Tuesday, June 7, 2011

Quit Taking Notes! (or, “How I Learned to Stop Worrying and Love the Blog”)

Photo credit: keep3.sjfc.edu

I love to read!  Presumably, since you’re here, you and I have that in common, so maybe you've had this experience: About a month ago, my venture into the world of blogs led me to a shocking conclusion.  As it turns out, there are people out there who know things that I don't… a lot of people and a lot of things!  Through their blogs, however, they make their wisdom available and free for the taking.

All you have to do is search them out.

Disclaimer: Between my wife, my friends, and my coworkers, there are plenty of people in my day-to-day life who know a lot of things which I don’t.  I’ll save that topic for another blog.

I'd say about a minute after discovering my first blog-based mentor, Chris LoCurto, I discovered my second (Jon Acuff)… and then my third, and fourth, and so on.  Before I knew it, my Read it Later queue was 150 articles long and growing!  As I began reading these blog entries, I was struck by their wisdom and I wanted to make sure that these secrets weren’t lost on me.  I wrote stuff down, printed things out, saved items in my queue instead of deleting them, created bookmarks… anything to keep from missing out on these brilliant tidbits.

Photo credit: theboard.byu.edu
Do you know what that accomplished?  I became one hot mess of disorganization!  I tried to tighten my grip on every little bit of wisdom I could, to the point where nothing was sticking.

I don’t know if anyone has said this before, but I’m saying it now: “Wisdom is like water.  If you try to grab it, it will slip right through your hands.  Just jump in... you’re bound to get some on you!”  The more I kept reading, the more I started to see that the best points of wisdom were, in fact, not secrets held by one evil genius blogger!  Ideas flowed from one blogger to the next like a mystical thread.  Everyone was saying the same thing, but in their own unique voice.

This revelation taught me two things:

1)   I stopped trying to save every little thing that caught my attention, because I knew if I just waited a day or two, it would come back around from another blogger.  Take an idea and repeat it from various sources, and you will internalize the lesson.
2)   I don’t have to worry if I'm saying what has already been said.  My job is to simply put my thoughts out there in my own unique voice.

All the above having been said, there is a precursor to letting wisdom wash over you… you must seek out the source!  If you just wait for the occasional Facebook link from a friend, you will never experience that feeling of wisdom washing over you.  Like anything you want to be good at, the key is daily commitment.

Seek out people who are where you want to be… they are often giving away their “secrets” for free!

Have you sought out the wisdom of those with more experience than you?  What did you learn and how did you learn it?


  1. Great post, James! I struggle with feeling overwhelmed with all this information, as well. Appreciate your practical, earnest tips.

  2. @Jeff GoinsThanks, Jeff! Your feedback is very much appreciated. I look forward to enjoying some more of your points of wisdom, too.