The power of one learning per day #1 #cong18


I captured on new idea or one new insight every single day this year
I did it as a challenge for my personal development.
Writing it down forces deeper learning and likely implementation
It was a tweet style diary of innovative thought
My personal bet with you, it will be in the top ten most impactful things you do in your life and its easy!

4 Key Takeaways:

  1. Take a note of the key learnings you have each day
  2. It will embed deeper learning
  3. It will surprise and delight you
  4. It will make you a more empathic human person

About Alan Costello:

Alan is an innovative and strategic leader, working in early stage venture capital with tech startup companies @NDRC.

He is opinionated, but nice about it.

Contacting Alan Costello:

You can follow Alan on Twitter, connect with him on LinkedIn reach him by email.

The power of one learning per day – By Alan Costello.

I love learning about new people, new ideas, new insights – I get a buzz from it – it aids my life and makes me feel like I’m living my own best life.  I dare you to argue with that concept.

On Jan 1 2018 – I decided to capture in writing one thing I learned or observed every single day.  Holidays and weekends, work thoughts and life thoughts.  I wouldnt research or fact check them – they were my observations and learnings that day – I’m not guaranteeing accuracy.  I will try to hat-tip the person or occasion who engendered that learning.  If I had more than one idea (shocker), I would choose.  Write them down – Ray Dalio style.

Challenges – would I learn something new every day – risky for a guy on the cusp of a mid life crisis.  Would I have the discipline – one perception of an ideas or big picture guy like I perceive myself to be, is that they are not an executor or finisher in projects.  Note – I’m not a finisher – I‘m writing this on the 23rd May so I could fail, but I already know that this is one of the most high value and impactful projects in my life.  Read on!

This blog is not an account of the >100 observations so far – it is about the process of thinking about ideas and evaluation of them and how they impact or enrich your life.  There are however a few extracts, like:


Jan 5th – watching the Gulf cup soccer final in Oman struck me that sport is the global offering.  People react in the same way, sponsors utilise it in the same way globally, one universal language exists through sport more than other aspects of culture, language or business.

It became like a diary, a record of activity covering predominantly work but also life

It captured locations where I was

It captured zeitgeist and my own headspace

It told me what I found interesting in life

I fell into a nice pattern of not forcing it to fit some cool hipster lifestyle – thats what I use Twitter for.  Instead, I fell into a pattern of learn, capture, enrich.  It became something I looked forward to completing each day.

It is not all ideas – although many are.  It also captures observations and insights – my own and I dont claim them for greatness, but important that they were novel or impactful to me each day.

How – I captured the ideas in a calendar format in Google sheets and then each month transferred to a Google Word document so I could expand or remind myself of the context as to where the idea came from.  It formed the habit of looking for one insight a day – if it didnt pop in naturally, I thought each evening – what one new thing did I learn today.  It was a pleasure to recount something and affirm that I was still winning the challenge.

There is a learning for today, until I wrote these words, I didnt know I had challenged myself.

I ask myself, for each learning/idea/insight – how impactful is that?  What will I implement in my future that I have gleaned from that piece of knowledge?  I know I wont implement 100% – any or a target would be better than not doing it, right?

Example – Feb 1st – Sometimes its ok to back away from a fight that is not worth winning.  Context is key.  (I feel I need to explain – I would have won that argument, it would have been a short term win, but not a strategic one.  New thought, why did I feel I needed to explain backing away from a fight?)

What did it do?

It reminded me to always learn, to capture learning so as to embed it

Was it a chore – not really, but slight challenge to capture the data in a way that lasted through time (end of the month tidy up!)

Logistics – excel, google doc.  What will holiday time be like (actually the more free my headspace, the more thoughts/ideas/learnings I had – need to think about that obvious conclusion).

Are there different formats?

Should I write, should I draw, should I matrix any feelings/emotions around that?  I havent tried this yet, but will probably try some experiments there.  Emotions attached to learnings seems like it would 10x the impact.  But bias the learning too?

What outcomes am I expecting – personal development.  The chapter titles of a book?

Learn about myself – I have rarely strategically captured my thoughts/thinking or principles.  Its about time!

Was one per day too restrictive – will I try an experiment to capture 2 or 3 per day and test if a quality bar emerges/law of diminishing returns?

Can I capture data and organise it by topic? – probably more meaningful than calendar capture, but will it merge (should it merge) concepts together?

What moods/events changed/amended my insights etc – funerals, rest-time etc

Why is this innovative – what is innovation


March 3rd – in order to change, you need data.  Management have ERP/MIS systems, what about consumer?  Fitbit provides data that enables and pushes consumer level change.  The tech capability is coming to drive mass consumer behaviour change

Why would I recommend this to you – (would I stop in 2019?)

Thats a big enough question – more about that leading on to a never ending task in 2019 and beyond.  Maybe I will deliver it publically through Twitter to create discussion.  I need to see long term benefit – I think I have that, but I have to measure my response to this question and see if I commit (finisher!)

In essence, I would absolutely recommend this to you, to at least challenge and astonish yourself, and learn and embed the learnings you already have every day.


9th May – looking at a clients personal and professional learning log for their learning – the reflection they have and the impact it has had has enormous impact. 

Oh wait, thats what this is……

Ideas may be cheap, or two a penny, but learning and implementing actions from them – thats value beyond a price.

What is the most impactful one thing that you learned today?

  • Aoife Keady says:

    Great idea Alan, I find I’m flying it for a while and then sit back and forget to speed up again. Good habit to write down a thought a day.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *