30 July, 2018

After a Decade of Staying Silent I've Started to Blog, but Why?

Back in the early 2000s, when the web was still in its infancy, I used to share a lot on its ever-emerging platforms, connecting with strangers without a second thought. MySpace became my go-to sounding board and place for online socialising. I found myself letting it all out there, without any hesitation. The carefree young web was a great place to be. Much like a child, it was discovering its potential, with every baby step it took. And with it, I was discovering a brave new world, where people could connect instantly and exchange ideas, with no prejudice.

But upon entering my early 20s, something changed, and I stopped sharing. I’m not entirely sure what happened. Perhaps with the webs growth I had become more aware of how visible and permanent the content I shared was. Or it could be that the abundance of new voices popping up each second, made mine feel a bit ordinary, like it was of no real value.

I’d spend hours reading forum posts but never reply. I’d write tweets and hit cancel before sending. But as someone who works on the internet, I felt the need to put myself more out there. Yet, when I came to doing it, I’d feel anything I could say had already been said.

So I stayed silent. A mere observer.

And here I am, 10 years later, a lifetime apart. Since then, I’ve founded startups and liquidated them. Launched projects that were shut down shortly after. Learnt new skills and forgot old trades. Visited new places and experienced foreign cultures, that made me crave for more. Despite all that I haven’t said much. When I did it was usually work related and out of necessity.

Finding my voice

In the past year, something has changed. I’ve arrived at a point where I’m compelled to start sharing again. I finally feel like I have something to say. My desire to speak up began with a change to my usual reading material. For years I’ve been topping up my existing design and tech knowledge, never straying far from what I already understood. But this information was no longer satisfying me. I felt it was time to break out of my close-minded interest sphere and seek new knowledge.

This quest has become one of the most valuable experiences of my life.

Quest for Knowledge

With every piece of breakthrough knowledge uncovered, I became energised with fresh ideas for my life and work. I found each new concept compounded upon the last. I started to open up to other possibilities and things to learn I’d never have considered before. I had developed an addiction to learning about the things I don’t yet understand.

I discovered functional medicine, meditation, stoicism and the history of Homosapiens. I started to appreciate the importance of organic produce and products.

I considered life changes to optimise my health, performance and productivity. I experimented with new habits, keeping the ones that assisted with my goals and discarding those that didn’t. I started to contemplate the future of humanity and to iterate on a viewpoint of how it should be.

In short, I woke up and became prepared to question my own beliefs, realities and systems, and those of the world around me too. However, despite finding fulfilment in the expansion of my horizons I felt frustrated.

Frustrated at myself for not prioritising learning sooner. Frustrated that in classrooms and conversations of my past I hadn’t been learning the right things.

In fact, often I was learning the opposite of what I now consider fundamental human knowledge, with many of the teachings of my past having no basis in reality—and not knowing any better I went along with them. I was rarely questioning why.

Why are these things I believe now to be such essential knowledge so unknown to the majority of people? Perhaps they are known, and I’m the oblivious guy being left behind. But if that’s the case, why did I have to look so hard to find the truths I was seeking? Is it because not enough people are questioning their own reality?

Question everything

Question why are our supermarkets filled with processed crap. Question why we spend most of our lives sitting rather than moving. Question why some people just accept ‘news’ articles as real when there are clear facts to disprove them. Question why there is so much poverty when 1% of humans on earth own 50% of the wealth. Question why are we knowingly destroying the only planet we have to live on.

Pollution

In the year 2018, we shouldn’t still be teaching and spreading the incorrect, factless information that leads to these kinds of questions being asked. We need to take a hard look at why they need to be asked, and think about the consequences to world if we move past them sooner rather than later. We should be asking ourselves — why does it have to be this way?

Accepting the status quo of the modern world is madness. I believe we can change it.

The world is Connected

With the web, we have been granted a gift that can facilitate change. Its open platforms enable us to make quick, impactful progress. Together we need to move the knowledge-needle and start course correcting.

This can be achieved by helping humanity become prepared to question why things are the way they are. Ready to identify the differences between facts and fictions. Ready to make logical conclusions. Ready to solve problems. Prepared to take actions that lead to positive improvements for everyone.

I’ve had enough of outdated systems, bullshit rules and made up beliefs. Haven’t you?

This is why I’ve decided to start a blog. I yearn to help others become comfortable questioning their beliefs and those of the world around them. To assist people in getting to a point where they question something new, before they accept it. So they can achieve a state of genuine self-awareness.

From now on I won’t be silent any longer, I’ll write articles and share tweets I think will help. Eventually I plan to build software that helps too.

If my efforts make a difference to even one person, I’ll consider it to have been a worthwhile endeavour.

Who is Steven Hylands?

Steven is a designer by trade but has spent most of the last decade wearing many hats while working in tech startups like Yomo, PiggyPot, Rumble Labs, Nuu and Onotate. Currently, he’s starting up something new in the fintech space. Working with startups has led him to gain a breadth of knowledge in design, product strategy, growth hacking, front-end development, filmmaking and more. More recently, he's been actively expanding his horizons, taking up blogging in the process.