Do you want to learn new things and great ideas to better understand the world we live in? So do I! That’s why I read books and articles, I study myself and I analyze what I know and believe. And I often find great ideas that change the way I see myself, humans or our world. I often reflect and end up having insights that I haven’t had before.
And I’ve decided that I want to share some of these insights with you. So this is an experiment to see how it works. I’ll try to share a few insights every month. Some will be things that I have read and some will be my own thoughts. I hope you’ll find some of these ideas useful, informative and inspiriting!
Insight #1: “Professionals stick to schedules, amateurs let life get in the way.” – James Clear
I found this idea in an article on James Clear’s website. I discovered him a few months ago. He often talks about habits, productivity and ways to improve.
This idea resonated with me because I realized that I have been an amateur for too long. Let me tell you what I mean. I don’t know if you know this, but I have another blog called The Sunshine Review. I started that blog about 3-4 years ago as a hobby. I would sometimes write my thoughts there and send that to my close friends.
About 2 years ago, I decided to start posting more and not just for the 3-4 people who used to read it. My goal was to post a short article every day about something that has to do with personal development. And I did that…for almost 2 months. Then one day, I could not or would not share my daily article. I was in another country, I had been walking all day, I was meeting with someone, it was late, I was tired, I did not have anything to share…I let life get in my way.
After that, I felt so guilty that I did not even want to continue sharing content every day. As a perfectionist, I tormented myself because I failed. And the following months I was very inconsistent with my work. Time passed and I think that I have changed and the way I write has changed – but I am still not a professional.
However, I understand how much this matters now. I am still trying to set a schedule for myself and stick to it, but it’s gotten better. I write longer articles, so I can’t post every day, but I set dates for myself and I do my best to stick to them.
A piece of advice
If you want to do something that matters to you, having a schedule or deadline is important. However, try to be realistic when you set them. And be a little flexible. If you are one day late once, maybe it’s not that bad. If you are always a few days late, maybe you need to work better or give yourself more time. Be flexible until you find what works for you and then do your best to stick to your goals and schedule.
Insight #2: Ask yourself: “What don’t I know?” and “How do I know I’m right?” – Ray Dalio
Have you heard about Ray Dalio? He is a very successful investor – one of the best in the world. I recently discovered him and he is one of the people I admire and want to learn more about. But what I like about him has nothing to do with his ability to invest and make money.
I look up to Ray Dalio because he seems to be a truth seeker and an accurate thinker. He wants to find out what is true and what he knows even at the expense of his comfort. I cannot stress how important this is.
I think that most of us overestimate how good we are, how skilled we are, how much we know and what we can do. We think that we are better than we really are. Sometimes this works well for us, but I think it’s a blind spot we should eliminate. Thinking you are better does not make you better – it makes you more ignorant and weaker.
It takes courage to look at yourself in the mirror, look for and accept your limits, your flaws, your mistakes. Once you do that, you can improve.
And from what I have learned so far, Ray seems to have a similar perspective. He knows that we have blind spots and he wants to eliminate them. So he questions what he knows and tests it out. He asks his employees to be totally honest with him and tell him when he makes mistakes. Even though he is a billionaire, any employee can send him an email and say that he gave a terrible presentation (it actually happened!).
And I think this is a great thing to do! If you want to be the type of person who truly knows himself, knows his place in the world and understands the world he lives in, you cannot allow yourself to assume you are better and know better than you do.
A piece of advice
We like to think that we are better because it inflates our self-esteem. But if you care more about wisdom, intelligence, success and real power, you need to let this go. You need to accept your flaws. Have the courage to get to know your real self – that is the starting point of true and lasting growth.
Otherwise, you are fooling yourself. It’s like you are building a house on a foundation of sand. When the reality waves come crashing in, your house will crumble.
Insight #3: It’s not enough to learn facts and information. You need to learn how to analyze and scrutinize that information. – Paula Ghete
As I said, I like reading and learning new things. I’m mostly interested in psychology and personal development. But I also want to understand what happens in the world at large so I occasionally read about something else. Right now I’m reading a great book about politics.
But you can read and learn your whole life and still not know much. If you know the years when certain events happened, if you can name every element in the periodic table and if you speak 3 languages, you are educated. And that is great!
I think we need to move beyond that. It’s not enough to accumulate information, facts and knowledge. We need to learn how to process it, how to understand it and how to use it.
It’s not enough to read a book. We need to train ourselves to question that book. A well-written book by a famous author can easily seem a true book – especially if we are not trained enough. But just because it was written by a renowned author or scientist it does not mean it is true. Anyone can be wrong. And any great book can still have some erroneous information.
So I think we need to read as much as we can. But we should also learn how to take a step back, reflect on everything else we have learned and ask ourselves: Is this true? Does everything I know support or contradict this? How can I find out what is true? And how can I use this information in my life?
A piece of advice
When you read your first books, they all seem true. That’s because they are usually well written and the authors are convinced of the validity of their words. But after a while, you begin to occasionally question what you are reading. You will disagree with some parts. You will recall something from another book and wonder which author knew best. When you do this, you’re just getting started. I started doing this only recently and I enjoy reading much more now.
If you have only read a few books and everything you read sounds correct, true and impressive, that’s normal. I think that we all start like this. Keep reading more and better books. Read non-fiction about topics that matter and you are passionate about. And one day, without realizing it, you’ll begin to analyze and question what you’re reading. The only secret is to keep reading!
I could go on and share more ideas, but I don’t want this article to be very long. I’ll try to share a few new insights at the end of every month. The insights may seem a bit random, but they are all things I am passionate about. If you keep reading these articles, you’ll get to learn new things and get to know me better. In time, I think they’ll seem less random to you.
Let me know if you liked this article and if you would like to read more like this one!