How Staying Sharp Keeps You Competitive
Staying sharp is important—not just for our clients but also for ourselves. Keeping your mind active maintains the connections in your brain and keeps the pathways of learning open like a busy highway. When we stop utilizing those connectors, they become somewhat like dusty, dirt roads. The intersections stop functioning and we get rusty. Don’t get rusty.
Here are 8 ways you can stay sharp and remain competitive:
1. Learn every day. Take the time to learn something new every day—whether it’s a new subject matter, a different point of view or something of historical significance. No matter what the topic is, expanding your horizons will make you a better writer and a better editor. I write and edit for different clients every day, so I am always writing about a new industry or recent innovations within those industries. That’s just one of the ways I stay sharp.
2. Keep up with daily news events. In terms of staying sharp, there’s no substitute for knowing what you’re talking about and being able to hold your own in social circles. Plus, there’s that phrase, “Life imitates art.” Or is it, “Art imitates life”? Either way, real life and knowing what goes on in the world is an integral part of incorporating life and action into your writing.
3. Join online discussions. Same as above, except in the digital world.
4. Write something different. If you’re a blogger, guest blog for someone else’s site. Writing a guest post for another website gets you thinking about a different audience as well as their needs, wants, problems, and desires. Part of staying sharp is creating an open mindset versus a closed mindset. If you’re a writer, write something in a different genre. It exercises your brain muscles and gets you thinking from a different approach.
5. Enter writing contests. What better way to challenge your writing and editing skills and stay competitive than to enter a writing competition? There are lots of great resources online to find local, national, and international writing contests. The world is your oyster!
6. Play word games. Yes, there’s always time for play. Pick your poison—whether you love crosswords, word searches, puzzles or other various word games. There’s nothing like a word puzzle to keep your wits sharp and re-fire those connections. In fact, I prescribe a word puzzle a day, every day for the rest of your life. Playing word games on a daily basis will keep you staying sharp all the way through your older years. My favorite games are Scrabble and Boggle with a little bit of Balderdash thrown in. Go for it!
7. Practice. Practice. Practice. Yes, that old adage still rings true. You can’t get anywhere without some hard work, sweat equity, and even a few setbacks along the way. And keep in mind that setbacks are good. They’re often one of the best ways of staying sharp and keeping us on our toes. Just stay true to yourself and put in the effort you deserve. It will always pay off.
8. Get feedback. This is last on the list, but certainly not the least important. Don’t hesitate to get a second opinion…and when you ask for one, listen closely to the answer. Staying sharp involves not just doing, but also listening. You just might learn something—about your audience, your work, and maybe even yourself.
How do you stay sharp? Share with us, and we might include (and credit) your tip in a future blog.
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