Roger Bannister ran a four minute mile in 1954 because he didn't know that you weren't supposed to be able to run a four minute mile. If he read running blogs, talking about how impossible it was to run a mile in four minutes, he probably wouldn't have done it.
I don't read running blogs. I don't read any blogs at all, which makes me into a huge hypocrite since I think that everyone should read my blog. It's worth it, though, to preserve the sanctity of original action. One of life's most instructive processes is acting when you've received no directions, can't predict the outcome, and are unclear on the boundaries. Only in these situations can one use all of the different areas of his brain in concert.
People ask me RV questions, and when I reply, I wonder if I'm doing them a disservice, only because I fondly remember the years of discovery I went through with my RV. I bought my RV without having ever slept in an RV before; I decided to live in it without knowing that anyone had ever lived on urban streets in an RV before (which, as it turns out, is rather common in San Francisco).
My experience with the RV has been positively shaped by my initial naivete. With no roadmap for how to live in an RV, I sketched my own through trial and error. As a result I've done many things to my RV that probably haven't been done before, and have developed a lifestyle in it that is unique and tailored to myself.
Amongst my circle of friends and acquaintances, I'm usually the first one to do new weird things. Listing these things would only serve to brag, because the actual actions are irrelevant. The attitude is what matters. I'm not afraid of the unknown; I'm drawn towards it.
Time and time again, my experiences with the novel reinforce the benefit associated with it. Exploring new territory allows us to learn firsthand-- the best type of education, it allows us to figure out what works best for us as individuals, and it sparks innovation that can be shared with others.
If humans are all capable of innovation, why does innovation happen, proportionally, so much more frequently at small companies? It's because in big companies, employees fill well-defined roles. They don't explore the wild frontier. In small companies, no one has any idea what they're doing, so they create without knowing or acknowledging limitation.
On the occasions I do read other people's work, I don't read it in hopes of uncovering their process, because I don't assume that they know me as well as I know myself. Instead, I immerse myself in other people's worlds, hoping to analyze what attitudes and personal traits allowed them to find what worked best for them. I reflect on how well or poorly I embody those traits, and then consider if improvement can be made.
But when it comes to figuring out how to implement that improvement-- I do it my way. And when I write posts, although I do sometimes list specific actions, I try to focus my writing on my attitudes and thought processes, in hopes that others will take from them and find their own way of doing things.
Photo is of me sitting in a random bench in rural Iceland, taken by Todd.
I'm about to play in the $1500 buy-in Fixed Limit event at the World Series of Poker! Wish me luck!
This is the first time I have felt that your advice is actually harmful.
Never under-estimate the power of learning from others. Read whatever you can. Every great discovery is built on the backs of other peoples work. Knowledge is power and always has been.
Your comment about Roger Bannister is way off the mark as well. Roger was inspired by Sydney Wooderson's comeback attempts and his competition with John Landy. It wasn't because he was unaware of what was said about running a sub four minute mile, it was because he it was going to happen, either by himself of John Landy. Landy broke Roger's record with a time of 3:57.9 just 46 days after Roger had set it.
Tynan, you are bright young man. But, we all have our stupid moments and this was one of yours. Learn from anyone you can. Just make sure you always believe in yourself and what you can do.
I'm not sure if I can agree with your suggestion. Blogs should be more of a field report to those who are interested in the subject. I think your agrument would be better suited at suggesting that people should read blogs and consider them as ideas for later and potentially future experiences, not as the experience themself. When you talk about living in your RV you're actually breaking the stereotype that RVs aren't something that a 20/30 something could be interested in.
Is this website for real??? Capitalizing on those too afraid to live their own lives is nothing new. Score on getting corporate sponsorship. "I'm usually the first one to do new weird things. Listing these things would only serve to brag", and then go on to blog and blog and blog and cha-ching.....zzzzz.
Interesting post, Tynan. But isn't immersing yourself in someone's world just the same as attempting to work out their processes?
Agreed, personal blogs need purpose and don't need to go on forever, I found your blog originally when looking for more details of airmans cave, now YOU SHOULD READ MY BLOG, or at least for a few more days until I complete my coast to coast bike ride :)
I'm loving the dramatic writing Tynan. I'm cracking up over here.
Go big or go home, brah. Good stuff.
@Tynan, having read your emails for sometime now, I pretty much know that you learn from others and do it quite well. I was more concerned that other readers might think that you didn't feel the need to learn from the accomplishments of others. I know you do.
I also feel you look at the world and problems in a unique way, which is good. I enjoy a lot of your posts.
All and all, lots of good responses to this post. I think it shows the quality of the people that read your emails.
I think if you know yourself well, then reading other people's blogs/ideas will be enlightening and help with your own creativity.
If you DON'T know yourself well, then other people's ideas will give you a model that you may conform to and limit yourself in the process.
I spent a lot of time trying to find myself by reading other people's blogs about their lifestyles. This was a very negative experience for me. As I find myself for real, in my daily life and reflection, I find other people's thoughts much less limiting and harmful.
Tynan, yes and no.....What seperates us from the cave man is knowledge passed down. It's not always wise to jump into EVERYTHING blind...
I like to bet. For those of you who have read the story about how I was a professional gambler, this is obvious. What I don't like to do is exercise. At one point in my life, these two activities joined to provide an interesting story.
I have a friend named Hayden. He likes to bet me. For a while we had a running string of bets, and I was down overall because I failed to get 10x his score in a Tony Hawk competition. At one point I was one of the top 10 Tony Hawk players in the world. That lasted for about 5 minutes until someone from Japan beat my score.
Hayden and I sat across from my kitchen table.
I'm thrilled that Tynan is coming to you with two things -- first, he's offering a breakthrough session through GiveGetWin. It's geared around doing more of the kind of excellent work you want to do, becoming more internally focused with your emotions, having a more enjoyable life, building great habits, and producing a lot of value in the process. There's five spots, so check it out now.
Second, we have this wonderful tour-de-force interview: it starts by covering how Tynan made the shift from unfocused to focused, how to derive internal enjoyment from things, useful actionable exercises you can do right now, Tynan's method and mindset for producing creative work consistently, how to set up great habits and an excellent mental and physical work environment, and how to make blogging work and similar endeavors work for you.
Total Focus; Total Enjoyment by Tynan, as told to Sebastian Marshall
When I turned 30 and I had a minor freak out… I thought, "I'll be 40 in not long, and then 50… there's things I want to do in my life, and they're not happening at this pace."
Before that, I had a general idea of things I wanted to do and have in my life, but I went about in an unstructured way. It was good in a lot of ways. It made be a broad process, but not much depth.