As I am in my ninth year of writing this blog, I find it interesting to reflect on my journey. No doubt, over the years I feel that my thinking has become clearer. Finding an idea and then building it out, takes some time. Writing is a lot like walking. Putting one step in front of the other. Building towards a destination rather than simply walking to it.
Never at the rapid pace of conversation, misplaced or incomplete thoughts stand out in a draft. Where in conversation, we travel far past them without ever realizing their imperfection. Taking these misplaced or incomplete thoughts and then trying to refine, change, or challenge them is difficult work. They sometimes get left on the side. Other times they linger in my mind, searching for what is missing.
What I’ve learned is that our thinking is never as good as we think. We rush too much. Procrastinate too long. And many times lunge at things that are not well understood. The speed of our daily lives jumbles things up for us. Our beliefs distort what we hear and see. Our extreme interest in achieving a goal blinds us to what is in front of us. Making it harder to adjust. Using youthful energy to push forward. Risking failure in learning what we can do better if only we used writing to help us see the flaws in our own thinking before a mistake is made.
That is why journaling can be so helpful. Random thoughts, put on a page, trying to sort life out. Connecting the dots to find intention. Discovering things missed when we reach the dead end of an incomplete thought. Never meant to be published but rather used as a tool to help us uncover what’s important, what’s incomplete, and work towards what is possible. To help reveal to us our thinking. Looking at it from a distance to see where we can improve.
Writing is such a powerful discipline for not only helping us clarify our thinking but also aligning our thinking towards meaningful action. Jeff Bezos from Amazon never liked a PowerPoint presentation that had a few sentences on each slide to present an idea. They must present a 6-page memo when new ideas ahead of a meeting to give others a chance to understand the idea more fully. When in reality it gives the author the tool of writing to clarify their own thinking before presenting an idea to a group.
Numbers on paper – budgets & forecasts all work in the same way. To force us to clarify the relationships between numbers to figure out what is working and what is not. A mentor of mine said that if the numbers on paper don’t add up properly, whatever you have decided to do most likely will not work when attempted. When dealing with money, creating them is a great way to find where our thinking is incomplete or flawed just as writing does.
While writing brings me joy, I truly wanted to share with you the benefits of writing for you to experience. I encourage all of you to try. On paragraph, one page, or even three sentences. And then do it regularly. How you are feeling. What you are feeling. Recapping the good and bad of your day. Expressing your frustrations to yourself on paper. Never meant to complain but rather to give you the chance to reflect, evaluate, and then act. Take an idea and list its pros and cons, obstacles you may encounter, and ways you will accomplish what you want, and then find the incomplete or weak points of what you wrote in order to improve before acting.
Measure twice and cut once. Writing is the best way I know to do this without ever going to the garage to get both a tape measure & a saw.