One of the reasons I blog is so that I have a regular, disciplined practice of turning loosely-formed ideas into concrete, cogent, shareable posts. Over and over again. Until I get better at it.
Part of the power of repetition is getting to observe a process unfold repeatedly. So, over the last 5-plus years of blogging (and of life), I’ve learned that most of the time my best ideas come through conversations. When someone asks me a great, thorny, interesting question, and we engage in real dialogue about how to answer that question, I learn things. This is a powerful piece of self-knowledge that I otherwise wouldn’t possess. It informs how I structure my time and how I think about the conversations I need to have, and the people I need to interact with, to learn, to push my own thinking and my own understanding of the world and of my work.
Rare, though, is to have a photograph of that moment.
The most popular post I wrote in November was How do I get a job in impact investing?, and after I wrote the post I saw this tweet from Josh McCann. It’s a photo taken the moment I was asked by the Warton Social Venture club how to get a job in impact investing. I was stumped, but I winged it, and we talked, and together we figured it out.
Where do your best ideas come from? Alone, or in conversation? After a lot of reading and study or on the spur of the moment? With a pad of paper and a pencil, a whiteboard, with a cup of tea or cranking at your desk at work, constantly jumping back to your Facebook feed (probably not)?
We all struggle with managing our time the right way. Knowing where we get our best ideas can help. This is one of the big ideas in Peter Drucker’s Managing Oneself, an article that’s worth rereading at least once a year.