3 Big Lessons I’ve Learned From 3 Years Of Blogging

lessons learned from blogging

Collegetopia turned 3 years old this month.

Pretty crazy how fast time flies.

I had just finished my sophomore year at USC when I bought the domain name for Collegetopia and published my first post. Little did I know that it would literally end up changing the course of my life.

This blog has been the driving force behind all of the positive changes in my life over the last 3 years, and as I’ve said before, every year for the last 3 years has been the best year of my life.

My life isn’t perfect, but it’s pretty fucking awesome and I owe so much of that to this blog.

I almost wasn’t going to write about this because I didn’t want to be self-indulgent, but I figured this would be a good opportunity for me to 1) thank you for reading Collegetopia and 2) share a few lessons I’ve learned from my 3 years of blogging.

Let’s start with the lessons (I probably could’ve come up with at least 20 more things, but I think these are the 3 biggest ones).

1. Force yourself to start.

There’s always going to be an excuse for you to not do the things you want to do.

But if not today, when?

You’re never going to be ready, and you’re never going to “feel” like it.

And the longer you wait, the more you hesitate, the more likely you’ll never do it.

“Tomorrow” is code for never.

The hardest part (at least for me) is always getting started, so just get started.

NOW.

It’s now or never.

I’m serious. As soon as you start overthinking it, it’s game over.

Don’t allow yourself to lose before you’ve even tried. Do whatever it takes to FORCE yourself to take action.

Use the 3 second rule. Think about yourself lying on your deathbed. Imagine your own funeral.

Do whatever it takes.

Stop waiting for the perfect time to be the person you want to be, because there will never, ever, ever be a perfect time.

2. Play the long game.

Whenever someone asks me if they should start a blog, I say yes.

Immediately afterward, the excuses start to roll in.

“But there are so many blogs out there already… Everyone else is already doing it… What would I even write about…”

And you know what, they’re right. There are a million blogs out there already.

But, and this is a very big but, most of those blogs are inactive, or will be soon. Most people who start a blog give up within the first 3 months.

The problem with our society is that everyone’s always looking for short cuts.

Most people don’t just want to succeed. They want to succeed quickly.

But no one who succeeded ever got there quickly. Nothing great was ever achieved overnight, and everything that was ever achieved overnight never lasted very long.

Good things take time.

So, if you want to succeed, stop looking for short cuts and prepare your mind for the long haul.

Instead of trying to take big giant steps, focus on taking small, consistent steps over long periods of time.

The key to success is making incremental improvements every single day. 

Just like interest, small improvements compound over time.

Small things eventually lead to big things. But it takes time.

Most view this as bad news. But I view it as good news.

Because it means that you don’t have to be the best. You just have to able to last longer than everyone else.

3. Do things that scare you (and stop trying to please everyone).

This is kind of two lessons in one, but they go hand in hand.

Let’s talk about part 1 first: doing things that scare you.

Here’s the thing. Anytime you do anything that’s a break from your normal routine, it’s going to be uncomfortable, and maybe even a little scary.

If you’re 100% happy with your life and don’t want to change anything at all about it, then fine. Stick to your routine.

But if you do want to make any changes in your life, and you do want something you’ve never had before, then you’re going to have to do something you’ve never done before.

In other words, you’re going to have to do something that’s going to be uncomfortable.

The things that are most uncomfortable and that scare you the most are the things that will make the biggest difference. If you don’t feel anything, then it’s probably not worth doing.

For example, being vulnerable and sharing your art with the world not knowing how they’re going to respond can be terrifying. But it’s also extremely liberating.

Similarly, it can be scary for me to sometimes go out on a limb and say something that I know not everyone will like or agree with.

But if it’s something that, deep down, I know I must say, well, I embrace the discomfort and say it anyway.

If you can’t fully express yourself or act in a way that’s true to your self because you’re always trying to please everyone, you’ll never succeed.

We all want to be liked, but trying to please everyone is the surest path to failure. No matter how hard you try, you’ll never win that way. The sooner you realize this, the better off you’ll be.

Just do the scary thing, do the right thing, be consistent, and the rest will take care of itself.

***

Anyway, just some thoughts I wanted to share with you.

And in case you missed them, here are some of the top posts from this past year, as well as some of my personal favorites that didn’t make it in the top 5 (clicking each link opens a new tab).

Top 5 Posts of 2015-2016

Personal Favorites of 2015-2016

To view the blog’s all-time top posts, check out the Start page.

Thank You (& A Quick Question)!

Finally, whether you’ve been here since the beginning or this is your first time ever reading one of my articles, I just want to take a second to say THANK YOU.

Thank you for giving me your time, for being here, reading and engaging on my posts, emailing me questions, letting me share my thoughts with you, and making all of this possible. It seriously means the world to me.

I hope you’ve found my articles worth your time, and if you have, I’d really appreciate it if you took a minute to let me know:

  1. What are some of the biggest lessons you’ve learned from Collegetopia?
  2. Bonus (optional) question: What topics would you like to see more of on Collegetopia in the future? 

Please do me a favor and leave a comment letting me know!

And if you ever have any questions about anything, please don’t hesitate to reach out. I’m here for you. :)

Image credit: header image

About Stefano

Stefano Ganddini

Hey there! I'm the creator of Collegetopia and the guy who writes all these articles. I'm here to help you live BIG, do EPIC shit, & be HAPPY. Click here to read more.

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  • 1. Realizing that the best way to do anything new is to just start and not give a fuck about how well I did it was a huge lesson for me. I was always so afraid that I had to do everything perfectly from the beginning. Now I tell myself (and other people, when I want them to make a decision quickly), “Just do a shitty job at X, then you can change it later.”
    2. I’d like to see more articles on keystone habits. Those are supremely important.

    • Stefano Ganddini

      Thanks, Steve! I’m definitely planning on writing more about keystone habits (and habits in general) in the future.

      And GREAT lesson — aiming for “good enough” instead of perfect is a HUGE game changer. Really helps when you realize you can always go back and refine your work later. The most important thing is that you get started in the first place!

  • I think I was the one who suggested Disqus and here it is. 😀 The site itself looks so much better and makes me want to visit it more and more. I love it.

    1. The biggest thing I’ve learnt from Collegtopia is to be courageous and bold enough to do what I want, even though I may not turn out to be “perfect” (which is what I usually aim for – I think I have OCPD), without worrying about the result. Yes, it forces me to start.

    2. One particular thing I would like to see an article on is: what to do when you feel powerless and beat at the end of the day and can’t stay awake, even though you have not the most productive day?

    P.S. What is that “VIP Subscriber” thing? Same as newsletter? If so, it is redundant. If not, I guess I should subscribe.

    • Stefano Ganddini

      Hi Mandarin — yes, it was you who suggested Disqus :)

      I’m glad to hear you’re digging the new site, and thanks for sharing what you’ve learned! It is so, so important to focus on the process, independent of the outcome. When you focus on the process, the outcome will take care of itself.

      In regards to feeling beat at the end of the day, that’s a tough one. I think the key for me has been making sure that I START my day off right. When you win the morning, you win the day. I’ll try to write more about this in the future (it also ties perfectly into the keystone habits Steve mentioned below).

      And yes, becoming a VIP Subscriber is the same as joining my newsletter, so I think you should be good :)

      • I’ll be waiting to read on how to start the day. Many a time, I wake up early, I exercise and meditate, only to fall back asleep and wake up a couple of hours later.

        And like I said, it’s redundant. It asks for email in the sidebar as well as at end of the post.

        • Stefano Ganddini

          Do you have a “perfect day itinerary”? Basically, a schedule of your ideal day broken down hour by hour? I recently did this exercise and it’s been very helpful.

          Ah, yeah I still need to update the opt-in box at the end of the posts.

          • Interesting. I’ll do it this weekend.

          • Stefano Ganddini

            How’d it go??

          • My house was getting renovated, so I had no internet and couldn’t reply.

            I thought about it and it seems that I couldn’t possibly have a “perfect day” at this point of time in my life. I have a strict schedule to follow (which includes school), and I simply don’t have enough free time. I think it will make more sense to do this activity once I’m not in school anymore.

          • Stefano Ganddini

            “I couldn’t possible have a ‘perfect day’ at this point in my life.”

            This is the definition of a LIMITING BELEIF, or as Ramit Sethi (one of my role models), likes to call it, an “invisible script.” Just because you’re in school and have other obligations doesn’t mean you can’t create a perfect day itinerary. Everyone has obligations. You may not be able to spend 100% of the day doing exactly what you want to do, but you CAN create an ideal day around your current obligations. And obviously not every day will go exactly as you want it to, but the point is to have something to aim for.

            Work with what you have. If you’re unhappy with something change it. If you can’t change, then choose to be happy with it.

          • My WiFi is back.

            Yes, I get what you’re saying.

            “If you’re unhappy with something change it. If you can’t change, then choose to be happy with it.”
            This makes sense. And I’ve been doing that since before I even came across this article. It’s really important.

            I think my days ahead will be much more productive.

  • Stephen

    I love reading your blog posts because I feel that every post resonates with me. It’s nice to hear someone else’s perspective on positions I fee like I’ve been in and experienced.

    1. The thing I’ve learned most from Collegetopia is to stop trying to please everyone. I always want to please everyone but I feel like you have to accept that it is not possible. You can still strive to do so, but it’s important to understand that it’s not gonna happen for some people – and that’s OK. Also, the 3 second rule is a great rule to live by. I must say there are plenty of times where I don’t abide by it, but when I do follow the 3 second rule I always leave feeling good about myself. Because when I don’t follow the 3 second rule, I start overthinking things and shell up and end up disappointed. So I guess those are the TWO biggest lessons I’ve learned.

    Thanks for blogging Stefano. Keep it coming

    • Stefano Ganddini

      Thanks for the comment, Stephen! So glad to hear my posts have resonated with you. “Stop trying to please everyone” is a tough one to accept, but once you do life suddenly becomes so much better. :)