Sunday, June 16, 2019 06:31

The Road Most Traveled

“…Welcome to a Nichiren Shoshu discussion meeting! Tonight throughout the city there are actually – there are hundreds of meetings like this going on, where people are learning about Nam-myoho-renge-kyo and Gohonzon!

Meadows: [to Budduskey] What’s a "gohonzon"?

Buddusky: Shhh. I’ll tell ya ’bout it later.”…The Last Detail

Amazing what can happen when one takes a little detour from their normal routine.

I drive my daughter to school most mornings.  This morning, about halfway through the short drive, I realized that I was going to be stuck behind a school bus for the rest of the way.  Since my gas tank was nearly empty, I made the spur of the moment decision to drive to the nearby Safeway gas station to fill my tank before dropping off my daughter. 

As I was getting gas, an old friend who I hadn’t seen in nearly two years drove right by me, looping around the edge of the station in order to snag one of the empty spots.  I’m sure he never saw me (for I was driving a different car than normal and was actually in the car since I can’t legally pump gas in Oregon) but in the few seconds he was in my view, I could tell that the back of his car was filled with multiple boxes plus a selection of clothes on hangers held up by a metal rod.  It looked like he was in the process of moving.

He used to have a very well-paying job in the old economy.  His salary was quite a bit higher than mine.  Then, the economy crashed and he ultimately lost his job (at the same time my online efforts really took off).  I asked him what we he was planning to do and he became very vague in his responses.  I was really bothered about this because amongst good friends, I would not consider “career plans” to be private information.  Also, with my broad-based online knowledge, I was shocked that he wouldn’t reach out to me for ideas and advice.  I would have totally volunteered my time and efforts to help him in his time of need.   But alas, that never happened.

I ended up losing contact with him.  Since he was unemployed, I wasn’t comfortable asking him to go to the sorts of events we used to attend together because of his perceived financial circumstances.  Periodically, I did try to Google him, but I never came up with anything.  Furthermore, one of the things that I learned about myself as I became more successful online is that I was subconsciously choosing people to connect and communicate with that appeared to mimic my personal and professional profile of success.  Neil Patel wrote an amazingly perceptive post on this very topic and while I would have never followed this course deliberately, I was unconsciously emulating Neil’s advice in my life.  My former friend was likely associating mostly with people that fit his profile…and which was a very different profile than mine.  There wasn’t any overlap between the two and we self-selected apart.

So, when I got home, I Googled him again to find out what he had up to and for the first time, I found up what he was up to.  My heart sank.  It was clear that he had spending his time and money reading some of those “self-professed” Internet Gurus online and attempting to follow their advice.  I saw poorly constructed Twitter & Facebook accounts & some sophomoric attempts to get some variant of online MLM going.  It was far from the worst example of this that I’ve seen…the writing wasn’t bad and I could tell he was definitely putting his heart into it.  However, with no inbound links to his website, I’m reasonably sure he’s not broadcasting to many other folks besides himself. 

As a friend, I wish I could have reached him before he walked down this path.  I would have slapped him silly for getting involved in Internet Marketing thusly and then counseled him on the right way to do it.  I would have shown him how to learn SEO from Aaron Wall at a rate far cheaper than he likely spent on those so-called gurus’s.  Or perhaps, he could have learned the ShoeMoney System taught by someone who has demonstrated measurable results in making money online.  Or, I could have connected him with SEMpdx, our local Portland search marketing organization where he could meet others pursuing the same goals as him.   

But he didn’t seek my counsel and I could not influence his course.

I told my daughter who I had just saw and she asked me why I didn’t go and say hello.  I told her that if I did, she would have been late for school (which was true).  The real reason is that because I still viewed him as a friend, I didn’t want to run the risk of embarrassing him, especially if I correctly perceived his circumstances. I hope he hadn’t lost his house.

Don’t Come Knocking

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