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The compelling reasons to find and trust your inner voice

Ironically, the basis for this post was formulated after reading the thoughts shared by the author of a book I am currently reading, which in turn is based on the thoughts of someone else.

The essence of the thought is that too often we are swayed and influenced by others rather than finding and trusting our own inner voice.

The book I am reading is The Socrates Express: In Search of Life Lessons from Dead Philosophers by Eric Weiner.

I am currently reading the chapter on Arthur Schopenhauer. A relevant extract from that chapter below (first paragraph starts with a quote from Schopenhauer):

“No greater mistake can be made than to imagine that what has been written latest is always the more correct; that what is written later on is an improvement on what was written previously; and that every change means progress.”

We make this mistake every time we click mindlessly, like a lab rat pulling a lever, hoping for a reward. What form this reward will take we don’t know, but that is beside the point. Like Schopenhauer’s hungry readers, we confuse the new with the good, the novel with the valuable.

I am guilty of this. I’m constantly checking and rechecking my digital vital signs. While writing this paragraph, I have checked my email (nothing), opened my Facebook page (Pauline’s birthday, must remember to send her a note), placed a bid for a nice leather backpack on eBay, checked my email again (still nothing), ordered a disturbingly large quantity of coffee, upped my bid for that backpack, and checked my email again (still nothing).

The encyclopaedia was the Internet in Schopenhauer’s day, and nearly as seductive. Why puzzle over a problem when the solution is readily available in a book? Because, answers Schopenhauer, “it’s a hundred times more valuable if you have arrived at it by thinking for yourself.” Too often, he said, people jump to the book rather than stay with their thoughts. You should read only when your own thoughts dry up.’

Substitute “click” for “read” and you have our predicament. We confuse data with information, information with knowledge, and knowledge with wisdom. This tendency worried Schopenhauer. Everywhere he saw people scrambling for information, mistaking it for insight. “It does not occur to them,” he wrote, “that information is merely a means toward insight and possesses little or no value in itself” I’d go a step further. This excess of data – noise, really -has negative value and diminishes the possibility of insight. Distracted by the noise, we don’t hear the music.

I would say that in my writing, such as on this blog, my guilt is that I too often refer to others. I am too quick in finding validation from and through others.

This is unsurprising since this was the foundation of good blogging back when it first started. That is, hyperlinking and the web of connections and ultimately knowledge this builds up.

Fill your head too much with the ideas of others though and they will displace your own.

While I am not suggesting that the habit of referencing others work and building on the ideas of others is not a good one (on the contrary), I do think we should be more mindful about our inner voice.

Sometimes it’s good to shut the world out and home in on that inner voice. Here is how I think we will benefit.

Benefits of developing your inner voice

  1. Evolving intuition. As much as you might believe that data is the better basis for understanding and making decisions, this is not about a choice. Regardless the weight that intuition and gut feeling play in your decisions (in life and at work), it plays a role. You should hone the skill as much as you can and that is best done by listening to your inner voice.
  2. Build your unique differentiation. Especially in personal brand efforts, it pays to have your own voice that stands out. That you have considered deeply what you stand for and believe in and you can speak that truth widely – it will be appreciated.
  3. Focus. Simply put, you will be less distracted by the clicks. When you need to be that is. As mentioned, there is sense in seeking to build evidence, but when you need to focus, it sometimes makes sense to shut out the outside world and focus on what you have learned and putting it all together yourself.
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Content management with WordPress evolved – full site editing 1

Last month WordPress announced that full site editing was coming to its WordPress.com users of which I am one. I’ve been meaning to take it for a spin but haven’t managed to until now. This post is an attempt at documenting my experiences as I try and learn the new functionality as well as get to grips with how to test new features and functions like this on my active site without breaking it. I’ll track it all with my WordPress tag.

So on the very last point mentioned, I came across this option for How to Create Your Own WordPress Staging Site. I was going to explore that option but before I could, I came across this video below – a recording of a webinar run by WordPress on full site editing.

It does a great job not only of showing how full site editing works, but also goes through an alternative site staging option. It shows how to create a new site on WordPress and export and import your current site content and test that with a new block theme that works with full site editing. This way you test the new site theme and functionality in a kind of staging environment with existing content until happy and then you could switch to this new site when happy. Or upgrade your current site knowing what works and how.

But as attractive as this last option seemed, I soon ran into problems.

Problems with using WordPress.com as a staging site

  1. I’m currently on a Business Plan which is needed for enabling WooCommerce.
  2. My site has ecommerce functionality based on WooCommerce and using the Storefront theme currently. The Storefront theme is not currently capable of full site editing.
  3. I found a cool alternative: Wowmall – WooCommerce block based theme
  4. The problem is on a free WordPress site you cannot run WooCommerce and nor can you upload the Wowmall theme – you need to be on a Business Plan at least. This is cost prohibitive.
  5. My Plan B is to try run this on a an Azure plan I have, i.e self hosted WordPress on which I can instal WooCommerce and upload the Wowmall theme after grabbing it from here. Good article here on how to run WordPress on Azure.

So that’s all for now. I’ll update my progress in another post.

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As we come out of the pandemic – what to take and what to leave

I say we are coming out of the pandemic because all the signs point in that direction. At least where I live in the UK where all restrictions have been lifted and the talk is of learning to live with COVID-19. Whether it is based in fact and is a permanent state, that remains to be seen. I at least am ready to move on and will behave as if its over (I’m done and this is my call to arms). So this is what I’m leaving behind and taking forward.

Leaving behind

Meetings = Productivity.

This has always been a problem but in the pandemic it’s been exacerbated. That people think they need to add more meetings to overcome lack of proximity is fundamentally flawed thinking.

If anything, less meetings should be added or considered. I’m waging war on irrelevant, unplanned, disorganised meetings that serve no purpose or suck the life out of already challenging days.

Flattened experiences.

I mean by this how everything seems to have become homogenised, samey, devoid of any diversity. The days blur, the meetings are lifeless, the innovation stifled.

The problem is the effort people put in, or rather don’t. I’m guilty as hell – not getting properly dressed or sub par ablutions for the day.

More than just the physical preparations though, its about the mental preparations. Having good sleep, meditating, good exercise.

Doing this leads to better energy. Better energy leads to a better and more positive presence.

Taking forward

Writing and working asynchronously.

I’ve written about this before: Writing skills for remote asynchronous work and how you can master them.

I believe writing as part of asynchronous work are going to become key skills for work of the future and many are lacking in these basic capabilities.

I’ve been working this way (asynchronously) and writing for a long time but always believe I can get better. I’m going to be focusing on this a lot going forward.

OuterVentures.

By this I mean adventures in the grand outdoors. I’ve done so much more of this since the beginning of the lock downs and it’s made all the difference for coping.

I’m not just talking about sports like running or hiking which I always did a lot of and increased through the pandemic.

I mean being out and present in some amazing natural settings. I certainly have many on my door step or not far away with a bit of effort. Things like forest bathing or beach walking – give me more.

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Writing with intent – new directions for InnerVentures

Blogging as a craft or pursuit is under pressure and being assailed from all sides. But writing will never go out of fashion, especially good writing, in business or in our personal lives. So it doesn’t matter what you call it and whether you believe blogging is dead, dying, or not. The point is to write well, whether for peoples entertainment or to make sense of the world as I do. And if in the process you share some of that sense making with the world for its benefit, so much the better.

All of which is to say that I have done a bit of tweaking with my blog in terms of the topics I cover and categories and tags I will be using. I used the following framework to help my thinking. I don’t need to say much more other than I hope this will sharpen up my focus and aid my writing and ultimately anyone who reads my posts and also writes, in the spirit with which I ended my last paragraph 😉

Click to enlarge