I’m a tinkerer. It’s my superpower. I get obsessed with puzzles and technical problems and I tinker until the pieces connect. I am always on the lookout for threads, connections, common themes — everywhere, with everything. I think in networks.
Which is why I love Roam’s graph database. I’ve been using it for a couple of years now, mainly keeping book notes, snippets of articles, quotes, and random bits of information there so I can connect them using contextual tags. (For you notetaking nerds, it’s like my digital zettelkasten.) I knew I’d built up a decent-sized graph there, but when I opened up the graph for the first time in a year, I was shocked at what I found.
That’s what my Roam graph looks like today. You can see how the million bits of information connect and converge in places.
And … it’s largely been wasted.
You see, all the things I read and collect and store in my brain or in my various knowledge management systems (Roam, Notion, Evernote, traveler’s notebooks) are useless until I DO something with them.
I have this impressive database of networked information at my fingertips. I have a talent for making connections. I’m also a decent writer. So I’ve used my Roam database (among other things) to come up with topics to write about, and create interesting content structures — for myself, my audience and my clients. But it’s not nearly enough. I feel like I’ve barely scratched the surface of what’s possible.
This is something that’s really been on my mind lately.
In various contexts throughout my adult life, the question of “If you had all the money and time in the world, what would you do (or keep doing)?” has come up again and again.
I always thought that was a terrible question because it leaves out the meaning that makes it matter. If I left out the meaning part of the equation, my answer would be: I’d read and tinker. And eventually I’d grow so bored I’d shrivel up.
I think it’s the meaning that matters.
So yes, this question will help you identify your passions and deeper interests. But to live a life you don’t regret on your deathbed, we have to add meaning to the question.
If you had all the money and time in the world, what would you do (or keep doing) for yourself, for others and for the world?
So you have an interest, passion, obsession, talent or affinity of some kind. What a blessing! I say enjoy it. Then use it.
I don’t care if it’s knitting or Scrabble or speaking or identifying edible plants or running long distances or speed reading or making wreaths out of wine corks. You can use this gift to help others and the world at large. Even in a small way. Even if it’s just gifting your friends with things you’ve created, or teaching a class on foraging, or speaking to elementary school kids about bullying, or running five miles to get your head clear so you can make better decisions in your family or your business — these gifts were meant to be used for your good, the good of others, and the good of the world.
So I come back to my tinkering.
I’ve been asking myself, What (more) good can I do with this?
I’m excited to see where this question leads …