Oh yeah, this is a Medium throw-down.
You’re Writing Your Medium Posts All Wrong — Here’s Why
I’m so, so excited to write this right now.
The reason you don’t know what a Medium throw-down is is because two people have never done one before. Let’s get cracking Matthew.
But First, Read This
A few weeks ago I expressed my disdain for the lack of creativity here on Medium. Everybody wrote posts, and they were good, but nobody was coming up with “new” content. Nobody was pushing the boundaries.
So in one of my posts I wrote about how writers should collaborate and how they should — hell — even have “throw-downs” where they respond back and forth to one another in a series of articles.
The response I got was deafening, and I haven’t been able to follow-through on putting my money where my mouth was..
Matthew Kent Called Me The Hell Out — And I’m Responding
To quell any misgivings, I actually really like Matthew Kent, but that doesn’t mean we can’t have a debate, eh? My favorite show in the world is First Take.
So that means I LOVE debating.
To bring you up to speed, here’s an encapsulation of our Medium “beef”
- Matthew Kent took up arms against this article where I tell people they should never take online courses again (because most times you can find whatever info you want online).
- Matthew then wrote this fantastic (and hilarious) article in response, making a ton of good points in the process.
- Basically our beef boils down to: To online course, or not to online course?
You might be wondering why the heck I’m publishing this on The Evolution?
Because there’s a lot of great life lessons I’m about to bring up that will most definitely help you in your pursuit of success.
Which is DEFINITELY in line with what the Evolution stands for (make sure to follow this great publication run by Lexi Godlewski — and follow her too!).
Let’s get to it.
Some Of The Sh*t I Agree With Matthew Kent About
I’m having so much fun writing this, by the way.
Okay, so here’s a bulleted list of points I agree with Matthew Kent on..
- Commitment is a BIG part of success at anything. Without “committing” in the form of paying for an online course, many don’t take the steps they need to to get where they want to go. Online courses lock you in. Point taken.
- Online courses allow you to receive “piercing insight.” You could look at what experts do from the outside and TRY to piece together their strategy, but courses allow you to see what you couldn’t have otherwise seen. Point taken.
- That’s about it.
I understand Matthew’s other point (he has one more), but I just have a different perspective. He’s not crazy for thinking this way — in fact, he makes a ton of sense — but I just have another way of looking at things.
Here is his other point..
It’s Actually Better To Get Overwhelmed With Information
In Matthew’s fantastic article he says that a “low-information diet” is better for learning. Online courses give us that. It gives us a list of ONLY the important things to focus on and, when done right, probably saves people a hundred or so hours of researching the wrong sh*t.
It cuts the time you spend learning something in half.
This is totally true — my only quell is that there’s actually more benefits to going about things the “hard way” of figuring it out on your own than the “easy way” of using online courses.
I write “easy way” VERY lightly. Online courses are hard work.
Struggling Is Freaking Good For You
For one, struggling to find information sucks. It does. When I first started learning about blogging I spent hours each night researching feeling like I was getting nowhere.
It drained me. I always answered a few questions during these research sessions, but I also went to bed with 10 more questions than I had when I woke up that day.
It was exhausting.
Online courses are the “easy out” to answering these questions, and sometimes I think this isn’t good.
Problem Solving Is A Good Skill To Have
I’m not saying those who take online courses AREN’T problem solvers (isn’t taking an online course a pretty good way to solve a problem?), I’m just saying that by going out on your own, you learn this really important skill on a deeper level — and that will help you the rest of your life.
For one you learn a little bit of grit. You learn to maintain the same level of effort learning about a topic over the course of a few weeks/months/years.
When was the last time the majority of people actually went to the gym past the first two weeks of them signing up?
Heck, after the first week?
This is why I think deciding NOT to take an online course is actually a good thing. And this relates back to one of your points I agree with, Matthew Kent — that committing is super important to success.
To me, you can commit to learning something by paying money (often a steep price to pay), or you can commit to learning something by getting your hands dirty and showing up every night for weeks, months, and maybe even years to straight up figuring something the hell out.
And yes, as you work through an online course you have to go through the tough tribulations of actually putting what you learn into practice. The effort you put into going through these tribulations is similar to that of figuring it out on your own..
But I still think those who go it on their own end up developing this “problem solving” skill on a deeper level because they don’t have the luxury of knowing whether what they’re doing is actually going to work.
You have to have a pretty deep commitment to keep coming back to something that isn’t yielding you what you thought it would. This commitment gets magnified when you furthermore don’t know whether this is even the right STRATEGY to use.
I totally agree that online courses are the fastest way to getting where you want to go, but I would argue you don’t end up developing a lot of invaluable soft-skills/traits as deeply as you would if you went it on your own.
So, Which One Of Us Is Right?
We both bring good points to the table, and I think there’s pros and cons to each point of view.
I’ve never taken an online course in my life, but I do have my own.
If that’s not ironic, I don’t know what is.
But I would be stupid to say that online courses are not valuable. In fact, as Matthew pointed out in HIS response article, I don’t say that online courses are worthless (thank you for doing that by the way).
I think that if you don’t have a lot of time, you can take an online course and learn the deeper problem solving skills later.
I think that if you do have the time (and not necessarily the money), you can go the tougher route and learn a ton of soft skills in the process.
You need to have a pretty good eye for detail and the patience to figure shit out on your own, but there’s a real sense of pride you get after you do figure it out on your own — and best of all you sort of do it on your own creative terms.
A course most times gives you an outline of what to do.
When you do it on your own, you may inadvertently come up with a strategy that may be better (and worse) in some ways than what someone would teach you.
There’s more than one way to skin a cat — and I think deciding to figure shit out on your own is the perfect recipe for finding a new blade.
😖, that last sentence made me cringe.
Matthew, The Ball Is In Your Court
I honestly had so much fun writing this Matthew Kent. This is probably the most fun I’ve had writing a blog post in the last few months, and I hope our interaction keeps going/inspires other writers to playfully call other writers out to engage in something I think our society doesn’t do enough of..
Debate, and debate with kindness instead of hatred.
Thank you, sir, for helping me spread this message so gracefully. I hope Medium becomes a sort of new frontier for debate in a written format, and I hope we all become better for it.
The first Medium throw-down is OFFICIALLY in the books. What’s yours going to be?
The One Piece of Advice That I Would Give a 20-Year-Old
What I desperately wish I knew 10 years ago…
3 Things I wish I had Done After Graduating
Nine years later, things are looking up. But they could have been so much better…
Thank you to Lexi Godlewski for allowing me to publish this on the evolution!