• Michael Linsin

Why You Need to Be Renegade

I was a city boy when I arrived to college dead center in the Great Plains. I pledged a fraternity and found myself living with two other students so different from myself that they just as well have been from the Amazonian jungle.

Like nearly every one of the eighty or so young men who lived in the massive ski-chalet-like house, they listened to country music, chewed tobacco, and wore - bizarrely - Calvin Klein designer jeans. Those few of us from urban centers clung to each other like distant skyscrapers.

My roommates were gracious and accepting of my own peculiar norms, but after six weeks I was relieved when I was rotated into a different room. Here, on the ground floor above a heaving communal sleeping dorm, I met Scott, who was a couple years older than me and now the other half of Team Renegade.

Scott fit in well with the rest of the guys insomuch that he was universally well-liked and had friends both city and country raised. But beyond that, he was an outlier, an albino among the herd. He wore Vans when no one knew what the hell they were. His musical tastes skewed punk but were all over the Euro-Alt-Garage map. He salted conversation with movie quotes, skateboard tricks, drum riffs, sorority rumors, math analogies, pointed observations, and bands named after amorous weaponry.

He was his own man at an age when even the city boys took to wearing cowboy boots and listening to Alabama within three months. As an infant he probably wore black diapers and a leather jacket, like Johnny Rotten roaming the streets of London.

As for me - who had already gained a reputation for being a poor team player and shirking my probationary duties - Scott welcomed in without judgment. He too saw the silliness of following rules that benefited exactly no one and reveled in their flouting. As a result, I wanted to vacuum our room and run errands for him and our other upperclassman roommate. He understood give-and-receive marketing even way back then.

Scott also inspired me with what was possible. He saw beyond his current circumstance and out into the world that awaited his dreams - and mine too. I had this bent anyway, from an early age, but he crystallized it for me in his words and intentions. He made it okay to think big. It isn't lost on me now looking back that within five years we'd both be living and chasing our Valhalla in the deserts and beaches of Southern California. The point is, our renegade bone fides, however they came to pass, have served us well.

I can say without reservation that embracing who you are - and not apologizing for it - is by far and away the most critical key to growing a blog. I don't mean this simply in a writing sense, as in being true to yourself in written form, but also while in the act of performing in your genre. In order to be interesting enough for readers to come back again and again to read your work, you have to approach your genre - hobby, profession, sport, etc. - from you own personal unique point of view.

This entails:

  • Questioning how things have always been done.

  • Trusting your gut instinct.

  • Constantly redoing, refreshing, reinventing, and reimagining.

  • Facing your fears head on every day.

  • Risking failure and cruel criticism.

  • Willing to let go of previously held beliefs.

  • Determining what you really like and want.

  • Refusing to follow the crowd unless you want to.

  • Always thinking what if . . .

  • Pushing the envelop on and disrupting your genre.

  • Ignoring the naysayers.

  • Never wearing Khaki pants and a stupid yellow polo shirt.

Yes, there are things we have to do to put food on the table. Every job is a noble job. You may indeed have to wear a polo (while clinging to a Ramones t-shirt underneath) and suck-up to the boss.

But only in the short term.

Because there is something more for you. Scott and I can tell you from experience that if you put your dreams into action, progress without pause, and confront life and your work in the skin you're most comfortable in - even if it makes others uncomfortable - then you will get there.

You will get there.

Until next week . . .

PS - If you get a chance, please check out the tools Scott and I recommend. Also, if you haven't done so already, please join us. Click here and receive articles like this one in your email box.

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