Thursday, 12 April 2012

Journaling - An Old Idea

There are multitudes of accomplished and successful individuals who have advocated a Journal. Most self-help gurus say that a Journal is essential to your growth and success. You can design your ideal life, set your goals, plan your processes to achieve your goals, record your ideas, record your personal increases in awareness and understanding of yourself, and of course, maintain a steady stream of thoughts and accomplishments. Ultimately your Journal becomes your legacy. Perhaps, you will even have something to pass down to your children that they will value beyond anything else.

Thirty years ago I bought my first Journal. I wrote down every idea, thought, question, goal and business concept that popped into my head. When that first book got filled I bought another one and then another, and another. It wasn't necessarily a traditional diary where I wrote a summary of my day. It was a a place to Journal my every thought. I would always include my goals and ambitions, and got into the habit of writing what I called My Ideal Life. This proved to be a moving target. As I achieved one perfect scenario I began to visualize another, and so on and so forth. Today I can look back at these entries and read about what it was like to imagine living the life I live today. This exercise is very fulfilling, at least for the moment. At some point about ten years ago I got distracted. I adopted technology and stopped writing a Journal. It dwindled daily until there was no need to purchase another one. I had ideas and information all over the place. The files on my desktop were full of notes (that were next to impossible to find when I wanted to find them). I had bookmarked innumerable web pages and had begun to dabble in social media. Why did I need a Journal?

Many people may dismiss the need for a Journal based on the accessibility to social media programs such as Facebook, Twitter, Google plus, Youtube and many others. Blogs can also play a vital role in communicating your knowledge and understanding of a particular topic. It could be argued that you are recording all your thoughts and feelings for all to see, read and comment on constantly—the ultimate historical representation of your life.

But ask yourself: "To what degree do you edit and censor what you write when you now it will be publicly displayed."

Are you expressing your deepest thoughts, concerns and aspirations. Or is it much like the analogue world where you meet individuals, share some ideas develop some friendships but never share who you really are or what you are really thinking. Not that there is anything wrong with this and not that this also does not fulfill an essential function. And of course, if you really connect with one or two individuals you can exchange personal emails to banter back your opinions and ideas, and ultimately, perhaps, reveal your inner soul. This is a lovely ideal but how often does it actually happen? How many close friends (a true confidant) does anyone really have?

Don’t we need an intermediary process to facilitate our growth and development, provide us with that elusive introspection and ultimately facilitate change? Of course we do, and whether you use an old leather bound
Journal or an online service provider we must be certain that what we are writing in our Journal will not be seen or read by anyone but ourselves. At some point in time, as an idea matures and develops, or if you have that confidant in your life, and after careful deliberation you may choose to share some of your ideas. It becomes our prerogative to make that decision when, where and what we want to share with whom.

A Journal is essential to facilitate your growth, development and as an aid to reflect on your personal life and times. Anyone undertaking this process immediately will recognize the value and clarity that can be created by writing out your ideas in a simple and easy format for future reference and reflection. Getting ideas "out of your head" frees up your thinking and allows for increased creativity and clarity.

Eight months ago, while cleaning out the basement I came across some of my old Journals. After sitting on a box and flipping through them, perusing some of my thoughts more carefully than others, I realized I had made a huge mistake. Stopping this process was an error in judgement. At the same time I realized that I could never go back to a paper based process. In today's world this was flawed. I always have either my laptop,cellphone or I-pad with me. The most effective solution would be online.

I re-engaged in Journaling using +Mindset . At that time it was in the early stages and I have since helped with its development. For me the results have been outstanding. Initially I had thought it would take time to get re-acquainted with the writing process but it was almost an instantaneous adoption. Getting the ideas "out of my head" into a recorded format that is simple to search and re-evaluate has dramatically accelerated my personal development and my attaining my most recent Ideal Life.

Social media has been with us a few short years. Don’t be deluded into thinking that the Journal and all its virtues, can be replaced that easily. For the sincere student of life and personal growth they can both serve an essential role and can very complementary.

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