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Getting Higher at Being Human

Getting Higher at Being Human


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In biology class, you study that each life type adopts a area of interest: just a little position in some nook of the ecosystem, the place it earns its each day bread by doing a quite particular factor.    

For instance, the dung beetle collects animal poo, presumably as a result of no one else was already doing that, then rolls it into balls and lays its eggs inside them, giving its larvae a useful supply of vitamins.

The beaver gnaws at timber till they fall over, then drags the logs into piles. These piles dam streams and rivers, creating synthetic ponds, which conceal the beavers from predators and broaden their entry to meals.

Squirrels, being higher climbers than mice, as soon as fed themselves by amassing seeds from hard-to-reach branches, and now concentrate on stealing cherry tomatoes from my backyard.

In running a blog faculty, you study the identical precept: each little weblog attempting to make its means within the huge content material ocean should set up itself in a distinct segment. It must stake out just a little nook of the motion, just a little subject it may work, so to talk.

Primarily this implies your web site have to be about one thing, comparable to automobile restore, wine, beard grooming, or superstar gossip. That means, you may construct an viewers with related issues and issues, which you’ll be able to then give attention to serving to them with, incomes your dwelling within the course of. 

Scored a candy gig

Should you attempt to deal with everybody’s issues, you may’t compete with those that specialize. A website that posts about monster vans, spreadsheets, fondue recipes, and backgammon will battle to serve individuals who care about solely a type of issues, as a result of to any given reader, a lot of the content material is irrelevant. They’ll simply go to Backgammon World or FondueFreaks as a substitute.

That is why our dung beetle doesn’t attempt to accumulate all the sorts of meals, as a result of then it’s competing with each different food-enjoying creature. As a substitute, it specializes within the obscure meals sort “poo”, then will get superb at discovering it and shaping it into balls. Thus the dung beetle has survived all these eons.

Selecting a distinct segment was most likely the primary and greatest piece of running a blog recommendation I ever obtained. Though it’s very sensible, there’s a cause I haven’t taken it.

The Ten Thousand Issues

“Getting higher at being human” is one the broadest subjects conceivable. People do all kinds of issues. Getting higher at cooking omelets, or mendacity on the sofa, may definitely rely as “getting higher at being human,” as may studying to make buddies as an grownup, recognizing magnificence within the mundane, dealing with self-destructive tendencies, staying sane within the too-much-information age, and ten thousand different issues.

Every of those issues might be a distinct segment one may concentrate on. I may go all-in on mindfulness, or information habit, or procrastination, construct an viewers that’s particularly involved with that factor, and serve them with useful content material and merchandise.

I haven’t accomplished this, and that’s as a result of I’m focused on all these disparate subjects exactly due to what unites them: they’re all sub-concerns of the human situation.

We occur to be this tragically complicated creature, this unimaginable rock star of the animal kingdom. The human being is so uniquely highly effective and high-maintenance that it has bother simply managing its personal ideas and actions. I’ve developed some methods for dealing with a number of the ten thousand challenges arising from this reality, and that’s what Raptitude is about.

Artist’s rendering of human situation

The human situation, checked out from the within, is endlessly attention-grabbing to me. Nevertheless, the range of subjects that find yourself showing on this weblog makes for a really various viewers, who learn it for a lot of completely different causes. Ages vary from teenager to octogenarian. Some are right here for the experiments, some for particular concepts just like the Depth Yr, others for a sober tackle mindfulness. Some come for my bizarre thought workout routines, some for my tirades. Some persons are right here as a result of I wrote about kettlebells fourteen years in the past.

Once I ask individuals why they subscribe to this website, attempting to tease out widespread issues I would assist the readership with, they at all times say “I similar to the way in which you suppose! Stick with it!” or “You say issues I used to be pondering however didn’t know the right way to say.”

The last word results of this niche-resistant strategy is an eclectic weblog that may’t be monetized utilizing the traditional strategies. I do launch ebooks and programs, however they’ll solely ever attraction to at least one specific subset of the viewers, so my efforts are at all times break up into initiatives that solely serve a minority of the viewers.

Official nightshade inspector

Sometimes, when you may have site visitors however no area of interest, as lots of the extra uncommon creators do, you flip to the promoting strategy. As a substitute of serving your readers, you serve advertisers by promoting your readers’ consideration to them.

I don’t wish to try this. By this level within the web’s historical past, most web sites are encrusted with garish banner adverts for mutual funds and software program options, and it simply by no means feels good.

There’s additionally Substack, the paid e-newsletter platform, however that’s a straight-up paywall strategy, and that will be too drastic a change at this level.

A Non-traditional Method

Fortunately, for the extra eclectic, niche-defying members of the ecosystem, there’s now an alternative choice: the patronage mannequin, exemplified by a platform known as Patreon.

Bloggers and web individuals all know what Patreon is, however I’m undecided if most people does.

I wrote about Patreon in 2019 after I initially launched Raptitude’s web page, however I haven’t actually promoted it since.

Patreon is a platform that enables followers of a creator to turn into patrons of their work, like an old-timey patron of the humanities, solely on a smaller scale.

Should you love what a creator is doing, otherwise you need their work to be on the earth, you may decide to make a small, common contribution to the venture, to make sure that it retains going.

The extent of contribution is as much as the patron, often just some {dollars}. You’ll be able to change or discontinue it at any time.

Patrons obtain some perks. In Raptitude’s case, you acquire instant entry to the Raptitude patron group, some behind-the-scenes updates from me, and a library of greater than 50 additional posts by no means launched on this website.

A few of the extra standard ones:

There are further rewards for individuals who make bigger contributions. Most patrons simply do it as a result of they like Raptitude and wish to assist it.

I like this mannequin as a result of it frees each reader and creator from the indignity of banner adverts and sponsored content material. The work will get supported by those that are in a position and keen, however the writing stays free and uncompromised by third events.

A couple of hundred individuals have been supporting Raptitude on this means since 2019, and with out them, it could not be right here at present. It’s tougher than ever to make a heavy-traffic web site self-sustaining when you don’t orient the entire thing in the direction of advertising.

At present solely about 1% of Raptitude’s subscribers are patrons. They make it free for everybody else.

By selling the Patreon extra typically, I wish to get that ratio to 2%. This is able to liberate an amazing period of time and permit me to make extra stuff for you.

Area of interest discovered

You’ll be able to take a look at the advantages of changing into a patron on my creator web page.

I go to and revel in many web sites each week, and I don’t fear an excessive amount of about what retains them going. However for just a few favourite creators, whose minds appear uncannily like my very own, I dedicate a small quantity for direct assist. It feels good.

If Raptitude is that form of website for you, nice. If not, that’s okay too. Both means, thanks a lot for studying and sharing this weblog all these years.


Beetle picture by Wolfgang Hasselmann. Cat picture by Andrew Cornell.



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