Kyle Rutkin

Digital Marketer. Brand Strategist. Freelance Writer.

Creativity

CreativityKyle RutkinComment

 

Nothing puts us closer to our creator than creativity.

It is what we were put on earth to do.

But creativity should not be personal. Everyone has access to creativity. It comes from a higher power. It comes from something outside yourself.  But as soon as we attach our name to it....As soon as we say "I CREATED THIS",  it becomes part of our ego. It has become part of our self worth. Therefore, you become completely dependent on outside validation. You need people to like your project. You need people to give you praise.

But truthfully, it's not YOU that is creative. You are an instrument. You are a tool. You are given creative insight in order to create. You are not special. Insight and creativity were given to you by God. If it's not successful, then you are being asked to obtain mastery. That is part of the process. You are being told to keep going. Keep creating. You will be rewarded when you are good enough.  When you can turn creative insight it into something that connects with people. Something that touches lives. Painting. Writing. Music. Photography. A business. It doesn't matter. There is a process you must follow. But if you are consumed with the outcome, you might stop at the first bad review, the first negative comment. 

 Don't be attached to the outcome. Just be blessed that you are an instrument for creation. Keep going. You were put on this world to create.

Growth

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Failing sucks. Getting criticized hurts. I hate falling on my ass. But muscles grow when they break down. You experiment, fail, rebuild, and get stronger.

Do things that scare you. Strength is developed by leaving what's comfortable.

Find something you want with all your heart. Make it a burning desire.

Because no matter how difficult things might seem, how impossible they say it is, they can never break your resolve. One day, the universe will reward your ambition. It's going to hurt. You're going to sweat and shed tears. But keep fighting. Keep getting stronger. Pain is a good thing. Failure is a GREAT thing. It means you're growing.

 

 

On Purpose

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Most things in our life are fleeting.  We go through jobs, and cars, relationships and hobbies. That moustache we grew in November is gone.  That dream job ended up sucking. Our college days are now distant memories. The love of your life ended up being a three-week stand. We go through highs and lows, peaks and valleys, destruction and resurrection. Our first car is gone. Our first relationship is over. Our dreams have changed. New cities. New friends. New start. But a purpose never goes away.

It might change vehicles or form, but a purpose is concrete and always present.

Your purpose might be to inspire, heal or teach. It might be to love, give back, to serve.

Only you can answer that.

Start with the why.

It reveals the how.

Invest in your purpose.

It’s the only thing that lasts.

On Being Selfish in Your 20s

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One of the countless self-help articles about being in your twenties, claims it’s okay to be selfish in your twenties. I hear that all the time. This is the time to do it.

You need to be selfish.

Be selfish while you have no responsibilities.

 YOLO.

I get it. And that’s right to an extent, except the being selfish part of it. Selfish is not the right word. Being selfish in your twenties is only teaching you how to be selfish in your thirties and forties. Being selfish means you put your own needs above others. You strengthen your ego and weaken your true self.

Should we do what we want in our twenties, yes! But that has nothing to do with being selfish. Chasing things that make us happy is NOT selfish at all.  Every time you get pumped up and inspired about something, you're directly serving the world. By doing what you love, and pursuing life with passion, you are putting the needs of others on the same playing field as your own. Go travel. Chase your dreams. Be awesome. Shine light. Pursue things you love. Be interested in life. None of that is selfish.

I get that people think they need to be selfish to chase their dreams or take a plane to Thailand for eight months. But honestly, that’s the opposite of selfish. Growing as a person and doing what makes your heart tick, only serves the world. And that makes you selfless.

“Our deepest fear is not that we are inadequate. Our deepest fear is that we are powerful beyond measure. It is our light, not our darkness that most frightens us. We ask ourselves, 'Who am I to be brilliant, gorgeous, talented, fabulous?' Actually, who are you not to be? You are a child of God. Your playing small does not serve the world. There is nothing enlightened about shrinking so that other people won't feel insecure around you. We are all meant to shine, as children do. We were born to make manifest the glory of God that is within us. It's not just in some of us; it's in everyone. And as we let our own light shine, we unconsciously give other people permission to do the same. As we are liberated from our own fear, our presence automatically liberates others.” ? Marianne WilliamsonA Return to Love: Reflections on the Principles of "A Course in Miracles"

Kanye West and Kim Proposition Miley for Threesome.

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miley3

"Hi, my name is Kyle and I click too much bullshit on the Internet."

Cue: "Hi Kyle."

I’ve been in and out of cyber rehab for years.

At one point my addiction was down right disgusting.

I would click Facebook link after Facebook link, till I blacked out on some random website, reading 22 Reasons Why Taylor Swift Sounds Like a Goat. I would be up all night snorting Kardashian GIFS, while toggling back and forth between Twerk Videos and my ex girlfriend's profile.

On my worst days, I’d have 10 tabs open on my Chrome browser: three social media sites, two useless Yahoo Home Page stories, and five Buzzfeed articles about life in your late twenties. I’ve been sober for one day now. Most of the stories and links make me feel gross and weak. It makes me feel like a junkie. It's full of lists and hashtags, big photos and useless information.

For the next 30 days, I am taking a pledge to not click anything that doesn’t add value. Because I believe there's a  there's long term consequences for ingesting this internet junk. I seriously believe it's weakening my attention span. I succumb to useless distractions and distractions deflect me from doing work that matters. Why else would I check my email every two seconds? Or my twitter account, or Instagram, or Text Messages, or Facebook? It's a little rush to see a notification, a new email, a new text, a list of the Top 100 GIFS of 2013.

But let's be real. Most great things in life require delayed gratification and hard work. Great jobs, great spouses, and great things, don’t come in the form of hashtags and clicks. Those things are valuable because so few people have the strength and courage to stick it out. If we're going to accomplish anything meaningful, we have to stick it out, our dreams, our goals, our resolutions, anything worthwhile.  We have to dig down and find courage and strength. But just like anything, this type of resolution takes practice. And the internet, although positive in many ways, just might be weakening our resolve.

So for the next 30 days I am pledging to not click anything that doesn’t add value.

I pledge to read a book before I look at my phone in the morning.

That is my New Years Resolution.

Just Say No To Cyber Drugs.

 

Q&A During The Holidays

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4xmas The holidays are about family, love, peace and prosperity. It's about holiday movies, Xmas music, buying presents, and uncomfortable moments with relatives who don't quite understand what the f*** you're doing with your life.

Wait, what?

YOU MUST BE SERIOUS ABOUT YOUR FUTURE. You can’t diddle around and run up credit card debt. You must get a safe job with good benefits and steady pay. You must plan ahead. You must set yourself up for retirement. You need to reproduce and have mortgages, buy assets, start planning. You need diverse stock portfolios, 401K’s, and did I mention, babies. You need a recession proof job in an emerging industry. We need grandchildren, for heaven's sake, we need grandchildren.

 A list of Holiday questions you might have to answer

When will you get married? Engaged? Have a gf/bf?

When will you get a real job?

When will you have babies?

When will you buy a house?

Will you be able to afford orthodontic work for your future kids?

Shouldn't you have health insurance at this point?

Did you vote for Obama?

Are you financially irresponsible?

Have you paid off your student loans?

Are the tires on your car safe?

Are you eating healthy?

When's the last time you went to the doctor?

Having family members who care about you is a good thing. But PLEASE don't panic. They ask because they care. But this is your race, your career, your life, your future. In my opinion, here's the questions you should really ask yourself this holiday/new year.

What are my talents? Am I happy doing what I'm doing? Am I using my talents to  serve the world? How can I serve my friends, family, coworkers, and the random dude in the checkout aisle? Am I spending my days doing something that adds value and allows me to be creative?

Stay on your path.

Have faith.

And if the stress of having kids or getting married gets to crazy, get a puppy.

 

 

the dreamer vs. the pro

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tpa

I used to be in love with the idea of writing.

Much like I was in love with the idea of having a dream.

It was something I could tell people.

Hello, college acquaintance.

Oh, how am I doing?

I'm doing soooo good.

You should see how good I'm doing.

I’m a writer and I’m writing something REALLLLLLY BIG.

No big deal.

It's probably going to blow your mind.

You know what, let me rephrase that.

It's definitely going to blow your mind.

Where can you find it?

Oh, I haven't written it yet. But go to Barnes and Nobles in 6 months, actually, more like 4 months, and you'll find me in the bestseller section.

Ha!

When I was twenty-four, I used to write blog posts about doing what you love, quitting your job with reckless abandonment, taking the plunge, risking it all. Just go for it! Great advice from a twentysomething with no kids or serious financial responsibilities. Oh and let me tell you about the daydreams. I'll admit, things got a lil cray cray in my head. I would dream about driving a Porsche 911 convertible and balling out of control. All it was going to take was one published book and that would be it. Boom. Done. History. All the success and fame in the world. That Steven King money. #KanyeRich

Now let me tell you about reality. Believe it or not, there's an actual process. People who wrap themselves up in the dream usually don't make it to the finish line. They get flustered after the first year and end of crying in their half written manuscript entitled Broken Dreams.

A dream is not about fantasies, disillusioned hope and Porsche convertibles. It’s about showing up everyday. If you are a writer, you sit and write. Rain or shine, holiday or no holiday. You study your craft. You ship your art, even if you’re terrified of the outcome. You battle fear and self doubt everyday. You do it because you don’t have a choice. You pick yourself up after falling on your ass.  Your mood doesn’t depend on the reaction of critics and fans. This is your job. It's okay to be optimistic. But if you're more concerned with outside validation and material success than doing the actual work, then the finish line is farther than you think. If someone says you are the BEST artist in the entire freakin' world. You respond, is that so. If someone says you’re the WORST artist in the world. You respond, is that so. 

Sometimes, it’s easier to daydream about success and material things. Sometimes, it’s easier to imagine the glory before it happens. But what separates the dreamer from the pro is persistence and work ethic. It’s about making the tough call. It’s writing the tough chapter, facing the blank page, getting up everyday and doing the work that matters. It’s facing the critic. It’s doing the thing most people are unwilling to do. The first part of my career was clouded by daydreams and distractions.  Now it’s about waking up everyday and going to work.

Early 20s vs. Late 20s *WARNING* this is not a BuzzFeed article.

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earllate

Blog posts about the transition from early twenties to late twenties are so hot right now. I’m sure you read at least five of them on Buzzfeed’s home page, or sandwiched in your newsfeed, you know, somewhere in-between recently posted engagement announcements and baby photos. Most of them are equipped with a SO TRUE tagline and at least five SPOT ON comments.

And yes, most of these articles are spot on. Our metabolisms do slow down after 25. We can’t guzzle handles of Popov vodka and expect to be perky in our cubicle the next day.  We can’t eat a giant burrito at 3:00am and still make it to Yoga the next morning. Our parents won’t loan us anymore money and our definition of a great Friday night has drastically changed (Binge watching Orange is the New Black seems to be a favorite).  We used to black out and wake up with penises drawn on our faces. Now we pass out at 9:00 p.m. after a glass of Merlot and a rigorous day of what the real world likes to call WORK.

And while these articles are pretty sweet (I've done a few myself on BF), they all fail to define what it really means to be in your late twenties, beyond less sleeping in, more responsibilities, slowing metabolisms, student loan deferment, horrible hangovers and not giving a shit what people think.

In my opinion, being in your late twenties is about self-awareness (I know, super serious word). It's about recognizing the limiting beliefs and shitty scripts that have been running on autopilot. It's about shedding light on your shadows and demons, and making empowering choices to evolve as a person. And while these ideas don't make for a viral Buzzfeed article with amazing GIFS, I think its important to recognize...

Being in your late twenties is about finding the person capable of greatness and facing the side of you that wants to hide on the sidelines. We humbly acknowledge our bad habits and self-limiting beliefs and we face them head on. We shine a light on them. And in this awareness, they lose their power.

We don’t have to people please anymore. We are grounded in who we are and what we can accomplish. We make decisions based on our own ideals and not the need for outside validation.

We don’t drink every night because we have too much at stake the next day.

We no longer have "we'll get there one day" dreams. We have achievable goals with real deadlines.

We understand that some people won't give us high fives and unconditional support. Haterade can be the preferred drink of many of our peers, coworkers, and family members. They are scared of their own greatness so they discourage our ambitions. It's up to us to ignore the naysayers and proceed anyway.

We understand that doing things that are scary is necessary for growth. We don’t have to take shitty jobs on Craigslist anymore. We know our worth and what we can accomplish.

We understand that an adult relationship shouldn't feel like a drug addiction. If we date the same type of shitty people over and over, it means we still have unconscious habits and demons that we haven't addressed.

We understand that avoiding risk is actually more risky in the long run. We know the worse case scenario is never that bad. We understand that creating something meaningful requires us to take the road less traveled.

Being in your late twenties is about possibility. I love being in my late twenties. Yes, I have to stretch more. Yes, my metabolism sucks and my newsfeed is a constant reminder that I have twenty weddings to attend next Spring. And sometimes I’m still riddled with self doubt and fear. But I have seen the light and there is no turning back. I was a zombie in my early twenties, running from one distraction to the next, living off outdated habits and limiting beliefs.  I never want to go back to chugging Jack Daniels in a frat house and waking up naked. I love my slow metabolism.

24 Things I Learned from STEVE JOBS (by Walter Isaacson)

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steve_jobs_bio_iBook

  1. A vision and a purpose is the most powerful thing a person can have. It can rally people around you. It can make them do the impossible.
  2. If you always adhere to logic and reason, you will never build anything extraordinary.
  3. Don’t let self doubt and fear interfere with your initial instinct.
  4. Don’t ever put money first. Put your attention on the things that excite you. The universe will compensate you accordingly.
  5. Create something that will improve the world.  The universe will reward you.
  6. Never settle for good enough. It doesn’t pay to be pretty good at a bunch of things.
  7. Find the few things you do well and focus your attention on being the best.
  8. Don’t be afraid to tell people EXACTLY what you're thinking.
  9. People pleasing won’t get you the results you want..
  10. Find people that will challenge you. Find people that will tell you the hard truth.
  11. Surround yourself with the best.
  12. Take walks.
  13. Take walks with great people.
  14. Focus on the product. Make it so amazing that consumers HAVE to tell their friends. That’s the best Marketing Strategy.
  15. Lead from your heart.
  16. Speak with your heart.
  17. Put your heart into your work.
  18. Don't settle for good. Be GREAT.
  19. Demand nothing short of success from yourself and you will get it.
  20. But treat others with kindness. Your legacy depends on it. (This is something that Jobs didn't excel
  21. Observe what everyone else is doing. Then THINK DIFFERENTLY.
  22. Everything you see around you was made up by people that were no smarter than you
  23. Stay Hungry.
  24. Stay Foolish..

Evolution of Love in 33 Photos

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In the beginning...

1. Love was putting your "crush" on an Oregon Trail Wagon.

DIED OF DYSANTARY

2. Or flipping their thumb in Heads Up 7-Up.

Heads Up, Sever Up 003

3. Or putting them in the Wife/Husband column in MASH.

Mash

 

4. Or passing "For Your Eyes Only" notes.

"Do you like me?"

notes (1)

8th Grade

4. Love was about slow dancing to Boyz II Men.

slowdance2

5. And sometimes those hands slipped a little lower.

wonderinghands

6. If chaperones didn't intervene, it might lead to this..

holyghost

High School.

7.  Love was about second base.

backseat

8. Love was about Mixtapes.

mixtape

9. Love was about prom.

prom

10. Love was discovering what Jack and Rose felt in the Titanic.

Titanic

11. And it was awesome!

AWESOME

COLLEGE

12. College Love was about sharing your drunken nachos.

drunkennachos

13. And sloppy grinding.

griding

 

14. And holding their hair back.

holdinghair

15. Love was about bad choices.

badchoices

16. That often became dysfunctional relationships.

relationshipprofilecollege

17. And really bad breakups..

badfight

Adulthood.

18. Post College was about REAL Dates. Boring ones.

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19. Awkward Ones.

knockedup

20. Angry Ones.

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21. Till one day, there's a REALLY GOOD one.

Love3

22. And you can delete all your profiles.

datingwebbies

23. You can stop going to bars and take relationship pictures like this.

relationship profile

24. And then get a puppy.

PUPPY

25. Love is about sharing passions. Like your passion for Netflix and reruns of LOST.

snuggy

26. Love is about understanding what Adam Sandler meant in the Wedding Singer.

weddingsinger2

27. Love is about getting engaged and getting 500 comments on Facebook.

EngagementWedding-Cards

28. And having cute kids and maybe putting them on facebook too.

 

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29. Hopefully, you still make time to slow dance and have adventures.

aaf.-couple-cute-dance-dress-high-school-musical-Favim.com-72072_original

30. And you still pass notes.

SONY DSC

31. So you can be like that couple on the Swiffer commercials.

o-KAUFMAN-570

32. But no matter what stage you're in.

yolo

33. Tell em' Drake.

drake

 

 

14 Signs You Were An Entrepreneur in Your Early Twenties.

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  1. Godaddy.com emails you every month that another one of your “AMAZING” domain names is expiring.
  2. You had business cards printed for a company that didn’t make it to its 3-month anniversary.
  3.  You’ve gone a whole day without eating anything in the food pyramid.
  4.  You created at least two mobile app ideas after two or more shots of tequila.
  5.  You had logos created for a business you never started.
  6.  The majority of your time spent on that first business was tweaking your website.
  7.  You never discussed business at your BUSINESS meetings.
  8.  Your Linked In Account said Founder or CEO before your company ever made a dollar.
  9.  Your market research consisted of two or more Google Searches.
  10.  You made it a point to tell everyone you've read The 4-Hour Work Week.
  11.  You had visions of selling to a VC before you ever did any work.
  12.  You quit several jobs before wondering how you were going to pay rent
  13.  Your friends and family have used any of the following words to describe you,
  • Stupid
  • Disillusioned
  • Irresponsible
  • Disappointment
  • F**king Crazy.

14.    You finally learned that hard work, persistence, passion and faith is what equates to success and not awesome logos and great domain names. 

 

Nine out of ten businesses fail; so I came up with a foolproof plan — create ten businesses.” – Robert Kiyosaki

The Best Strategy for Marketing Your Art

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Tim-FerrissOne of the wisest quotes I’ve ever ready about book marketing, and about art in general, came from a blog. And not the actual blog, but from the comment section on a Tim Ferriss  post. Kathy Sierra, a bestselling author had this to say about bestselling books.

When I talk with our authors about creating bestsellers, we start by looking at the attributes of bestsellers including the book itself and its promotion. But the only reliable path to creating one is in realizing that the attributes of a bestseller DO NOT LIVE IN THE BOOK (or its marketing). The attributes of a bestseller live in the reader. They live in the result your book produced for that reader.

 

Tim Ferris responded to her comment with an even more insightful quote that he had learned from Kathy as well.

“In Amazon reviews, which would you rather have people talk about: you or your book?”

The answer was, of course: "Neither. You want them to talk about THEMSELVES… the results they achieved, the before-and-after awesomeness in their lives.”

Even if these comments were referring to non-fiction, I think it applies to any form of art. Whether its a website, a book, a painting, music, anything, the best promotional tools are people mentioning your art in conjunction with transformation. That’s where the tribe, the platform, the conversation starts. Your art becomes the stage for others to connect and discuss the impact of your art.

Personally, I can't try to duplicate zombie novels or bestsellers. I can't try to be more articulate and clever than I actually am. Instead, I have to write with as much heart as possible. My goal is to focus on adding value and writing stories that are as authentic as possible in hopes that it will help someone along the way.

Pay Your Toll

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  dreamtoll

 

10,000-Hour Rule: Malcolm Gladwell claims that the key to success in any field is, to a large extent, a matter of practicing a specific task for a total of around 10,000 hours.

I believe that anything worthwhile in life requires a toll. Not the toll that requires you to pull quarters out of a sticky cup holder. Nope. This toll requires blood, sweat and delayed gratification. The time and energy required to be worthy of your dream. The effort it takes for your talent and ambition to finally align and turn you from an amateur to a pro.

Only when you've given your idea or craft a proper toll, can the operator let you enter.  I don’t know about you, but that makes me feel a whole lot better. As if every failure or setback is part of my payment. There have been several moments on my path where I imagined turning back is a lot easier than pushing forward. But then I remember all the payments I’ve made. I remember all the books that will never see the light of the day. The hours of sitting at a computer smacking the keyboard in frustration. I remembered all the nights of working on the next scene and sacrificing going out with friends to pursue something bigger than myself.

I imagine that most people stop making payments on their goals. They turn away from the toll booth.  If they had known how close they were from the gate opening....Maybe they wouldn't have stopped paying their toll

 

 

Why An Artist Should Have More Ambition Than Talent

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I believe an artist should have more ambition than talent. I know the thought conjures up some amateur on American Idol--whose voice sounds like a dying dolphin--- crying to the cameras after being kicked off the show… THIS IS MY DREAM!!! That’s not the exactly the type of artist I'm taking about.

I’m talking about the artist who dedicate their lives to a craft. An artist who paints, writes and creates without any validation, sometime for years---until talent finally catches ambition.

I believe mosts artists start out with more ambition than talent. They begin as disillusioned dreamers who create mediocre art with flashes of potential. They might not know it's mediocre or why no one responds to it, but they continue creating through all the rejection and failure. I believe it’s hope and love for what they do that gets them through the pain of rejection. Because most people will walk away.

And eventually, after years of creating art, they earn the right to be declared talented. There's no such thing as as overnight success.

 

How Long Can You Run For?

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chimp_at_typewriterI shipped my first book to the world in 2002, when I was seventeen years old. Honestly, it’s not really fair to call it a book. It was more like a really long short story that I had bound at a Staples Copy Center.....“spiral bound please.” The book cover was sketched in pencil by my best friend and the pages were paginated by Microsoft Word Version 1.OLD.

But no matter how janky the book was, I am proud to say it was the first book I shipped to the world.  I gave it to my teachers and peers to read. It was funny and honest, but also extremely cheesy and written by a seventeen-year-old, aka full of clichés and bad writing. If you search Amazon.com do not be prepared to find it in the results page. In fact, the only two copies (collectors items?) left in existence are being held by my biggest fans of all, my parents.

So there it is. At seventeen years old, I had the balls to put my amateur work on display for the world to see. This must have been the start of a great career, right? HA!

The truth is, after I shipped that first book, I went into hiding. And not like a couple months to explore Europe kind of hiding. I'm talking dragon in a cave, a decade drunk in a bar kind of hiding.

It would be nine years till I shipped something else to the world.

During those nine years, I did whatever I could to distract myself from writing. I had long-term dysfunctional relationships with numerous breakups and thousands of “FUCK YOU” text messages. I drank gallons of jungle juice and smoked pot and zoned out to Arrested Development and 24. I stuck my head in blue books and pretended I gave a shit about Law and subjects like Muslim Architecture and Anthropological Studies.  I blacked out and summoned as much drama to my life as a full season of the Real World. I got into line with everyone else and decided to stay under the radar.

And the hibernation didn't stop after I graduated. Instead, I got a normal job so I could continue drinking heavily without overdrafting on my credit card. WHATEVER I CAN DO TO KEEP ME FROM THE REAL WORK. I’d rather play hours of Playstation and watch porn than do the things required to elevate my soul to a higher being. I fought for as long as I possibly could.

In 2011, I shipped my second book.  It took me nine fucking years.  I remember the moment I started writing it. I had burned out on my last girlfriend so I didn’t have any text messages to respond to. Most of my drinking buddies had migrated out of my college town, so there were no calls to go out.  To top it off, I had developed this lingering depression that something in my life was unfulfilled, pointless, disappointing, etc, etc.

I was out of excuses and distractions.

I finally sat down at the computer.

And I started writing.

I was doing the work again. I didn’t smoke or drink in the months that followed. Instead, I was in this supernatural daze that can only explain as a writer’s binge. The book may not have been a bestseller or sold thousands of copies, but it was single handedly the most important moment of my life. It symbolized the return to my calling. It was the moment I stopped sabatagoing and self destructing my world. I stopped hiding from my life’s purpose by conjuring distractions and dysfunctional relationships to cover up my ambition. I stopped being in love with the “idea” of writing and started doing the work that matters.

I stopped running from my dream.

 

* All typos and grammatical errors are courtesy of myself and not any Iphone, Macbook, or Ipad used in the process of writing this post. I have decided to use this blog to worry about the ideas and not having excuses like, "IT’S NOT EDITED" to prevent me from sharing them. If these typos bother you, please do not Retweet.

The Art Of Dropping Baggage

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I have baggage. I think most of us do. I think anyone who has been through this thing we call life has some sort of scar tissue built around the ol’ heart.

What is baggage? Some of us like to refer to the peeps we date as “having baggage.”   Daddy issues, trust issues, weight issues…my ex ripped out my heart like a disgusting savage and ate it issues, maybe. But I feel it’s more that we have been bulldozed—by relationships, by friends, by anything where we expose ourselves and then proceed to get crushed.

As soon as you open yourself up, for love, for passion, for friendship, something happens. You become vulnerable—like a blinking energy light in a video game or a guy confessing his love for a girl with the rain pouring down (see my first book for additional details). The armor has been thrown off and you are one sword thrust away from emotional destruction (I know, super dramatic).  So as the years go on, you decide to put yourself out there less and less. How the hell are you supposed to GO FOR IT when you have ten pounds of baggage dragging your ass down? Dude, baggage sucks.

What’s even worse is the great relationship that baggage and its friend, fear, have developed over the years. Because fear of getting hurt is directly correlated to the amount of baggage you carry with you.  You trust people’s intentions less. You get annoyed with optimistic people. You store your dreams in a file called, Grow up, Peter Pan.  You fear the future and imaginary pain of what MIGHT happen if you put yourself out there again.

Eventually, you get tired of the rejection letters or the criticism or the empty bar that you’re playing for. Tired of exposing yourself and being knocked down. Tired of falling in love only to be breaking up in the middle of PF Changs five months later. So you quit. You pack up all your baggage as a reminder that exposing your heart is stupid and this shit hurts, and you’re better off staying under the radar.

But maybe it doesn’t have to be like that. Maybe we accumulate so much baggage because we’re all so hungry for approval. Like we need someone to approve our dream or some relationship to approve us as a person. But what if we just loved and chased our passion because that’s what you we were born to do. Not because someone told us to do it or someone gave us a pat on the back. Yeah sure, maybe it doesn’t happen right away and we hit a few roadblocks. But that’s life.

I had my first girlfriend at 16. I was in love. And guess what, it didn’t work out. Neither did the next six. And yes, there were times I cried like a little girl while listening to dramatic music (see book #1 again). But in the end, I wouldn’t take any of it back. Cliche time? Oh yeah, get ready for it…. It is better to have loved and lost than never to have loved at all.   And that goes with your dream. I’d rather touch it once or chase it till I die, then to give up and wonder what if.

There have been so many times, I was scared. I’m scared I’ll be rejected and embarrassed and laughed at and be dumped and end up drinking malt liquor penniless because I gave everything to chase love and passion. But once I start walking the path, I realize that my worst fear is never the case. And the best case, well it’s easy, I am living a life full of love and passion. Because once I begin walking on a path without the need for validation is the moment I start to let go of the baggage that has held me down.

5 Lessons From A Kickstarter Campaign

UncategorizedKyle Rutkin1 Comment

I admit, I can be naive and disillusioned when it comes to my dreams. Sometimes, these traits come in handy, because I rarely back down from starting a new project. But other times, it can lead to a FAT reality check. In the case of my Kickstarter Project, I believed that it was going to be easy-- everyone gets funding, everybody donates, and everybody is down for the cause. Instead of a smooth sailing Kickstater campaign, where I raise a billion dollars and have major publishers fly me out for a piece of the action, I got my usual reality check. Nothing good comes easy. There will always be obstacles, failures, lessons, setbacks and flaws. But if you make it to the end, the reward will be freakin’ worth it.

If you haven’t seen the box on the left hand corner of this blog, I DID reach my goal. With the help of some awesome people, I was able to raise $4,175 and 103%.

And here is what I learned.

1)   If you want your dream to become a reality, you’re going to have to earn it.

We all know this is true, but it doesn’t really hit home until you’re halfway into a project and you hit that breaking point. Holy shit, this is hard.  You might be out of money, or out of energy, or prayers. You might be chilling back at your mom’s house because you put everything into your dream and now can barely afford frozen food at Trader Joes, I don’t know. Kickstarter campaigns are no different. For me, the halfway point was when I realized I was going to have to earn this. I was going to have to do things that were uncomfortable and tough. I was going to have to pass out flyers and get myself noticed. I was going to have to earn my funding and not just sit back and watch it come to me.

2)   There will always be haters.

Again, we all know this to be true, but the feeling is hard to shake. Some people aren't going to send you words of encouragement and like everything you're doing. It might be subtle, like a sarcastic comment or a defriend on Facebook, but it’s going to happen. You can’t please everyone. If you want to follow your dream, you will have to step out of line and stand out. And if you step out of line you will have people who support the new you, or not support the new you. That’s a fact. Yes, it stings like a bitch to have someone respond negatively to what you’re doing or slap you in the face with a shitty comment, but think about all the people who did support you. And get used to it. Those won’t be the last shitty comments or the last hater.

3)   The top Kickstarter projects are usually equipped with a tribe.

When I was nearing the completion of my project, Seth Godin was starting his. I was at 50% with $2400 after 23 days and he was at like $200,000 after two days. Before you start your Kickstarter project, you are going to have ask yourself who your tribe is. Is it friends? Is it family? Is it twitter. Is it facebook? I’m not saying that some projects don’t go viral, but the crazy success stories you see on Kickstarter , often stem from a pre-established tribe. And I’m not saying this to deter you, just giving you a reality check before you jump into your own project. If you don’t have an established tribe and you put your project on Kickstarter, you have to do a lot more work than someone like Seth Godin.

4)   Don’t expect Kickstater to put you on the front page.

You can’t rely on people to find your project on Kickstarter. Most of my funding came from my Facebook network. I don’t know the algorithm they use, but no matter how many backers I got, It was never a few clicks away from the front page. And if it wasn’t for the “ending soon” and “recently launched” section, I would have had few backers that just happened to stumble upon my project.  I did appear on blogs and I did reach out to media outlets, but again, most of those did not produce a significant number of backers. The real power of crowdsourcing comes from established networks.

5) You never know who in your life will come back to touch you.

Another personal but universal lesson. Some of my backers were people who had always supported me, whether it was a best friend, someone who read my first book or even a member of my fam. There were others I thought supported me and found out for sure that they did. Then there were the left field shockers. A person or acquaintance from your past, or as Goytle says, “Somebody that you used to know.” Someone who you lost track of throughout the years but suddenly shows up in your email as a backer of your project. And it is in those moments that you realize the power of human nature.  Never underestimate the people you meet along the way, from an old elementary school friend (a backer) to a new blogger friend (a backer) to even the ex boyfriend of my college roommate (MY BIGGEST BACKER). It’s such a surreal feeling to see people from my past who still remember me, still care and still have the ability to make an impact in my life.

The one thing I can say about my Kickstarter campaign is this, I’m a grateful. I am grateful that people believed in me and that people reached out to support me. I am grateful that I have an amazing support system. I will forever remember each person who pledged even $1 for my goal, because it was those people who made this whole thing worth it.

 

 

If You Give A Mouse A Dream

UncategorizedKyle Rutkin4 Comments

If you give a mouse a dream, he’ll probably think it’s not practical and go back to his day-to-day routine.

And once he's back to his day- to-day routine, he might just forget about his dream altogether.

If he forgets about his dream, there will probably be something in his life that is unfulfilled.

And if his dream and passion stay dormant, he won’t make much of an impact on the world.

But if you a give a mouse self-confidence, urgency and purpose to go along with his dream, then he might just leave his day-to-day routine.

And it is here, outside his comfort zone, that he'll likely do something unexpected.

If he does something unexpected, he'll probably make an impact on someone’s life.

Having made an impact on someone’s life, he'll probably want to do it again and again and again. And if he does that, he'll leave the world a better place.