The following is an excerpt from a soon-to-be-published interview with Bold Journey Publications.
Looking back, what do you think were the three qualities, skills, or areas of knowledge that were most impactful in your journey? What advice do you have for folks who are early in their journey in terms of how they can best develop or improve on these?The three most important traits I would encourage people to develop are clarity of thought, clarity of communication, and the will to act.
Clarity of thought gets a bad rap in a lot of contemporary discussion, especially online. The idea that you are willing to draw lines, make distinctions, and establish definitions can make some people uncomfortable because they fear being considered closed-minded or judgmental by other people who may dislike the constraints of defined terms. I challenge you to realize that you cannot effectively advocate for any belief or point of view if you aren’t willing to define your terms. The modern reality is that you will catch some heat when you insist on clarity of thought. Precise thinking is critical to meaningful achievement.
Clarity of communication means that you write and speak in ways that make it clear what you are thinking. You’ve put the effort into reasoning and thinking with precision, but if you can’t get the idea across to your reader or listener, you’ve lost a lot of the benefit of that work. Practice writing in short and long forms: blogs, essays, and longer articles. Improve your vocabulary and understanding of grammar. Read the great books. Study the classics — even going back to the Greeks and Romans. (Pro tip: It may sound odd to suggest it, but listen to old radio show performers. Their diction is amazing because they didn’t have the additional help of video or subtitles. Your own speaking will be better for the exercise.)
Finally, the will to act is the most important trait. A mediocre plan put into action is more effective than a great plan that was never implemented. It is easy to put off putting words on paper, or getting yourself to a networking meeting, or planning your own event. You can stream your way through highly bingeable pieces of pop culture and be able to talk about them in detail with your friends. But is that getting you closer to your goal? Look at your friends and connections who are actually achieving their goals and you will find a more fully developed “will to act” than you will find in the rest of your circle of contacts.