A few weeks ago someone sent me an email asking me to update a link. The link was for a top blogs post I had made six years ago.
Six years. That is a LONG time. I’d forgotten about that post a long time ago, honestly. When I go back and look at my writing that far back, it doesn’t necessarily fit my voice now. Some of it seems a little foreign and definitely less informed. In fact, the back story on this site really needs to be updated–I’m not in my 20’s any more and my life has changed so drastically that it should probably cover off on new stuff. Maybe over the new year I’ll rewrite it.
The fact that you can reach back that far and pull up someone’s ideas and writing is powerful. From a personal standpoint, I love being able to review what I’ve written on multiple ideas. Curious about influence and Cialdini–search it. Want to read a review on Zen and the Art of Motorcycle Maintenance or maybe A Confederacy of Dunces? All in the Book Reviews tag. And more will be written, on family and life in general. It’s a great way to catalog thoughts and happenings over time. It’s a lot of fun to look back and to build a long term repository of thoughts, opinions, ideas and personal information.
But there’s also the chance that your writing of many years ago doesn’t necessarily reflect your stance now. I don’t have specific examples of things written previously that don’t vibe with my current outlook, but believe there must be dozens of examples over time. This is an important concept–it actually drives people to NOT say anything at all due to the potential that their view is used against them in some way.
It’s much easier to say nothing at all, or speak in platitudes that no one can disagree with, than actually being honest and stating your opinion. Yet organizations and people suffer from a lack of willingness to communicate and learn. Stating your opinion stirs the figurative pot that allows for growth long term–it’s wholly necessary if progress is at stake.
The ability to change your opinion based on interaction and input from others or additional data is what separates people as leaders–as does the propensity to not use people’s opinions or thoughts as ad hominem fodder re figurative discourse.
All this is to say that writing and putting forth your opinions, having a take, is value add and shouldn’t be shied away from. It takes bravery to put your ideas and thoughts out in a public forum, especially one that is “forever”–but we do this every day when we ship a product, sell a service, launch a website or send an email to the CEO. It’s all relative. Put your best out there.