06 Jan Journal yourself into a better life
Stop waffling, and start self-authoring.
The pen is mightier than the sword. But it’s also weaker than a jelly-baby. In fact, even if I don’t know how to wield a sword, you could still lose an eye. But if I don’t know how to wield a pen, you’ll only lose interest. You may not think of journaling as ‘wielding’ your pen. You may think you’re just downloading your neurological misfires; attempting to make sense of your crazy at the end of the day. This is exactly where you would be wrong.
What is journaling?
– the method of human communication, either spoken or written, consisting of the use of words in a structured and conventional way.
– the ability to acquire and use complex systems of communication, particularly the human ability to do so.
So, language is simply a coded system for humans to convey ideas and meanings to one another — to make sense of the world. Journaling, then, is a way for us to convey these ideas and meanings to ourselves, and make sense of ourselves. When you write about your day, you’re not merely putting your thoughts on paper: you’re giving me (and yourself) a window into your mind. And it’s less about what you write, and more about how you read it.
The You Operating System
Your language is part of your code. It tells us how you see the world, which blind-spots you have and what areas you are most passionate about. It’s a window into your brain’s Operating System (OS). And, if you want to upgrade your brain’s OS, you need to know how to read its code.
1. Grab a pen and paper. (Or, use the computer, if you have no choice. We recommend you use pen and paper , though. It forces your mind to keep moving forward, as you don’t have the luxury of editing-as-you-type.)
2. Think about a topic you feel strongly about in your life: something where you want to experience a shift or change.
3. Now, write a paragraph about this topic. Some rules:
– Don’t think about what you’re writing — just write.
– Don’t edit as you’re writing — allow a free-flow of thought to paper.
– Go wherever your mind takes you with the idea: nothing is “right” or “wrong”, “better” or “worse”
4. Done? Good. Now, take a few deep breaths, and step back from the topic in your mind.
5. Scan the paragraph as if you are a third person: uninvolved. Look for any interesting words or phrases that ‘pop-out’. Underline these. If you can’t find anything interesting, underline the most descriptive words or phrases. If you find only one, that is also fine!
6. Now, imagine you’re the editor of a book, and you want to bring a fresh perspective to the page in front of you. Read the underlined words /phrases, and ask yourself: “How limiting is this phrase? What other word / phrase could I replace it with, to open it up?” Replace the limiting phrases / words with something more resourceful.
8. Are there any other shifts can you make in any of the other words, to open up the situation even more?
9. When you now re-read the edited journal, how does the change in language affect the story?
This is a very simple form of self-coaching through journaling, and it starts with how you read your brain’s OS. It takes you outside of your head, so you can start rewriting your own code.
The self-authored life
We all have a this default core-code running in our minds. It’s one, or a few primary stories through which we filter all experiences — mostly subconscious, deeply ingrained, and often limiting.
Chances are, that the words you underlined in the above paragraph appear in many of your thoughts, journals and even conversations. They form part of your mind’s core-code and shape your inner world. On top of that, they also shape how you respond to your outer world. If you can isolate these limiting core-codes, and retrain your mind into alternative, more resourceful perspectives, it will not only change your perspective, but all the possibilities available to you.
The difference between victim and victor? Only 2 letters.
Which 2 letters do you need to rewrite?