Wednesday, December 25, 2019

The things I've Learned About Blogging in 2019

Back in 2018, when I had 40k views, I set myself a goal to have an additional 10k views (total of 50K) for the year of 2019 and I'm happy to report that as of 2 months ago that goal was reached. Granted, it was a pretty conservative goal but it's the best that I could do given that I'm not currently able to blog full time - I sill manage to learn a few things in the process.

The things I've learned about blogging in the year 2019:
  • Be Consistent - is updated every Wednesday without fault and I found that it's been a key factor in keeping steady pageviews weeks after weeks.
  • Be Your Best Promoter - What I consider the best blogs of 2019 have been promoted to my friends via Facebook or at any opportunity that I had. This generated interests in my immediate circle of friends and, at times, I was even able to reach friends of friends.
  • Read/Exercise/Get out of the comfort zone - In order to find things to write about you need to bring oxygen to your brain (exercise), work your mind (read) and work on your creativity (get out of the comfort zone). All of these things have helped me find inspiration.
  • Goal/Track - Set measurable goals and keep track of them. If it looks like you're not going to reach your goal, adjust what you do so that you will.
While I achieved my goal of 10K views for 2019, I feel like I was too conservative. I wasn't enough of a stretched to make it happen so for 2020 I have a goal of 20K views (for a total of 70k). What will this journey teach me? Stick around to find out.

Wednesday, December 18, 2019

Why I'm Proactive

"People place confidence in the fellow who acts. They naturally assume he knows what he is doing." -David J. Schwartz

Being proactive, for those of you who doesn't know what it means, is basically being able to add value to the company/project without being told to do so - it's about you figuring out the next steps instead of your superiors having to do it for you.
For as long as I can remember, I've always been proactive to some extend but I wasn't always adding as much value as I could due to lack of experience. Most performance reviews I've had at work as referred "proactivity" as being my biggest strength but what most people don't know is that I'm only proactive because I hate being told what to do.

You read that right - I'm proactive because I don't like being told what to do. To me, having a superior sit down with me and go over my next task is a bigger pain than just having me do that sort of work. First of all, in most cases, I have a clearer picture of what needs to be done than my superiors do and I consider it a waste of time to try to explain to them that how they want me to work doesn't really make sense in the context that we're in... So I just do it.

Here's another "secret" of mine: While I have an idea of what the big picture is I don't necessarily know all the steps/task to get there before I start. This is the crazy part to me because when I look at a proactive person, from the outside, I feel like they have a clear picture of every steps in order to get the task done but it's rarely the case (at least to me). Most things are figured out on my way to task completion.

How to be proactive?
On my proactive journey, I've identified 4 things that help me be proactive. Those are:
  1. Don't be afraid to make mistakes - One of the reasons why most people aren't proactive is because they're afraid of making mistakes. By having a superior figure out the task, it becomes easier to put the blame on them when the results aren't as expected. Proactive people tend to have to take the responsibility of failures because they're the ones that came up with the steps.
  2. Understand the bigger picture - In order to developed effective steps towards a task completion, you need to understand the bigger picture. What needs to be done and what is your role in it? This obviously becomes clearer the longer you are on a project.
  3. Hate being told what to do - I mentioned this before but when someone tells me what to do, they are also indirectly telling me "I don't trust you with this so do it my way". Since I don't want to be told what to do my mind automatically focuses on the next steps.
  4. Have a creative mind - Having a creative mind does help with being proactive since you need to be creative to come up with tasks that may not of been done before. Reading, writing, drawing and other creative endeavors can be help develop a creative mind and ultimately help with proactivity.
Are you proactive? What makes you proactive? Share in the comments!

Wednesday, December 11, 2019

Time Tells Us What We're Not

A few months ago, I wrote a blog following a pretty powerful quote that I came across. The quote is:

“We spend most of our twenties discovering all of the hundreds of things we can be. But as we mature into our thirties, we begin to discover all of the things we will never be. The challenge for us as we reach our forties and beyond is to put it all together-to know our capabilities and recognize our limitations-and become the best we can be.”
-Catherin B. Ahles

Today I want to expand on that quote some more.

When we're faced with too many decisions to make we can become paralyzed and unable to decide. Knowing this, perhaps one of the reasons why kids don't know who they are is because the possibilities available to them are endless.

As we get older we figure out who we are by what we no longer can "be".

At 30, for example, I can't be a NHL player no matter how hard I try. When someone asks me "who are you?" I can answer, with certainty, that I'm not an hockey player.
The kid doesn't know if he's going to be a hockey player yet though. That option, among many others, is still available to him - so how can he decide, with certainty, "what he'll be when he grows up?". Most kids don't know who they are, let alone who they'll become, and that's okay because they'll figure it out as they get older and understands more about the world they live in and its limitations.

Wednesday, December 4, 2019

Beyond Self-Help

I've been consuming self-help type of materials for the better part of 10 years. In the last few years there's been a shift in my thinking that made me want more "meat" out of my self-improvement diet. The nicely packaged quotes and processes were no longer enough to sustain me.
While I haven't turned my back on the self-help genre, I have now included more of the below subjects in order to define my own path rather than follow someone else's. The subjects are:

  • Philosophy - The study of fundamental truths, which includes religion/spirituality, is Self-Improvement in it's "raw" form. It's undigested information and that may be difficult to read for those just starting out on their Self-Improvement journey.
    "Living issues in Philosophy" book by author Harold Titus and Marilyn Smith is a great place to start as it will introduce you to many great thinkers and ideas.
  • Psychology - One of the most important thing about success is the understanding of self. Once you understand yourself, you have a better understanding of others which will prove to be a great asset to you on your success journey.
    "Personality PLUS" book by Flaurence Littauer is a great place to start as learning about personalities will help you better understand yourself as well as others.
  • History - History can provide perspective and inspiration. It's even better if it is combined with Philosophy and Psychology as it help understand the reasoning behind the action of the great men and women of the past.
    Here, you may want to start looking for information about the person of history that you're most interested in. For me, it started with an "Alexander the Great" biography closely followed by "Ghost on the Throne - The death of Alexander the Great and the bloody fight for the empire his empire" book by James Romm.

While there are no particular order for which subject you should start with I would recommend that you save History for after you've developed an understanding of Philosophy and Psychology as you'll get the most out of your history reading that way. The goal here is simply to find your path towards success and the above subjects, mixed with your own experience, are sure to help.

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