Build Your Little Black Book Pt 2: Knowledge

In the Little Black Book series, we have already discussed beauty. However, beauty is not the end-all goal you need to have. Beauty fades but knowledge is forever. In this post, we will be discussing how you can use knowledge to build a better image, how-to content with people, and become a person of the world.

Disclaimer: First, I want you to know that I am a person that enjoying learning. In fact, I was encouraged to do this as a child. Many children do not have the opportunity to explore outside of school. I encourage you not to read this post in the mindset of “Sterling, that’s too much information” but in the mindset of Knowledge is power. JK Rowling did get that statement correct. Without knowledge, you cannot be in this world. Understand this first.

Where is your knowledge?

You need to understand that knowledge comes from the experience of knowing and learning. Ask yourself where are you learning from? Schools have given young minds the opportunity to learn. However, it depends on the school’s type where they either encourage your imagination or disavow it. Right now, you need the tools and understanding that you need this knowledge. You should not go into a situation completely blind when there are resources to help you.

For example, you cannot walk into a conference knowing anything about the conference. It is not possible. Be aware in order to be safe.

In the Know

Let’s discuss actionable tasks that you can do. Being in the know is not as difficult as it may seem. Today, we have the power of the internet. In the past, we had the power of libraries with their wonderful librarian. Luckily enough both exist at the same time. Using the tools that you already pay for is essential to this journey.

The internet has search engines like Google and Duck Duck Go to look up things. It has social media accounts like Instagram and Yelp that give you a look behind the scenes outside of the website. It has the important power of the newsletter.

Action steps: Build a separate email in your email service provider (I recommend ProtonMail for privacy) to make what I call a ‘Newspaper Email’.

Begin signing up for the QUALITY email newsletter here. Subjects like charities, financial news, travel magazines, private members clubs, etc. Take 15 minutes of your day to read through this email. Delete or archive afterward or publish the links on your social media feed.

Staying in the know is not as hard as you may think. If you want to go more old school, check out your local library and get a library card. It is a service that you pay for with your taxes. See if they have the newspaper there. Or scholarly journals, databases, audiobooks, and much more. Your librarian is more powerful than you think.

In this digital age, we have the ability to take classes online. It has become a priority today to shift learning online. Platforms are now building their learning programs to encourage more people to get interested in their chosen fields. To have more knowledge, you can apply it to your benefit.

Action steps: Take the time to list out what you want to learn and search up if there are any classes available. Use platforms like Coursera, FutureLearn, HighBrow, Masterclass, iTunes U, and LinkedIn Training.

Try one class at a time and schedule at least one to two hours a week to get in the motion of learning again.

Strategic Events

As my friend Sloane says, you can use these opportunities to your best advantage. I agree with her. In early quarantine, I realized many of the huge conferences moved to online at a reduced price. Use this to your advantage right now.

I use platforms like Eventbrite and YouTube to attend things that are now virtual.

Action steps: Build a list of things you want to learn. Type in Eventbrite the goal with the section ‘online’ events. Make an investment in yourself every other month with at least three online events. Plan in advance.

Good examples can be learning how to cook a certain dish, learning more about wines, building a business plan, learning more about the fashion industry, more about the travel industry, etc. There are even museums using their own platforms to host live events. I’m going to invest in a student membership for the Atlanta symphony orchestra since I miss being able to play the violin.

The Power of Books

Books are one of the best ‘silent’ mentors out there. You can get in touch with people’s thoughts and creations that you may never meet in person: dead or alive. Utilize books to build your knowledge about your favorite subjects. They are great secondary resources to adapt from.

If you have learned what type of learner you are, books can be an essential tool for you to adapt. Ask yourself these questions on how you learn with books:

  • Do you prefer print, online or audio?
  • How long does it take you to read, understand and comprehend it?
  • How many pages is your typical book? Either up to 150 or 400 pages?
  • Do you read for pleasure or only to learn something?
  • How long does it take you to finish reading a book actively?

Using these questions to breakdown a guide for you on which books to get and how to use your reading time effectively.

Best Tips:

  • If you like shorter books, you may want to do key takeaway versions of long books to help you.
  • If you like to read but seem to not have the time, replace your morning or nightly social media scroll with 30 pages of a book or 30 minutes of an audiobook.
  • If you like reading but seem to not remember much about the book, get a reading journal to do key takeaways of each chapter or the entire book.

Social Media

For social media, we have already discussed its power in using it as a tool of research. You can also use it as a tool to allow others to build a conversation with you.

I took a moment earlier this year to lock down my Twitter account to share a bunch of resources before this program was even thought of. It brought so much buzz to my account because of how people were doing the following:

  • Engaging in my comments and resources
  • Talking with other people about what I am doing publicly and privately
  • Building my reputation on social media as someone who gives
  • Adding new clients who wanted my advice on building a strategy for their personal life & fragrance

And much moreā€¦ it’s powerful when you use it correctly.

In the end, you are the most important person in your world. You need to understand that you are building knowledge for yourself. Not your friends, family, work, or social media. For yourself. No one can take away what you have learned.

Your mind is your own. Learn more to expand it. From there, you will expand your horizons, circles, and understanding of the world.