10,000 Visits: Looking Back on Lessons Learned

Yesterday I passed an exciting personal landmark – 10,000 visitors to this blog, which I think is awesome! Thank you to everyone for your support.

So, what have I learned so far from blogging? A lot actually – let me share the best of them with you here:

  1. You won’t know a home-run until after you hit the ball: you wouldn’t believe how many blog posts I thought were going to be amazing that turned out to be, following on the baseball analogy, singles (or at max, doubles). As I was writing it, I would be telling myself how interesting it was – at least interesting to me. Then I would publish it, and it would get mediocre engagement.

    However, on the other hand, some of the posts I published were at best average in my eyes. They weren’t anything special, and I didn’t put any extra effort into them. However, after publishing them, they would get huge engagement. The case in point is my article on compounding. I didn’t think it was anything revolutionary, but it has gotten over 1,000 views (500 of those in one day), and has been my most successful post by far.

    The lesson? You won’t know if you hit a homerun until after you hit the ball, so swing away!

  2. Practice writing: like any skill, you need to practice writing. Writing is one of the two ways you get your ideas across (the other being speaking), and in most work environments, it’s the way you get the majority of your ideas across. In fact, a poor proposal or outline can be the death of a good idea in a large company – it won’t even make it past the manager’s desk.

    So, take some time to practice writing. Get a journal, start a blog, get a pen pal – whatever you do, just make sure you are keeping your skill sharp in case you ever need it.

  3. Learn by sharing: getting yourself to understand something is not the hardest thing in the world – it also doesn’t guarantee you fully understand the topic. Knowing something well enough that you can explain it to someone else, to the point where they understand it as well as youdo does mean you understand the topic.

    Learning by sharing is one of the mystical properties that keep the world turning. The more you share, the more you master and learn whatever it is you are sharing. As Jim Rohn says, if you share something with 10 people, they each get to hear it once, you get to hear it 10 times – and every time you will hear a bit more.

  4. Simplify: complex ideas, complex explanations, and complex blog posts have poor adoption rate. If it takes you ten minutes to explain something, it usually means it’s too complicated. Whenever possible, simplify. Put things into a basic list, take out the fluff (although I do love fluff), and get to the point. The more concise and clear your proposal, the less room for questioning and error you create.
  5. Give value: most people want value – they want you do to something for them. Unfortunately, that’s not the way it works. Success is something you must make advanced deposits in to in order to receive, usually in the form of giving value. Also, the great thing about giving value is that it puts the ball in your court. You don’t need to wait for someone else to act – you can start providing value right now if you want to.

    Also, be creative in how you add value. I am not sure if it is a myth, but I heard a great story about a young guy breaking in to the equity desk at Goldman Sachs (aka trying to get a job). This guy was keen, passionate, and driven but he didn’t have the pedigree to get in the front door. Instead, he got a job delivering pizzas at the Goldman desk’s favorite spot. Every time they would order a pizza, he would personally deliver it – for a good reason. He would tape an investment thesis to the top of the pizza box, along with his core research, and contact information.

    I am sure the first few times the Goldman guys thought it was nothing more than a joke – but after a while, they must have grown curious, because as the story goes, the investment theses’ were so good they offered him a job. Moral of the story: don’t ask for value, provide it.

  6. Build habits: habits are great because once you set them, auto pilot takes over. You don’t need to remind yourself constantly to do them – it almost comes naturally. If I were to guess at the most important points to achieving personal success, setting good habits would have to be near the top. Set good habits so that you can focus on what’s really important.
  7. Have an opinion: (hopefully an informed opinion) no one likes to hear (or read) something by someone who walks the straight in narrow. Whatever it is you are involved in, have an opinion and take a side. People of substance want to talk to other people of substance, and that usually involves someone who has an opinion. The reason? You need to really understand the subject to have an informed opinion, one that you can defend and provide supporting evidence of.

These are some of the lessons I learned over the last couple of months – I look forward to seeing what I learn over the next couple of months! And as always, thank you for stopping by to take a read – hopefully it provided some value for you!

 

Blair Livingston

 

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