Journaling is often promoted as a very helpful practice to becoming more effective. Writing random thoughts, free form, with no intent of having anyone read your work.
Why is that?
Sharing my thoughts with you bi-weekly for over five years has revealed to me the power of reflection that writing offers. Of slowing both time and circumstance down so that we can begin to see nuance and detail that we miss during the rapid fire of life.
Rather than being the central character (in life we always are), writing and journaling makes us “a character” of many. Giving us the ability to step outside of ourselves in order to see more clearly the chess moves of many players (including ourselves) in a dance within a situation. Helping us become more aware of ourselves and our tendencies (as well as others) amidst life’s daily grind.
Seeing more objectively is not the payoff of writing. Reflection is its power giving us the gift of replay to both better understand ourselves as well as to better recognize patterns of behavior that either help or hinder each player. Hopefully making us a bit smarter & better prepared the next time we are in a similar arena.
Writing forces us towards clarity. By re-writing a sentence that does not clearly capture our thoughts. Adding a sentence to better capture detail that is important. It magically improves one’s thinking over time by exposing it to clarity. For clarity provides us with the greatest leverage in any situation.
Reflection empowers our writing when we begin to better see what bothered us about our day and becoming explicit, through our own words, as to the many actions taken by everyone that led us to disappointment. Essentially dissecting what happened and how.
In celebration, writing for understanding becomes more difficult. The emotions of joy and accomplishment drown out our thirst for detail. The need for reflection disappears because the outcome was both perfect and satisfying to our soul. Where writing about celebration helps, is being reminded days or weeks later, just how temporary and powerful celebration can be.
I encourage each of you to write two or three sentences each day. Whatever comes to mind. And then begin to explore your initial thoughts by writing again. It’s a different type of journey that may take you to surprising places of understanding. Leading each of us to becoming a bit more effective as we become more aware.
No skills needed.