[RA:D] 5.20.16 The State of RA:N: A Fix Is Needed

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In August 2008 I had an epiphany. 
I have been writing since I was a young child and I have always loved to share things I enjoy.
My passion for writing and sharing my passions came together on my Myspace blog years ago which I named "The Run Around". I enjoyed writing the blog, but it wasn't until 2008 that the epiphany hit me. 
As Myspace's flame was flickering and social media kept evolving I became subconsciously aware that people were utilizing the internet to create their own media, some for fun and some for career. Consumer Generated Media aka CGM was exploding in virtual space as it led more and more individuals to follow their dreams and create products using their own means. Usually these means took place at home or in their own businesses, with their own time, effort, ideas, and whatever they needed to use to make it happen. (ie; computers, programs, video cameras, gaming) 
I could deeply feel that my passion for writing and sharing had some sort of connection to what others were doing but it didn't connect for a short time. 
It was inevitable that my hobbies would lead me to become a fan of several journalists and content creators that would inspire me to make that connection. 

I'm going to take you on a photo walk while you read this latest entry in Run Around:Diary.

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The night the epiphany struck my mind it felt to me like God and my soul were simultaneously telling me "Create a website!" and immediately I looked into taking my old Myspace blog to greater heights. 
As I gathered ideas for the concept, I had a lot of inspiration from one particular blogger/entrepreneur. I will not name that person or give them the credit they would normally deserve here because I no longer agree with their ethics and decisions in recent years, but I looked up to this person a lot. I felt like everything this person did was perfect and I read their blog daily like it was a religion
Every idea I was working out, were ideas that this person had fully manifested and did so well, and I always admired this person so much that every thing they did or said just made sense to me. I felt that this person was a true trailblazer, someone who was paving a new path in how blogging and information was digested and did things no one ever did before of such quality. 
My feelings were on the spot because this person saw great success and was highly commended and respected by many.
I wanted this person to be successful forever and to even work with them one day. I felt like I could join in the same path they paved, but one I could make happen in my neck of the woods, proceeding to do similar work, make similar content, patterning myself a lot after them, but adding my personal touch to things. 

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To make a very long story short this person began stagnating their usual content/way of doing things and instead began focusing on financial gain in areas that caused them to take away nealry everything that people loved about them. 
They slyly separated themselves from the community that supported them so intensely via a means that made it seem like a good thing. 
Their entire operation switched up in what seemed like an overnight fashion, (although it was a slow gradual process that creeped up while everyone was bored) and that person and their content were never the same again and still isn't to this day. 
To me that was devastating, it was like the beloved family dog was dying gradually and you wanted to look away because you knew what was coming. It was like watching your favorite show on tv, all the while you're reading an article on your phone that it will be cancelled next season. Imagine having an idol or maybe a brand that you adore so much that you somehow made serious life decisions or even career choices that spawned from your passion for that thing or person, but instead of it going away or dying, its also being changed from the very ways it was, different from how you knew and loved it as it was.
It was a feeling of end, a gradual and eventual death to something I loved. 
I shouldn't have invested so much admiration and obsessiveness over one person or their work, but over time I began to realize that it was more than that. 
It was more than making passionate choices because of them or their work, or any of the other inspirations I had.
Somehow, I had recognized whatever "it" was that they had. I knew it was the "it" that was a true inner power of some kind, some sort of connection this person had come across for success that maybe, maybe, just maybe, if I could meditate on that or learn from trial and error and keep fighting towards my passions and goals and dreams each day, that I could reach that point too. 
It was still true that I greatly admired them and their work, but I now understand it was more than that.

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Have you ever seen the movie Limitless? Its about a guy who's poor with a boring life, each day everything seems grey and dull. He comes across rare pills that speed up and activate portions of his mind/brain and he becomes good at everything and finds/creates extreme success. There's consequences to using the super pills and that part has nothing to do with my story- but I felt like whatever this person discovered who I followed, whatever the "it" was in their life they had figured out and learned to use for their success and benefit, it was like those super pills, but without the consequences.
Some kind of revelation, rigorous discipline, observation and skill- whatever it was I wanted to fight for sweet success. Success. Something means so much.
I realized that I seemed to discover that there was a higher level to this life that I could reach, one where I could know a kind of happiness and success that could be forged by my own hands and mind, and could stem from my own interests and hobbies.
The idea of being on that level, that is what I grasped onto the most.

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Success and ideas drive people, opportunities and potential can be created from them. Good ideas and success can be something that can be hard to come by but it not only feels amazing; its the manifestation that you did something you were passionate about, that you saw it through and made it happen. That you reached a point you were working towards. That you embarked on a journey and completed it.
I realized the person I admired was just a regular person who must have discovered this to the fullest. They had their own ups and downs in life like anyone else can have, but this extreme insight into one's potential was what was special.
As I studied them along with some other inspirations of mine, I grew to see that success and/or great success often lies at the end of a long road- if not always.
It takes a lot to get there, but piecing together 'what' was needed was something I was (and still am) relatively good at. (fortunately) 
So without thinking too much further I made some decisions and went from square one. I decided to use whatever I had in my means and do my best. 

At that time, my 'means' consisted of an internet connection, a computer, a digital camera, my writing skill, and knowledge of then-developing social media sites.

My project wouldn't be close to some of the ones I was enthralled with online, but I worked tirelessly to ensure it was the best it could be. 
I went through a lot of learning, trial and error, and personal growth. I still do today. 
Amazingly it was making those decisions that became the catalysts I needed to get me going.

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With inspiration, determination, and the fires of my passion burning for whatever it was I was doing, I used what I had learned and had constructed the first version of this website. 
My goal was to make a place online where I could more professionally write about my hobbies and my life. Of course it was raw in the beginning and I laugh at some of the ways I did things back then but that's great because I learned. 
I became aware early on that I was good at it too, and I knew that I not only had to connect pieces online but also offline. 
I wanted to network with people and fellowship with other fans of my hobbies. 
A day came when I made a big decision (it felt big at that time) and brought my digital camera to a convention. I was so excited to put the pictures on my site afterward. 

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The paths I took led me down the roads I needed as far as I knew. Years went by and I found myself meeting all kinds of people and going to all sorts of places. 
I became a press officer and collaborator for several events big and small around our pop culture community here in California. I even met my wife (now divorcing lol) and many good friends- including my closest friend who began as an attendee to an opening ceremony I hosted.
I knew I was doing good because the scale of things were getting bigger, the opportunities better, and I kept learning new things. 
Nowadays I have come to learn that you must always keep learning when you're embarking on your dreams- if you're not learning something now and then, its time to change course!
Inevitably as it always is, I found myself meeting other content creators, some who were inspired by me and just beginning their paths. I also met some who were much further ahead than I on their roads to success. I met game developers, anime directors, convention founders, youtube personalities, popular public-figures and made my way to a ton of conventions and places like Sony, IGN, Google, and many more! I was definitely getting somewhere. 

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After highschool, I took some college courses, and over time I built up an impressive portfolio which is made up almost entirely of accolades, skills, and notable things that did not come from college, but from the work I was enjoying and paths I had taken. I made a plethora of connections and contacts. 
Over time It dawned on me that this site had never fully went in the direction I intended. Its as if my own popularity offline and maybe some of what I have on social media overshadowed the site I intended to do so much on. 
Plans for this site evolved still, regardless of this site's success and began moving from what was a nice blog to what is meant to be a huge news portal with a ton of topics. 
Being the only writer, I've never been able to supply all of this site's topic sections with adequate posts. 
I want to, but I have never been able to. Nevertheless I still intend to take on what sections we have here and post in them.
This site has also gone through so many changes- I tried to keep a screenshot collection of them all, but I lost count at one point. 
Regardless of changes it still exists here and will continue to.

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A few years ago my personal life began to get a bit rocky. This greatly effected the career I was paving for myself, as distraction after tragedy continued to plague my time and eat away at my creativity and independence. 
Anxiety and depression set in and and other health issues cropped up and consumed even more precious time, stalling productivity and progression.
Never giving up I kept attending events, but as time passed things slowed down. 
I became behind on content eventually, and this site always felt to me like it was missing something, sparking redo after redo.
As a reaction to what I felt was failing, I've subconsciously gotten quieter on social media. I've made attempts to come out of the shell that's formed, but I regressed to being less and less active online.
2015 came and went and proved to be one of the roughest years to ever plague my life, and my flame of passion has all but completely snuffed out, flickering in an attempt to exist. 
In my mind I know where I still want to go and its insanely difficult picking up the shattered remains of what's been left lately. Sometimes I feel like a husk or a cold android who's programming knows what to keep doing from days long past, like a shell that keeps moving. 
I have no intention to depress you here, but this is meant to guide you through the reality I've experienced and I ask that you keep reading. :)

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With that flickering flame I pushed forward and built the current version of this website. 
Again of course I lost interest or got behind on content.
In March and early April this year the flame flickered up again a little, inspired by old colleagues who did something big- suddenly I began posting and writing articles again like there was no tomorrow. 
My content relies heavily on internet usage but the entire networking and everything else I do offline is also a big part. I've felt unsure about any of that offline activity lately as I've been trudging forward through what feels like a muck of tar trying to pull be back down every time I reach up for success.
I lost 'it' and found 'it' over and over. Its been a pretty bad back and forth scenario that would give the game 'Pong' a run for it's money- it has been completely unprofessional of me and not the successful image I want to put out there.
Depressed or not however, I'm still confident that I'll keep pushing forward no matter what. My mind seems to have a fail safe mechanism or will that keeps pushing me back here somehow, and that will feels like something so solid that will never go away. Getting that will to stabilize is the tricky part.
Regardless, this story is mine and I'd be lying to myself it didn't belong here for you to read.
That is what this site was intended for, and deep inside I know I want to look back on these times one day when I hold success in my hand.

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This morning I woke up early and felt like I had a minor new epiphany. 7 1/2 years later after the first one, I began to realize something new. That realization is that I need to make a big change. 
I can't say whether or not I had just finally came to a conclusion in my mind, or if this may have been spurred from an inspirational move a colleague made which I'll get to in a bit. 
If it was realized that way then feel guilty that I tend to react so much to other's actions, but maybe that is just the type of catalysts that I need to oil the gears of my cog. I accept that. I like to see it that way. If so, then I'm lucky it happened.

I fully admit that as a writer/journalist, content creator, and CEO of RA:N I have a problem present, and that whatever I started after the first epiphany has failed. 
It is true that what I started was getting somewhere, but now a problem exists.
I can't put a full name or description on the problem, it isn't completely what should be called utter failure but some sort of lingering issue that needs solving if I should continue making Run Around:Network happen.
How do we solve a problem we can't put our finger on? I don't know.
My mind immediately goes to analyze everything I've been through and how it effects me. There's no clear path to take, but I think if I found any answers, that it would be that I am at a dead end.
I can tell you that I need a change, that much I know, and any change I make is going to massively effect this site, my career, and my life. 
Since I realize I found a full dead end for the first time, I am very excited now.
That is good thing, I know that I must leave this dead end but also go forward- and there's only one way to find out; to make a choice and step into the unknown.

To everyone who's stuck it through and enjoyed my coverage, my articles, and any of my work online and offline all this time, I deeply thank you. Its happens because I love doing it for you. If I didn't have all of you who read this site, then the joy of sharing to others wouldn't exist. I don't get a lot of comments here, but I can see many readers and returning readers from my website statistics, and some of you I have met in person.
I have wondered, "Am I doing something right?" by doing all of this, but I know I am still, that feeling is there.

Lanes now must change because because the present direction is the wrong one.

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So now that I have spoken about the dead end at hand and have ruled out that a lane-change must come, I will state here that I intend to fix this issue. Its a pretty big problem so the solution is going to have to be pretty big one for me. 
As always I'm going through a time of deep thought and meditation about the fix itself, but I feel that it falls in line with some kind of big fresh new start. 
I don't want to spend too much time just sitting around thinking about it though, because I have decisions to make.

Before I end this post though, I'd like to tell you a story, something I mentioned up above.
A colleague of mine worked at an amazing job at a famous company. He put his all into it and became the face of the company. 
Not long ago he felt that even though everyone else thought he was perfect, he personally knew he wasn't happy anymore, so he did what most people viewed as the unthinkable and he quit and began a venture many weren't sure would work out. 
He stuck it through and today that venture was successful and he's competing with the company he left. 

The morale of the story I have come to understand, is that we have the right to be happy. Period. Sometimes we know why and sometimes we don't know why we're not happy. That can mean that in many situations that a big fresh start can help. Often it helps a lot. 
I've spoken before about walking through the door to the unknown, its a step that can be scary that everyone who reaches the endgame of success has most likely taken at some point.

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All in all I'm not saying I'm ending RA:N. I don't know the extent of the fix yet, but I feel that I want to develop a new way of looking at what I like to do and how I do it. That may be the best way to presently describe the fix that is needed.
I'm going to make decisions and find whatever fresh paint I feel is necessary, I'm going to walk through the scary door and see what's on the other side.

The state of RA:N right now is currently an unintentional hiatus that feels like one of a million it has had since the beginning.
I'm not going to beat myself up about it anymore because it has been a humongous learning experience. Hiatuses/being behind or not. 
I realized this morning that while I can continue to move forward I need to do it differently. My life isn't the same as it was these past years, in fact its actually somewhat most similar to how things were when I began doing all of 'this', which is even more a good reason to me to make a fresh start. This time however, I have more tools to work with than I did in the beginning.

I plan on getting back into the press scene and networking, it will come inevitably but I realize that it will be some time before I do.
Instead right now I feel that I want to really hash out what type of content I want to create, how I can do that, and how I can streamline it all for myself, to make myself the most comfortable so I can really jump in and get passionate about things again. 
This must be achieved so I can get over the hurdles that are present for me right now so I can create a new harmonious work-ethic to however and whatever I'm about to do.

This is a huge personal journey for me and one of the truest things in my soul. 
I am firmly confident that this next chapter is the one where victory lies at the end.
This time I'm going to be louder, I'm going to say what's on my mind, and my Faith is firmly rooted above.
I am a journalist, a photographer, a content creator, an entrepreneur. 
More importantly, I'm Hikaru Kazushime and I'm not done yet. 


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About Hikaru Kazushime

Hikaru Kazushime is an American entrepreneur from the USA who lives in California and is the creator of Run Around:Network, a brand that brings Visual Culture to life. Kazu (called for short) is an active personality in the anime and gaming industries and sub-culture scenes. Kazu resides in his hometown of Sacramento, California where he manages RA:N from his home office. Learn more about Kazu by clicking the "About Hikaru Kazushime" link at the top under the "About" tab.

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