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My Freedom Flame

Motivating Writers Worldwide

Category: success

Take Ownership of Your Decision Making

You’re a Product of Decisions, Not Circumstances

People fail to take ownership when they face harsh obstacles or throw in the towel in a certain field. Nothing gets to me more than people blaming others for their lack of success.

 

We live in a society today where we’re trained to play the blame game and point the finger at someone else when success doesn’t happen.

 
But, has it occurred to anyone maybe our decisions impact our lack of success?

 

I’m in the indie-author game and when it comes to authors, indie, hybrid, traditional, success is hard to come by.

 
I see too many authors asking what the hell’s wrong with people when they don’t see their book sales stack up.

 
Last month when I launched Northern Knights, my paid e-book sales were minute other than my Amazon free days and my paperback sales.

 
What did I do?

 
I sure as hell didn’t fret and ask what’s wrong with others?

 
I didn’t concede and state people just don’t understand me. No one understands anyone; I don’t even understand my own favorite authors, so cut that mindset out.

 
What I did do was ask myself what the bestselling authors, in any category, did to boost their sales.

 

Society Has Trained Us

Society has trained us to play victim and point the finger at someone else. Usually, this person’s labeled a rich, privileged capitalist whose ways have screwed the rest of us over. Let me debunk this mindset: Click here for the article ‘How the Myth of the Robber Barons Began.

 
What’s funny is I’ve never heard anyone either in the media, public school, or society itself elaborate on why this is the case.

 
Monopolies?

 
I’ll concede, but monopolies aren’t products of capitalism; they’re products of corporate collusion with government. In other words, per the article above: political entrepreneurs.

 
It’s as anti-capitalist as you can get.

 
But, we’re trained to believe someone else caused our circumstances to be what they are and we’ll never succeed in our chosen field because of them.

 
Never mind the fact we might have made poor decisions. Want a list?

 
1. Did you research your target market for what you’re selling or doing for the public?

 
2. Did you research exactly what these people wanted or want from a seller?

 
3. Did you go out of your way to deliver the absolute best product?

 
4. Did you write a good product description?

 
5. Did you use keywords and trigger words of your competitors to entice people to buy?

 
6. Did you make yourself visible before your competitors each day and leave yourself visible after your competitors closed up shop each evening when breaking into the field?

 
7. Did you make a website with all your products listed and drive people to your site via a blog or something similar?

 
8. Did you give them an incentive for joining your website in exchange for their email so you can contact them about new products?

 
Or, did you think that you’re now on the market, people will flock to you because you created a product?

 

Never mind your competition’s been in the field for twenty years and the market has developed a sense of brand loyalty.

 
Never mind the fact those who have developed the sense of brand loyalty did so because their sellers treated them like gold.

 
Isn’t that circumstance?

 
If you allow it to be, but ultimately everything is based on decision making.

 
Most of us who’ve broken into a field needed to make sound decisions to ensure our successes. The odds are against all of us newbies, but we need to show these people we have a better product on the market than the seller they’d been loyal to for twenty years.

 
Companies make such decisions all the time to win over others.

 
Again, decision-making wins out over circumstance.

 
Because brand loyalty doesn’t always stick.

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What Pisses Me Off About Those Who Play Victim

Arguably my greatest pet-peeve are those who state their on Plan C, D, and E because their circumstances screwed them out of Plans A and B.

 
Did they work hard enough to ensure success or did they walk into the office expecting success?

 
Did they walk into work knowing there was going to be a growth period and that others were just going to buy from them because their names are on a product?

 
When times were tough, did they decide to take ownership or let their current circumstance drive them to the bottomless depths of the sea?

 
Again, we’re trained to play victim in society. We’re cognitively conditioned to believe it’s someone else’s fault of our own lack of success in any field.

 
You might have a great product and people might even know of this great product, but why would they buy from you? Why would they want your services?

 
Did you do anything to let others know your product is pristine and is the hot new thing on the market?

 
Did you find a small target market to hype your idea or product?

 
If you’re answering no to the last two questions, your decisions not to partake in these two crucial tactics will set you behind.

 
The good news is although your decision making impacted your circumstance, you can’t point the finger at your competition. You can’t point the finger at the consumers. No one’s going to buy from someone they’ve never heard of.

 
Why would they?

 
And you have the audacity to blame others for your lack of success?

 
You think you’re in the right by pointing the finger at your competition and stating consumers just don’t get it. You’re saying your competition screwed you over.

 
You screwed yourself over by failing to notify the public months ahead of time something was coming out to be on the market.

 
You screwed yourself over by failing to hype your product and build a nominal following.

 
You’re solely responsible for playing your own game of catch up.

 

I’ve Made the Mistake

I’ll dive into details later in this article, but it’s a mistake I’ve made in the past.

 
Though I hyped Northern Knights to readers, I didn’t see immediate sales. In fact, I hardly saw any. Again, more on that later.

 
I’d built a small following on Facebook, Twitter, and my blog, about 6,000 total, maybe a little less.

 
I blogged about my book, its themes, the characters, and gave a small synopsis.

 
The two mistakes, the two huge mistakes I made, were these:

 
1. I failed to expose the then-future work to a target audience, instead exposing it to all readers and writers. Huge mistake.

 

Would a romance reader be interested in a revolutionary urban fantasy?

 
2. I didn’t build an email list. This meant I didn’t have anyone to directly market the book to.

 
I’ve since taken ownership and fixed these mistakes, seeing a modest increase in sales, but imagine had I done this back in January?

 
It’s likely I’d have at least a few-hundred email subscribers.

 
It’s likely I’d have had a loyal following, higher blog traffic when I launched My Freedom Flame in February, and higher social media followings.

 
Again, I waited until late March to start my social media platform, sixteen weeks before the book was released.

 
Joanna Penn spent three years building her audience.

 
Nick Stephenson used funnel and magnet books to build his, which didn’t happen overnight.

 
Who the hell was I to think I’d have thousands of buyers in sixteen weeks?

 
Yeah, definitely a pipe dream.

 
But, in my field, there’s good news.

 
Books, even old books that’ve been on the shelves for years are new to those who come across them.

 
I remember when I first read the Chronicles of Narnia. I was shocked to discover the books were written in the 1950’s!

 
F. Scott Fitzgerald’s novels didn’t see success until after his death, notably The Great Gatsby.

 
So, if you’re in the book business, you get a reprieve, because your novels are new to those who come across them.

 
Below is an exclusive for authors, but anyone can take a peek at what’s written, as you might be able to relate the information I’ve learned over this first month and a half of being on the book market.

 

Decision Making from an Author’s Standpoint

The author game is a tough one, and here’s one for you:

 
A reader can 1) buy your new book for $4.99 or 2) go with James Patterson’s latest book.
What would you do if you didn’t know who wrote the book?

 
I’d go with Patterson. Even though I’ve never read his work, I know who he is and that his books are proven commodities. It’s a no-brainer.

 
And it’s where people scream circumstance without subjecting themselves to harsh self-criticism and critical thinking.

 
The fact you self-published a book doesn’t mean jack.

 
The fact you self-published a book and are expecting thousands of dollars and downloads from people who never even heard of you is just downright arrogant and it makes you come off as self-entitled.

 
Did you bother to tell your social media friends and followers the book is out?

 
Okay, you did it about a thousand times. That was your first mistake. Shut-up and don’t interrupt me.

 
You messaged your social media friends and followers. That was your second mistake.

 
Do you know what I do when I get messages from authors wanting me to buy their book?

 

I block them. See-ya!

 
Do you know what I do when I see thousands of buy links from the same authors?

 

I block them.

 
I’ll post a buy link only if I’m running a promotion. I pin it to the top of my feed and nothing else.

 
You think Amazon’s going to market your book?

 

Why do you think Amazon’s going to market your book when they’re a business who makes money on profiting off hot selling products.

 

Want Amazon to market your book?

 

You better start making sales. Again, you’re coming off as self-entitled.

 
You saw someone who published a book the same day you did sold one-hundred-thousand copies already and you’re pissed because people just understand them more or something outrageous to justify their success and your failure?

 
Is it pure jealousy, perhaps?

 
Instead of trying to make sense of the ordeal (this is where decision making comes in) maybe you should take a look at a few elements and it might explain something:

 
1. Is your cover up to par?

 

If you made the decision to make a homemade cover (which I do for my perma-free books, but never a paid book), that was yet another mistake.

 
2. Is the cover similar, yet unique, to others in your genre?

 
3. Is your book description any good, or did you decide to mindlessly write something in the description box?

 
4. Did you choose relevant keywords, or did you make random choices or worse yet, leave the area blank?

 
5. Did you choose categories that were too competitive?

 
Again, it’s all about choices. It’s about decisions. Decisions you make create circumstances. The circumstances are products of your decisions.

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The Winning Hand

Success Doesn’t Involve Luck, it Involves Skill

Building the winning hand involves skill, skill, and more skill. Luck is irrelevant. I’m not saying a few don’t get lucky, but skill is the name of the game.

 

I have one pet peeve about those who can’t succeed. Here are a few redundant excuses.

 
1. He had help along the way I didn’t have.

 
2. He inherited the money I’ll never inherit.

 
3. He had connections I’ll never have.

 
4. He got lucky.

 
5. He had natural talent, I don’t.

 
I can go on and on, but it would take a few thousand words and I know few of you are willing to read that much. What I’m saying is people will play the excuse card time and again. Truth is, the winning hand involves doesn’t involve luck, it involves skill.

 
During my days as a trainer, I knew people, clients and members alike, state they couldn’t lose weight and get lean because they didn’t have the genetics.

 

Okay, some people have poor genetics; most don’t. Most have average genetics which are capable of one attaining a lean look.

 
And most can succeed in their given field if they put their mind to it. Here’s another list…people like lists, so I’m making lists here. To uncover the winning hand, one must:

 
1. Find your passion.

 
2. Research how you can make money in the passion (we live in a society where one can make a living selling ideas. How cool is that?).

 
3. Put together a daily task list to perform. Do this every day until you make a habit.

 
4. Develop a five-year plan.

 
5. Get a “pay the bills” job.

 
6. Start earning money in your passion.

 
7. Evolve.

 

8. Build the winning hand.

 

Find Your Passion

This is easy. If something can wake you up on a Monday morning like it’s a Saturday morning, what would it be? What do you look forward to doing every day? Again, it’s easy. What do you find yourself doing, or wanting to do?

 

Research How You Can Make Money

Yeah, I know, money isn’t the primary goal, it’s the lifestyle. For me as a writer, I’d much rather work from home (in the morning and evening), a library (yes, they still exist), or a place that offers Wi-Fi.

 
Second, I’d rather not work for anyone except a loyal list of email subscribers curious to see what kind of work I come up with next. Not just that, I want to set my own numbers, earnings, and reach a goal. I want to build my own dream rather than work really hard to build someone else’s while making them a lot of money.

 
Last week, I discovered there are more than seventy ways for writers to make money. So, I chose about five niche areas I knew I’d enjoy and started researching them in addition to blogs and websites I’d like to write for.

 

Check out The Write Life, they have a boatload of information.

Put Together A Daily Task List to Perform

You know if you don’t put together a daily list, especially early, it’s going to be near-impossible to succeed in this.

 
So, after you research start putting together an action list. This action list needs to consist of eight to twelve tasks that take thirty to sixty minutes to complete.

 

Don’t worry, because even if you work a full-time job, this might consist of research more than anything else. Choose reputable sources and research them.

 
I do this even today. My go-to is The Creative Penn, but I also like Just Publishing Advice, Self Publishing Advice, Jerry Jenkins, and ALLi.

 

Develop the Five-Year Plan

I derive this from the classic professional sports team model, which includes:

 
1. Three years of building. This is by far the toughest climb and during this time, few people will understand why you’re doing what you’re doing.

 
2. Playoff appearance. This relates to you breaking even, maybe quitting the ‘bills job’ which I’ll explain in a moment, and becoming a minor authority in your field. This is the point where you’re going to look back and be proud of how crazy you were for going against your better judgment.

 
3. Contention for the championship. This is where you’re recognized on a national and perhaps international scale. It’s where you’re profiting to the point you can live the lifestyle, fire your boss for good, and soar to new heights.

 
Where am I in this journey? Between Year One and Year Two, so much of this derives from tips I’ve learned via my own research. In many instances, I’m in Year One. My Freedom Flame is headed into its eighth month, I have two books published, one of which is a perma-free novella called Fighting Tyranny, and the other is my first full-length novel called Northern Knights.

 
Though I’ve been writing consistently for a little over three years, I’m still very new. If there’s one thing I’m headed into Year Two over, it’s knowing how to write fiction for the masses. Take Northern Knights, where many of my first readers never would even have picked up an urban fantasy novel, and it’s garnered good early reviews, four out of five stars on Amazon thus far.

 

Get A “Pay the Bills” Job

This is the not-so-fun part, but the good news is you only need to work enough hours to pay the bills. What’s your rent, utilities, car fuel, food, and other expenses?

 

Do the math and give yourself an extra one to two-hundred dollars per month to break even.

 
The good news for us writers is we can pitch ideas to websites, blogs, and a myriad of other outlets and we may get picked up by five to ten percent of them. This can serve as our pay the bills job.

 
Others, whose fields may require a year or so of seasoning, may need to get a dreaded normal job for a time, but that’s okay, because you may only need to work twenty hours a week if the job pays well.

 
If I were to stick with fitness for a bit, I’d love to land a gig at Orangetheory, who pay their trainers $40 to $55 an hour, depending on location and experience. This means my own pay the bills job would consist of fifteen hours a week, and that’s at the low end!

 

 

Even ten hours a week at the high end.

 

Start Making Money in Your Passion

Okay, so yeah, you’ve written a masterpiece….this is if you’re a writer. You’ve written the masterpiece and few, if anyone, is buying the book.

 
I’m cackling right now, because it’s where most question themselves and give up. Don’t even think about it.

 
Here’s why no one’s buying:

 
1. You have one book out. Why the hell would any avid reader take a chance on a new author?

 
2. You have no reviews.

 

Why the hell would any avid reader take a chance on new author if they haven’t proven themselves?

 
So, what do you do?

 
Well, in the world of writing, and if your passion isn’t writing, relate what I’m about to say to your passion, is to do something I learned twenty-three days ago and is already generating positive results.

 
1. Create something for free. Yeah, I know, it sucks, but it doesn’t have to. I enjoyed writing Fighting Tyranny; it was the one work where every character, scene, and the story came naturally.

 
2. Put an ad for something in front and in the back of the book inviting them to join an email subscriber list. Yes, you need to get an email provider. MailChimp is free for up to 2,000 subscribers.

 
3. Make sure you give them an additional reward for signing up. I gave those downloading Fighting Tyranny a second free novella consisting of how the main characters met.

 
4. Put an additional ad in front and back of your book of the product you’re selling for money. If people like what they read, they may pull the trigger and buy. If they sign up for a subscription, it means they’re interested in buying from you.

 
I know what you’re asking: Why do I need to give something away I worked hard on?

 
Because, if you write like I do, where I’m writing both fiction and working on a nonfiction piece, you’re going to create a nice little backlist.

 
Know why Netflix ran Blockbuster out of business?

 
Because people could binge watch at home.

 
Well, these days, people can binge read at home.

 
What’s not to say five years from now (five-year plan) you have a list of twenty books?

 
Each book is priced between $2.99 and $4.99.

 
You must make between $60 and $100 from one person.

 
What if they prefer hard copy?

 
You just made a lot of freaking money.

 
We live in a binge culture, people. People binge.

 

Why do you think TV networks play marathons?

 

Why does NFL Sunday play a game at one, four, and eight?

 
We’re trained to binge!

 
And that’s why you put in the time and effort to create something for free.

 
So, I’ve been selling Northern Knights for one month and have made $20 in one month!

 
Fantastic, right?

 
Actually, it’s more than seven-figure indie-author Mark Dawson made in his first six months, as he jokes about bringing in $10 in royalties during his first six months as an indie-author.

 
Look, I’m happy with $20.

 
I wish I used something like Freebooksy or Books Butterfly, which may have generated me more handouts, but that’s okay. You live and learn.

 

Evolve

And the final step is to evolve. Let’s use my works, Northern Knights and Fighting Tyranny.

 

How do I get the word out on these two books?

 
Here’s what I’ve done:

 
1. I open-published Fighting Tyranny and set it for free everywhere. I used the aggregators Draft2Digital and PublishDrive to reach different online book stores. For Draft2Digital, I hit Kobo, Barnes and Noble, Overdrive, Tolino, Biblioteca, Scribd, and Playster.

 

On PublishDrive I hit iBooks, Google Play, and a few places Draft2Digital can’t reach. The goal is to place Fighting Tyranny for free on as many sites as possible. It’s also listed on Amazon at 99 cents, but I’m looking to convince them to price match.

 
2. I set up a free giveaway on InstaFreebie, a site where authors can give away books to gain exposure. Not just that, you can connect it with MailChimp and build a subscription list. Within forty-eight hours, my subscription list is over thirty, and this is over a span of two days. USE INSTAFREEBIE IF YOU’RE A NEW AUTHOR!

 
3. Like I explained earlier, I have a catchy orange and brown (don’t judge me, Steeler fans) ad in front of my books for Northern Knights for all sites except iBooks, which won’t allow links to Amazon due to it being a close competitor. This will funnel readers all over the world to Amazon to purchase the Northern Knights e-book.

 
4. Understanding globalism. While I’m no globalist (see my global affairs posts) I do understand the internet is a pipeline to a global market.

 

When I check my blog stats, I see that I’ve reached people in sixty-five countries within eight months, with my main countries outside the United States being the UK, Ireland, India, Australia, Canada, and Sweden.

 

This means I have people coming to and back to my blog in these countries, so they’re ideal marketing candidates!

 
5. Continuing Education. This involves both free research and some investment in courses. Yes, I know we hate investing our money, but look at people who invest for a living. Investors realize one thing: They can get a Return on Investment, or ROI. Think of paying as investing with hopes of getting a return.

 
6. Understanding I’m an Entrepreneur. Yes, if you’re an indie-author, you’re an entrepreneur, which means you better know how to reach others and market your work.

 

No, it doesn’t mean blasting continual buy links to social media. I do this once a week, if that, and only if I’m running a promo. Be engaging, post interesting and informative content, blog, and make your website attractive. Not just that, contact local business owners and see how they continue to stay in business. They can be in any field, not just yours. They’re full of knowledge and they WILL help you out, especially if you’re a writer like I am and pose zero threat to stealing customers.

 
I’d like to thank everyone for coming across My Freedom Flame, please come back soon.

Wake Me Up When December Ends…Not This Year!

The Dream is Coming Alive as the Autumn Nears

We’re in the final third of the year and this is often the time I’m singing Wake Me Up when December (yeah, I know the real song states September) Ends.

 

Yeah, I’m ecstatic, but take a look at my vague track record. You may be able to relate.

 
2011: I found a new hope after living on $70 per week and almost flunking college.

 
2012: Came on strong from January to June. Strongest ever. The rest of the year was a living nightmare except the fact I managed to land my first personal training gig. It didn’t fully cure things.

 
2013: Still struggled from some losses in 2012 but at least I liked my job. Things peaked in May and went downhill fast so I decided to drink myself almost into a coma on two occasions. December ending was a blessing. Merry Christmas, Todd.

 
2014: Arguably the greatest year of my life. I competed, had a kickass workout buddy, and returned to school after a hiatus. Then things tanked in August. Other than school, 2014 was a memorable year to forget. Once again, Merry Christmas, Todd.

 
2015: Things started off on a high note before hitting rock bottom in July from a morale standpoint. Man, I couldn’t wait until January.

 
2016: Again, things started off strong before crashing and burning come September and October. Some of this was self-inflicted as I started looking for other places of work. My employer wasn’t happy.

 
2017: Things never picked up before August, ironically, but once again turned into same story, different year. Probably the worst year since 2011. Is it December yet?

 
2018: Things started off high before crashing, this time in April when my boss yanked half my paycheck without warning due to not profiting from a six-month-old business.

 

 

But, this blog gave me hope, and the outlook for the rest of 2018 might be okay. No, the rest of 2018 is going to be the toughest challenge yet. There will be no Todd’s Finest Hour falling into my lap like in 2011.

 

Captain Comeback is going to have it rough.

 

But, there’s hope.

 

Confessions

I used to reminisce with emotional songs each of the previous years of what I had, what I lost, and what could’ve been. Talk about a waste of valuable time.

 
The gym used to be my solace but when it became my work, it ceased to become.

 
I needed a new escape, or I’d do the same thing.

 
I watched time fly by like a whirlwind, watching the sun set behind the old water tower in Wintersville, Ohio from the parking lot of the now abandoned Riesbecks plaza. God, what a sad freaking story.

 
It’s the one constant on the Ohio side of the Ohio…Steubenville, Wintersville, and once upon a time, Weirton. God, what a freaking beautiful sunset, especially as summertime sets.

 
People came and went. Friends came and went. Family left. Businesses and shops closed.

 

Other than the freaking beautiful sunset, turnover after turnover reared its ugly head in a dying valley.

 

The rich got richer and the poor became poorer.

 
And I had no outlook.

 
A simple fitness degree and a myriad of low-income opportunity that came with it.

 
But, the fire inside reignited.

 
Writing.

 
The passion.

 
To pursue. To take the ultimate risk. A blog, freelance, the works.

 

No, December, you’re not taking me this time. You can hold off, I have some unfinished work to do.

 

No more.

 

No more melancholy.

 

No more feeling sorry for oneself.

 

No more I could’ve, should’ve would’ve had this or that.

 
I spent much of 2018 slaving away but having the time of my life writing Lord of Columbia, Neo Skyehawk, putting my heart and soul into My Freedom Flame, which will one day become the hottest philosophy blog on Earth with viewership in sixty-two countries, thank you very much, I appreciate your support.

 

December can wait

As my work life suffered from mismanagement and failed ownership in the North Hills, My Freedom Flame, though new, small, and in its infancy grew. My following grew.

 

Northern Knights, Book One in the Lord of Columbia Series has seen good early returns.
While my income crashed and hopes looked bleak in the fitness world during the summer, my eyes set on a new challenge. To create a following. To become motivational.

 

To share my philosophy and perspective on society day after day after day, even if it kills me.

 

To challenge the hell out of mainstream thought. To speak my mind. To tackle sensitive issues. To do good for the public.

 
To write my books and share my story with the world. In thirteen countries.

 
My research for paid freelance over the past two months has given me a new hope. For jobs, for money, to make a living doing what I love and to wake up each Monday like it’s a Saturday, hit the gym in the morning as others fight traffic for work and I hit the library by mid to late morning.

 
Yes. It’s a new outlook.

 

The Challenge

See, without the challenge, without the adversity, without the reason for me to stand up, say enough, take action, take ownership, take control of my life, and state, with everything I have in me that I will never, ever rely on governments, corporations, anyone, for a paycheck.

 
For an income flow.

 
For my success to hinge on the success of someone else in some corporate office, heck no, nada, not going to happen.

 
It’s not the Libertarian way.

 
Oh, no, no, no, no, no, no, no.

 
It’s not the Libertarian way, it’s not my way, it’s not self-reliance, it’s not individualism…it’s dependency.

 
And I could’ve taken one of two actions.

 
1. I could’ve sat there and complained about work, life, why I always get a raw deal, why I have such bad luck, why God doesn’t want me or will never let me succeed, while blaming corporate greed for this (likely illegal) pay cut without warning I didn’t even sign on for.

 

Then, I could sit there and tell everyone I had this going on or that going on but was forced to take a pay cut, downgrade, and live on the edge because someone else I worked my tail off to make a lot of money for and help them pursue their dream is in charge of my paycheck, therefore my standard of living, my monetary well-being, the whole nine yards.

 
2. Or, I could do something about it. I could research writing. I could start a blog. I could finish my book.

 

I could network across Facebook, Twitter, Linked-In, do my research, read author blogs like The Creative Penn or Just Publishing Advice and dig myself not only out of my hole but move a freaking mountain.

 

Look my owner and manager in the eye and say freaking try me, I’m going to move a mountain while you’re still climbing hills and here in August, almost September 2018 it’s what I’m doing.

 
No, I haven’t broken even yet. No, I haven’t made any serious money yet. No, I haven’t made this a complete living yet.

 

But,  when I look upon this year come December, I’ll smile and nod. When December ends, and when the frozen months of January and February arrive, the willingness to evolve will have overtaken me.

 
I’m light years ahead of where I was. I’m one million yards ahead from where I started. People know my books exist. People know my blog exists. I get an increase in blog traffic each month. I’m seeing my book slowly climb the sales rankings.

 

I’m seeing everything playing out in a positive manner, setting the stage for something amazing to happen and happen it will.

 

You Can, Too

And the best thing is, you can do this too. What’s sad is most people won’t. They’ll take Option 1. They’ll sit, complain to others, complain online, complain to strangers, complain to anyone who hears them.

 

Come December, come Christmas, oh, they’ll be a wreck once more. Come January, they’ll be wishing, hoping, praying 2019 will be better than 2018.

 
Worse yet, people will listen, relate, and agree.

 
But no.

 
No. Don’t take that road, the road well-traveled, because it’s not a well-traveled road at all; it’s a road to nowhere.

 
There are two roads diverged in the woods. The road more traveled goes in circles, and nothing more. The road less traveled leads to somewhere great. Somewhere bigger.

 

Somewhere better. Somewhere most will never see.

 
But, it doesn’t have to be this way.

 
It’s us. It’s our choices. We choose the path. Like faith. We choose the path we wish to take. The good way, or the bad way. In this case, are we going to take the easy way out, complain about our jobs, get another one, complain about it, and never stop complaining about our situation?

 
It’s our job.

 
We chose to work it, we choose to go to it, no one’s forcing us, we’re only being forced because we control our spending habits and when we drive ourselves deep in debt, which is our choice, our job becomes mandatory only because it’s the sole way out.

 
What if I told you there’s another way?

 
Would you believe me?

 
It’s going to take a lot. It’s going to take early mornings, late nights, sacrifice, no more Friday night happy hour, no more weekend partying, turning the TV off, less (if any) relaxing, and a constant fight with sanity but it will be worth it.

 
How do I know this?

 
Because as much as I’ve been inconvenienced by powers out of my hands this year, I’ve seen first-hand what hard work, dedication, sacrifice, attention to detail, and attention to craft can do. And I want you to take the same path.

 
It’s going to be the toughest challenge of your life unless you’ve experienced something as a matter of life or death. But, it’s going to be a tough road. Are you ready?

 

Let this December be your best one yet. The year ain’t over.

Fear is the Obstacle Keeping You from Success

Success Comes When Fear is Conquered

Fear. It’s a word we’re accustomed to and it haunts our lives in every single avenue we turn. We’re fearmongered into security over liberty via the media. We fear things both when we’re young and as we age.

 
But there’s a convenient truth no one tells us about: Fear is the obstacle keeping you from success.

 
Nothing bothers me more when people pursue passion but give up after only a few tries, if that. They say they had this or that going for them, but it didn’t work out.

 
I want to ask this question: How many times did you try before quitting? I’m not going to sugarcoat this. You quit. How many times did you try?

 
If you answered once, twice, or even three times, fear kept you from continuing due to security of a possible job or employee benefit offer.

 
How many successful people do you know didn’t give up until they achieved what they wanted?

 
I know many.

 
In fact, I read an article on Joanna Penn’s blog, The Creative Penn. In her interview with seven-figure indie-author, Mark Dawson. I’ll add the article as a source to the end of this one, because for any writer or anyone fearing failure, it’s worth the read.

 
Long story short, Dawson speaks of how he earned, I want to say $10 in six months on Amazon after having a miserable time with traditional publishers and trying to make it as an indie. No, that’s not a typo, the guy made $10 in six months. There are also indie-authors out there who may not have made a single penny in six months…or a year.

 
But, what Dawson did was he found a way to make things work. This was back in 2012, so he’s a relatively recent household name. He saw what didn’t work and saw what worked.

 
I’ve even heard stories of successful people who’ve tried and failed at several businesses before finding what works for them. When they do, the fruits of all the hours, time, frustration, and tears become worth it.

 

Fear is the Obstacle

Fear is the obstacle. I can’t stress that enough. Hey, if I’d go the route my family wants me to go, I’d have a decent job, decent pay, I’d own a house, collect employment benefits, and set myself up for retirement.

 
And of course, if I were to, say, just quit my job and do this full-time without knowing if it’d work or not work, well, I already know how that conversation would go. I’d be an automatic failure, I’d run out of money, I’d end up in the poor house (or back at my parents’ house) and become a real-life George Costanza.

 
My mother would freak, telling me I’m failing simply because I have no income stream. Lord and Lady knows what my father would do? I’ve no idea.

 
But to me, it leads me to a theory: Most of us were brought up this way. Most of us were brought up thinking if, at any given time we have zero income coming in, regardless of working 50, 60, 70, 80 hours a week toward a dream that, in Dawson’s case, makes seven-figure income, we’re going to fail.

 
And that fearmongering, the lack of knowledge our parents hold, or held (hey, I’m telling it like it is), their holding us back from doing what we know we can succeed in, in my opinion, is the absolute worst thing (barring anything major, obviously) a parent can do for a kid.

 
But, this is major.

 
Because a parent is telling their own kid they can’t succeed at what they want, on their terms. That’s disheartening.

 
Now, if the kid just doesn’t possess raw talent or ability at what they want, it’s an obvious disservice to the kid if they continue to push them in the direction of pursuit, but I feel it’s rare. In fact, I only believe such a case exists when the parent is pushing the kid into something, like dance for instance. And the kid falls in love with dance because it’s all they know, despite their poor skills.

 
What’s the solution for parents who instill fear in their kids?

 
Stop instilling such fear! Do you people realize what you’re doing to your kid’s confidence?

 
Never tell a kid who has high aspirations it’s okay to dream, but reality looks like this, or looks like that! Never, ever, ever tell a kid only a small percentage make it in any field. Of course, it’s a small percentage, but the small percentage outlasts the large percentage because they may’ve failed so many times they finally succeeded! LOOK AT MARK DAWSON! LOOK AT JOANNA PENN!

 
Heck, even Thomas Edison failed 10,000 times before he finally succeeded in inventing the lightbulb. What if Edison had just given up? The world for some odd reason never listened to Tesla, so he’s out by default. When would the lightbulb had been invented? Would it have been invented, and if not, we’d still be partying like it’s 1899.

 
Or, better yet. What if that crazy person (or people) who thought a phone would tell you anything you asked it back in 1985 gave up on their dreams?

 
For anyone over the age of thirty-eight, if someone told you a phone could tell you anything you asked it back in 1985, what would you have said? Would you have said anything, or would you have called the asylum police had the individual(s) institutionalized?

Success Comes When Fear is Conquered

For those whose parents have fearmongered them into some myth that the only way to succeed is to follow policies x, y, and z, and to never break the rules, I have good news for you. Especially if you’re eighteen or older, because now, you get to live the adult life!
And sure, while you may need a gig to pay the bills and perhaps a loan or two, you have the power to control any and every obstacle set in your way. Set in your path.

 
You have the power to live your life the way you see fit, and only you. And no one can tell you to live this way, or that way, even if Mom and Dad are still trying to convince you to do things their way.

 
Break the rules, and be innovative, especially if you have the talent. Especially if you have a dream, a message, that must be spread. And an idea that must be sold.
Sell your passion, you’re worthy and talented enough to do so.

 
Yes, there will be roadblocks, yes there will be failure, but yes, in the end, if you continue to fail, you’ll succeed because you’ll have found the proper tools you needed to succeed. You’ll have found the proper formula it takes to succeed. And that, that is the greatest blessing one can attain.

 
I’d like to thank all of my readers for coming across My Freedom Flame, and if you like watching videos regarding motivational tips, the truth on the Deep State, and Libertarian principles, please check me out on Facebook.com/myfreedomflame. I also hope to be up and running on YouTube before long. Please come back soon.

Don’t Panic! The Road to Success Takes Time

The Road to Success is Full of Twists and Turns

 

Success is a long road and it’s a direct reflection of our own work ethics. So, even if you see others succeeding around you in their chosen fields, I advise you not to panic. Success is like weight loss, those who lose weight faster have a far less likelihood of keeping it off. Those who lose one to two pounds of body-fat per month are more likely to keep the weight loss permanent. Well, success is no different.
The reason success is a long road is because there are a lot of avenues from which to go. For one, we must market our own product, in my case, the first book in a trilogy I’m releasing in late summer/early fall called Age of Columbia.

 

Social Media Scandal

For another, we must look beyond social media. From an indie-author’s perspective, we’re looking to align with book promoting firms, markets to outsource our books, book covers, building a blog, a website, an email list, and if we have time, promoting via social media.
Yet, we’re all conditioned to believe social media success requires fame.
That’s never the case, as those you may see succeeding around you post a script to social media. Social media for the most part is inflated success, much like an NFL Draft prospect’s inflated numbers due to running a system offense in college, only to implode at the next level (Robert Griffin, Andre Ware, Brandon Weeden, anyone?). If someone’s generating a lot of likes and comments on social media, fantastic, let them feel their false sense of success and let’s get back to reality.
The truth is you need to become successful by marketing toward your target market. Sure, your friends may love it each time you make an accomplishment and you may even post your success stories on social media, but if you have a couple thousand friends, it’s a small sample size. Let’s be honest.

 

Facebook: Fake News!

So, ignore the social media “sensations” on your Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, or whatever account you prefer. It’s false success. True success lies beyond a social platform. True success involves spreading a message to your target audience in hopes your target audience will take your message and spread it to the masses.
Know what I look for on social media?
Shares. Retweets. People reading my work and sharing it with their friends or followers. If someone likes a Facebook post or a tweet, how do I know they didn’t absentmindedly hit the like button? Comments? People may give me a compliment or critique, but sharing the work plays into my hands.
For example, once the Pepsi Guy (see previous posts) came across my work and noticed my little ruse, so he thought it was a good idea to share it on my Facebook timeline and his. Needless to say, my old blog, MatthewsFit, garnered 1,200 views within two days.
The above example shows the power of sharing and it’s going to get your name and message out there to more people than 1,200 likes ever will. Thanks, Pepsi Guy, you made my day a few months back. If you ever read this post, feel free to share it on every single social media platform you have.
Okay, but back to success.

 

Arnold and Stallone

Why is it such a long road?
Just like achieving true weight loss, true success takes time because the old cliché, the longer you wait, the better it gets (take wine, for instance) couldn’t bode to be truer. Think of guys like Stallone and Arnold who achieved fame later on, such as in their mid to late-twenties or early thirties. Now look at a few child stars. How many child stars go on to be stars as adults? Few.
Stallone’s story is beyond inspiring, but so is Arnold’s, who had to escape Austrian social norms to become what he wanted. Stallone slept in a bus station for three weeks and was left with nothing when he wrote Rocky.
The road to success is full of twists, turns, sinkholes, and jagged rocks. The strongest survive. If you’re reading this post and you’re struggling, keep moving forward.

Anything worth having involves a struggle. A walk into the unknown. A walk into hell. But such walks will strengthen your mind, body, and soul. You’re going to emerge stronger, more confident, and ready to attack each day.

 

The Success Ritual

Here’s an exercise to do that I learned last night. It’s new age, but it’s full of Wicca at the same time, which is my forte. Picture a domed circle in front of you, us Wiccans use a sword to create such a circle. Enter the circle, as I would from the east, and picture a dome above you. Picture walls surrounding you. Us Wiccans will continue to raise energy to the point we’re feeling it all around us.
Around you, picture signs with phrases that hold you back. For myself, it’s overthinking, insecurity, adversity in my past, being shunted to one side in my past, my confidence going to the wayside, lacking confidence with even the smallest situations, and the works. Picture everything holding you back. Whatever it is holding you back from success, picture it all around you.
Picture a fire pit in the center of the dome. Us Wiccans use an altar with burning candles, preferably green or red, as it generates strength or success. Rip these notes from the walls, visualizing everything that holds you back, take them all off. Sometimes in Wicca, we’re physically write or draw such things, and burn them, allowing the fire to absorb.

Throw all of these problems, obstacles, and roadblocks into the firepit. Sometimes, praying to a higher power, such as myself to Pan and Selena, the Lord and Lady, respectively, will help. Invite such higher powers into the circle and let them assist you in destroying everything that holds you back.
Then, repeat the ritual the following day. Do this again, again, and again. Perhaps try it once outdoors, as for us Wiccans it’s our natural ritual habitat. Whatever works for you, and in time, your habits will change, and your road will be clearer. Your brain will rewire itself, and soon you’ll find yourself light years ahead of where you were.

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