I read a lot of articles. About a lot of different things. (Almost) Every author, especially, has their own voice and their own take on a subject which I usually find to be incredibly refreshing. Like other writers, I like to make notes of what’s trending, what people are reading and what resonates them. I notice a lot of similarities in what people are going through. I also see a lot of similarities in the ways people present information and most of the time I love that because it shows that at the end of the day we’re all very similar. But one thing that stands out is the lovely click-bait that a lot of people use to get people to read their articles. One phrase, in particular, has been haunting me lately. A phrase I see almost daily and almost never lives up to the intensity of its name.
How many times can you read a phrase before it becomes utterly meaningless? This phrase for me is now on par with designers and bloggers using the work “stunning.” Is every dress and couch and fabric and palette really STUNNING? Just like is every single lesson or anecdote you discover along the path of entrepreneurship, or life, a brutal truth? Or is it just a fundamental piece of information that has been given this dramatic veil as reinterpreted as a best-kept secret of success?
Don’t get me wrong, I hate coddling, so part of me loves the concept of “brutal truth” articles, but what I’ve been finding increasingly present in these articles is that none of this information is brutal, almost at all. A lot of it is things that (at least I consider) are very common knowledge. And its caused me to question my own knowledge. Do I read too many articles and I’ve just become immune to things being brutal truths? Or are people just using this buzzword for views and the information is not brutal at all?
Most of the time these articles present information that the reader perceives as something they’ve learned that very few other people know. This information is being offered as a very harsh reality that everyone else is too scared to tell you.
It would be another story if these types of articles were full of real, raw, painful advice, but most of the time (in my own experience) they’re not. They’re very obvious bits of advice hiding behind a dramatic, click-baity headline.
I’d rather see an article titled “What I learned from…” or “I did X and Y happened.” I want to see more people speaking on their experiences and letting readers draw their own conclusions as to whether that information is helpful or not.
Oh yeah, I’m a bit of a pessimist, ICYMI. And I hate repetition and mundanity, which is why I’m hyper-sensitive to buzzwords and click bait, so feel free to take everything I say with a grain of salt. I’m sure a lot of people enjoy reading other people’s brutal truth’s, even if they sound something like this…
The brutal truth about writing:
- Writing is hard, and not everyone will make it
- You have to write a lot to get noticed
- Some days you won’t want to write
- You have to find your unique voice
The brutal truths about starting a business:
- Starting a business is hard, and not everyone will make it
- You have to be consistent and network
- Some days you won’t want to do it
- You’ll gain some haters and lose some friends along the way
Maybe some of those things are brutal. But once 1000 people have written about it, it’s not anymore. It’s just…regular information about writing or starting a business. It’s information that everyone with a computer should know before they even get started. And if you do think it’ll be easy and that you’ll want to do it all the time and be insanely successful off the bat, you probably aren’t ready for the actual brutality will likely follow.
Here’s how I see it.
There are no “brutal truths.” Just actual truth and real-life experiences. I’m not opposed to catchy headlines. There’s so much good writing out there that it’s important to do what you need to do for the sake of your own business and to get noticed. But damnit can we find a new phrase?
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Sarah Aboulhosn is a writer and content strategist who loves murder podcasts, flying over oceans, stand-up comedy. Learn more about how her and how she helps businesses grow at www.sarahaboulhosn.com.