One book that inspired me to read is the Autobiography of Malcom X. His is a story of profound awakening and transformation.
Malcolm grew up in foster homes. As a young man he hit the streets, committed crimes, and landed in jail, sentenced to 10 years. He was 20...
Malcolm meets a fellow convict he calls "Bimbi". Bimbi convinces Malcolm to study and learn to develop his mind, "the only way we knew how to rebel was to cram some knowledge into our brains."
This begins one of the most radical transformations documented in literature. He discovers philosophy, history, science, and of course, black history. His transformation and self-discovery during his journey of reading should be standard education,
....But I'm digressing....my alma mater was books, a good library. Every time I catch a plane, I have with me a book I want to read- and that's a lot of books these days. If I weren't out here every day battling the white man, I could spend the rest of my life reading, just satisfying my curiosity-because you can't hardy mention anything I'm not curious about. I don't think anybody ever got so much out of going to prison than I did. In fact, prison enabled me to study far more intensively than I would have if my life had gone differently and I had attended some college. I imagine that one of the biggest troubles with colleges is there are too many distractions, too much panty-raiding, fraternities, and boola-boola and all of that. Where else but in prison could I have attacked my ignorance by being able to study intensely sometimes as much as fifteen hours a day?"
You can read the entire excerpt here. Every so often I return to it as motivation to continue reading and cultivating curiosity as a means to improve.
There is a major theme I hear on the topic of content creation and building an audience. It applies whether you are tweeting, blogging, instagramming or whatever else.
Create tons of content. Always show up and always be creating.
Followers at the least expect consistency in your creation. If you blog daily, never miss a day. If you tweet often, never skip more than a few days.
At the most, create as much as you can. Give your followers or audience the choice of consuming the content they want.
Those who show up win.
Many people don't believe they can actually achieve it, so they don't start. It's not the lack of knowledge or opportunity that prevents anyone from achieving their goals, it's mostly self-delusion.
There is self-delusion in the actual work they are willing to put in.
But there is also self-delusion in what they can actually achieve. This is interesting because everything has already been done before. Whether that's starting a business, or writing a novel, or being on broadway, one thing is for certain -- someone had done it. If they can do it, why can't you do it?
So a key to this is having the vision to know what you want then seeking out the people who've already done it. Learn from them, copy them, steal from them, reach out to them.
The playbook is already there. You just need to follow it.
This morning I tweeted a list of accounts I've been following for some time. These accounts are focused on finance, investing, and personal growth. It got tons of engagement. It was the best performing tweet of mine by far. Two thing stuck out to me.
First, people just want to connect with like-minded people. Just tweeting your appreciation for others who are discussing similar topics is enough for others to engage. People want to work with people they like. They also want to share in common goals. Let this be a lesson to anyone just getting started. Even if you have little to offer, and no experience to speak of, just showing up and participating and listening is enough.
Secondly, these folks create everyday. They ship their content everyday. They have large followers and are on top of their niches. This is the biggest takeaway for me. It's not that they always produce incredible content. No, the content they produce everyday isn't always the best. But they produce tons of content. They show up everyday and they figure out away to get results.
Success is a numbers games. It's simple. It is showing up, never giving up, not listening to others and shipping your art. If you haven't started yet, then your problem isn't your great idea, or your execution, it's your "at bats". You just haven't swung enough times. Instead, focus on shipping daily.
Earlier I spoke about the power of online courses. This is a prime example of that.
Here are free videos from David Perrell on building audiences with Anthony Pompliano, building a twitter following, and how he uses twitter. This is extremely valuable information that is available for free! This is available to anyone who is ambitious enough to study it and apply it.
Below I'll summarize the major takeaways.
The most consistent message throughout all of these is the important of posting often. It's vital to consistently post content on Twitter. Pomp originally posted 10 times per day, for 3 years. David posts 5 times. On twitter, the volume of data is what gives you an edge over other accounts.
Find what you will post about and don't post about anything else. This is the hardest part. What will your niche of niches be that makes you unique and allows you to stand out? Your goal is to understand what this is and never post about anything else. Only as you increase your followers and engagement can you slowly start to widen your topics.
This is hard stuff
The first lesson from Pomp is to "don't even try". Because growing a twitter audience or an audience on any platform is a grind. It's really difficult stuff. It requires a ton of hard work and persistence. It won't happen tomorrow. It's vital to understand why you want to grow your audience and twitter following, otherwise you won't make it.
Thanksgiving is my favorite holiday.
It’s worth the family debates. It’s worth the traveling and putting up with your in-laws, your drunk uncle, and god forbid the noise of Detroit Lions somewhere in the background.
Unlike other days it has avoided the consumerist trap. It’s not too patriotic or kitschy. Nor does it drag on — it is a single day, a nice day-off on Friday, and then you’re back.
It’s red wine and stuffing and game meat and family. It’s simple. It’s also the first step into the holiday season, like a Thursday before a great weekend, you just need to wrap things up Friday. The worst part of Thanksgiving is likely self-induced: you ate too much, drank too much the night before, or picked the fight with that drunk Uncle.
I am thankful to have a family I can enjoy this day with. Many others do not have that family. And for them this day is painful - a reminder of what is lost or never was. I am thankful despite how hard family can be. Families are challenging, strange, and often just disappointing. Family can challenge your faith in family and make you wonder what all the effort is for. But it is worth the trouble.
How valuable a day that requests you pause and reflect on what you have versus the alternative - scrambling for that which you don't. No gifts, no cards, no rituals, just sitting and eating.
In my twenties I enjoyed reading self-help and motivational books. The greatest of these authors and speakers are well know, such as Zig Ziglar, Jim Rohn, and even Gary Vaynerchuck.
My all-time favorite is Jim Rohn. This video was a huge inspiration to me. It is four hours of knowledge and wisdom and not to mention a masterclass in public speaking. It set me on a path of developing my own philosophy.and while I fail to always embody it, the kernel is there. I revisit my notes and rewatch every so often.
It feels good to get a fresh dose and revisiting this old content. But today I receive little value from self-help and motivational content. Maybe someday that will change. Today the content is repetitive and the messages along the lines of ‘being successful’ provides less value because it’s all internalized.
Literature and Biographies
As you read more you upgrade your reading. You move onto more difficult reading that requires deeper thinking and reflection. This is what separates the great books from the bad books. Today, I receive much more value from literature. The great stories in history nudge open the door to deeper truths and meaning that simple directives cannot.
Reading the Moviegoer, for example, a book whose character is on a quest for finding meaning in life, is more powerful and impactful than a book simply telling me how to find meaning. I experience the nothingness, emptiness, and self-delusion that Binx feel. I heed its lessons and come way changed.
Another great genre is biographies. I’ve written about this before, but they are vastly underrated for their teaching of history. You cannot tell the story of FDR or Lincoln without also setting the context of the Civil War or WW2. And better yet, they are superior in providing lessons on life through the mistakes and triumphs of their subjects.