The wasted pursuit of vanity

I recently asked an author who just released a book that would be relevant and highly practical to my audience if she would like to be interviewed for a feature story and podcast on Forward From 50. I though it would be a great opportunity to promote the book’s ideals and advice to people who could really benefit from it.

Two weeks later, I received this reply:

“Hi, Greg. Thanks so much for reaching out. I really appreciate it. Looks like you’re serving a neat audience. I have my 2023 fairly planned out already. Can you share with me your analytics, specifically engagement numbers for your magazine? How many folks are reading/following it, engagement rates (comments, shares, etc.), and listener rates. Thanks so much. Wish there was more time in a day, but the constraints are healthy for us.”

In other words, unless you have 100,000 followers and I know I can sell a lot of books, then it’s not worth my time. But, thanks anyway.

I know a lot of content creators are caught up in all those vanity numbers regarding the size of their audience, the number of likes they get per post, the number of comments and shares, etc. I used to be that way myself when I was in my 50s as a self-employed journalist. Today, I go against conventional wisdom by not even tracking those numbers.

I know those statistics are like lifeblood to younger people seeking attention and validation. But, as I got older, I realized focusing on those things was ego-driven to make me feel more important and valuable.

As the owner of Forward From 50, I no longer choose to play that game. I know where to find that information, but it doesn’t interest me.

Today, I am dedicated to inspiring others to live more purposeful lives by pursuing things they are passionate about. Consequently, if someone has a story to tell that would be relevant to people over 50, my platform is open to them. They can step up to the microphone at any time.

Here’s why. When we share our wisdom earned through often painful trials and experiences, it works to inspire others. How many people it initially inspires in terms of views, likes, comments or little heart emojis doesn’t matter, nor should it.

I know way, way, way too many people over 50 are simply biding their time by watching television, scrolling through social media posts or, worse, doomscrolling through endless and pointless negative news stories. Their lives serve no purpose, and they offer little, if any, benefit to the world around them.

However, if one story I write or a podcast I produce can inspire just one person to put their natural talent, learned skills and unique experiences to work helping others, then I know that reader or listener can impact the lives of dozens, hundreds or thousands of other people.

Their influence will become a legacy that outlives them for generations.

When I die and stand before my maker who asks me what I did with the skills, talents and experiences he gave me, I certainly don’t want to admit that I did nothing and be treated like the third servant in Jesus’ parable of the talents.

I would much rather hear the words, “Well done, good and faithful servant. Come and share in your master’s happiness.”