I was just reading Justin Jackson's thoughts on following your heroes, much like Shawn Blanc was (that's actually how I found the piece). Once I finished it, I read Jason Fried's blog post from last year on giving less advice.
I completely agree with what all of them said. However, I think they're missing a key detail: Review. Shawn Blanc has written about it once or twice in the past. There's a certain value to taking a fresh look at something after you've finished it, whether it's your week, year, or life in general. It's good to think about whether there are things you could do better and appreciate accomplishments. I think review is only possible if events are recorded, which brings me to writing.
Writing, of course, is my favorite medium for expressing thoughts. It's very natural for me. Sometimes I enjoy a great conversation with a friend over coffee or a burger, but if I'm looking to get detailed, I usually write a journal entry and share it with them. I'm able to concentrate and explain all of my feelings right there in the moment. To capture these sorts of things (musings, emotions, etc.) you have to recognize they exist, as Blanc was saying in regards to being honest with yourself. If you don't, they'll likely escape.
The answer to these issues of advice and lessons of success, I think, is to record things better. It's more theoretical than anything, though. I often have great ideas and don't write them down. I have revelations that lead me in a different direction from that day forward, but I don't journal about them. If I wanted to be a better "role model", per se, I would probably have to journal more. I'd have to record, in a very honest manner, what I'm going through when I'm hiking up the mountain and what it feels like to suffer — in the moment, not five days after. Of all things, it's very difficult for me to remember the negative details later. I've gotten very good at moving on. And that's not usually a bad thing, but in this case it hinders the richness of the story when reflecting.
As I was re-reading Fried's post, I realized review is a very valuable thing. I read it last year when he published it, but I've changed a lot since then. I don't usually like to be redundant and read something more than once, but with this it was worth it. I definitely think looking at your own life from time to time is healthy, no matter how "successful" you may be objectively.
All this makes me wonder: How the heck do raconteurs who write books remember their lives so well? I'm trying to do it one week at a time, writing down the key things I've learned each week.