Ale's little corner of the internet

Why write?

Nov 24, 2022
Read time: 3 min

If your actions inspire others to dream more, learn more,
do more and become more, you are a leader.

-John Quincy Adams

One of the big aha moments in my life was when I discovered Start with Why. In this brilliant TED Talk, Simon Synek argues that the most successful leaders and organizations have a clear sense of their “why,” which drives them to inspire and motivate others to take action. Since I discovered this simple but powerful principle, I tried my best to apply it in every area of my life, including my day-to-day job as an Engineering Manager and my personal growth.

Naturally, when I first thought about (re-)starting a blog, the first question I asked myself was: “Why”? This post explores the answer to this question and my top 3 reasons for writing.

Practice writing and clear thinking

Writing is thinking. To write well is to think clearly. That’s why it’s so hard.

I love this quote by David McCullough because it summarizes how clear writing and clear thinking are tightly connected. The first reason why I want to write more is that I am hoping it will improve my ability to think clearly. When I write, I am forced to clarify my ideas and consider how to express them coherently. Writing also allows me to reflect on my thoughts and evaluate and revise them as necessary. It is a way for me to have a conversation with myself and better articulate my point of view.

Practice creating, instead of consuming

A couple of years ago, I read an essay titled Consume less, create more which truly struck a cord. The main point of the essay is that, on average, our ratio of “time spent consuming” vs “time spent creating” is extremely skewed towards consumption. This is problematic because consuming, or simply taking in information or media without actively engaging with the content, does not provide as much benefit (a.k.a. we tend to forget the information we consume) or fulfillment.

When we create instead, we are actively engaged and we can exercise our critical thinking, problem-solving, and communication skills. Not to mention the sense of accomplishment and the fact that we are contributing something to the world.

This blog is my attempt at creating more and consuming less. Some of the articles I plan to write might just be summaries of things I read, hear, and watch but it is my way of engaging with the content more to process it and (hopefully) make it actionable.

Sharing my thoughts, ideas, and beliefs

The last reason I decided to start a blog is that I want to put my thoughts, ideas, and beliefs out there. Why? Because, as Daniel Miessler puts it:

People used to be defined by where they work, and now they’re defined by their knowledge, capabilities, and opinions.

Yes, the internet is a place filled with trolls and assholes but it is also a place packed with humans that want to engage in meaningful conversations. I hope that, by sharing my ideas, people will resonate and engage with them and help me refine and improve as a human. We are always right in our head, until we confront an audience or, as Salman Ansari puts it:

The longer we wait to share our work, the more disconnected we become from reality. We hide in our creative cave, sheltering our work from the very feedback it needs to improve.

We need to share in order to connect with others and realign with reality. Otherwise, we risk getting lost in our own web of delusion.

Writing is an example of an activity with positive asymmetric returns. The worst thing that can happen is that the internet tells me that my ideas are garbage and, as a result, I will likely be exposed to new and better ideas and learn new information to correct my faulty logic.

The best thing that can happen is that my ideas resonate with people and push them to take action to make the world a better place (similarly to how I was inspired by Tom’s blog post on consuming less and doing more). That is my ideal, albeit lofty, outcome which brings us back to the quote at the top of this article:

If your actions inspire others to dream more, learn more,
do more and become more, you are a leader.

-John Quincy Adams

Happy reading!