Why I no longer write about politics

I have been writing online for many years.

In fact, a few years ago I was a fairly prominent liberal blogger (liberal, not Lib Dem). I was an editor at Liberal Conspiracy; and tygerland.net (my then blog) was widely read and linked to. However, just after Obama was elected, I effectively threw in the towel. I left LC (on good terms I might add). I turned my occasional tech-blog, Rational Geekery, into a personal blog and ceased blogging with any real purpose.

I doubt I have been missed (in fact I’m sure I haven’t). There was an army of political bloggers waiting to fill the minuscule vacuum I left. And anyway, I was never as incisive as Justin, tenacious as Tim, or as worthy as Steven. I was a decent political blogger, but certainly nothing great.

My evident averageness was not the reason I stopped blogging about politics. I stopped because there is an inherent pointlessness to it. Don’t get me wrong, I still take an interest. But what is the point of getting angry or frustrated about something you have no influence over? Politicians were not interested in my writing. I wrote countless times warning of the pending financial crisis, but it was never picked up by anyone who mattered. What was the point?

What was the point of taking the time to write about issues I have no control or influence over? Why get angry? Why even care?

Part of my self-improvement plan, is to only spend time and effort on the areas where I have influence. My family, my career, my actions and my physical wellbeing. If I write, it’s because I want to. I’ll write bits and pieces that make me happy — and yes, occasionally I’ll write something simply because I seek the approval of others.

I’m not waiting for some newspaper editor to pluck me from obscurity and hand me a fat contract. I’m not that good. And if you’re sat at home waiting for a miracle to come along, blaming this and that for your situation, you too probably need to realise that actually your talent doesn’t actually amount to a hill of beans. If you’re really that good, you would have written that novel, started that company, been hired by Google, or got that promotion.

Concentrate on what you can influence. Don’t blame others, or external forces, for your inability to be a success. Look at yourself. What can YOU influence? How can you, independently of the co-operation of others, make your situation better? There is no such thing as a free-ride. Even the clowns who gain shallow fame from reality TV, actually filled out that application form, and put themselves up for public scrutiny. They decided that they wanted some of that fame-shit — however vacuous and self-destructive, and went out and made it happen. Hey, what are you going to do?

I analysed my life. I took stock and I made changes.

I have a great family, but I could be a lot more “available”. So now I hardly ever crack open my laptop until my kids are in bed. I spend more time reading with them. We go swimming every week. We play together and watch movies as a family. I’m teaching them to ride their bikes. I won’t miss them growing up because my head is in my laptop, pointlessly typing words no-one will ever read.

I have a good job, but I want to be paid more. So I’m setting myself targets to achieve. Projects to complete and ship. I’m spending my time on the areas where I have influence, and ensuring that things are always moving forward. I’m not blaming others, or finding excuses why my projects are not ready to ship, I’m channelling my energy into getting things done, and *then* challenging others to step up.

I’m chubby and unfit. So I have joined the gym, and I’ve reduced my intake of junk. I do press-ups and sit-ups everyday, and I take supplements to ensure my body doesn’t miss any of the vitamins and minerals it needs. Oh, and I’ve drastically reduced my alcohol intake. This week, I haven’t consumed a single unit of alcohol. The exercise and diet has had a knock-on effect of improving my mood. I’m more positive and content. I have more energy, and the sex is better.

My life won’t improve by sitting and waiting for great things to happen to me. So this is why I no longer write about politics. It serves no purpose in improving the areas in my life that I want to change, and it’s a waste of my valuable time and attention. My life is improving day-by-day, step-by-step. But for the first time in my adulthood, I have taken control. I’m not waiting for someone or something, to save me from my malaise. I’m the difference.