Tips. Tips for finding your dream job. Tips for eating well. Tips for becoming a better writer. Tips for improving your life. Everywhere I look on the Internet, I see lists of tips! What’s going on???
The answer is simple: people love reading tips. Because people love reading tips, bloggers write articles with tips. Its all about supply and demand (my old Economics 101 tutor would be so proud!). All these tips are useless though if you don’t practice the most important tip of all…..
Before I say what this tip is, though, I want you to imagine you are sitting down at a restaurant. This is one of your favorite restaurants, you are extremely hungry, and there are a couple of meals that catch your eye. What do you do next?
Now think of the last time you read a list of tips. As you read each tip, some common thoughts may have popped into your head, such as:
- “I’ve read this tip before”
- “I already do this one”
- “That’s bad advice”
- “That’s a good idea”.
Now the big question is this: did you do anything more with that interesting tip than simply think it is a good idea before moving onto the next tip?
Lets go back to the restaurant. Do you get up and leave without having ordered a meal? No. It stands to reason that you place an order with the server for the meal you want and when that meal arrives you eat it (unless something out of the ordinary happens).
Here then is what I consider the most important tip for lovers of tips (in easy-to-read numbered list format):
1. Never leave the site of a good idea without taking some sort of positive action.
What does this mean? Lets go back to the restaurant example again. I presume you would go to a restaurant because you want to eat. Likewise, I presume you would visit a self improvement site because you want to read something that will help you improve your life.
Now when you read the menu at the restaurant there will be a number of meals to choose from. There will probably be some that appeal to you and some that don’t. Sounds a bit like a list of tips, doesn’t it? As mentioned earlier, if you were in a restaurant this would be the time when you choose a meal and place your order with the server. Yet when reading a list of tips, we are not required to take similar actions. No one is going to come along and make us act on a tip we just read.
Never leaving the site of a good idea without taking some sort of positive action is fairly self explanatory. You may be wondering, though, what sort of positive action can be taken? The following are a couple of my tips :) :
- Write the tip down or print it out. Then stick it on the fridge (or other prominent place in your household) where you will see it.
- Discuss it further with a friend or on an Internet forum.
- Just do it now, eg pick up the phone and enroll in a language class or book your first golf lesson.
- Research it further.
The final tip above is my favorite. Tips, by their very nature, are brief. I personally believe they are great as an introduction to a topic, but if it is a great tip why not research it further? Many lists will, in fact, link to an article for further reading.