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Follow Forward: An Alternative to Following Back

follow-me-and-i-ll-follow-back-2Follow the people you’re interested in, not the people who promise to follow you back as a reward for feigning interest.

Following back is reactive. It says “I’ll follow you if you follow me” or “I’ll give you my attention if you give me your attention.”

As an alternative to following back, I offer the concept of following forward.

Following forward is about orienting your activities around a forward-looking focus on the interests, interactions, and ideas that move you towards your goals.

Following forward says, “If you’re doing something interesting, I give myself permission to take delight in your gift whether you want to be my fan or not.”

Following forward says “I will never turn away from what fascinates me merely because it fails to offer the promise of greater popularity.”

The value of social media lies in its capacity to facilitate real connections with real people based on real preferences and real passions; not in its potential for making us appear more connected than we actually are.

Instead of following people who make you seem like you’re the person you wish you were, follow people who will help you become the person you intend to be.

Dear Maya Angelou

“There is no greater agony than bearing an untold story inside you.” -Maya Angelou

Thank you for telling your story.

Thank you for sharing your gift.

Thank you for following your bliss.

Thank you for dancing to the rhythm of your true self.

Thank you for taking the chances you needed to take.

Thank you for making your presence felt and your voice heard.

Thank you for being beautiful in your own way.

Thank you for making your life a premise from which we can all argue for our own possibilities.

Not too much, Not too little

The first challenge is to see the value of an idea without romanticizing away its limitations.

The second challenge is to see the limitations of an idea without losing the ability to make constructive use of its value.

Most fallacies are not the result of placing faith in bad ideas, but in making too much or too little of good ideas.

To Be Impressed is Impressive

Being impressed is an art form. It is not a passive phenomenon universally experienced by everyone who stands in the presence of genius; it is an aesthetic experience that can only be achieved through relentless dedication.

It takes concentration and effort to be the kind of person who maintains their capacity to be inspired by the beauty and brilliance of others.

To recognize and celebrate that which is praiseworthy in one’s peers requires a kind of confidence and maturity not demanded of those who are too cool to be moved by anything other than their own coolness.

Great is the spirit that invokes the admiration of the crowd. Greater still is the spirit that is not too great to play audience to another’s greatness.


The Muse is Not a Bigot

The voice of innovation and inspiration is willing to speak to anyone who’s willing to work.

Even if you’re not an artist, you can be creative (if you do the work).

Even if you’re not a hipster, you can be creative (if you do the work).

Even if you don’t live in a cool city, you can be creative (if you do the work).

Even if you’re not “the creative-type,” you can be creative (if you do the work).

Being creative is not the work. The work is the work. Being creative is merely a product of doing the work. The people who get to be creative are the people who get around to doing the work. And the muse loves to make friends with people who get around to doing the work.

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