how do i find such a range of things to write about?12 Apr 2017
last week i had lunch with a good friend (hey, craig!) and he asked me how it was that i found so many different ideas to write about. as i was explaining it (as often happens), i began to understand my own system better.
a while ago i actually wrote about how i think part of my value add to the world is capturing other people’s ideas and recombining them in new ways. i think in this explanation to craig i figured out some of the concrete parts of how that system works. it really comes down to three things:
regular hangs with friends i want to develop into lifelong friendships
these include regular dinners/post-work hangouts, weekend phone calls, and one friend with whom i exchange voicemails every couple of weeks (our schedules don’t often work for us to connect so he suggested we leave each other voicemails as a way to keep up with each other. it’s like a pen pal thing and it works really well).
anyway, those friends are both in the us and not, and also have some identities i share, but many others that i don’t. having close friends who see different parts of the world and in different ways really helps to keep my perspective flexible.
i read a lot. people recommend probably ten internet/news articles a week for me to read (via twitter, email, pocket, or just texting). i can’t always get to all of them because that’s just too much time spent reading articles, but if something seems outside of my wheelhouse, i’ll usually gravitate towards it. i’m also more likely to read it if it’s written by someone who is affected or impacted by the content or subject of the article.
i also have a 40-60 minute commute to work so that gives me at least a solid hour every day to read. i try only to read actual books on that commute. i heard once about a person who just stopped reading internet articles altogether and they mentioned actually feel better off in the long run. it was a little strange being out of touch with the hottest latest trending articles, but the perspective gained from reading books from all diferent time periods and types of people was much more helpful. especially because the types of internet articles that any individual is willing to read are more likely than not to be created by someone who already thinks similarly to you.
there’s an article that i really liked about why reading, as a long-run strategy, is so important, but i can’t find it so here’s some others that get close to the same point:
- Benjamin Franklin did this 1 hour a day, 5 hours a week. Why you should do it too.
- Why Reading Is The Most Important Key To Success, As Told By 3 Successful People
- Arthur Schopenhauer: On Reading and Books
- The Top 3 Most Effective Ways to Take Notes While Reading
if i’m walking, i’m probably listening to a podcast. i love them. i try to listen to a variety of podcasts and i especially enjoy ones that interview people. by getting to know people’s stories, i can see how dfiferent people manage their lives. i also get to hear about what things influence them and that’s key. being about to get the download of someone’s influences expands my horizon faster than the rate at which i could read or otherwise learn stuff. it’s especially great when i notice that multiple people that i respect were all shaped by the same person or piece of writing.
at some point during the conversation craig mentioned that he had this mental image of me as a spider with a web that just catches all sorts of ideas. i really like that idea and it even reminds me of a visual my old colleague, curtis ogden, uses in one of my favorite blog posts of his: network leadership roles 2.0.
i’d use it as a logo or something, but spiders are too creepy for that, heh.
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