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 always find people's workflows interesting. It's such a personal process, unaffected by outside demands, that I think it sometimes reveals something about its creator. A lot of readers write or program, so I thought that my processes might be interesting.
Most people who write WordPress blogs write them in the built in WYSIWYG editor. That's how I started, too, but since then I've evolved my process to be more efficient, pleasant, and safe-- as in, lacking the danger of losing a post because you accidentally hit the back button.
They're not the same thing, actually, as Wikipedia so kindly educates us. Jealousy and envy are very similar in the respect that they're both feelings of discontent towards something that someone else has - so 'traits, status, abilities, rewards' etc., but envy is also wanting - desiring - to possess that something.
Oh. Well. I plead guilty. Again.