Blog is an acronym for Weblog. Blogging is the act of writing a blog. On March 17th 2013 I wrote my first blog on compound interest. This one is my 100th. I learnt a lot in the 9+ months since I started blogging. There are several benefits that I got out of blogging and in this post I will write about some of them.
1. Deep Learning
Blogging is writing and writing is thinking on paper. In order to write about anything I need to (1) Understand the concept throughly (2) Organize it (3) Explain it with examples, analogies, and, diagrams. In the process I learn deeply and end up recording the concept in my own memory. In the book The Little Book of Talent: 52 Tips for Improving Your Skills author Dan Coyle writes
Research shows that people who follow strategy B [read ten pages at once, then close the book and write a one page summary] remember 50 percent more material over the long term than people who follow strategy A [read ten pages four times in a row and try to memorize them]. This is because of one of deep practice’s most fundamental rules: Learning is reaching. Passively reading a book—a relatively effortless process, letting the words wash over you like a warm bath—doesn’t put you in the sweet spot. Less reaching equals less learning.
On the other hand, closing the book and writing a summary forces you to figure out the key points (one set of reaches), process and organize those ideas so they make sense (more reaches), and write them on the page (still more reaches, along with repetition). The equation is always the same: More reaching equals more learning.
2. More Reading
In order to write I need to read a lot. Also more reading results in more writing. A nice feedback loop is formed. Learning happens in two ways (1) Direct and (2) Vicarious. Reading is a great way to get vicarious experience and it is cost effective. You can find my online books shelf here. Lots of them were read since I started blogging.
I spend a lot time to write a single blog post. Some of them takes days before I publish it. This process keeps me engaged for several hours. As soon as I hit the publish button, I get a feeling of huge accomplishment. Mihaly Csikszentmihalyi calls this state as flow and it gives happiness. Flow, or Happiness occurs when we are (1) intensely focused on an activity (2) of our own choosing, that is (3) neither under-challenging nor over-challenging (4) a clear objective and that receives (5) immediate feedback.
4. Random Reinforcement
Sometimes people like the blogs that I write. They convey that in the form of comments, likes, and, follows. This creates a dopamine rush in me and it makes me to write more. This effect is called as random reinforcement. In the book Manage Your Day-To-Day – Dan Ariely writes
The psychologist B.F. Skinner came up with the idea of random reinforcement, where you give a rat a lever and every hundred times it presses the lever, it gets a piece of food. For the rat, that is exciting. But if the number is a random number – any number between one and one hundred – it actually ends up being more exciting. And the rat keeps on working much, much more, even if you take the reward away altogether.
5. Inspire Others
Sometimes your actions can inspire others. My elder son is studying in 5th grade. He got inspired with my blog and now he is writing his own blog on Being Curious.