10 years of A Learning a Day

Today marks the 10 year anniversary of writing here. I’ve been reflecting on this 4,494 post journey over the past few days and I thought I’d share what I’ve been most grateful for.

(1) Learning to show up. I decided to call this blog “A Learning a Day” because I wasn’t capable of discipline ten years ago. I remember someone I knew saying I’d shot myself in the foot with that name. Inevitably, I stumbled and missed names in the first year of writing. But, since then, I show up every day and do my best to share something of value. On some days, the learning sucks. On others, it is passable. And, every once a while, it is insightful. But, regardless, I show up, remember to breathe deeply, give thanks, focus on what I’m learning, and ship.

It is my daily meditation and I’m not sure what I’d do or who I’d be without it.

(2) Learning to think and learn. For many years, the tag line of this blog – “Never failure, only learning.” I started writing here because I was short of confidence after an incident where I’d found myself incapable of failing gracefully. I thought writing about my failures may change the way I think about them. And, if I did so long enough, maybe it would change my approach to learning. I hadn’t heard of Carol Dweck’s research on fixed and growth mindsets at that time. If I had, I’d have recognized myself as someone living in a fixed mindset and as someone who was incapable of a life of learning and fulfillment.

Asking myself “what did I learn?” every day 10 years has helped me understand what it means to live with a growth mindset. I still don’t do it every time – at least not at first. But, I do it a lot more often than I used to. And, 3653 daily attempts later, I’ve begun to appreciate its power.

(3) Learning to make and keep commitments. Matt Mullenweg, the founder of WordPress, says that we blog for two people – ourselves and one other person who we can picture reading what we write. While I could always count on my mom and wife to read my notes, I’ve also met many wonderful people along the way.

(An aside – someone recently wrote in sharing that her excitement about an upcoming change. It was the first time she’d written in and she wondered if the email would just go down some “dark hole” of unread messages. I explained to her that A Learning a Day mail is what I look forward to when I open up my email every day.)

Aside from hearing about your perspectives, counter points and notes, the most powerful effect the notes have is to remind me that I’m making public commitments. So, when I share an aspirational note and say I intend to do something, I feel the pressure to do it. Thanks to this, I’ve begun to grasp why Stephen Covey defines integrity as making and keeping commitments. That’s because we feel whole as we become consistent in what we do and say. And, integrity comes the word integer – which means whole.

The process of habitually making these commitments and following up has helped me experience this wholeness. And, once you get a taste for it, you hope to continue being worthy of that experience.

I started writing here because I thought I’d learn how to write better and think better. And, while I hope I’ve gotten better at that, I am certain that this process has taught me how to live. And, I couldn’t be more grateful.

Thank you for being part of the journey.