My name is Jim and I will do almost anything to learn something. I think that getting to know the Universe is the way we get to know ourselves.
I want "Here lies a man who never stopped learning and growing. He shared his knowledge with others for the benefit of society" to be etched into my tombstone.
1. When did you start Raw Inquiry, and what was your motivation for starting it?
I started Raw Inquiry in August 2012 as a way to share anything I wanted to learn about with others. I also wanted to improve my writing.
2. What are some of your favorite topics to learn and write about?
I enjoy exploring this vast, incredible universe and learning everything I can about it as a way to get to know myself better. I love to learn and write about travel, culture, and personal growth. I think what we believe about ourselves (identity) and the beliefs and meanings we share with others (culture) along with how those belief systems form are the most interesting topics to explore when it comes to learning about human beings.
3. How do you find participants for your World Almanac project, and what are your goals with this project?
The main goal of the World Almanac Project is to put together a personal, qualitative World Almanac. We often see a collection of demographic information about countries whenever information about all of the countries in the world is presented. I want to put a real person and a personal story behind each country in the world for people so that they can relate more deeply to the various nations of the world. We tend to change the way we think when we actually know someone who is involved in an issue or who belongs to a particular group.
One of the cool things about the World Almanac Project is that I don't have a system for selecting participants. So far, they have come to me easily and naturally. Often, one person I interview or one of their friends introduces me to several more people from other countries who want to participate. I was originally worried that nobody would be interested in sharing their thoughts; now I realize that people have a story to tell and they are often happy to share it with me for my project.
For me personally, it will be really cool for me to know someone from literally every country in the world. I think a social network like that will prove invaluable to me in the future. Also, I absolutely love conducting the interviews and they always end in admiration for the person I speak with. It’s amazing what can happen when we stop talking and just listen. Most people are passionate about their country and I learn a tremendous amount about life each time I interview someone for the World Almanac Project.
4. What are some of the pleasures--and challenges--when it comes to writing about personal growth?
What a great question! Writing about personal growth is both the most challenging and rewarding topic I write about. It's very challenging to be vulnerable by sharing the things that are most personal to you in such a public forum. When I write a blog post about a subject that really pushes my comfort zone, I often get physically sick after pressing the "publish" button. However, a few days later the pain is gone and I feel incredibly strong. The increase in self-worth you feel is permanent. Every time, you level up. Shame hates vulnerability, so the ability to put yourself out there publicly on the internet fundamentally changes who you are.
Writing about personal growth allows you to solidify the things you have learned and the breakthroughs you have had and make them part of your permanent identity. I also like the fact that other people might benefit from what I have written.
5. Where do you see yourself in your writing life and in your career in, say, three to five years?
In three to five years, I see myself creating educational experiences for people. I will be writing about travel, culture, and personal growth along with anything else I'm interested in learning about. I will be traveling all over the world and sharing my exploration of this mind-boggling universe with all kinds of extraordinary people. I will be having fun and laughing as much as possible.
I hope to finish the World Almanac Project in the next three to five years as well. There are all kinds of cool things I can do with the information from the World Almanac Project when I'm finished, and I look forward to creating those things as well.
Thank you for the excellent questions! Cheers!