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How Has Steem Impacted My Life?


last monthSteemit8 min read

This post is in response to @theycallmedan ‘s initiative requesting stories about how we’ve been personally impacted by Steem.

I’ve written quite extensively over the past three-and-a-half years about this platform’s impact on my life. I’ve previously referred to Steemit as a gateway but, upon reflection it’s more like a stargate.

“A Stargate is an Einstein–Rosen bridge portal device within the Stargate fictional universe that allows practical, rapid travel between two distant locations.”

I come from a very modest background. I was the first in my family to graduate high school and attend college. Even though my brother and I didn’t have much money or material possessions growing up my parents worked very hard to instill good values in us.

Along with those good values came remnants of a generational mindset born of poverty. These things held us back in ways we didn’t really understand until my brother and I became adults and crossed paths with people of different backgrounds. A few examples of this inherited mindset that defined our world are...

“Be grateful to just have enough money to pay the bills.”

“Do as your told and don’t question superiors.”

“Wealthy people are different from us.”

I could go on but I think you have the idea.

Just before I was introduced to Steemit in mid-2016 I was already over two decades into an exhausting double-life that involved working a cubicle job at an insurance company to pay the bills and, with whatever time I had left over, pursuing my writing career. I had fought hard to break free from that poverty mindset for a majority of my adult life and was beginning to see the seeds I had planted in my writing career begin to sprout.

I had finished my first novel in 2013, published a few other books, and was getting freelance jobs in some magazines with decent circulation. Finally, my voice was being heard but something was still holding me back.

“Between stimulus and response, there is a space. In that space is our power to choose our response. In our response lies our growth and our freedom.” - Vicktor Emil Frankl (Austrian neurologist and psychiatrist)

I started writing on Steemit in early July of 2016. I didn’t have a clue what cryptocurrency was at that time and, honestly, was a bit skeptical.

For once in my life I found myself in the right place at the right time. I had amassed a twenty year backlog of unpublished work and began doing two posts per day on Steemit. Upon the advice of one of my mentors I begin posting snippets of my novel Alarm Clock Dawn in the morning followed by an original poem in the evening.

Success happened so fast it was disorienting. Within a few weeks my writing began to gain traction and that was the beginning of the end of my old life. I paused, took a deep breath, and stepped through that proverbial Steemit stargate into what felt like an entirely new universe.

My wife and I had acquired a crushing amount of debt as a result of buying a home just before the 2008 housing crisis and the first thing I did was pay every penny of it off.

Instantly, I had access to a group of some of the brightest (and kindest) people I’ve ever met. These people were gracious enough to teach me what they knew and I was eager to soak it all up. The exposure to these people changed me on a deep level. I now see the world in a completely different way and I will be forever grateful for that.

I made a frightening decision in mid-September of 2017. I invited my boss to a meeting and (with a slightly shaking voice) gave her my two-week notice. She was shocked, so much so she told me to think it over that night. My decision stood and I walked away from the cubicle job of over twenty years in October of 2017 and began solely writing for a living. It was the best thing I ever did.

There are times it all still feels like a dream. Like Brooks from the film A Shawshank Redemption, certain aspects of this new life still scare me shitless sometimes. Going from a life that revolves around mind-numbing routine to not having a clue what the next day will bring is about as different as you can get.

Do you want to know the craziest part in all of this? I don’t know the identity of my biggest mentor. He, along with a couple of others (who I do know the identities of), have taught me almost everything I know about this new world.

The person who has had the most impact of anyone in my entire life has preferred to remain anonymous these past three and a half years and I will continue to honor that wish. I don’t hear from him as often anymore but we still message back and forth from time to time.

This handful of people, along with many of you, have given me the greatest gift imaginable, they showed me the way to freedom. It’s my wish that one day I’ll have a chance to sit down with this mentor in person, have some drinks, get to know one another, and properly express my gratitude.

Almost four years later nearly every one of the dreams of my youth have been realized. I’ve presented at two SteemFests, traveled the world, I’m writing full time, and no longer have to wake up with an alarm clock. The best part of all this is I've been able to provide for my aging parents and others around me. I now have so many more new and larger dreams to chase.

I now see that anything is possible. I also realize it would have been impossible to find this kind of satisfaction living within the parameters of my previous mindset. I’m free now, yes, but most importantly so is my mind and I have Steem(it) to thank for it. Slowly, I’m learning to embrace the unknown and it’s getting less scary and, now more often than not, even exhilarating.

Our world is entering a completely new phase on many levels and I believe we are among the pioneers. During the raging bull market of 2017 we felt as though mass adoption was right around the corner. Then the multi-year bear market came and so many true believers lost hope. We were all so immersed in this new world that we were blind to how long it would take for mass adoption to happen...merely a simple miscalculation. We must only have patience.

So there it is. This is how Steem has impacted my life. If I could do it at nearly fifty years of age anyone can. One thing I've learned in middle-age is sometimes people are on the right path but they just quit too soon. Oftentimes people give up when they're just within reach of their goal. This, easily, could have been me. I’m very lucky I found a way to push through the doubts and fears, there were many of both.

We all here have the ability and, I feel, a great responsibility to show others the way. In the end the decision is theirs, they will have to choose between the falsehoods and perceived security of their old lives or a completely new one. They will have to find the courage within themselves to step through the stargate into the unknown or they, in many ways, will be left behind.

With Gratitude,
~Eric Vance Walton~

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*I am an American novelist, poet, traveler, and crypto-enthusiast. If you’ve enjoyed my work please sign up for my author newsletter at my website. Newsletter subscribers will receive exclusive updates and special offers and your information will never be sold or shared.

Alarm Clock Dawn, one of the first full length novels published on the blockchain, and the book that started it all for me can be found HERE. Or Click Here to read it for free on the Steemit blockchain

My book on meditation, The Perfect Pause, is priced at $12.99 (paperback) and $4.99 (eBook). Buy the paperback and receive the eBook for free!

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