Over the years, aside from business blogs and a couple of e-commerce sites, I've had two blogs that I've contributed to semi-consistently.
The first was a site called Personal Development Hacks. It was ugly as sin! I started it at a time when I began to read a lot more. Not reading to pass an exam, not reading to please a boss; but reading to pursue worldly wisdom. I didn't call it that then, and the subset of books read was narrow.
Through that blog, I wrote my first ever guide for sale - on goal setting - which a couple of people even paid real money for - boom! Ha!
One of the many gems of advice that famed investor Warren Buffet gives, is that to be successful you should operate within your 'circle of competence.'
That is to say, you have to figure out where your aptitudes are, where you have an edge, and play within it.
If you play where others have an edge, you're going to lose.
Over time, work to expand your circle, but never fool yourself about where it stands today. Don't be afraid to say "I don't know."
Over the last few years, I've made it a priority to read a lot of books. Not just any books, but those that teach you Worldly Wisdom.
What is elementary, worldly wisdom? Well, the first rule is that you can’t really know anything if you just remember isolated facts and try and bang ‘em back. If the facts don’t hang together on a latticework of theory, you don’t have them in a usable form.
Books are the great leveller. They give you access to the musings of the most talented people of not just today, but throughout history.
Want to learn about investing? Legendary investors Ben Graham, Warren Buffett and Charlie Munger have penned their thoughts. Want to learn about dealing with uncertainty, read anything by Nassim Taleb. What to learn about Stoic Philosophy, read any of the classics by Seneca or Marcus Aurelius.
Yes, books are the great leveller and have become incredibly important to me over the last few years.
How to read a book is also important. That’s been covered in detail over at Farnam Street Blog and you can read about it here and here.
Learning From and Relating To What You Read
When I read a book, I'm always scribbling in the margins, always writing down my thoughts, thinking how it may relate to knowledge I already have or experiences that I'm going through. I'm not a special snowflake here, most curious people will be scribbling in the margins. In fact, it's termed "Marginalia" and has been done throughout the centuries by various historical figures including Mark Twain and Oscar Wilde.
You do not make observable progress in any activity – in a work project, in understanding a topic, in learning a new skill; in a linear, step-by-step fashion. But that doesn't mean stuff isn't happening that you can’t see, so don’t sweat and keep going.
It’s like a kettle boiling. Nothing, nothing, nothing and then bam! Excitement, bubbling, steam! You don’t see the progress for the first couple of minutes, but you do see the rapid progress when it all comes together at the end.
That doesn't mean stuff isn't happening though. All the time, molecules are heating up, they are getting more excited,
half of the solution. In fact, the proper formation of a problem is often more essential than the solution.