If you know who you are writing for you have a better chance of reaching them. If you are writing an article aimed at teaching someone how to pull themselves up by their bootstraps you must know what it feels like to walk a mile in those boots. Know your intended targets detailed information. think about their age their education level, where it is they live and what their dreams and desires are. The better the picture of your audience you hold in your head the easier you will relate to them.
On some occasions I write to this kid who is walking down a gravel road in the middle of a hot summer day. This guy is flailing about in multiple directions trying to get ahead. Today he's walking down the road because he didn't plan ahead, his tire is flat and he has no spare. His first priority is to get a ride to get his tire fixed then back to his car, his plans derailed again. He's got a job but it doesn't make much money so he's working at starting his own business. His confidence level is low because he's had past failures and uses those to refer to when the going gets tough. An excuse to give up. He doesn't really know if what he is doing is going to pay off, he never knows that's why he tries so many things. Falling for one line after another and instead of following through he sees something shiny and off he goes.
The possibility of what's out there is what keeps him moving. He reads a lot, mostly self-help and how to books with a little science fiction added for good measure, but didn't graduate from college.
His family wonders why he isn't happy just working that job he has. They think he should settle and not worry about making a million dollars. They don't believe in all that junk anyway.
The sharks know he'll constantly be looking so they put any and everything in his path to separate him from his hard-earned dollars, they are slowly eating him alive and not giving him what he thinks he's paid for.
He doesn't know it yet but he will eventually become disgusted with all the dead ends and will give up and settle for something that's "easy to do".
Yeah "easy to do". What do we live in the matrix? Is it easy to spend 40 years of your life working in a factory or in some cubicle pushing papers pretending you're satisfied? Maybe for some. To me that sounds worse than the predicament this kid is in now. I would rather search for 40 years than give up and die of boredom in a factory.
I want to catch him, right before he gives up. He's a good kid that only needs proper guidance, he needs someone to answer the tough questions. If he would just slow down a minute I could grab him by his shoulders and get his attention. I'd look him in the eyes and say: "Slow down and find one thing." He might just shake off my grip and continue because he's in a hurry, but I'd try again. "Listen, you are a young man in your early 20's and if you stop and realize that there are no short cuts to riches, there are no substitutes for hard work and concentrated effort." I'd continue with: "If you choose one thing that you love and do that thing the best you know how you will be a success".
My experience has taught me that it is a rare person who will respond positively to the efforts just described. Yes the first response will be: "Thanks, you are right I'll do that". But as the days wear on him and he reaches another level of difficulty in his chosen plan he will falter and run for the tall grass looking for a quick buck.
He loves his wife and fears that if he doesn't bring home the bacon she will withdraw her love from him. This is probably what drives him more than anything else. This keeps him from giving up and allows him to continue searching. There must be something out there for him, there are so many people who have made it who are less talented than him. He's not without faults, he's greedy and envious but most of all he's ignorant. He thinks there is a short cut to riches and spends all of his time looking for it and not finding something he's good at and concentrating all of his efforts on that. He's always looking for what he can get rather than give.
He thinks "I gotta get out of this place". Many people like our friend here look for circumstances and others to blame outside themselves when the going gets tough. Maybe we get that from our ancestors who had to keep moving when the food ran out but fortunately there's a grocery store handy almost anywhere in the US today. The thought that his circumstances will change because he changes his geographical location is faulty thinking. What really needs to change is the quality of his thinking then he can live anywhere.
Again I try: "The key is in the starting". Phrases like that slide over him like dust on that road. My job when I write to him is to grab his attention and hold it just long enough to tell him that if he starts something, anything and sticks with it doors will open that he didn't know existed. Once those doors start opening he will find his talents exposed and more doors start opening, the key is in the starting.
Envy and jealousy hold him back. It is the two-headed snake that drives him to want to succeed but when he isn't immediately rewarded by his efforts he strikes out. gravel delivery. gravel delivery. This striking out only reinforces any negative feelings he has and causes him to gather more enemies than friends.
Real world application: Your customer chooses a competitor over you, you respond by questioning their choice. You succeed in alienating your customer. Maybe questioning the quality of your product, service, marketing or delivery would be a better way to go. Focus on what will make you better.
There are many more pot holes on that road: Falling prey to thinking that he's a victim or filling his time with busy work that goes no where. I know that if I have anything to say about it he'll make it through.