If you want more kindness in the world, put some there.

Zero Dean

Author | Photographer | CG Artist | Filmmaker

If it doesn't challenge you, it doesn't change you.

If it doesn’t challenge you, it doesn’t change you.

I just wanted to quickly express some thoughts I have regarding some of the occasionally more challenging content I write, such as: “If you have the power to change…” or “A tough pill to swallow.”

I don’t expect everyone to completely agree with — or be able to easily accept — my point of view on every post I share.

In fact, I hope this is not the case. I hope some of the more serious stuff I post makes people cringe or think hard or question themselves or what they believe.

That’s the point. And it doesn’t mean we can’t be friends.

If I constantly post things that everything thinks, “yeah, I agree”, then that’s not a terribly effective strategy at getting people to think, stretch, or grow. It’s simply telling people things they already know or want to hear.

Anyone can do that (and lots of people do). Some best-selling self-help authors make a habit of that.

Do you want to make friends? Grow a following? Get people to like you? It’s easy, just tell people exactly what they want to hear, boost their egos, or provide superficial solutions.

That’s ONE way.

The OTHER way is to challenge people and earn their respect.

While people may not always agree with you, they will be confident in knowing that you believe what you speak and that you’re not just saying it to 1) meet a content deadline or 2) tell people what they want to hear.

The things I share? They come from personal experiences and what I’ve learned from them. Some of my thoughts are more developed than others and if you’ve been following my blog for any length of time, you will notice that many continue to evolve.

While some of the posts I share may be seen as simple common sense or ancient “truths”, I’m not writing content to meet a schedule or fill a void. And I’m not reading things and simply regurgating what I read in order to sound qualified — or to be confident that I’m not saying something that someone far more educated or informed than I am will disagree with.

No. I’m living this stuff and have been working through all of it. Everything I write about comes from real-life experience.

The rejection posts, the power to change posts, the acts of kindness posts, the just getting through life posts. These come directly from things that I’ve lived through and learned and can back up — and not from a pile of books that I just assume the contents are true and the authors knew what they were talking about.

And when I do read, I question everything. But I already question everything anyway.

I question who I am. I question how I know what I know. And I even question what I don’t know.

Do not believe in anything simply because you have heard it. Do not believe in anything simply because it is spoken and rumored by many. Do not believe in anything simply because it is found written in your religious books. Do not believe in anything merely on the authority of your teachers and elders. Do not believe in traditions because they have been handed down for many generations. But after observation and analysis, when you find that anything agrees with reason and is conducive to the good and benefit of one and all, then accept it and live up to it.” — Buddha

And I think. And I try things. And explore within and without. And make mistakes. And I learn. And some of the mistakes I make should be common sense issues, but not for me. Which is also why I share what I learn, because what’s “common sense” for one person isn’t common sense for everyone.

And I will be the first to admit that besides making mistakes or occasionally saying something or doing something in a way I didn’t intend, there’s nothing I’ve done that I ever felt couldn’t have been done better. And regardless of how much I learn or how confident I feel, or how long I go without making mistakes, I will continue to think this.

And to me, this is a good thing. Because the moment you are certain that you know the one and only way is the moment you leave no room to learn that you’re wrong (even if you’re right).

So yeah, while many of the things I share will not be particularly challenging for most people most of the time (and that would get annoying if that were the case), these things I share can still be of value in helping people to reaffirm what they already believe or be reminded of things they already know, but haven’t been practicing.

But it really isn’t until I challenge people that I have the potential to make a significant difference. As a wise person once said, “If it doesn’t challenge you, it doesn’t change you.”

And while I don’t believe this to be 100% true — because I believe that you can also lead by example — getting people to face challenges is challenging, at best. People often resist challenges, resist change, and resist discomfort. But that is where growth occurs.

And I can say from experience, as someone who has deliberately faced challenges for over 1,289 days, it has been the most rewarding and most illuminating time of my life. And nearly everything I write about is a result of that.

I wouldn’t trade it for anything.

And I hope on some level, that what I share eventually influences some people in ways that enhance their lives specifically because I did make them think, or stretch, or grow.

And that’s why some of my posts may occasionally be more challenging than others.

“The sad thing is that, even though we know our lives aren’t working in certain areas, we are still afraid to change. We are locked into our comfort zone, no matter how self-destructive it may be. Yet, the only way to get out of our comfort zone and to be free of our problems and limitations is to get uncomfortable. We can only experience freedom in direct proportion to the amount of truth that we are willing to accept without running away.” — Robert Anthony



Zero Dean

Zero Dean

Author of Lessons Learned From The Path Less Traveled. Professional photographer. Filmmaker. Humorist. Into photography, art, kindness, compassion, and living beyond comfort. Normal is boring.