As humans we tend to think in boxes. There’s a box with knowledge about how to write, a box that informs us about how to edit the work, and one about publishing and promoting. We think of each of these boxes as independent areas of expertise. But they’re not independent. The boxes we construct are usually interconnected and knowledge in one domain is useful in another. For example, writing and the skill of story telling is tremendously useful when it comes to promoting your work as well.
It is a given that your mindset fundamentally determines your success and impact on the world. Beliefs such as a victim mentality are huge hurdles to achieving what you strive for. Conversely, having the right beliefs is the foundation for realizing your full potential.
Everyone agrees that your body needs a healthy diet to function optimally. Only with with the right fuel, nutrients and building materials can you live a long and happy life. It prevents you from many ailments and strengthens your immune system so you do not have to spend your days sick in bed.
However, I argue that your mind needs a healthy diet too. I am not talking about how the brain as part of your body is affected by food as well. I am talking about the diet of information and knowledge you feed your brain.
If you care at all about productivity and getting more out of your time, you probably are constantly on the lookout for tools that might help you. In fact, the question I hear most often related to improving in any area is usually related to what tools successful people are using. If you know me, you probably know that I believe that principles are much more important than tools, however, I also believe that sometimes the two don’t exclude each other. So if people ask me what I believe to be the greatest productivity tool my answer always is: my calendar.
“You have to live on this twenty-four hours of daily time. Out of it you have to spin health, pleasure, money, content, respect, and the evolution of your immortal soul. Its right use, its most effective use, is a matter of the highest urgency and of the most thrilling actuality. All depends on that. Your happiness — the elusive prize that you are all clutching for, my friends! — depends on that.”
Arnold Bennett, How to Live on 24 Hours a Day
I was deeply fascinated reading Arnold Bennett’s book “How to Live on 24 Hours a Day” years ago. In it he expresses his puzzlement of the amount of literature and focus that people put on the “money problem” — how to get by on X-amount of money — however, almost none on how to get by on 24 hours a day. The world offers countless possible activities, a multitude of possible paths to follow, infinite lives to be lived, but at the same time you have been bestowed with a very finite time on this earth. In light of longevity research still being far away from cracking the code of immortality, we have no other choice than to accept this and make the best out of it.
On a farm in Missouri, a young man walked three miles each day to go to college. He was a smart boy, had good grades, and aspirations to become a great novelist. There was only one problem — he wasn’t any good.
Nevertheless, the boy would end up writing one of the most influential books ever written. It wasn’t the next big American novel. Instead, he wrote a book about people. More specifically How to Win Friends and Influence People. It sold over 30 million copies.
2016 election night. Donald Trump faces Hillary Clinton in the fight for the presidency.
The election was quite frankly a shitshow. Trump’s candidacy took everyone by surprise. People thought it was a joke. Maybe a cheap shot to gain some publicity for the Trump brand. They’d be in for a surprise.
366BC a young man joined Plato’s famous academy to learn about philosophy and the sciences. His name was Aristotle and he became Plato’s most successful disciple and a subsequent teacher at the academy. Aristotle is known today as a polymath and especially as a philosopher. He wrote about and studied subjects from physics, biology, over metaphysics and ethics to poetry.
During his lifetime he made a variety of groundbreaking contributions to the sciences, however, there was one that isn’t often recognized by people. One of his vast interests was a field his teacher Plato called “immoral, dangerous and unworthy of serious study”. It was the field of persuasion.