Everyday, sometime between 19:00 and 22:00 the last four (?) years I have asked my Twitter followers “Vad har du lärt dig i dag?” or What did you learn today? This is what I have learned from doing that.
This is not going to be one of those best tweets of 2019 selections. Not because there isn’t anything worth highlighting. The contrary, there has been a vast amount of fantastic, fascinating, unexpected knowledge and wisdoms answered to my daily question. A wide spectrum from hard facts to life lessons. If you want to dive into that, start here
The comfort of predictability
Making routines for yourself is also to enable for others to establish the same routines around you. Predictability -in my case- in reflection and curiosity makes others to take time and reserve brain processing power for that too. One seems to make a mental bookmark when you come across something you did not know earlier so you can remember it and tell everyone about it later. Becoming the reason for looking for, remember and share knowledge starts in being predictable in asking.
Be the proxy not the curator.
There is always (especially on Twitter) going to be trolls, people pushing a political agenda and others with malicious intent. I have earlier made the decision to as long as it replies to my question retweet all answers regardless. They way I see it is that it is not up to me curate them. I leave it up to the judgement of my followers. They are all adults and well equipped to understand the replies and the intent of the sender in the context of Twitters messed up pro creepy guy algoritms. They are also free to question and criticise statements. Believe me, something they do. Often. I think that knowing this, if you have any intent to have any kind of sensible interaction with anyone on twitter you really do not want to be perceived as that creepy guy. As a general Twitter policy I (with very few exceptions) only follow accounts with real names, picture, bio and a history of a contributing mindset. This, naturally makes everything much easier.
Asking the right question
It wasn’t that much analysis behind choosing my question. My kids school has a hand made sign on the door to their classroom with that question and I saw it on a daily basis for three years before it stuck and I tried it on Twitter. No strategy, no plan, nothing. Pure coincidence and luck. But having said that, I think that people who know me would say that curiosity is a big part of who I am. Maybe an early realisation that this question was an endless source to feed my curiosity gave me the persistence to ask the same thing, everyday over and over and over again.
Having my agenda in mind there are as I see it, two ways to answer my daily question. One is right and one is not. They majority will tell you what they have learned eg. “Did you know that the Dinosaurs lived on the other side of the galaxy (!)” But some, for some reason tells you what they have learned about. eg. “I have learned about dinosaurs”. The earlier feeds curiosity, the later is a just a flat statement. My point here is not to criticise but this bug made me ask myself if there was any other way to ask this question and I really don’t think there is. So except for this little build in bug I do not think I could have any question that resonates better with me as a person and what drives me. It is obviously not right for everyone. Drivers are individual and will be different for everyone. This might sound a bit preposterous and I really don’t want to make this blogpost into some LinkedIn-ish life improvement bullshit. I don’t know where it comes from but there is this saying; Don’t fall in love in the solution. Fall in love in the problem. I’d like to propose a different take on that; Don’t fall in love in the answer. Fall in love in the question. Pursuing purposes, injustices or whatnots are all answers. Try instead finding a question that resonates with you and who you are. It will be much easier to stick to them. A good thing since you are going to ask others, not yourself the question.
What? Now who!
Related to that I have also spent some time reflecting over what asking the same question over and over again does to you. Except the obvious that you will be associated with the question I think that my understanding of how people think about what they know, don’t know and their learning process is my main take away so far. For example, some see knowledge as something static and fixed to be mastered and others experience and learn and grow from that. Nothing wrong with eihter way. Just interesting reflection. Another thing is that I think that I got a better understanding about what knowledge is in the public domain and what is not.
One last thing. Regardless of what questions you have they are a sign of curiosity and interest. When talking to someone, anyone, anywhere on any platform. Try to gravitate around a sincer interest about that person. Ask questions and indulge in the answers. Anything else is just waiting for your turn to speak and no one wants to be stuck with some idiot doing a 2h monologue.