«Return to Blog List Six SICMA: 6 Simple Techniques for Quality Blogging
Other than the name’s deliberate similarity (I freely admit to link-baiting), Six SICMA has absolutely nothing to do with the Six Sigma management process developed by Motorola engineers and subsequently adopted by hundreds of corporations in the 90’s. On the other hand, maybe it does, just a little. Six Sigma was meant to ensure quality in manufacturing and services. Six SICMA is meant to ensure (or at least enable) quality and regularity in your blog posts. Six SICMA is an acronym: Stay Intellectually Curious and Mentally Acute. It includes 6 simple techniques for getting and staying sharp and engaged. As many of us are aware, simple doesn’t necessarily mean easy: some discipline may be required. And there are probably more than 6 techniques, but then I’d have had to call it something else, wouldn’t I? Please feel free to tell me about other techniques that work for you.
Cultivating Intellectual Curiosity
- Read smart stuff by smart people – People like Kevin Kelley, Seth Godin, and [fill in your own smarty here] can challenge your assumptions and and cause your understanding of business and life to grow and your views to change. Fundamentally, that’s what intellectual curiosity is: a willingness to seek and incorporate information that allows or requires you to change or expand your thinking. Doing so helps you avoid getting stuck in old, unproductive thinking. It does not, however, insulate you from the possibility of becoming stuck in new, unproductive thinking, so select your reading material with care.
- Use your imagination – When thinking about a challenge or dilemma, we all start with assumptions. What if we identified those assumptions, substituted different assumptions, and tried to view our challenge in this new light? You’d be like a scientist conducting a "thought experiment." Imagining different assumptions often leads to imagining different outcomes. You might find the distance between present outcomes and imagined outcomes closer than you’d "assumed."
- Take the long view – You may have heard that history repeats itself and, if so you probably understand that everything is temporary: good economies, bad economies, your party being in or out of power, your favorite television series being cancelled…actually, Mannix is not coming back. But with the understanding that most conditions are conditional, you can avoid the kind of despair that sells newspapers (or, used to sell newspapers), but paralyzes your thinking about how to meet your current challenges. When you believe there is a point in finding answers, you’ll be motivated to find better ones.
Maintaining Mental Acuity
- Be physically active – Nothing stimulates your brain like getting off your butt. Regular physical activity (the kind that makes you sweat and breathe harder than normal for at least 30 minutes a day) pumps oxygen into your brain as well as the rest of your body. I don’t think it’s a coincidence that most of my inspiration for blog posts occurs during morning hikes with the dogs.
- Cultivate a sense of humor – A sense of humor doesn’t have much to do with your ability to tell a good joke. It has more to do with recognizing and appreciating a good joke when your hear it. Lots of jokes are not meant to be jokes, but so much of what happens in the news and in your daily life is ridiculous: a complete joke. If you can recognize the silliness or absurdity, you can smile or laugh out loud about it, and feel mentally refreshed.
- Tend to life outside business and blogging – Especially when you’re busy, it can be easy to let family, home, and other interests take care of themselves or slide down the list of priorities while you tend to business. Bad idea. Kids grow up, husbands or wives feel neglected, and the yard needs work. Sooner or later, neglect eats away at the foundation your life is built on. Keep in mind that business is supposed to improve the lives of you and your family, not replace them.