Do your Trapezius muscles suck?

Mine do, they are kinda there but not really and they have an annoying flat spot in the middle, I am literally going to the gym today to train back and it got me thinking, should Traps be trained with back or shoulders ?, traditionally I and many others would train them with shoulders, 4 to six sets of standing shrugs at the end of the shoulder workout and then off home for a well deserved protein shake, but hang on are they actually connected to shoulders in any way ? well from a movement perspective yes, slightly, they are attached into the base of the skull and out to the clavicle and then to the spine about midway down your back, this presents a problem when arguing for the mechanical movement of standing shrugs.

You see, looking at this picture, traditional shrugs actually only work a very small portion of the trap muscles, and are more likely to contribute to a slightly wider neck than the big blocks of muscle we are looking for, additionally they also seem to serve no purpose (other than stabilising the shoulder joint against the movement) in any deltoid activity as they are not overlapping in any way.

So I would consider that if we are looking for synergistic training they should in fact be trained along with the back muscles as they play a role in all back exercises, in fact as they are responsible for movement of the scapula ( the muscle fibres both pull back and down toward the spine ) it is fairly easy to see that these play a huge role in everything from bent over rowing to lat pull downs and chins as well as single arm Dumbell rowing.

How to best Activate them

As previously discussed the traditional straight backed approach doesn’t actually cut it for this muscle group as you are only activating a small portion of the muscle group, sure due to the nature of the muscle fibre it is easy to move a lot of weight over a small distance, but ultimately once you have fed your ego you must eventually move onto building some muscle, looking at the structure you need to draw the shoulders up and back to completely engage the large mid portion of the muscle ( the one that provides the size ) and for the lower portion of the muscle, you would try and pull down from only the shoulder, these exercises may look a little odd but once your traps start growing people will start to copy I assure you.

Concentration Movements

  • Shrug – Instead of the traditional standing shrug, you should bend slightly from the waist and allow your hands with the Dumbells in them to hang naturally down, obviously you should not lean to far over as you are looking to move the weight with the same shrugging motion just in this modified position, I would also take whatever weight you are using now for shrugs and halve it too, you only have one back let’s make it stronger not damage it completely.
  • Trap Pulldown – This is the one that will get a few odd looks as people will genuinely wonder what the hell you are doing, but seated on the lat pull down keeping your arms straight, you are looking to extend only at the shoulder and the shrug in reverse, so bring the shoulders down and squeeze to the back at the full contraction.

Compound Movements

As a side note and to further illustrate the point, the Trapezius muscles are also heavily involved in the following exercises / movements

  • Bent Over Dumbbell Rows – and to a lesser extent bent over Barbell rows due to the lack of mobility of your hands with the latter.
  • Cable Seated Row – again the pulling back of the arms and squeezing toward the centre of the spine activates the Trapezius.
  • Chin-ups – These hit the lower Trapezius along with their seated counterpart the lat pull down.

So I hope that has been informative and I am open to any questions regarding the above, always be careful when training and always be extra careful when changing a movement / introducing a new position into a routine, as there is only a small difference in the positions it may be easy to think that you can handle the same weight as previously but remember the idea is to concentrate on a muscle group more targeted than before and so this my cause injury if not used to it.

Update After Trying my Own Advice

So often people write these guides and you sit and wonder if that is how they train or if they have even lifted a weight in their life, and of course quite a few haven’t, or at least they do not follow the routines that they put out it is all just for money.

So this, and all other training tips are as a result of considered thought and trying to work out how to do everything as efficiently as possible to achieve maximum results in the minimum time, this the trainee superhuman after all!

So I have updated this post with the findings from last night (at the time of writing)

The action of bent over shrugs feels massively unnatural, this is mainly because we are always taught that we should keep the back straight, in fact the very action of leaning forward immediately puts tangible stress on the middle of the Trap muscles, the important thing to remember here is not to bend to far over, concentration exercises are all about putting the muscle group in a compromised position where they can receive little to no assistance from supporting muscle groups, once in the correct position though the feeling as easy to identify, and the significant drop in the amount of weight I could handle showed just how weak the muscle actually was compared to what I originally thought, the numbers are standing shrug 40 to 50kg for 12 to 15 reps, bent over shrug 24 to 32kg for 12 so as you can see it was significant, today the muscle actually feels sore, all the way from the top of the structure (at the base of the skull) down to the middle of my back and extending out to the scapula, so I am fairly confident that this has had the required effect, it has also occurred to me that the strengthening of this muscle group will counteract office back strain where we tend to sit hunched over a keyboard all day long, by strengthening this part of the Trapezius we keep the top of the back flatter and avoid shoulders naturally falling forward.

So again hope this has been helpful, please let me know if not, or if you have any comment or suggestion on other training routines.

Are Healthy Supplements Killing you?

I am not the first and I most definitely will not be the last to ask this question, it had occurred to me previously that the level of trust we have in the supplement industry far outstrips the trust we have in professional health care, I mean after all when was the last time that you were prescribed tablets and just took them without a seconds thought, or indeed a lengthy talk from the medical professional with regard to possible side effects and dosage levels?

Yet we stream through the doors and surf the websites of health food shops daily spending millions on vitamin tablets, protein supplements and mineral compositions that are sold to us as a healthy alternative to medicine at best and at worst a cure for our ills.

I have recently been experimenting with varying supplementation and have had some mixed results, and some fairly disturbing ones, this has prompted me to write this article to get people thinking about the sheer amount of “supplements” we take and for what reason.

First A Word About the Industry

The UK vitamin industry according to https://www.hfma.co.uk/media-events/industry-facts/ was worth, in 2016 £421 million, and the market in the USA is worth an estimated $37 Billion, this encompasses sports supplementation and vitamins, minerals and general health supplement sales over the counter, this means that no matter what the tagline of an advert, you can be fairly sure there is a lot of money behind advertising it, additionally and more alarming from a consumer point of view is the amount of white label supplement companies that will allow you to design and package your own supplements and sell these on Amazon or Ebay or even at the local market, you can tailor the product essentially to meet the amount of profit you wish to receive from the sale and after the company has made the supplement packaged it and then labelled it for you I would imagine that the temptation to drop the more expensive ingredients down is quite strong.

This has another issue though, given the wide spread and cheap entry into the industry through this route, one can only imagine that the amount of actually different supplements on the market is quite small, and this means that we are making choices about which products to buy based on the quality of the label of which person is representing the product to us.

However we can still rely on the big chain companies can’t we ? well I guess from a quality control point of view yes we probably can, after all they will have the buying power to provide the best ingredients at a reasonable price, if they do or not depends on the integrity of the company I guess, but shoudl we even be taking them in first place?

Health food store checkup ?

The health food store shopping experience is a varying animal, occasionally you will encounter somebody who has done some training or is an enthusiast themselves, but ordinarily you are dealing with nothing more than a shop assistant, while they may be very good at serving people and very attentive while you are in the store this does not mean that their advice will extend much past the company line, partially because they probably don’t know better and partially because essentially they are employed to sell stuff for profit.

I made several purchases from my local Health store and was never once asked if I was deficient in what I was buying, or if I had any reason to suggest that I required a higher dosage than I would be receiving from my diet, or what my diet was for that matter, my purchases were simply rung up and I was sent on my way.

I feel that this is the first hurdle to be honest, this is really where there should be some interception and questions asked, for instance take a firm favourite of the health food store vitamin C, this little firm favourite is water soluble and can neither be manufactured nor stored by the body, it is consumed and used and flushed out taking free radical cells with it , it plays a fundamental role in the absorption of iron and has been shown to assist the immune system and has links to helping to prevent some forms of cancer, this is all good news, vitamin C (ascorbic acid) is definately something we can benefit from, but at what dosage ?

When walking into a store there are many options, 500mg, 1000mg, 2000mg, buffered, non buffered, tablets, soluble literally the list goes on.

The recommended average daily intake for a healthy women is 75mg and 120mg if pregnant or breastfeeding, already we are way over that stated dose, so it is unclear why they should then go on to sell the higher dosages when 75mg would get the job done and that is the recommended intake, so at that we have not even considered dietary vitamin C (vitamin content present in our daily food intake).

The dosages however do start to have a sense of reason, albeit a little sinister when you consider the tolerable upper limit for adults is 2000mg or 2 grams a day, beyond this the concentration of vitamin C can lead to some pretty unpleasant effects to name a few, diarrhoea, nausea, headache and at the worse end gout, kidney and liver complications.

An accepted amount that is beneficial is around 500mg, this has been found to assist in certain situations on of which was a study on macular degeneration, during an age related eye disease study it was show when used with other vitamins and minerals to slow the progression of the disease.

There is vitamin C in the vast majority of food we eat, and it is added to a lot of breakfast cereals and especially for children as their diets tend to lack whole foods and therefore require supplementation to maintain the balance.

My Experience

Ok so onto the reason why I felt I needed to look further into this, I started looking around for ways to make myself stronger, healthier and more mentally agile, as a result I ended up following a course of the below supplements.

  • Fenugreek – A natural herb linked to the production of testosterone, as a man now in my mid forties, my testosterone levels have been steadily dropping for the last 10 to 15 years, and I wanted to find a way to halt this, fenugreek has been shown to increase levels of free testosterone in males when supplemented at 500mg a day, it does this through its constituent Protodioscin a saponin that may support the production of testosterone.
  • Tribulus Terrestris – Essentially added as it has been marketed as a testosterone booster by itself, it is considered to increase the potency of Fenugreek when taken along side, it is used widely for the treatment of many things but one of it’s reported effects is to increase certain hormones, testosterone is one, although you don’t have to dig to far into the research to see that the evidence is pretty weak.
  • Vitamin B complex – this was both to help with cognitive function as wel as the role that vitamin B plays in energy utilisation and in the muscle building process, by helping with the production of red blood cells directly helps provide more oxygen to muscles, allowing them to work harder and recover quicker.
  • Vitamin C – for recovery and immune assistance
  • Alpha-GPC – A nootropic compound that has been shown to increase brain activity and in fact is used in the medical profession to help treat Alzheimer’s and further studies have shown that when taken before an intense workout can increase growth hormone output post workout by significant amounts.
  • Fish Oil – for the EPA DHEA content again for cognitive function also it does contain omega-3 fats which are absolutely essential and were lacking in my diet as I was trying to cut down on my bodyfat quite drastically and was eating next to no fat at all.

Now that may seem like a long list, and I suppose actually that it is, if my calculations were correct I should have been a quick thinking, strong quick recovering masterpiece of an individual, instead the opposite was actually true, I was becoming tired, and I mean falling asleep at the steering wheel tired, on several occasions I had to pull over and literally have a quick nap before continuing my journey home from work, I had headaches, really big ones, not stress headaches these were different, as if my blood pressure were elevated during a big deadlift or some kind of heavy compound exercise like that, my balance was of and I had to bail out of several workouts due to fatigue and generally feeling unwell, I had become confused as well at work easy repetitive tasks needed concentration more than before, the answer took a while but it was fairly obvious I needed to stop the tablets !

I stopped taking them on a Monday, and immediately the headache that I would develop while driving to work did not materialise, it took about a week for my imbalance to stop and go back to normal and my workouts took around 3 weeks to stabilise and only now (some 5 weeks from stopping ) am I able to truly push myself at the gym again.

Conclusion

I feel that I got out just in time, the detrimental effect that all the tablets was having was becoming intrusive it had affected my home life, my work and my training, I even took some time away from this website as a result of struggling to concentrate, but all the time I was convinced that these things were safe to take, why? because they are sold that way, the shops are bright and on the high street, websites are not seedy http affairs that you need a special browser for and pay only in bitcoin, so you think that all will be well, but the truth is that anything we put into our bodies is a balancing act, it can be hugely beneficial in small doses and poisonous in large, or it can be wholly ineffective in a small does and only worth taking more than is recommended, the supplement / health food industry is vast and does help billions of people make better choices, get healthier and live longer, but we have to remember that it is an industry, and it is going to make profit as and where it can see it, unfortunately that means that if they can sell something that won’t harm you unless you take a lot more than they recommend then they will because you will be a repeat customer, in exactly the same way as a supplement company will sell you a weight gainer loaded with sugar instead of protein because it is cheap and you will feel great when you start using it because you muscles will fill out with the extra calories and you will have boundless energy, at no point will they inform you that you could have got the same effect from eating a large quantity of doughnuts.

I am definitely not saying that we should not buy supplements, simply that we should use the intelligence that I lacked when I embarked on my rampage and dose ourselves accordingly, remember that you are putting extra something in your body, and in the case of vitamins and minerals the irony is that the majority of people that consider taking these things will also give consideration to their diets and as such probably are not deficient in the vast majority of the products they buy, they just don’t notice any side effects because they stay within a limit set to avoid any detrimental feeling.

The supplement industry is not evil or malicious, it is just profit driven, and anything profit driven has the potential to weigh potential for comeback against the profit made by selling the product in the first place, and that is where the consumer misses out if they don’t stop and clarify the claim of the companies on their products and also their own individual requirements.

Before embarking on any supplementation regime you should always look at your diet first, and make the adjustments there where you can, the clue is in the name supplement, the human body is an amazing thing and it knows what it needs from food and drink to help us to grown and thrive doing the tasks that we choose, it will adapt and grow or shrink as required, you will get faster or stronger through repetition and all through the bodies own devices, majority of supplement advice is to take that delicate system of hormones and proteins and hit it with a sledgehammer, if you imagine trying to fit a square peg in around hole, using a lathe to turn the peg and make it fit will take time and patience but the end result will be perfect, the peg can however be made to fit with a large hammer and enough brute force, but it will be ugly and weak broken and unreliable, life is a marathon not a sprint.

The Subtle Art of Giving a F**K!

It was with sadness that I saw yet another book extolling the virtues of not giving a F**k as a way of selling copy, I cannot possibly believe that I am alone in being just a little tired of this sudden trend to get the F word in as many places as possible to sell books, get readers for blogs or simply as a way of covering up a persons disappointment at how their life has turned out, I mean after all I have even included it in this title to entice more readers!

the sad fact is that it does sell books and make people look twice at a blog that they would normally just pass over, the F word is still very much a taboo in polite society ( and probably should stay that way ) and so the sudden appearance of this on book titles or even as the headline for this post spark interest in the same way as we all slow down at the site of a crash on the motorway, we are not inherently bad people or wish any ill on the unfortunate people involved we are just captured by the shock of the situation, and so we gaze on and then have forgotten the event once we are a couple of miles down the road.

I have in the book section written a short opinion of the first book I became aware of that uses this strategy (in my opinion) to sell a basic collection of simple facts and re-tell them with the authors own style used expertly to disguise the fact that you (and I) have read and listened to this same message a million times.

My main source of despair is that the message is incorrect in every literal sense, we cannot and indeed should not go through life not giving a F**k, there is literally a medical term for people that live like this, and we usually get introduced to them under the glitz and glamour of the front page headline when they have committed some heinous crime, sociopaths are generally devoid of emotion and lack empathy as a result, there is no sense of right and wrong and they generally do not function well within society, or do they?

You see it is my theory that the reason we are so obsessed with not giving a F**k is because we see people that live that way and they seem to be successful and happy, in fact it often a positive comment about somebody and said with awe and respect “Dave is awesome, he literally doesn’t give a F**k!” problem is that we have missed the point for the same reason we blindly follow people on Instagram and YouTube believing that their lives are as glamorous as they would have us believe, as a general rule we don’t tend to dig below the surface, we simply take things on face value and move on, the problem is not entirely with the varying publications or the authors of these publications, it is what happens when people read and then try to implement the lessons contained within, the “motivational” industry is vast, it has the ability to package and sell the opinion of a person as fact without requiring a shred of evidence that they used the same techniques to get success or that they are qualified in any shape or form to offer counselling and life advice to the general public, in fact with the growth of the internet it has quickly become “he who shouts louder makes more money”, we have all but forgotten the flip side to that which is “the empty can rattles the most”.

I am not saying that there is no place in society for ambivalence, quite the contrary I am positive, 100 percent convinced, that the ability to not care about something is valuable, healthy and some cases outright necessary to our well being, but this is seldom the message, and the popularised message is the dominant one.

You see there is two main issues with living your life “not giving a f**k” the first is possibly the most destructive and will certainly make you less happy than you were before, this is the uncomfortable fact that we are, on the whole, caring empathetic beings, we process information and then by default we consider the outcome and how we would feel in that event, so to try and force ourselves suddenly to not care, and to not give any consideration to the future is to go against every instinct in our bodies, as an example just think of something you are scared of, spiders, heights that type of thing and remember back to the last time you were in a confrontational situation with that fear I am sure you will be able to remember very clearly the feeling through your entire body that what was happening was wrong and the urgency to move away from it will have ultimately become to much to bear until you removed yourself from the situation, well, same thing here, if you are a generally caring person of very analytical and you try to change that to become hard faced and reactionary as opposed to pr-active you will feel wrong because it will be going against your grain, and this will make yo unhappy as you struggle with the situation that sparked the change in approach in the first place and now, on top the feeling of discomfort and conflict this new way of life is causing, secondly, if we adopt this attitude of not caring and not being emotionally attached to anything, simply dealing with life as it comes without thought just rational thought and action, the people around us are likely to notice a marked difference in our attitude and relationships with them, this will alter many dynamics most likely at the heart of the family and showing signs of hurting the people that you started down this path for, we have to realise that there is nothing wrong with us, it is all too easy to blame ourselves for every ill that befalls us without reasoning it out first, if we start to alienate the people closest to us then we are unhappy and lonely, this can be a very dark place unless you are a sociopath !

And that is why we need to practice the subtle art of giving a f**k, it is the ability to choose what we care about that gives us power, the focus on the here and now instead of juggling a million future events and losing focus on any of them, and most importantly it is the ability to know when to ignore a situation not because you don’t give a f**k but simply because it is out of your control, it will be what it will be because it is the will of others, it is legislation or rules drawn up by people external to us that we have no influence on, or it is the opinion of a person or persons that have no say in our lives and ultimately have no control over how our lives are to be run, that is the real power, and once mastered will set you free to accomplish the things that you put your mind to.

Levelling the Land

We are faced today with a plethora of problems that society is facing for the first time, as well as rising debt causing misery for millions, more and more people are becoming depressed and ill as a result of piling pressure, money as always is at the heart of this, companies buy up bad debt for pennies in the pound and then use bullying tactics to force people to borrow more money to pay them back at a huge profit, others, while trying to climb corporate ladders stand on the shoulders of others to elevate themselves to the next rung of the credit score ladder, our children ask for toys continuously after watching YouTube videos of children whose parents sold out their childhood for the mighty dollar and we try and keep up with the Instagram lifestyles we scroll through every day looking to escape the reality of life in our front rooms.

The first and possibly most important lesson is this, we are equals, I will just say that again we are all equal that means that the arsehole on the phone when you are behind with a credit card payment may very well be trying to sound superior but they have the same fears and worries as you, the interviewer at the job you want so desperately is probably as nervous about meeting you as you are at meeting them, and the entrepreneur selling you the program to make you rich was (if not still is) as skint as you are, this isn’t to say that you should approach any situation with a sense of superiority as this will lead to animosity and scupper any chance of negotiation or rapport, simply know that are equal and act accordingly, meet aggression with measured confident response, adjust to awkwardness with kindness and open consideration for the other person and do not hold anybody aloft simply because they appear to have money.

Know who you are and stand on that knowledge

Who are you ? what do you want out of life ? some people spend years trying to answer those questions when the answer is simple, look in the mirror and asses what you see, think about how you treat people and thoughts that pre-occupy your mind, then stand on that, whatever it is because that is where you will be strongest, that is the position that no matter how much people try they will not be able to move you inside, as an example think of a band that you like, the odds are that even if you know several people that are into the same music as you, you will also know people that are not, and they will inevitably express their opinion whether you ask for it or not, but they will never be able to change your opinion because music is something we connect to on a personal level, it is a reflection of our personality and so we stand on our tastes because they are who we are.

the same can be said of all other aspects of your life, if you are a vegan or a staunch meat eater, then regardless of company stand on that, do not try and bend to the will of others just to make an impression, nobody will than you for it and you will be disappointed in yourself, this will lead to a lack of confidence and that will show to all like a big neon sign above your head, and don’t worry about offending people because that is the art of giving a f**k, the people that pass through your life offended will quickly move on and be replaced by people of a like mind so worrying about offending people is futile and simply a waste of effort.

Put simply stand your ground !

Conclusion

I hope I have illustrated why giving a F**k as as much of an art as people would have you believe not doing so is, we need to make sure we are true to ourselves and allow this truth to form our bonds with others, stand on your principals and you cannot be knocked down because they are your strength, the world would be an even worse place than it is now if nobody cared so give a damn and succeed!

When not being the best is better

I was recently at my daughters drama class and the teacher was talking us through how they put a play together in a the 1 hour lesson that she has every week, she (the teacher) was a very animated character and dare I say exactly what I would have pictured a drama teacher to be, very pronounced without shouting and very keen on the detail of instruction she was giving, her opening line when we all arrived was that she wanted to show the parents of the attendees what it was that they do there and how they form a lesson and the goals they are trying to achieve when they do, one of the things that she said during this speech got me thinking and I wanted to share my thoughts in case anybody wished to share their view.

“It is not about being perfect or even getting the words right all the time it is about doing and learning as they go, there is so much talk about being the best version of yourself these days and always striving to be perfect that people especially children must be exhausted”

I have extolled the virtues of striving for perfection on many an occasion and it is only now that I started to think that pushing for perfection is not only futile in occasions where the result is forced to be a product of collaboration but sometimes so tiring that it becomes a very draining ethos, which could potentially be destructive, and ultimately subverting our goals as we struggle to achieve them through the brain fog of exhaustion.

Now, anybody who has read anything I have done will be familiar with the fact that I like to have proof of something before I will adopt or attempt to pass it on as information to others, and this is no exception, I watched in wonder as this teacher, without raising her voice to a shout moved 15 children aged between 6 and 12 through this play that they had seen for the first time that night, and after just 45 minutes, we had a 10 minute play where I would say 85% of timings were correct and dialogue was remembered, the children had started to add complimentary movement to their parts and had started to extend their lines all within context, it was astounding to see all these different personalities working together and learning through enjoyment.

I am not saying that there is not a place for perfection and striving to be the best, merely that we need to recognise that moment of fatigue in all of us and act on it, lighten up a bit and realise that forced progress is sometimes slower and always a lot harder than relaxed progress, Bruce Lee was famous for the 1 inch punch and always taught pupils to relax the muscles of the hand and arm while punching as a tight clenched fist cannot travel as fast as a relaxed one, he was right and this was proved in many demonstrations the same can be said for the mind, a stressed “tight” mind will never learn as quickly as a relaxed one that is open and has time to spare.

I guess what I saw was not really the play about the Russian Cave that was being performed but rather that changing from the intense method of corrective education i.e. “that was wrong” or “do it again you weren’t on time” to a more lead form where the word wrong was never used, not even once despite some initial lines being quoted wrong and a couple of missed cue’s, was that when we are all relaxed we learn quicker, we retain more information and with a greater accuracy, so I guess what I am saying is if you are struggling with a subject or a method, be it academic or entrepreneurial then instead of beating yourself up and getting stressed, essentially blocking your own progress you should stop, take a deep breath (or two depending on how stressed you are) and look at what you are doing for what it is, try and find the enjoyment in your activity, and do not berate yourself for making mistakes, every fortune and large company was built on a foundation of error, that is how we learn, approach new concepts or technical challenges as an opportunity to a burden and you will see that as cortisol levels drop your whole mental state will become less toxic and you will move along at a faster pace than you ever thought possible.

Multi-tasking is a Myth – Don’t Get Caught By It

Just a quick thought really, while trying to get a substantial amount of my affairs in order I found that while trying to do several things at once I was getting confused and tired and actually started to slow down my progress, the fact is that we are told what we have to do in this modern world, is “multi-task” , no such thing, Multi-tasking, as I have said before, is merely doing a lot of things with less focus than you would completing one task with full focus, it is only a quick post as I wanted to simply try and remind the world, or at least the 30-ish people that read my blog, to take some time to focus, and then smash the task at hand out of the park, really give it your full attention and you will find that tasks are completed quicker and with more accuracy, allowing you to move along to the next with ease and with the greater focus that is gained by the reassurance the previous one was done correctly.

I implore you to realise that the quickest way to move from point A to point B is in a linear fashion, Multi-tasking is not linear and requires a lot more effort than simply pushing forward in a straight line, hope you have a great day and achieve more by using a linear approach to tasks and completing them quickly and with precision.

Too Cheap to Succeed ?

This is going to sound like a whinge of a post but I assure you it is not, it is, rather, a warning to anybody starting or attempting to start a blog as a way of making money spurred on by the many articles on the internet (usually other blogs like this one) claiming that it is a good way to turn spare time into a passive income, as I move further forward in this journey to what I am still convinced is achievable, the realities of this are becoming more and more obvious, and it isn’t rosy I can tell you.

I started this blog and all my activities at the start of this year, I have had many distractions and issues along the way but essentially the outcome is completely my own doing, I was too cheap with both time and money and spent too much time trying to find a way to post more and more content cheaply believing that quantity would alone see me through to a success, when in fact the opposite is true, we have all seen the constant posters re-cycling the same blog posts a few days or at most a week apart hoping that nobody would notice or that at least the views would attract more readers and hits and ad revenue, I wonder sometimes how successful they really are, now I can almost hear the cries of “but I do not do this for the money simply for the art” or the expression or to educate, in fact any lofty ethical reason they can hide behind shielding themselves from the fact that it really hasn’t made any money or even shows a glimmer of hope of doing so, preferring instead to keep hoping for that one article that goes viral or that captures enough people that they will do the advertising for them by sharing the post and exponentially increasing the reader numbers.

Anybody that wants to make money will add advertising to their site in one form or another, either through the annoying ads in the sidebar that you seed displayed all over this site (lol) or through their own affiliate links or simply through the promise of exclusive content for the exchange of a mailing with a Paypal donation link, it is all advertising as it is designed to illicit money from the reader, when people actually want to convey a message or provide a service (in whatever form that takes) to the general public completely free of charge and simply to educate and help they do not advertise as there is no need to add a distraction, they do not include garish advertisements for the reader to click on as this would detract from the message they are trying to impart.

But putting the advertising on the site is far from enough, in fact it is not even enough to be counted as the beginning, the beginning is the idea it is the focus of the blog, people will spend money this is not a surprising fact and with the reach of the internet there are a lot of people that can spend a lot of money with you and make you very rich but they aren’t going to give it away, you and your corner of the internet are not a charity (unless you are of course) and you cannot expect money for nothing.

Real Money

I am so fond of the phrase “Real Money” that sometimes it even gets under my skin, I say it nearly everyday in nearly every conversation that I have about money and for the sake of repetition I will say it again here, there is money and there is MONEY and to be honest very rarely shall the twain ever meet, what I mean is that when we say somebody has money we are invariably saying this in response to the visible assets that a person has, their car, house, clothes and to a greater or lesser extent their leisure activities, we evaluate based on a surface reflection of a snapshot of their life, and when they have a nice car and a big house and we wave them off on the next international adventure or follow their Instagram posts with green eyed envy we see what we want to see, success and money, but it is at night when these people are alone that the real story is told, you see money has a way of taking control of thoughts and feelings, it squeezes out loved ones and relationships and ultimately it chokes the life out of us and we find ourselves drowning in a sea of debt that there is no escape from, at night when the car is parked outside the house or the holiday activities are over and the rest of the family are asleep is where the dread of the next credit card bill comes in, the feeling of that slow march toward retirement with no savings starts to suggest that it is time you stopped spending all this money on interest payments to credit providers and started trying to master money, after all people do it and you are no different right? having money actual money under control and working for you as opposed to the other way round is all of the above without the feeling of dread and fear creeping in at night, it is the handing over of the debit card instead of the credit card for holidays and luxury goods, it is the sitting down and studying your money at the end of the month with a smile and a coffee just to see how things are going and how much you can invest this month rather than sitting down with a Gin and a Valium and hoping there is enough to stop you having to borrow more just to prop up the nice car and house, it is the enjoyed kiss from a partner at night and whatever may follow as opposed to the awkward good night and rolling over with both of you wondering what you have done to upset the other, it is the tolerance with children as they learn and grow breaking things and making mistakes along the way, as opposed to freaking out and going way over the top at every pen mark we find on the couch that costs us £150 a month is finance payments, money has the ability to help us grow and provide a life for future generations long after we have gone or it has the power to pull a family apart and destroy the future for generations, remember ultimately we become the product of our parents, If you think about a lot of your habits and personality traits now you will realise that most if not all stem from learned behaviour in our childhoods.

Other Peoples Blogs

Firstly a word about mine, I have been doing it for around a year now and am coming up to nearly my 100th post, the maths itself does not add up to a whole load of commitment does it ? so far it is earned me the princely sum of $0.38c, I am not going to retire on this and I do not expect it to grow much more without some kind of catalysing event, but I do have faith, I have faith in numbers and the numbers on the internet are huge, it is true that with the internet age ANYBODY can make a million, but it is also true that very few ever will.

So I did a simple Google search for successful WordPress blogs, and found a fantastic site here that has an almost unique field within their table of success EXPENSES seriously take a look, the information on here is worthy of just being posted out as a link rather than just as a part of this longer article which I am not sure anybody will have made it down to this point anyhow, and this is literally the reason why my blog sucks ass and (although I cannot speak for anybody else) the reason why a lot of people struggle month after month make no money and give up, the sites listed here make enough money for the people to do it as a job, sit at home or wherever they choose, write and then let the Internet take the strain, and the magic ingredient is EXPENSES, they are all spending money to make money, an example is Pat Flynn, 8 years he has been at it and his reported income for December 2017 ? $167,553.31, his expenses for this month $39.647.21 and his profit (before the dreaded Taxman obviously) an amazing $127.906.10 and when you see the website it is obvious why, the attention to presentation, the fact that his courses are available in both video and written on the blog, this probably means that he has a reasonable income from YouTube as well, They are all on there, Cookery Blogs, Entrepreneur blogs and of course Affiliate Marketing Blogs, and here I am with my 38c, I do not even have a business plan subscription and due to lack of activity my Amazon Affiliates account is suspended, this is because I failed to invest in my own project and my own future.

How to Invest ?

Investing comes on many forms, and most of these we are unwilling to do, we have to spend time researching content, or trying new things out so we can report our findings in a manner that provides value to others, as something of no value has no value and how can you expect to get paid for something that has no value?

You need to invest money, the plan I have does not allow plugins, so I cannot carry out any SEO for my site, none, I write articles like this and hope that people will stumble across them through reader or something like that, and they do, I have an amazing (for my investment level) 162 followers , but with the correct SEO and the ability to get hits from Google organically there would a thousand times that if not more just based on the sheer numbers of people searching for the subject matter I write about.

And you need to invest commitment, if work obligations dictate that you can only do one or two posts or articles a week then commit to that and make those two articles the best researched that you can, go into the ins and outs and the ups and downs and provide a real body if information or guidance to your audience that they can connect with and more importantly that they will want to bookmark and come back to, or even better subscribe.

And finally invest YOU, don’t write about something just because you think it is going to be popular or because it seems lucrative for the moment, writing is about more, it is more personal, and if the words come from a genuine passion or a genuine desire to help others and impart information people will listen.

Conclusion

I have ranted on at length about a lot of failings within blogging and trying to make a passive income on the internet through blogging, the fact is there is no such thing as a passive income through blogging unless you get somebody else to do it for you, but the is a massive difference between having to start writing at 5am before you go to work and being able to sit down at home after dropping the kids off at school and writing what you want in an unhurried manner, or if you don’t have kids fitting your writing in around going to the gym or whatever it is that you can now afford to do, Blogs are still way of making a very good income, you just have to rpovide something worth buying, and never fall into the trap of thinking that “If you build it they will come” cos they may turn up but if they leave without buying into your message you will be just as skint as you were yesterday and a lot more tired.

Procrastination is the single biggest hurdle most of us face, in this quick post I found an interesting article on how to avoid it, essentially my plan is for the foreseeable future to make sure that where practical I put action into thoughts, instead of trying to find ways to put thoughts into action.

Nootropics – Bigger, Leaner, Faster You !

Just a quick note to point out the new article I have written on Alpha-GPC, we are all trying to get that advantage over the competition and nootropics may just be the answer, I have been using Alpha-gpc for 3 weeks now (at time of writing) and have had some very positive results from it (and a few negative), I would like to share them with you and hopefully help you find that edge we all need to succeed.

The article is here and I hope you enjoy reading it, please leave any comments or suggestions.