Benjamin Franklin has recently had several mentions on some of the creativity and productivity blogs that I frequent. So I thought it was time to see what all the fuss was about and read his biography (which is freely available on Kindle).
I’d heard of him before but I hadn’t quite realised just how focused a man he was on self improvement through journalling. The fact that he managed to contribute to scientific research, run a publishing house, invent lightning rods, bifocal lens, a new type of stove, be an active civic figure and a statesman/diplomat is awe inspiring. It is no wonder that Franklin is often termed ‘the first American’ and clearly he fully deserves the honour of being know as one of the founding fathers of America.
While I found his scheme for self improvement a bit too intensive for my own applications it was interesting and inspiring to see just what he managed to achieve. I wonder what a modern Benjamin Franklin would be like and what they’d achieve with the technologies available today?
I also found this book interesting due to its coverage of early American history which I wasn’t taught at school.
The last year or so I’ve found myself in a bit of a blogging draught, needing to revitalise my writing and this site. To attempt to achieve this I decided to do some reading on blogging and seeing as my good friend Corwin had just read ‘Blog Inc’ I thought I’d have a read of it too.
The book is focused on how to develop unique content, attract readers to a form a community, how to develop your writing ‘voice’ and your personal brand. There are also chapters on monatization, making a career from blogging and going from blogger to author for those so inclined.
As someone who essentially blogs for a combination of letting off steam, spreading knowledge and some personal branding I did find this to be a useful book to read. As a ‘self taught’ blogger I’ve mostly copied other bloggers I’ve admired and have read little on blogging etiquette or manners.
I’d recommend this book to any current or aspiring blogger.
I have decided to retire my photo blog SeeStockholm.com, the main reason for is that I have many photographs from outside Stockholm (and Sweden) that I’d like to share. So I’ve made the decision to move to 500px for picture sharing where you can find me at 500px.com/EndlesslyCurious. This change also frees me from maintaining two wordpress sites at once, which was becoming a bit of a burden.
I’m contemplating how I can also have my photographs on this site too but right now I am going stick with just a 500px sidebar widget.
Edit: Ten months later and I’ve deleted my 500px account, its a great site I just didn’t find myself engaging with it as much as sharing here or on Instagram. Perhaps sharing on 500px was a bit too intimidating..
I find it useful to categorise sources of stress in the following ways as soon as I realise I am stressed:
- Things I can control e.g. preparing for a examination.
- Things I cannot control but can mitigate e.g. the weather.
- Things I can neither control or mitigate e.g. war.
This helps me to focus on available courses of action or begin to mindfully relax if there is nothing I can do. In the pas coming to the realisation I am effectively a spectator has been surprisingly calming, although not always in extreme cases.
This has been in part inspired by the serenity prayer of Reinhold Niebuhr which was made famous by the AA:
God, grant me the serenity to accept the things I cannot change,
The courage to change the things I can,
And wisdom to know the difference.
Knowing what you can change and letting go of the rest is indeed a powerful tool.
Its hard to believe it but this site has been running for five years, I started it in August 2008 in Vancouver and now its 2013 and I am in Stockholm! Its has been an interesting project that has morphed in focus many times since I have started it and so much in my life has changed over the course of those five years too. I thought it would be fun to post the top ten posts from August 2008 to August 2013:
- Configuring Perforce command line client P4 on Mac OS X – Nov 2008.
- Basic graphing with MatPlotLib – May 2011.
- Running WordPress on Mac OS X with XAMPP – March 2011.
- Installing Python, MatPlotLib & iPython on Snow Leopard – April 2011.
- Extracting image EXIF data with Python – May 2011.
- Graphing real data with MatPlotLib – May 2011.
- Finding duplicate files using Python – June 2011.
- Getting started with Python – June 2011.
- Scraping PDF with Python – June 2012.
- Praise for Python – May 2011.
It was interesting putting together the top ten posts lists to see that I obviously had a pretty hot streak in 2011 for writing popular posts, most of which seem to be of the ‘how to..’ variety. The other interesting thing is that most of the top ten list is Python related which I hadn’t expected.
Hopefully there can be a ten year anniversary in five years