Rediscovering My Voice

Yesterday was my first post in over a month and I spoke about a few different things that had been bubbling up inside of me during that break.

From the beginning, I wanted this blog to be improving our working and personal lives, and the points I touched on yesterday do link into that, but are also slightly tangential when I look back through my post history.

In some ways, I was finding myself again, rediscovering my voice. I had all these ideas of what I wanted to write and how I wanted to say it, but over time I started worrying more about adding really new relevant content instead of staying with my own development, and the development of others.

When you look around at productivity and life improvement blogs, articles and websites, there is no shortage of quick tips, hints and practical advice out there. But success stories aren’t enough, they’re not even half of the story. When you see success, you’re only looking at the tip of the iceberg, from a distance, during a snowstorm. It’s the very barest hint of everything that came before, not only the foundations but the supporting structure, the bricks and mortar, and pretty much everything else, except perhaps the satelite dish.

So I’m going to try and keep it candid, because when I started trying to become organised and productive I failed a lot, and it’s so important for people to know that failing is okay!

You Are Not Finished

I was going to write a sub-heading about learning from failure, but I’ve done that before and I don’t want to always toot the same horn. I recently finished reading the book Black Box Thinking by Matthew Syed, a secret Santa gift from my old colleagues, and it was great to read. If you’re into self-improvement at all, then a huge swathe of the book will feel very familiar to you, although I felt like it added enough new knowledge to still be useful.

One of the things I’ve overlooked before, and others often do so outwardly too, is how we can transform ourselves from having a vague belief in something to being able to discuss it in depth with people just by reading the same stuff from multiple perspectives. What I mean is that in Black Box Thinking, there are many similarities to other great books such as Mindset by Carol Dweck, Drive by Daniel Pink and Grit by Angela Duckworth, but each one of those books helped strengthen my understanding of the message they were putting across in a different way.


Many times I’ve seen someone criticising the lessons a book was trying to teach in a review, because they just took what they read on the surface and tried to apply it directly to their life, without really believing in it or understanding what they were doing. Unless you’re incredibly intuitive, you aren’t going to understand and internalise the lessons from a single book in one reading, that’s sure fire way to disappoint yourself. If something intrigues you enough that you want to try it, you first need to find some other perspectives out there that tell the same things in a different way, and I don’t mean a simple recommendation or review of that particular book. You need Mindset, you need Drive, you need Grit and you need Black Box Thinking, all together, preferably with breaks in between to read other things just for fun and let your brain work on stuff in the background.

I’m not saying that you have to go out and read all those books, or that you won’t gain anything if you only read one of those books; all I am saying is that you will gain much more from all those four books combined, despite all the similarities and cross-over between them, than you would on any single one of them alone.

Do yourself a favour and spread your learning across multiple books and multiple authors, you’ll be glad you did in the end.

Books mentioned in this post:

If you liked this post, I have plenty more book recommendations in the posts below:

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