Your own experience

Most of the information online nowadays is organised in bullet points. There’s an “how-to” step-by-step guide for basically everything, and listicles are one of the most popular form of content that gets consumed.

Yet, a part from very practical type of instructions (changing a tyre, replacing a lightbulb, starting off your grill, and so on), this type of content fails to deliver outstanding returns on topics such as leadership, self-improvement, marketing, and more generally speaking “success”. They can certainly turn your day into a black hole of information search, yet their effectiveness is debatable.

It is mainly because the people that write them attempt to summarize a certain type of success retroactively. They look from the present towards the past to identify certain patterns, moments or actions that have influenced their achievements. It might be a good exercise in self-reflection, yet as readers we should take all that with a grain of salt.

Kahneman has demonstrated how fallible we are when we attempt to recall experiences from the past, and on top of that it is quite improbable that the challenges you are facing now and the context you are living in are the same as the writer’s.

Value your own experience more than anything else. Stop searching for shortcuts or solutions online and start experimenting. Keep a journal and reflect on what is happening to you, learn from mistakes and improve on your next step. And when you come across a potentially interesting article about a topic that is dear to you, seek not the single points and the tactics, but the underlying strategy and mindset that made that case successful.

And of course, this is my “how to” guide on “how to approach how-to type of content on the net”. So, you know what to do. Nobody ever wrote a memoir by saying: “I have achieved what I have achieved by following this other guy’s life instruction”.

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