When you sit down to write a column, the main challenge is sharing your personal experience with the reader in such a way that is useful and not just interesting. All these words and sentences are useless without practical application. Otherwise you'll most likely prefer reading "A Song of Ice and Fire" (at least that's what I'd do).
Usefulness is a blessing. By receiving beneficial information we make our lives clearer and more comfortable. And if we are better today than we were yesterday, that means we are making progress.
Thinking about this, I recall one of the rules of drama — if a character doesn't change throughout the script, then there's no need for them. Such a character can be safely removed.
Drama aside, what about the information we receive daily? How do we structure and filter it? This is a complicated and confusing matter. At times only Shaolin monks can tackle it.
The first thing I do when powering up my computer is ask myself, "What do I have to do in order to avoid doing anything unnecessary?" After all, unnecessary for me means unnecessary for the readers. If I'm not useful, then it means I'm harmful, as I didn't enhance anyone's lives.
Neither Google, nor higher education, nor the marketing department (although they can be life-saving on many occasions) can help me solve this problem. My formula is to put myself in the reader's position and not press a single key without making sure it will change me first.
"But this is obvious stuff, genius!". Yes, it is. However, pause for a moment and think — which actions that you performed yesterday made an impact on you? What about the day before? How did this affect others?
We rarely ever ask ourselves this last question.
P. S. I'll be launching an awesome newsletter soon. Just a reminder.