As conscious (and honestly pretty remarkable) beings, we have some firmly held believes that are inaccurate.
- We all think we're "the shit." Thinking that we're correct in nearly everything we do and say.
- We believe we don't change our minds a lot, imagining we are the same person we have been for a long time.
- We think that our thoughts align with what we act like.
I want to dive deeper into those beliefs and discuss how writing (yes, the simple act of writing) can help mitigate some of the faulty premises we have.
Are you ready for the power of writing things down?
Writing helps you to look at your thoughts more clearly. Instead of ideas echoing each other in your mind, you can look at them from another perspective. You can look at them again, again and again. The words will stay there.
This persistence of words means you can interact with them and think ABOUT your thoughts much better.
Your thoughts are not hindered by themselves; they don't get stuck in a recursive loop. Writing and then reading helps to separate the concepts into different parts. You are easing the load if you will. Thereby you are giving yourself time to look at each thought individually, written down in words.
Clear thoughts help you to make distinct, better, and more correct choices.
Identity, changing mind
A second benefit of writing your thoughts down is that you can look back later. Be it the next minute, day, week, month, or even year. Looking back then enables you to see what you were thinking precisely at that time. There won't be a doubt about what you were thinking.
This certainty is not there with only your memory, which is very fluid (especially when it comes to identity).
Being able to see what you wrote down a while ago can help you to look at what changes you went through. Primarily looking at yourself through a 3rd person view is compelling. Compelling in the sense that it is easier to see the journey you underwent.
Seeing your journey enables you to make choices congruent with your past, present, and ideas of the future.
Writing things down over time makes you more able to see your identity, and thus make choices in line with oneself.
Lastly, writing things down in public, thereby sharing your thoughts with the world, enables outside feedback on your ideas.
Feedback from people that have different experiences and worldviews is a powerful way to sharpen your ideas and viewpoints.
But seemingly an even better reason to share your thoughts with the world is that you can estimate if your actions align with what you think.
You see, if you place your ideas in public, but not act in line with those opinions, you will be called out. You will receive immediate feedback on your actions and beliefs.
This form of social feedback hones your actions. It makes your thoughts and actions align like the sun, moon, and earth during a solar eclipse.
Bonus - Consensus, understanding, and agreement with others.
It takes effort for people to understand each other. You need to communicate, listen, question, etc.
What often happens, though, is that you think you understand each other, but you're actually not in agreement.
Or it's the other way around, you mean the same thing, but you say it differently and get stuck in semantics.
Chris Do said this aptly in one of his "After Hours" conversations. I'm paraphrasing here, but it was something along the lines of:
"...because what you say comes out all jelly."
This 'jelly-ness' is because your mind is an echo chamber; you don't understand each other because:
- One, your mind is echoing its own thoughts.
- Two, you're not speaking the same "language."
Writing things down helps here. Through writing, you can first agree on the terms you use. Then you can drop your ideas on (digital) paper to not have it echo in your mind.
After writing down your thoughts and reading those (and of others), you are much better able to come to an understanding of each other's ideas.
For me, writing has been an extremely effective way to clear my head. In some cases, it even works therapeutically!
The funny thing is, at one point during high school, I got into roleplaying, you know, writing stories with others online and stuff.
Suddenly I found it extremely important to be a better writer. This "adolescent urge to save face" made me challenge myself day in day out to become better at writing — something which I hated doing in school. You see, I really, and I mean REALLY, sucked at language in school.
I was so bad that I had to work through lunch break on many occasions (when all the other kids were happily playing outside). Oh, how I hated language classes.
But currently, I'm doing a challenge of writing every day — as in, sitting down and writing on a specific idea, topic, or event. It is something I never thought I'd be able to do.
I still have a lot to learn (I'm Dutch, and thus English is my second language), but the only way to learn is by writing more!
Anyway, enough about me.
I'm interested in your stories and experience with writing.
Do you journal? Do you write down notes? How often do you write? Things like that.
Please do share! 😊
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