How To Lose Control

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Yath Prem
Yath Prem
Welcome to Issue 81 of Yath’s Blogletter, a newsletter where we explore mindful self-growth. I hope you’re having an awesome day!

Hello!
Here’s a recent analogy I’ve put together for the never-ending rat race that comes with being an online content creator. Here’s also how I’ve escaped the rat race (helped partly by a busy work schedule which necessitated a revision of my online presence plenty sooner).
So, initially, when you become a content creator, it’s like walking along an empty train track in a tunnel at your own pace. You’re minding your own business and casually creating content at your own pace. Suddenly, you will attract one or two fans. A few become ten and ten become a hundred. Your fans start to follow your every move and eagerly await your next piece of content. Let’s call them a train of fans. So, now you’re walking along this train track in a tunnel and notice a slow-moving train coming at you from afar. You realise it is no longer possible to simply walk as you will never make it out alive. So you begin to run towards the light at the end of the tunnel. Let’s call you running a resemblance of you creating more and more content to please your fans and let’s call the light at the end of the tunnel a milestone like 100 or 1000 subscribers. Remember this light, it becomes important later.
You’re running and running, creating more and more content to get to the end of the tunnel where a milestone (an exit, if you will) awaits you. But, as you create more content, you attract a larger train of fans who come behind you even faster. You get the idea, that as your audience grows, the demand for bigger and better content grows, and you can’t stop running. In fact, you have to run faster. The moment you stop running, the train runs you over and you experience what is known as burnout or worse.
So, you think you can just run to the light at the end of the tunnel and it will be all fine? Absolutely not. Sadly the light at the end of the tunnel is only a mirage. It’s an ever-shifting goal-post. When you near 100 fans, your focus shifts to 1000 fans and when you near this, your focus shifts to 10 000 fans. Once you hit this, you start looking at other ways to satisfy your fans and so you branch out into multiple platforms. One way or another, the train will catch you, no human can run forever.
The analogy here is quite simple, you don’t want to be in front of the train. You don’t won’t be behind it either - then you will just be chasing an audience who doesn’t care for your ideas and thoughts. The ideal position to be is the train driver’s seat. This way you have total control. You choose how fast to ride the train. You decide when the train needs a break or a service. You also decide when the train is ready for extra capacities, such as an engine upgrade (like hiring a team).
In my first year of being a YouTuber (2020-21), I felt very much like I was in front of the train. I kept creating content every week and at times I created what my fans wanted even if it didn’t particularly interest me. This was simply unsustainable and I basically got run over twice. I had to surrender for 3 months when I had my medical school finals and I had to surrender again when the going got tough at work. These periods should never have felt like “quitting” or “giving up”, but they did because I wasn’t in the train driver’s seat. I wasn’t in control.
They would have and should have been mere service breaks and my mental health would have been much better If I didn’t lose control in this way. So my plea to current and future online content creators is this: don’t lose control, don’t listen to your fans too much, and never get in front of the train. Always aim for the driver’s seat.
Quote of the week:
As to methods, there may be a million and then some, but principles are few. The man who grasps principles can successfully select his own methods. The man who tries methods, ignoring principles, is sure to have trouble. (Tim Ferriss - 4 Hour Work Week)
Question of the week:
What do you think about this analogy? Can you relate to it? What additions/improvements would you make to this analogy?
That’s all for this week - be safe, be happy!
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Yath Prem
Yath Prem @yathprem

I'm a doctor sharing everything I've learnt about mindful self-growth and navigating life. Subscribe for a Sunday boost.

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