The “best advice in three words or less” I usually give is: read, apply, repeat. But I think I’m upgrading it to: Read. Write. Repeat.
We could talk about what to read, but that depends on why you are reading, but why do people ask for advice? They want to get better. And what’s the best way to get better? To read and then apply what you read to some area where you want to get better. To change something.
That we should be reading as human beings, goes without saying. And here are you are, reading. Right? But we need to take this a step further. To read with purpose. To do something with what we read. To apply it.
When we apply something, we are adhering it to something. We’re making it stick. We are seeking to have it make a difference in our context. Work. Personal growth. Family. Etc.
How might we start applying? Application implies action. What action might we take first?
How about this? Write about what you read. It will make you a better reader if you write smart notes. A smart note is one that is written with purpose.
So what’s your purpose for reading and writing? Fill in the blank: I read and write because ____________________________________________________.
My blank is so that I’m might be able to intentionally transfer as much knowledge, understanding, and wisdom as possible. But that’s a macro reason. What I’m working on of late thanks the inspiration of Tiago Forte, is to write with a specific / micro purpose.
The reason I’ve resumed publishing daily is as a forcing mechanism to help me think better. I’ve found that I can easily slip into a habit of lazy thinking when I’m not writing.
So since the first step in application can be to write with purpose, I’ll change the 2nd word in my “best advice in three words or less” to: Write.
And what about the 3rd word: Repeat? That stays and for me continues tomorrow.
Like an athlete or warrior trains continuously for the real thing, knowledge workers would do well to train by writing every day — outside of the whirlwind of their daily work output.