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What building a website taught me about myself

What building a website taught me about myself

I think you should setup your personal website or blog. Don’t do it for fame, money, or fortune. Do it for the journey, and for what you will learn about yourself in the process.

Let me share a few of the things I learned about myself by building a website.

I don’t like asking for help

One of my biggest challenges is knowing when to ask for help. I will fight myself internally and will try to find my own solution much longer than I should. Most times, it turns out to be easier to call up a friend that knows the answer and simply ask for their help. This was a really important lesson for me. I need to get better at identifying when it’s time to ask for help.

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Key question: Do you know when it is time to ask for help? Is it a challenge for you to ask for help? Has that helped or hurt you in the past?

I have my own writing voice and style

Content creation is an often overlooked part of website building. This part can sometimes take longer than actually building the website. So many website building blogs talk about the technical aspects of site design, but fail to elaborate on how to write content. I believe this is because writing content ultimately comes down to finding your own voice.

If you try to write like someone else or imitate another author, your writing will always seem a bit off. If you write in your own voice and style, your message becomes authentic and it will force you to organize your thoughts before you put them up on a public site.

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Key question: Have you thought your message through? Do you know your voice and style?

I need to understand “why” before diving into “how”

There are many quick and easy options for putting a website together. However, I found that even quick website builders like WordPress have a learning curve. I needed to learn how to setup my own hosting, connect my domain name, and do simple modifications using HTML and CSS. I had never done any of this before.

Along the way I started to pick up my own learning style. I am a “why” learner. When I know why I need something, I can then fully grasp the “how to.” Every time I tried to dive into the “how” first, I found myself annoyed and unable to grasp why I was doing it.

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Key question: What’s your learning style and preference? Are you a “why”, “what”, “how”, or “what if” type learner?

I found a good video from Jeanine O’Neill that describes the 4 learning styles

I am pretty good at learning applications, but not coding

Modifying PHP is really hard for me. It has taken me years to learn how to perform some of the smallest modifications. On the other hand, learning to use the backend of my website engine has been fairly easy. I learned that I am really good at learning how to use an application, but not so good at understanding its code. Now I hire someone to help me with that part.

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Key question: What is your aptitude for technology? Which aspects of technology are you good at? What gives you the most challenge?

I am resourceful when it is time to solve problems

Problem solving is a skill. I’ve seen colleagues hit a brick wall and give up. And when building my first website, I ran into a lot of brick walls. I learned that I’m not the type of person who just gives up. My habit is to grab a cup of tea and start googling to find solutions.

Key question: What do you do when you encounter a problem? What is your system for finding a solution?

Featured photo credit: Bluesbby via flickr.com

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Paris Law

Life Coach & Designer

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Last Updated on December 16, 2018

12 Simple Ways You Can Build A Positive Attitude

12 Simple Ways You Can Build A Positive Attitude

We all look for a better and happier life, but somehow we realize it’s our attitude that makes it hard to lead the life we want. How can we build a positive attitude? Grant Mathews has listed out the things (from the easiest to the hardest) we can do to cultivate this attitude on Quora:

1. Listen to good music.

Music definitely improves your mood, and it’s a really simple thing to do.

2. Don’t watch television passively.

Studies have shown that people who watch TV less are happier, which leads me to my next point…

3. Don’t do anything passively.

Whenever I do something, I like to ask myself if, at the end of the day, I would be content saying that I had spent time doing it. (This is why I block sites I find myself wasting too much time on. I enjoy them, but they’re just not worth it when I could be learning something new, or working on projects I care about.)

Time is incredibly valuable.

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4. Be aware of negativity

A community that considers itself intelligent tends to be negativity because criticizing is seen as a signaling mechanism to indicate that you’re more intelligent than the person you corrected. This was irrationally frustrating for me – it’s one of those things you’ll stay up all night to think about.

5. Make time to be alone.

I initially said “take time just to be alone.” I changed it because if you don’t ensure you can take a break, you’ll surely be interrupted.

Being with other people is something you can do to make you happy, but I don’t include it in this list because nearly everyone finds time to talk with friends. On the other hand, spending time just with yourself is almost considered a taboo.

Take some time to figure out who you are.

6. Exercise.

This is the best way to improve your immediate happiness.

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Exercise probably makes you happy. Try and go on a run. You’ll hate yourself while doing it, but the gratification that you get towards the end vastly outweighs the frustration of the first few attempts. I can’t say enough good things about exercise.

Exercising is also fantastic because it gives you time alone.

7. Have projects.

Having a goal, and moving towards it, is a key to happiness.

You have to realize though that achieving the goal is not necessarily what makes you happy – it’s the process. When I write music, I write it because writing is inherently enjoyable, not because I want to get popular (as if!).

8. Take time to do the things you enjoy.

That’s very general, so let me give you a good example.

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One of the things that has really changed my life was finding small communities centered around activities I enjoy. For instance, I like writing music, so I’m part of a community that meets up to write a song for an hour every week. I love the community. I’ve also written a song every week, 37 weeks in a row, which has gradually moved me towards larger goals and makes me feel very satisfied.

9. Change your definition of happiness.

Another reason I think I’m more happy than other people is because my definition of happiness is a lot more relaxed than most people’s. I don’t seek for some sort of constant euphoria; I don’t think it’s possible to live like that. My happiness is closer to stability.

10. Ignore things that don’t make you happy.

I get varying reactions to this one.

The argument goes “if something is making you unhappy, then you should find out why and improve it, not ignore it.” If you can do that, great. But on the other hand, there’s no reason to mope about a bad score on a test.

There’s another counterargument: perhaps you’re moping because your brain is trying to work out how to improve. In fact, this is the key purpose of depression: Depression’s Upside – NYTimes.com

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I can think of examples that go both ways. I remember, for instance, when I was debating a year or two ago and my partner and I would lose a round, I would mull over what we had done wrong for a long time. In that way, I got immensely better at debate (and public speaking in general – did you know debate has amazing effects on your public speaking ability? But now I really digress).

On the other hand, there’s no way that mulling over how dumb you were for missing that +x term on the left hand side will make you better at math. So stop worrying about it, and go practice math instead.

11. Find a way to measure your progress, and then measure it.

Video games are addictive for a reason: filling up an experience bar and making it to the next level is immensely satisfying. I think that it would be really cool if we could apply this concept to the real world.

I put this near the bottom of the list because, unfortunately, this hasn’t been done too often in the real world – startup idea, anyone? So you would have to do it yourself, which is difficult when you don’t even know how much you’ve progressed.

For a while, I kept a log of the runs I had taken, and my average speed. It was really cool to see my improvement over the weeks. (Also, I was exercising. Combining the two was fantastic for boosting happiness.)

12. Realize that happiness is an evolutionary reward, not an objective truth.

It’s easy to see that this is correct, but this is at the bottom of the list for a reason.

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