We’re On Slack

I wanted to boost the community aspect of this blog, and to continue to add value to the great folks who subscribed to our email list. I really want you to reach your full potential in work, love, and life. 

Slack seemed like just the right tool. Not only do you get to interact directly with me, and the other Dingers, but you can create channels for more focussed discussions. 

I would love for you to join us, and to ensure you get your free gift from me this Christmas.

Register to get your invite.

The Undeniable Power of Being a Good Writer – Impress, Influence, and Lead

  
One of the most underrated skills in anyone’s arsenal is the ability to write both coherently, and with the right level of impact. This doesn’t mean you need to be able to write a novel, but you should be able to write a decent email to your troops, a professional sounding complaint letter, or a thoughtful blog post.

Why?

There a number of reasons why you should be a decent writer. Not all of them are about conveying a message, some of them are how you are perceived by your audience, or your colleagues.

The first, for me, is about the perception of yourself to the individual / audience you are writing to. If you’re trying to gain their trust, or motivate them to follow you, how are you ever going to do that if you can’t spell, or use basic grammar and syntax? It’s the all important first impression that can win, or lose you the acceptance of that person.

The second is the ability to constuct your thoughts in the clearest manner. This is the hardest thing for humans to achieve without the ability to mind-meld: sharing your ideas with another person in a way that they will be able to understand. Being a good writer will allow you to understand how to structure your thoughts so you can share them from start to finish.

Thirdly, the written word is the most powerful way to store the collective knowledge of the human race. Writing something down not only helps to solidify the idea in your own mind, but it is also something that you can look back over, or share with others. Instead of needing to say all of that again with every person you wish to share those thoughts with, you can simply hand them, or send them something that is the entirety of your idea. It’s also something that can live on without you.

How?

I was never great at many subjects in school, partly due to my style of learning, but mostly due to the abysmal approach so many of my teachers took to behaving with me. Maybe it’s the prejudice that comes with teaching for so long, with so many kids not automatically interested with what you have to teach them.

I turned out alright in the end and have surpassed the better students in my abilities and career. Maybe there’s something to explore in further depth there.

But, something that struck me a few years ago was how badly I was taught about my own language. I have picked up a natural understanding of the structure, and have a pretty good vocabulary, but I couldn’t tell you what an adjective, or a split infinitive is. That’s the next step in my understanding of the English language.

I can’t tell you how to use grammer properly, but I can advise you to read my articles with a more critical eye. Notice where I am placing commas, semi-colons, and how I am structuring sentences. You should also read a lot more of the great writers (anything that’s not trash writing, like Fifty Shades of Grey, Da Vinci Code).

But, it’s not just the mechanics of writing you need to understand, it’s your voice that needs to be carefully considered. The way I write is my attempt to ensure that the voice I am trying to convey really comes through. I am trying to force my readers to read my writing in such a way that they cannot but hear this voice in their minds, or aloud if they choose to read my stories and articles to their dog. The rules of English can be bent and broken, Neo, if it leads to you best delivering your message – and not looking like an idiot. I only do this in the interest of my voice being heard.

I believe that accessibility is one of the most important aspects to writing. Not only is this to ensure that the most readers have a chance of making it to the end of your writing, but it’s also the best way to ensure that your true meaning is understood, and with the most impact.

So what do I mean by accessibility? I mean not choosing to only speak with long words. This might make you sound intelligent, but it will have everyone reaching for their dictionaries, instead of nodding their heads in agreement. Sometimes, hippopotomonstrosososquipadalianism is not beneficial to you. That long word? It means a liking for long words.

Write in a near conversational tone and the world will love you. Write like a lawyer and your readers minds will turn inside out.

Style is just as important as voice and structure. I see this as the way you structure your sentences and paragraphs, as well as the bolding and italicising of words. Good writing is not just about the words you use, but it should also be pleasing to the eye. Paragraphs should not be gigantic blocks of text (unless intended for some reason), and you can do a lot to emphasise something by singling it out as a paragraph of it’s own.

Like this.

The final aspect of writing that I want to highlight is the most frequently neglected aspect. Editing. It’s alright putting your thoughts down on the page, but unless you’re going to correct those spelling, grammatical, and styling issues, it’s just the same as not investing any time in writing. Take the time to re-read your work, and you’ll be a step ahead of the rest.

If you would like to have your name on something well written, but you lack the ability, or time to learn, then you can either choose to say everything, or you can value the written word and ask someone else to do this for you, or invest in a good writer.

Do not underestimate the power of writing well, both for your own development, and for the people you lead, or want to attract. Do not allow your strength in person be let down by the weakness of the words you choose to write down.

Positive Pragmatist 2: Learn to Give Things Up

This is part two of my Positive Pragmatist series, 50+ lessons, rules, and thoughts on leading a life full of opportunity and excellence.

Today, we need to look at giving things up so we can have more. Yes, that’s right, I’m not losing my mind, I just said you have to let go of things, so you can have more.

How’s that work?

Glad you asked. You see, we have a cognitive bias (more on those in another post) to hold onto jobs, objects, people in our lives. We perceive that it’s not good to let go of something, or someone. That’s why you have all that stuff in your spare bedroom, or garage. You can’t let stuff go.

But, that means you have all this baggage, all this weight that hampers you choices in life. You have whiney friends, mood hoovers, or down right rude people in your life. But, you don’t seem to be able to let them go.

Want to take that great job in another city, fancy a total life reboot by going to another country? What about all this stuff we’ve spent years collecting? What about the majority of my friends who bring me down, expect too much from me?

It’s too hard, let’s not do it. Let’s play it safe, keep all this stuff, keep all the people we know.

You need to keep yourself agile, nimble enough to make any choice you feel is the right thing to do, to keep the hunger within you for a great life, wherever you want to lead that life.

Get rid of the stuff you don’t need. Get rid of the people in your life who offer you nothing but negativity. Choose to do the great, exciting things in life.

And when you find that great life, those great people, in an exciting corner of the world, then you can surround yourself with the things you like, and need to enjoy the amazing dream you’re living.

What stuff, or people could you do with dropping?

What options have you not chosen because you felt weighed down your belongings, and the people around you?

Positive Pragmatist Part One – Why You Should Practice More Than Anyone Else

If you are on the path to mastery, and you want to achieve your aims, then you need to get a lot better at the doing.

We have spent a long time in the world of theory, pretend, and dreaming for far too long. Apprenticeships, which I’m sure your grandparents would have done, have all but disappeared. That’s right, you want someone to be teaching you what to do for work? Well, that’s exactly how it used to be done. Instead of training and coaching our young folks, we have decided to leave them out in the cold, and to fight their way into work. We used to learn our trades by doing.

Well, if no one will coach you, make great use of the Internet, watch everything you can, and get yourself practicing those new skills. The sooner you get doing, the more you’ll learn, and the closer to competence you will get. And if someone has been teaching you, aim to become better than your teacher.

But, it’s not just about practicing, it’s about the amount of effort you put in. When other people would be willing to quit, just as they start to sweat, to grow tired.

That’s when you need to keep going.

Practice shouldn’t always be enjoyable. It might be repetitive, painful, frustrating, and down right boring. But it’s about the end result, the growth in ability, not the short term pain.

If you can push harder than anyone else, you will be far more experienced and able to succeed in your chosen arena.

The definition of magic, as described by Teller, of Penn and Teller, went something like, to practice harder and longer until it’s no longer possible for someone to imagine someone practicing a trick that long and that well that it seems impossible. That it seems like magic.

Coming from a man that practiced a ball on a string trick for ten years, and then blew people away with it, that’s really saying something.

And what’s even more surprising about the art of practicing harder than everyone else, is currently, the bar is set very low. It can be pretty surprising just how possible it is to outdo others because they fail to imagine the lengths it is possible to go to, how much work you can put in, and the resources that are available.

If you find yourself saying: you have to have time for yourself, well you’re actually making time for the TV. You’re not making real time for yourself, which is to be always growing, practicing, and aiming for mastery.

We have an aversion to work, believing that life is all about the moments when we’re not at work. But work, hard graft, sweat, toil, it’s just as much a part of life, as the fun, relaxation, and beer.

So, what do you think could be possible in your chosen discipline(s) if you practice more than anyone else can imagine?

This has been the first post in the Positive Pragmatist series.

Launching the Positive Pragmatist Series of Blog Posts

I have a lot going on, the book, Twitter, horror podcast, daily blog posts – and I’m thinking about doing something else?

Since the Your Turn Challenge in January, I have been feeling the wind of momentum in my sails. It has made me feel like the impossible is just that little bit more possible – that trying harder, longer, and more imaginatively than others just might lead to fruition.

At least, at the end of each of those projects, if I don’t become successful as a writer, podcaster, blogger, I can say that I attempted greatness and that I have achieved what others haven’t; a blog, a podcast series, a novel.

And it’s with that same attitude, I want to begin my new series of blog posts that I’m calling the Positive Pragmatist – an apt description of how I view my approach to life.

It’s a series of rules of thumb, ideals, and advice about how to make a life that leads to making the most of the good times, fights through the bad times, and opens yourself up to what the world has to teach you.

I have 80 posts worth of material, and it is likely to grow.

Are your ready to come along for the ride?

Let me know: @KG_Heath on Twitter

50+ Things to Live A Better Life – Before the Beginning

I am working on building a framework for how to live a better life. Some of this is from my own experience, a lot of it is from others I am reading, listening to, and learning from in person, but I want to provide a source for that information to help reduce the cost of finding that knowledge – and to improve on it.

I will talk more about each item in individual articles, so that we learn together, so that we can become an army of people striving to do more, to change the world, or our society, or to influence the lives of individuals.

Do I, personally, have all of the answers? No I don’t. I’ll be very honest about that. But, I am doing my very best to be a life-long learner, and to be a coach and mentor to others who are not at the same level of progression as myself. And, I’m on a mission to be around those that are far ahead of me in my own development.

A lot of what I’m learning has it’s roots in the recent past, some of it was formed in the far flung history, and some of it is inspired by the possibilities the future brings.

I’m studying how we can have an aim to improve ourselves, but also how we can aim to improve those around us, or seek out those who need to learn from us — because they don’t know how to find those with the knowledge.

I’m on a mission to improve myself, to improve those around me, and to make the most of this precious life I have before it’s too late — and when I say that, as a young man, I don’t mean think too late will be thirty years old, I mean when the next 50 years pass me by and I left it far too long to do all the right things.

That mission has already begun, it started years ago, but now I’m seeing an exponential acceleration in my understanding, my access to the right knowledge, and the opportunities I am seeing, because of the years of foundational work I have put in place.

At the moment, that list is formed of 50+ rules / laws / steps, it’s likely to increase, but already it is a pretty condensed list of things to focus on in life.

This list is part of my strategy for self-improvement, the rules and tips I will follow, and do follow, to have a great life. But, more importantly, it’s a piece of work that I can give to others, to provide the resources I couldn’t find, that weren’t accessible to me, because lack of awareness, prohibitive cost, or difficult in seeking it out.

So, do you want to join me on this mission?

Can’t wait? You might like these: