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Life Step 2: The Amazing Working Journal

Elvis Elvis

You are full of life and want to take charge of your world. That is why you are here. But what happens for you when you consider some self-improvement project? Do you rush off in all directions to solve that problem and a few days later, find your intentions are as lost as the bits of paper you used to write notes to yourself.

The good news is, this might only apply if you are the sort of person who actually does something about taking charge instead of just thinking about it. If you are interested somehow in personal development, you must know that journaling is often mentioned as a way to make progress. Maybe you have been keeping a personal diary.

Anything that raises your consciousness has got to be of some benefit, unless that diary has become just a patient companion who listens to you whatever you have to say and has been….. forever. In other words, doing that process may not help you to get out of the type of thinking that created the problem in the first place. Like a wise person once remarked, with a wink and a nod, to a struggling acquaintance, “That process you are using seems perfectly designed for the results you are getting.”

I attended a fascinating talk by a self-taught research and development engineer with only formal high school training who made major contributions to several world-famous working submersibles. The submersibles are used the world over, or should I say the world under. It was an animated and lively presentation by someone who had obviously found his field of expertise and was in the flow of creativity.

He described the submersible development process at some length and then, in a dramatic conclusion, held two objects overhead: “These are the third and fourth hemispheres of my brain”, he said. Can you guess what they were? One hand held a computer; the other, a journal. “Everything you have seen tonight came from this notebook,” he declared, with a palpable expression of satisfaction. And that is when it became very clear to me that his notebook was for more than getting things down; it added success and that’s what makes it amazing.

The habits of successful people from Leonardo da Vinci to J.K. Rowling are well documented. In fact there are whole museum collections around the world of the journals of famous people. These are the kind I am talking about here. These are ones that are the perfect aid to lifelong learning. It is the type of tool that will help you to understand and remember anything as long as you are alive. Using the process of the working journal, you will learn a great deal about yourself and the person you want to be. I am on my eighteenth one now. I keep them all in a special and accessible place in my home, for in a way, they are my life.

Life Step 2: The Amazing Working Journal

More Than Journaling Tips

So what is the process? Once you have your blank, sketch quality paper, hard cover book of about 200 pages, have an index going and your visual title page, you will do your first “free write,” a process of non-stop writing about a topic to help you connect your interest with your feelings. Once you have aligned yourself to your new direction, as explained in the Life Step called Getting Motivated,have a focus, and that may change, you can begin planning, setting goals and pursuing them. Your journal will invite you to make entries because it’s there waiting for them, like a boat on the dock urges its owner to sail.

I use mine to make both visual and written entries. Doing that engages all my mental powers. When you look at mine, you will see, interspersed in the writing, drawings, photos, clippings, flow charts, and mind maps. One of the students of our Life Steps course, an architect, got into the habit of doing such drawings while in her favorite coffee shop. It’s amazing the interest of passers-by garnered by doing visuals of all sorts. People seem to realize that an image is indeed worth ten thousand words.

I also use the journal as a place to note important information I have uncovered, from experience, others, print or digital sources. I call this process of learning “filling the deep well”. When you combine these processes with reflection and action, you will, become involved in an upward spiral of success. You will become what you do. You will act your way into a new way of thinking about your self.

If you would like to know more about this amazing process, have a look at The Unlimited, our monthly newsletter with journaling ideas, self-improvement ideas and quotes, and news about the amazing things people are doing using the Life Steps program and the self-improvement-unlimited community. You can also go on to the next step in the Life Steps program called Strength-Tracks, which is all about making sure you don’t try to do self-improvement the hard way, by paddling up stream.