The Ultimate Guide To Borrowing Brilliance


I was with a friend one day and she needed to confirm something about a platform.

She was reviewing their process for a certain service but she was not sure that they were legit.

So I took her laptop, opened a new tab and with a few keystrokes I was able to gain access to the set of information needed to access the legitimacy of the platform.

She later told me that she was sure my children would not be able to hide anything from me.

I hope so (much more I hope that they won’t need to hide anything from me).

What I did that day took me less than 5 minutes, but I didn’t build up that ability overnight.

It took years of crawling the internet and exercising my curiosity.

I started lifting weights this year and a friend of mine told me of how The Rock (Dwayne Johnson) spends a minimum of 6 hours at the gym daily.

Now I don’t see myself clocking such hours ever (I will most certainly peak at 2 hours) but that sheds light on the amount of dedication that it takes to make things work.

Curiosity is the first key to borrowing brilliance.

Like every sustainable thing in life, borrowing brilliance has a formula.

There are two things that are at play here and I would list them so you get how it works:

1) Getting better at identifying brilliance in your field.

2) Establishing thought patterns of identifying brilliance that you can transfer to other fields.

In summary, the better you get at borrowing brilliance in your field, the better you get at borrowing brilliance from other fields.

I will give examples so that you can grasp where I am coming from:

The design for aeroplanes leaned heavily on studying how birds fly.

Sonar used by ships for navigation was inspired by how Dolphins communicate.

Light bulbs were inspired by Fireflies.

I could go on and on but I believe that you get what I am pointing at now.

Observing the brilliance that is present in nature has helped us build some really useful things for society.

The process that goes into it can work for any field, no matter what it is that you are building.

And nature isn’t the only place that you can borrow from.

You can borrow brilliance from companies operating in similar or different industries.

An Israeli fraud detection company was built on insights gathered by the founder who was a Soldier.

He was able to leverage the experience he gathered from tracking and apprehending terrorists to tracking down fraudulent transactions.

So back to my weightlifting analogy.

We were all born with a level of curiosity, if you have a chat with your mother, she would tell you of all the annoying questions that you asked as a child.

Sadly, the way the current schooling system is designed gives no room for curiosity to thrive.

However, starting today you can resume the journey of developing your curiosity if it has been stagnant.

It all starts with a willingness to search.

“Never be afraid of not knowing,…..find out. Because that’s how you gain Mastership” – Lauryn Hill

Google is one of the greatest inventions of this current age, knowing when to use it is one of the greatest causes of my success.

I have been in rooms where something was brought up that was a strange concept to people there, and while others sat and communicated their ignorance, I hurriedly opened a tab on my browser and was already reading up all I could about that thing in that moment.

It has made me money, it has given me an edge, and it has changed my life.

Seven years ago, I came across the Rule of Five Principle

John Maxwell used it to teach how anyone can become a better leader.

I adapted the Rule of Five to my field and it has been helping me ever since.

Five things that you need to do every day.

  1. Read
  2. Write
  3. Think
  4. Ask Questions
  5. Document


Reading is your portal to the world, it enables you to access information and experiences from those who have gone ahead of you.

Also at this point, it is very important that I point out something.

We all have a primary way of creating and consuming content that fits our nature.

Content comes in three forms. Text, Audio and Video.

If you are not a text person, you would find yourself struggling with books, I advise you to explore videos instead.

All your learning mustn’t come from a text-based book, there are Audiobooks too.

The lesson here is to find the format that works for you and not give up learning because text-based books don’t work for you.

I have learnt that the best way to introduce yourself to something is to find out the core principles that make it run.

Once you locate the core principles, it is easier to grow in that area.

Let us use Success as an example.

The core principles of success are hardwork and consistency.

No matter what you are trying to build, you need to work hard and show up daily to lay bricks.

It doesn’t matter if you are building a house, a company or a personal brand.

Hardwork and Consistency are the winning formula.

Every struggle that you face with what you are building is tied to your desire to forsake one or both of these things.

Apply this at a deeper state.

Find the core principles that power what you are building and heed them.



This starts by taking notes.

As you read, you should note down the insights that you are picking from what you are reading.

This helps you internalize it better. Then you can now refer back to your notes when needed.

You can now build on this to create an action point or a strategy that you need for what you are building.

The second stage of writing is actually creating.

And like reading, you also need to find the format that works for you.

The fact that this stage is called writing does not mean that you must write, if writing does not work for you, try making videos, or recording audio.

In this day and age, making an advancement or selling yourself to the public involves creating content.

Thankfully, we have social media platforms that cut across the three forms of content.

I would list the platforms starting with the ones that have the most reach for the different formats.


Audio- Twitter Spaces, Clubhouse, Mixlr

Video – TikTok, Youtube, Instagram

Text – Facebook,Twitter ,WhatsApp


Explaining these rankings based on why which platform comes first is another article, I would explain more in my upcoming Borrowing brilliance Twitter space.



This is simply meditating on what you have studied and also what you are creating.

There are a lot of insights that you cannot unlock until you start creating.

When I started this article, there was a certain direction that I wanted it to go, but right now I have veered away from that direction because my brain has presented me with a better format that would help people grasp the concept of this article.

For the record, I never intended to talk about the Rule Of Five in this article, but here we are.

It has ended up being a core part of this article.

There are some uncertainties that you face currently that would only clear after you start building.

No amount of research can help clear them, you have to start building.


Ask Question

Though I put asking questions fourth, it is actually the thing that set the pace for the other four rules.

You can’t read if you don’t have questions, same for thinking.

People need to have questions to take what you are creating seriously, and documentation is done against a future need.

My policy for asking questions is this:

If you need a slow and biased answer: ask Humans

If you need fast and resourceful answers: ask Google

Now don’t get me wrong, I am not saying that asking Humans is not right. There are even times when it is your only option.

But asking Google first should be a default state of mind that you need to build, you can always ask a Human for more clarification later.

The more you do this, the better you get at finding things online.

Searching for things online is something that I have become very good at over the past ten years and one day I might just write the ultimate guide on searching for things online.



Documentation is also something important that you need to pay attention to.

I started documenting tech-related insights with jotters as far back as 2011.

After discovering Yahoo Mail back then, I penned down what would be my email address, I didn’t get to create that email address until months later.

It is still my major email address today and I am one of the few people in the world with a Yahoo mail as a primary email address.

With time I moved my documentation online.

In 2017 I created an online server that I used to store all forms of resources before moving to another similar platform in 2020.

Now let me explain a core principle of documentation.

Don’t only document things because you feel need them in the nearest future.

Understanding this would help you not miss valuable information because you feel that you don’t need them.

There are things that I documented in 2014, 2015, 2017 etc that I only started using currently.

While it is hard for you to predict where you would be and what you will need five or seven years from now.

Using gut feeling, you would discover that you may need a particular resource in the future, it may not be clear why you need that thing, but when you document it, the purpose would be more clear in the future.

There are times when I failed to document something.

I found out that when the time comes when I need that thing, I always remember that I had a chance to document something that would help me with it in the past, it doesn’t matter if it is a week later or a year later.



There is nothing new under the sun. No matter what you are trying to build, it has been done in one format or the other in the past.

Priming yourself to borrow that brilliance will help you a lot in life.

There are times when people have asked me.

How were you able to recognize this thing early…..

How were you able to apply this principle in that field…

How are you able to recognize that NFTs would have value in its early days …..

It all goes back to these principles. I have so much exposed myself to brilliance of people who have built remarkable things in the past

So my mind becomes better and better at recognizing brilliant things even when most people don’t get it.

I urge you to go back to these five things and do them every day.

They would change your life.


Image Source: Visualize Value








21 Responses

  1. I settled to start working and when I saw the link to this article on your status, I had to pause and start reading. I know I have taken your rule of five-course before and I have been thinking a lot about making progress in some areas of my life. Thank you for sharing this, I will look deeper to search for the principles that guide those areas that I wish to build on. Principles are like the foundation, so knowing them and applying them will surely bring success. Thank God for your insight.
    P.s: I want to write amazing posts like this too. I believe with time, I will get there.

    1. You are welcome Flora

      I am glad that you found the article resourceful.

      And yes by following these five rules you would be able to write posts like this too.

      When I started writing online, I could barely write up to 500 words, but as my knowledge base grew I got better and better

  2. Wow, this is intriguing. Beyond the article which really impacted me, the flow of thought is also amazing.
    Thanks Ajulu again and again

  3. Thank you Ajulu, I found this piece useful.

    About the date for your Twitter space, I want to confirm if I hadn’t missed it. Tuesday 25th or Tuesday 26th?

  4. Sincerely I’m beginning to get on well in the internet space after so some times of struggling. These five rule will help propel me to greater heights. Thank you so Ajulu🙏

  5. Going through this, I discovered how far and how well being delibrate will cost me. I often skip some ideas, hoping I will get back to it later but in the end, I don’t.

    Documentation is powerful and this is one of the things am taking out of this piece. Document even when you don’t feel you need the information now, it will always be resourceful in the future.

    Thank you Ajulu

  6. The truth is that whenever I come across your articles, I would always be tempted to skip them because they were like a sharp sword pointing directly to me.

    I have always learnt things that kept me going from your write up and also practiced and failed along the way due to lack of consistency.

    Now that I have read this, the fire is now rekindled and I’ve gone back to continue what I started.

    Thank you Mr. AJULU for this piece

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