Saturday, April 19, 2014

Expertise Rule

Recently I calculated that I had spent more than 10,000 hours writing a blog, therefore following the famous rule made famous by Malcolm Gladwell in his book ‘Outliers’; to conclude I must be an expert in blog writing. Admittedly this is not creative writing, as in the form of writing a novel, but it is writing nevertheless, which gives me confidence in starting a career as a writer. I may have also spent nearly 10,000 hours reading books, so that makes me a near expert in book reading, too.  Most writers would tell you that reading and writing is important to being a good writer, therefore my experience so far should give me a step up. But the medium of a blog also provides other expertise as well, like being an expert on the Internet and ways one can monetize (or not) his online work. The point is that after nearly 8 years of writing a blog, one wonders what he is an expert in. Does it mean expertise in clear thinking, or expressing ideas, or is it a facility in understanding? One is sure that the motivation was to clear thoughts and de-stress, the act of journaling is really a form of meditation. Perhaps this is the true expertise one has gained, to handle anxiety and settle the mind, sort of like a wisdom practice.

I believe in making progress a step at a time, and one strove for expertise in writing, in finance and investment, real estate, stock, bonds and online ventures. One achieved modest success but the effort is wanting; a need to make a breakthrough so the investment in time is well spent. Unfortunately, one has dilly dallied, spending time indulging in a bookish life, to be a literati, or scholar in the Chinese sense. But the Chinese have a saying that unused learning is wasted learning. All the more reason that one must justify the past years of blogging, or it will turn out to be a large waste to time and resources. The conclusion one has a good foundation to succeed; hence, the challenge to control or manage the mind to get the job done. Perhaps this is where true mindfulness begins, to focus on the moment and sit down and write plus learn more about the other areas of improvement.  But there are visible signs of progress in real estate and stock investing, plus a direction to go to the next level, by forming an LLC, trying options (covered calls) or investing in bonds. Online ventures are also another way forward by maximizing experience into monetizing a food blog, using ad words and video resources. Hence, a way ahead in these areas.

Unfortunately, for creative writing projects, there is no other way but to write. Perhaps it is more of a creative exercise, where one must use tools like mind mapping or visual thinking to get a novel going. Thus a strategy is born, to maximize an experience that started with journal writing and de-stress, to blogging, to the internet and online investments. The other day my friends came to the house for dinner: Singapore dry noodles with minced meat, fish balls and mushrooms, ham, fried chicken wings, chocolate cake, mango and sticky rice. It was a nice time to catch up and especially share stories and future plans: moving to a new city, to a new job, a new house or new gadgets, all the trappings of moving forward.  These were all easy things to do, external movements toward something new; bereft of internal progress or perhaps a deliberate discipline to move ahead, one that requires reflection. But one is amiss as well, descending into stagnant satisfaction, not taking the considerable next step. Hence, time to assess what one achieved and to make a leap. It’s the courage to be dissatisfied, to know what one possesses is nothing if one stagnates; to undertake a journey that is primarily an internal quest.

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