Whether you’ve tried journaling before or not, now is the best time to start. In this episode Leary and Armin explain why and offer a simple approach to get the most from journaling.
This episode’s Inspire Me quote comes from renown science fiction writer, Isaac Asimov:
“Writing, to me, is simply thinking through my fingers.”
Throughout the years, many prominent leaders have used the power of the pen to shape their thinking. Leonardo da Vinci. Thomas Edison. George Washington. Thomas Jefferson, Winston Churchill, Andrew Carnegie are just a few of the luminaries that have practiced the discipline of journaling.
Leary observes that people often abandon journaling for three reasons:
- They become disoriented and give up because the uncertainty of what to write about makes them uncomfortable.
- They become distressed and give up because their persistent and critical focus on the past leaves them feeling depressed.
- They become disenchanted and give up because they don’t get the quick hit of brilliant application they were hoping for.
He personally experienced each of these over the years and now finds that after 2.5 years of daily journaling that he has an increased personal awareness, more margin for strategic thought, and increased focus.
The method Leary uses is described by Julia Cameron her seminal book, The Artist Way:
- Be cheap. Don’t purchase an expensive journal that will make you conscience about what you write.
- Write three pages every day without stopping. Don’t edit, just write, even if it’s to write that you’re not sure what to write about.
- Keep a separate notepad nearby to capture the inevitable to-do’s that you remember while you’re writing.
- Find your best time and tie it to another habit (See episode 21: How to create habits for your next great beginning)
When you find yourself becoming too self critical:
- Observe. Take note of what you’re telling yourself. Write it down.
- Project. Ask if what you are writing about yourself is consistent with the person you want to become. Embrace your ability to grow.
- Rewrite. Journal about your learnings, not your present condition. Counter self-criticism with truth as if you’re the already the person you want to be.
- Act. Decide upon a practical step that you can take to act on what you’ve learned to reinforce it.
When you run out of ideas to write about try answering some of the following questions (for more ideas see the Resource section below):
- What significant events happened since you last journaled?
- What interactions did you have with others that stirred your emotions in some way?
- What passage did you read or idea did you hear that stood out to you?
- What longings do you have? How would you describe your life in three years? Ten years?
- What things are you grateful for?
- How does what you are eating or how you are exercising affect the way you feel and think?
The Challenge Me for this episode is simply to give journaling a try for seven days and evaluate what you’ve learned from it.
Resources mentioned or related to this podcast that may be helpful to you:
- Accidental Genius, Mark Levy’s book mentioned in the podcast to use journaling to solve just about any problem. Read Leary’s review.
- Start here. Ideas for jumpstarting your journal entry. Leary’s blog post with more questions to ask yourself?
- Why I gave journaling another try, The first of three posts from Leary’s blog on journaling.