Five Steps To Becoming Smarter – Part Three

This is the third part of our ongoing series on becoming smarter and sharper.

You can read the first and second part here:

Activity number 3 – Keep a journal

Pena and paper

Before the advent of digital age and its accompanying boons and banes, people used to keep journals. Everyone kept personal diaries where they documented their life stories, solved their problems, and shared their most intimate secrets. This is no longer the case. Although keeping a personal blog is still in vogue, barely anyone keeps a personal journal anymore.

Journals are different from blogs. Anyone can read your blog, but only you can read your personal journal. It’s your own little secret tucked away in your table’s drawer.

Why keep a journal?

Journaling helps you know yourself better – Admit it or not, you know others better than you know yourself. The reason is that you see others doing things before your eyes, you see them crying, laughing, and going through different emotional states. You don’t see yourself so openly because you are contained within yourself. You only have a vague idea of why things happen to you the way they do.

A journal helps you know yourself better by letting you put yourself on the paper, and by letting yourself unfold before your eyes. Although, all your knowledge about your personality still originates from your own mind, you can, at least, see yourself as you’d see any other person, and identify what’s causing misery in your life

Journaling helps you solve problems – You can identify your problems by explaining them to yourself, and solve them by asking questions. For example, I start off by exploring my problem and later ask myself questions like “How do I solve it?”, “What steps should I take it to eliminate this problem?” and so on. Once I know the cause of the problem, I am in full control of the situation once again. I can take whatever steps necessary to put my life back on the right course.

Journal is the story of your life – Journal is also helpful in documenting your life’s journey in a chronological order. You can check the entry of a year ago and notice how much you have improved since then.

Journaling improves your memory - Whether you write down a log of your day’s activities or write about a specific problem, you have to recall every little detail that matters to you. This improves your ability to recall when writing your journal and makes you consciously retain the details of every event throughout the day.

Journal helps you pour your heart out – How many times you have wanted to vent a particular feeling, whether positive or negative, and couldn’t find a person you could confide in? Your journal is your friend. You can share your most intimate sentiments with your journal. When you get the energy of extreme emotions out of your mind, you’ll be immensely relieved. It’s not good to let such high-voltage energy mess up your head and rob you of your sleep.

How do I keep a journal?

Get a diary from the local bookshop. It can be of any kind you feel comfortable with. There are heavy leather-bound journals, small ones that fit in your pocket, paper sheets organized in three-ring binder, and ones that look like notepad. Make sure you make a good choice because, remember, you are going to start a personal relationship with your journal. You don’t want it to get on your nerves later on.

If you are digitally savvy, you could use various journaling software to keep a journal on your computer. You can even start a blog and keep it as a private journal that nobody else have access to. You can, of course, use a PDA too. PDAs are portable and give you more control over your journaling than a paper journal.

When do I write my journal?

Again, my answer is whenever you are free, but if you really want to know yourself better, I’d recommend keeping a daily journal. Even if you decide to keep a weekly or monthly journal, do keep in mind that you have to be regular. If you write your journal on Sundays, do it every Sunday.

In my experience, the time before going to bed is best for journaling. It’s because I am officially concluding the day, and want to explore what I have discovered and learned during the day, and what mistakes I have made.

Now, make a promise to yourself that you’ll keep a daily journal. In fact, no time is better than the present time, so do it now!

Pick up a blank sheet of paper and start jotting down whatever comes to your mind, whatever has been bothering you, whatever in your life you want to see changed, etc. Before long, you’ll notice that you are immersed in putting your thoughts on paper, and can actually see what’s causing all the unhappiness in your life. Try it, you’ll love it!

Do you already keep a journal? Is it a log of your day’s routine or is it more topic specific?

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