truth is, struggles, anxieties, and insecurities will always be with us until we've made a conscious effort to create a lifestyle that's effortless to us, even when it might not look as polished as someone else's. There will always be things to worry about and fears that control us, no matter where we end up in life.

You can’t expect goals to fulfill you if you don’t feel fulfilled as you are now because fulfillment is something you create within yourself, not something you seek or chase after outside of yourself. It’s important to carve out some time in a day to reflect on where you’re going and how you’re feeling so that you can adjust accordingly and make any changes that would help you ensure that your next steps are purposeful and relevant to who you are as a distinct individual.

Here are some key takeaways for a balanced way of living:

  1. Have a life purpose that isn’t so abstract or vague. Make it concrete, relevant, and specific to you.

  2. Instead of meticulously adding over-the-top details to your 5-year-plan or a 10-year-plan, have a vision board. It’s good to have an idea of where you’d like to be, or else you’d be wandering ahead aimlessly, but it’s not good to be bogged down by so many details or overly attached to your plans because the future is ultimately a mystery with lessons and experiences that you can’t identify ahead of time. Expecting the future to go exactly as planned down to the littlest details only exacerbates inner conflict and holds you back from discovering new things that could help you grow in ways you haven’t been able to think of yet.

  3. Create a life that feels wholeheartedly good and balanced to you, as opposed to a life that makes you keep up in a race that makes you feel like you’re heading nowhere.

  4. Understand that you aren’t guaranteed years and years to postpone a life that you have been denying yourself, but at the same time, you can’t expect everything to change overnight.

  5. Love who you are, but to evolve, you must demand yourself to do better and never stagnate.

  6. Everything is transitory and everyone is mortal. But in spite of that, it is better for your mental and physical wellbeing to focus on becoming a victor and not remain a victim.

  7. Make sure that each day you do something that fulfills you. End the day feeling at peace with the fact that you’ve completed all that you could have possibly done today, and even if the world were to end tomorrow, you’d still be content with the life you’ve created for yourself.

Post-Apocalyptic Short Story Ideas

I came across this chart the other day and thought it’d be interesting to share! It’s great for not only novels, but also for short stories, if you’re more of a short story writer.

Discover the Plot of Your Post-Apocalyptic Novel With Our Handy Chart

Although they suggest that you use the first six letters of your name, you don’t have to do this. You can pick and choose which disastrous event, type of character, and overall plot for survival you want.

I also find the formula to be helpful because it provides a clear direction and allows you to focus on a specific event with a specific character fighting for one main, specific thing. This provides enough structure so that the character doesn’t end up meandering in a wasteland or engaging in random fights throughout the story (which is a problem in some post-apocalyptic stories).

Formula

“After (some big thing) is destroyed by (type of disaster), a/n (adjective) (character) must survive by (verb) (something).”

Here are some combinations that I’d personally love to read and write about:

  1. After North America is destroyed by nuclear war, a sociopathic socialite must survive by establishing a death cult.

  2. After most of humanity is destroyed by a robot uprising, a clairvoyant mystic must survive by creating an army of clones.

  3. After society is destroyed by capitalism, a resourceful journalist must survive by infiltrating a dystopian government.

  4. After the government is destroyed by World War III, rebellious conspiracy theorist must survive by challenging a shadow government.

  5. After most of Earth is destroyed by a solar flare, a cybernetic scientist must survive by hunting down a group of mutants.

  6. After New York City is destroyed by an airborne toxic event, a half-dead musician must survive by hiding in an underground labyrinth.

  7. After civilization is destroyed by aliens, a solitary monk must survive by submitting to a false prophet.

  8. After North America is destroyed by an asteroid strike, a nihilistic Millennial must survive by scavenging from abandoned homes.

  9. After the electrical grid is destroyed by a solar flare, a superpowered doomsday prepper must survive by designing a makeshift city.

  10. After most of Earth is destroyed by radiation, a cyberpunk deposed princess must survive by becoming part of a shadow government.

Here are a few I came up with (not using the options on the chart):

  1. After the blogosphere is destroyed by a billionaire hacker, a novice blogger must survive by working as his personal assistant.

  2. After three-quarters of the population is poisoned by psychotic Social Darwinists, an artistic mathematician must survive by joining an underground rebel group.

  3. After small businesses are made illegal by a dictator, an innovative entrepreneur must survive by creating an army of humanoid robots.

  4. After 95% of the population is reprogrammed by nanochip implants, an immune poet must survive by disguising herself as a nanochip engineer.

  5. After the banking system is crushed by global debt, a struggling creative writing student must survive by writing propaganda for the plutocracy.

What To Do If You're Fatigued All The Time

Being fatigued all the time isn’t fun. When you feel sluggish and exhausted during the day and even after a three hour nap, people are quick to assume that it’s either a medical condition or you’re very depressed.

It’s also a killer to productivity.

However, after trying different things to combat fatigue, I know that there are definitely things you can do that are within your control.

Drink More Water

Yes, I know this is an obvious one, but besides bad quality sleep, dehydration is probably the main reason why you feel tired throughout the day. One thing that can help is to make drinking water seem enjoyable, effortless, and convenient. Have a nice leak-proof bottle right beside your desk and bring it with you wherever you go.

Don’t skip daily vitamins

I’ve gone without vitamins for a week and vitamin deficiencies really do affect my energy levels.

Take additional supplements like Vitamin B12

When I got my blood test done a few years ago, I was pretty normal with everything except that my “blood cells were too big.” As someone who rarely eats meat, I have a Vitamin B12 deficiency, which is the reason why I have Macrocytic anemia.

You can read more about the benefits of Vitamin B12 here.

Exercise

You don’t have to run a mile or lift weights or get a gym membership. Just 15 minutes of walking per day will help because that is better than nothing.

Drink Apple Cider Vinegar Water

Apple Cider Vinegar has many health benefits including controlling blood sugar levels (and having unstable blood sugar levels is a major cause of fatigue). However, because of its acidity, it must be diluted with water (ideally 1 tbsp for every 8 fluid ounces of water). I personally don’t drink it with water because I like adding it to soup and using it as a flavor enhancer in meals.

Eat nourishing foods

Eat more vegetables, fruits, nuts, legumes, lean meats, fish, eggs, and anything that isn’t processed. Chemicals, artificial flavorings, and preservatives can make you more sluggish because your body can’t process them properly or turn them into energy.

Have a regular sleeping routine and avoid naps

Go to bed at the same time every night. Wake up at the same time every morning. Avoid naps because they can throw off your sleep cycle. But if you don’t have a regular sleeping routine, it will come as shock to your system if you sleep at 3 AM one night and then suddenly go to bed at 10 PM the next night. I would suggest going back half an hour per night and then sticking to the ideal time for you to go to bed.

If none of the above things work, then there may be an underlying condition that cannot be treated by yourself. In that case, seek a medical professional.

To My Fellow Creatives: You're Worthy Of Pursuing Your Passions

It’s tough to keep going when there are so many elitists out there (those who have the multiple degrees, years of experience, a prestigious position in their field, and industry connections) who will do anything to discourage you from pursuing your passion, even going so far as to questioning your motives: “You’re not a real writer/artist because you just want to make money and get thousands of followers.”

I’m sure we’ve all heard the following things before, not just from elitists, but from people who aren’t actively pursuing a creative goal:

“You need to be more realistic.”

“If you can’t do it every day, you’re just a wannabe dreamer.”

“You’re untalented. You can’t do what you want if you aren’t qualified for it.”

I once was caught up in that trap (by also judging passionate side hustlers for being “unrealistic” and “childish” for stepping out and creating a life that they dared to dream of), but now I realize that it’s so unfair of me to judge all new creatives for sharing their work, and I know that the creative world isn’t free from cutthroat competition imposed by elitists who still believe that if new people get a slice of the pie, then they won’t have as much.

But there’s always room for more content creators, despite how much the cynics complain about oversaturation in the market.

New people have a lot to share, and it takes a tremendous amount of courage to say what’s on their hearts. I applaud them for that.

Yeah, we all understand that life as a creative isn’t straightforward or linear. We don’t need to be reminded that it’s a harsh world out there. We already know that pursuing a life of passion isn’t easy at all, but it’s so worthwhile and we know we have the potential to create even more amazing things, though we weren’t born into the top 1% of the world and we don’t have the rare prodigious talent that people say you need. Because that’s overrated.

You shouldn’t let anyone stop you from creating, not even if they claim that you are just an average person with a shallow dream. You are not shallow for wanting more in life. You’ll never get past average if you allow their criticisms of you to influence you not to try at all.

The majority of content creators do it because they simply LOVE creating. Not for the followers, the likes, the potential passive income stream, or for people to think they’re talented. They are compelled to create because they can’t imagine a life without it. Elitists often judge newbies for pursuing it for the wrong reasons.

Even when a writer isn’t considered “good,” I’ll love that writer if he or she writes something that makes me feel understood, despite how much people think it’s too simplistic and vulnerable.

You don’t need to tell other people that they’re being unrealistic by pursuing a creative goal. I only hurt myself when I held those views in my heart. But there’s so much more to life than success and trying to beat competitors in order to reach the top of a world that doesn’t even welcome you with open arms anyway.

So my fellow creatives, keep moving, keep creating, and no matter what, keep that fire going!

You Can't Build Your Future Self Out Of False Hopes And Expectations

You’ve probably been let down far too many times to count. You’ve probably bet on something turning out exactly the way you envisioned it, but it never did. And you’ve probably looked up to people who are “successful” and tried to copy their habits in hopes of being like them while overdosing on positive affirmations because you’ve heard that if you’re too negative, you’re inevitably setting yourself up for failure and dooming yourself to a mediocre life. 

But guess what? You’re still not where you want to be. No, not even close.

You’re chasing dreams, but you’re still in a reality that you can’t change. You’re fighting back against the fears that keep you controlled, but you’re still losing. You’re running towards something, but it keeps growing further away from you.

It’s easy to blame everything on bad habits, distractions, and those annoying emergencies that get in the way. It’s easy to blame society for its unrealistic expectations, but the truth is, it’s impossible to become a carbon copy of someone you admire the most, no matter how much you want to be like them and have their success story be yours.

Everyone wants something. But not everyone can get what they want. And not all wants are for everyone.

You can be the most disciplined, hardworking, and authentic person in the world, but you can still fail to get what you want. You can follow all of the rules of the great philosophers and lifestyle gurus in the world and not even reach their level of success, wisdom, or productivity.

You can’t count on good habits and your ability to remain consistent for every single day of the year. You’re human, not a high-powered productivity machine that operates all day and night. You give into temptations, you become fatigued, you burn out, your greatest efforts don’t get you anywhere, and sometimes, you even feel like dying. Life gets in the way and you may disappear for days because you’re too sick, sad, or traumatized to function at your peak. You can’t expect your self-sabotaging ways to disappear just by waking up at 5 AM, drinking green juice, meditating like a Tibetan monk, generating a six-figure side hustle, and bullet journaling your entire life down to the last dot.

You look at someone’s life and believe that if yours is somewhat similar to that, you can finally call yourself “successful.”  

There are many nuances to life that can never be broken down into something you understand. There are so many uncertainties that you cannot possibly predict because as much as you think you know the future based on several people’s life trajectories and success formulas, you can’t fully know your own. There are too many variables that come into play, and you can’t count on anything.

You can’t count on yourself. Not even your future self.

But why?

You see, you might have this idea in your head about how your future self will turn out. But the problem is, it’s not your actual future self. It’s only an idea of who you’d like to be based on a combination of what other people are and what you hope you’d become.

Now, there’s nothing wrong with identifying who you’d like to be and what kinds of qualities you’d like to hone in on, but you really have no final say in how your future self will turn out. 

Your future self is only an idea formed by a mind that’s not always consistent and sometimes too attached to the expectation of who you’d like to be. Your future self is an ideal version of yourself with traits from other people. Your future self is most likely a superhuman that cannot possibly exist because you’re more ordinary and fallible than you realize. If you aren't a rare talent now, you probably are highly unlikely to become that in the future. And that's okay.

It's okay if you're not always happy with yourself, but it's not okay to put all of your hopes into the future if you are deliberately half-assing the present. It's okay if you want your future self to be better than who you are now, but it's not okay to count on your future self to turn out exactly like a combination of several highly successful people.

Life is full of uncertainty, and attachment to the grand idea of your future self is causing you to avoid your life. It’s holding you too high above the ground, keeping you temporarily safe from falling down. Safe in your dreamy bubble as a character you want to be, yet frozen in mid-air. 

But to begin anything (even when you can't predict the end in sight), you’re going to have to hit the ground. Walk, run, but never stop.

What If You Don't Have A "Why?"

“Find your why.”

The word “why” has now become an increasingly popular buzzword, especially for millennials who spend more time scrolling through other people’s lives than living their own, denying that it’s no different from their parents’ “Keeping up with the Joneses” mode of living.

Nobody wants to live a life without a purpose. Nobody wants to be unmotivated or stuck in a dead-end position. Nobody wants to suffer a life of hardship or wander around without a destination to look forward to.

But the problem is, most of us are motivated by two things: survival and ego. We want to avoid danger and discomfort. And after that’s over, we set our sights on being better than our competitors and enemies so that we can prolong our existence.

However, the end goal of beating down anyone who’s vying for the same reward is a narcissistic and selfish goal. So anyone who wants to attain anything they lack must have a why that sounds pleasing and noble in order to be more likable because being more likable means that they’re better able to sneak their way to the top without anyone doubting their motives. They’re able to get support from people who find some escapist short-term reliefs in their why.

But if you’re consistently feeling stuck and unmotivated even when you have many big dreams, there’s a reason for that. You’re just not meant for an extraordinary life. You’re not meant “to change how people live,” or solve a complicated problem on the national or global level. You’re not meant to rise from obscurity and live in the spotlight. You’re not meant to have a successful six-figure side hustle by the age of 23, nor are you guaranteed overnight success after you’ve suffered from not getting what you want because going through hardships and failures still doesn’t entitle you to a good life afterward.

Maybe you’ll be like the majority of the population and will never be heard or recognized for achieving something great because you’re not as great as you think you are. Maybe you’re not destined for legendary success, no matter how much you bully yourself into toughening up, in hopes of fighting back against social, environmental, and economic constraints that keep you in place.

Not everyone is entitled to be at the top 1% of the world. So why do we try? Why do internet marketers still tell people that if you apply enough willpower and think positive enough, you can make it and become super successful and prove all your haters wrong?

It’s all a lie.

This isn’t to say that settling is good, but it’s far more harmful to expect a grand and extraordinary dream life after a following a cookie-cutter success formula because doing so won’t give you that. Perhaps your expectations and obsession with the outcome of success are what’s causing you the most pain, not the mundane moments of everyday life.

You don’t have to go viral to get back at those who thought you were weird, unsuccessful, and stupid.

You don’t have to get back at anyone at all.

You don’t have to try so hard to prove that you’re worth something in a field you don’t even want to pursue.

You don’t have to be passionate about your endeavors all the time.

You don’t have to force yourself to come up with a bombastic why and write it all over your wall.

You don’t have to share your why publicly.

You don’t have to force yourself to make your life more epic, meaningful, or noble than it actually is because chances are, you just want to enjoy yourself and be happy without worrying about how people are judging how ordinary your life story might be.

And if you don’t have a why, it’s okay to take your time to find one that’s truly yours.

Your Fears Are Better At Predicting The Future Than Your Hopes

Fear has such a negative connotation.

Self-help and productivity gurus tell you that you need to get rid of your fear and eliminate it from your thinking in order to achieve “the life of your dreams.” They claim that because of your fears, you’re not growing, you’re stifled, and you’re faced with insurmountable obstacles.  

“Overcome your fear,” they like to say.

What sounds self-empowering is actually quite harmful to your psyche because you can’t simply “overcome” all of your fears with a list of soothing words or positive affirmations that aren’t even true.

Fear will always exist within you, whether you like it or not. It’s part of being alive and living in a world full of uncertainties. With uncertainty, comes fear.

You’ve probably heard that you shouldn’t listen to your fears, especially your fears of the future.  

Newsflash: Your fears are good at predicting the future. Far more than you think.

If you think you’re going to be laid off and fired at some point, you’re probably right. If you think you’re going to run out of money, you’re probably right. If you think you’re unable to find a stable footing in life, you’re probably right. If you think your big dream will go up in flames, you’re probably right.

That’s because fear is realistic. It’s pragmatic. Fear of the worst likely outcome is there to protect you from inevitable disappointment. It’s there to shatter your illusions of easily attainable prosperity and delusions of grandeur. Fear is good at predicting what you will happen if you do not do anything to change yourself today or make any effort to step out of your comfort zone. You’re going to experience the worst possible outcome if you do not keep up with the shifting uncertainties of the world. That’s what fear is trying to tell you.

Fear is the most accurate in predicting the future. People who suppress their fears or worse, pretend that they don’t even exist, are most likely to be disappointed down the road. And end up failing because they haven’t mentally prepared themselves to deal with unpredictable circumstances.

When you’re afraid, it means you really care about your next steps. It means you’re interested in the outcome and you want things to go well, in spite of how much fear is making you believe that all things will end up in abysmal failure. While you are more likely to fail than succeed in this hyper-competitive world, ignoring your fears will do more harm than good.

Ignoring your fears is not the same as conquering them.

What you really need to do is acknowledge that your fears are right, but you have the power to change and adapt based on what you predict is most likely to happen. If your fear is telling you that you’re going to get laid off, you’ll feel so much discomfort that you’re compelled to change and find new opportunities elsewhere. If your fear is telling you that your passion project is going to fail, you’ll be compelled to change your direction and pursue something else that you’re more likely to succeed in.

Even when you’re afraid, it’s not good to ignore your fears. Acknowledge that they exist and do something about them. They are trying to warn you about an inevitably doomed future if you do not start acting now. If you’re experiencing constant fear in your life, it’s because there’s something in your life that you haven’t resolved yet and you’re not doing enough to improve your situation. 

Although fears can predict the future, albeit a bleak one, being fully aware of their presence is better than brushing them aside with platitudes that don’t mean anything. The best way to create a future you love in spite of your fears is to embrace the uncertainty ahead, know what you have to offer, be more observant of the world around you, and adapt accordingly.  

Your fears may be best at predicting the future, but only if you do nothing about their existence.

Making Geek Look Cool: Karlie Kloss, Wix Advertising, And The Rise Of Coders Who Can’t Code

I’m sure you all have come across this ad a million times, while waiting impatiently for your favorite video to start…

Love it or hate it, this ad is really effective and it’s no wonder why it has millions of views. In the advertising industry, there’s no doubt that celebrities are able to generate more revenue for corporations simply because they’re household names and they have such an irresistible charisma that no ordinary person can ever replicate. However, as a self-starting writer and DIY web designer, I find that this ad, while engaging and fun to watch, can be misleading to those who haven’t built their own websites before, have no idea what they want to do with a website if they were to make one, and only think Wix is the best because someone famous is promoting it.

I’ve been a DIY website junkie ever since 2005 when my friend introduced me to Xanga. Back then, I didn’t update it too much because of dial-up and there was only one computer in the house. When I got my first Windows XP laptop (which, in retrospect, was clunky and slow, but 12-year-old me thought it was the coolest gadget ever), I made at least five different websites for myself using Wetpaint, Webs.com, Weebly, and some other DIY web service that I forgot the name of.

Shortly after, I experimented with some more website builders and blogging sites like Blogger (formerly Blogspot), Tumblr, and finally, Wix.

My Personal Experiences with Wix

When I first created a free Wix site back in 2014, I thought it was the best DIY website builder ever (that was before I found WordPress and Squarespace). I was enamored by the textures of all the cute little buttons, the gorgeous templates, the customizable layout, and the ease of using the drag-and-drop interface. I experimented with a variety of designs and spent hours just having fun exploring all the features.

However, when I switched over to WordPress, I immediately stopped using Wix because WordPress looks so much better, it loads faster, and it’s easier to upkeep and maintain a blog.

Wix’s Marketing Strategies

  • Use a high-profile celebrity, preferably one who’s supermodel attractive, charismatic, friendly, down-to-earth, and has a reputation for being a philanthropist and an advocate for girls in STEM

  • Explain what Wix is, how it can be used, and why it makes creating a website easy and affordable

  • Show how Karlie creates her own website and how she showcases her projects in an appealing manner

  • Use attention-grabbing words like “professional” and “stunning,” which people want to be known for

  • Has a target audience: young entrepreneurial and creative girls who want to make a website for their passions but don’t have advanced coding skills and probably don’t have the budget to hire a professional web developer

  • Add in a rock jingle that makes people feel pumped up and ready to jump onto the DIY website bandwagon and become a “Badass creative coder-blogger-entrepreneur” that most millennials want to be

Why is there so much hate on this ad?

A lot of people in the comments below seem to love hating on Karlie and dissing her, mainly because they believe that the Wix advertising team is only concerned about money and popularity, just so they can get more people to sign up, especially starstruck, gullible young girls who think that blogging is just something that cool people do and wrongly believe that it’s all fun and games. However, presentation-wise, I think Karlie did a great job with explaining what Wix is about, while doing so in a way that makes beginner-level web design less intimidating and more user-friendly.

However, critics of this ad also are quick to point out that Karlie’s a hypocrite - she advocates coding and STEM education for young girls, but she herself won’t build her own website from scratch (with HTML, CSS, JavaScript, PHP, Joomla, Ruby, etc.) or bother to use professional back-end development skills. And they are right because Wix requires absolutely no knowledge of code at all.

Is Wix really worth the money?

In short, no.

Personally, I believe that if you’re wanting to blog and have a relatively simple and clean portfolio for your work (especially in media, journalism, writing, photography, videography, and graphic design), you should go with Squarespace (most streamlined and low-maintenance). If you are a coder, UX Designer, and web developer, you should go with a self-hosted WordPress blog and create a theme from scratch.

You shouldn’t bother with Wix for the following reasons:

  • Poor SEO rankings compared to WordPress and Squarespace

  • More difficult to optimize for mobile (whereas Squarespace has this already built in)

  • Wix uses Flash, which makes it load much more slowly than HTML-based website builders

  • Themes aren’t as well-designed as other sites: While there are some decent looking sites on Wix, there are many other Wix users who have cluttered and tacky portfolios because there are simply too many options with colors, patterns, and textures. People who lack an eye for good design will simply think it’s cool to throw in a mix of unflattering designs and hope for the best.

  • The Unlimited plan will cost you $14/month, whereas Squarespace will give you a more professional, aesthetically appealing, and highly functional website for $12/month. I’m sure there are also other hosting options that are as low as $3.95/month.

The fact that a self-proclaimed coder is using a service that’s clearly for people who can’t code makes Wix look bad. The ad itself is only fun to watch and it can serve as a motivational video for people who want to build their own websites but not necessarily sign up for Wix. Clearly, people who are serious about making their digital portfolios will at least have the common sense to use a cleaner template on WordPress or Squarespace and not bother with Flash-based systems that decrease speed and overall productivity.

If you want to use Wix, by all means, go for it, but if you want to be taken seriously and have a presentable working portfolio, I’d recommend for you to use another DIY website builder. If you’re a hobbyist and you like having more options with how your design looks, Wix is sufficient enough for your needs.

And if you are an aspiring coder, for the sanity of those who are professional coders, instead of talking about how coding jobs are lucrative and how smart and hip coding makes you look, why not start building your own website from the ground up today?