On Being Curious, Cruel, and Critical . . .


“How DO you come up with something to talk about every day?

I am sometimes asked how I come up with ideas for blog posts.  

Well, sometimes someone asks “Where in the world did THAT come from?“, which may be a different question:).

However, to address those who actually are interested in the creative process of writing a blog around six days a week, I follow Three Laws of Being:  Be Curious, Be Cruel, and Be Critical:

Be Curious:

I follow a large number of people who blog regularly in the areas of leadership, learning, and human behavior, as well as several sub-categories, such as spiritual and social issues, written communication, and visual communication.

I don’t know how people can write about a subject or area without paying attention to the other people who are doing the same thing.

My interests are all over the place and some might say I lack focus.  I prefer to stress the positive aspects of being curious about many things.   From this interest in many different things come an ability to “connect the dots”.  I see how concepts or ideas from very different areas can relate to one another.

I can see both differences and similarities in apparently unrelated things

Since this practice generates an immense amount of content to check each day, see my second Law below.

BE CRUEL:

I can decide whether to read a blog post or a stream in about 2 seconds maximum.   As many have posted, titles are important and so are those first few lines of text.   Decisions are made and “delete” is often clicked based on that bit of information.

I also regularly unsubscribe to blogs, regardless of who writes them or what they are about.  My DiSC profile reflects a strong orientation toward C behavior, which includes a tendency to engage in “comprehensive” review of a topic.  If I am following leadership blogs, I want to follow them all.

To avoid becoming overwhelmed with words, I have to make hard decisions about which blogs have not proven to offer one of two essential elements for me:  Usefulness or Amusement.

A valuable stream either provides content which I can reflect on or makes me smile.  Either works to give value:)

BE CRITICAL:

Critical thinking involves both creative thought and analytical or logical thought.  Both are very useful when reflecting on someone else’s words.  I look for ideas, concepts, terms, and words which appear in a new light.  I look for a fresh way of thinking about something.

I value the weight of statistics and facts, while keeping an eye out for those whimsical thoughts which may contain the truth of an issue or situation.

An important element here is to avoid the filter bubble” effect, which is the disturbing tendency of search engines to show us information that closely relates to what we are already interested in, based on the sites we have already visited.

If you only look at one side of an issue, you only know one side of an issue.

Be aggressive about seeking out diverse viewpoints and oppositional positions.

Since Becky Robinson will not let me take any more than 12 minutes to compose a blog post, I am now finsihed:)

What important elements have I missed or misstated?

Creating content critically in the Heartland  . . .

John