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Tuesday, January 5, 2010

KEEPING A JOURNAL

One of the things I learned from Don Meyer very early that has been important to me is to keep a journal. Not a diary. I'm not writing down what I did -- I'm writing down what I learned. It has been a great source of release for me. I keep with me at all times. Below is an article from the late Jim Rohn on keeping a journal:

If you’re serious about becoming a wealthy, powerful, sophisticated, healthy, influential, cultured and unique individual, keep a journal. Don’t trust your memory. When you listen to something valuable, write it down. When you come across something important, write it down.

I used to take notes on pieces of paper and torn-off corners and backs of old envelopes. I wrote ideas on restaurant placemats. On long sheets, narrow sheets and little sheets and pieces of paper thrown in a drawer. Then I found out that the best way to organize those ideas is to keep a journal. I’ve been keeping these journals since the age of 25. The discipline makes up a valuable part of my learning, and the journals are a valuable part of my library.

I am a buyer of blank books. Kids find it interesting that I would buy a blank book. They say, “Twenty-six dollars for a blank book! Why would you pay that?” The reason I pay 26 dollars is to challenge myself to find something worth 26 dollars to put in there. All my journals are private, but if you ever got a hold of one of them, you wouldn’t have to look very far to discover it is worth more than 26 dollars.

I must admit, if you got a glimpse of my journals, you’d have to say that I am a serious student. I’m not just committed to my craft; I’m committed to life, committed to learning new concepts and skills. I want to see what I can do with seed, soil, sunshine and rain to turn them into the building blocks of a productive life.

Keeping a journal is so important. I call it one of the three treasures to leave behind for the next generation. In fact, future generations will find these three treasures far more valuable than your furniture.

The first treasure is your pictures. Take a lot of pictures. Don’t be lazy in capturing the event. How long does it take to capture the event? A fraction of a second. How long does it take to miss the event? A fraction of a second. So don’t miss the pictures. When you’re gone, they’ll keep the memories alive.

The second treasure is your library. This is the library that taught you, that instructed you, that helped you defend your ideals. It helped you develop a philosophy. It helped you become wealthy, powerful, healthy, sophisticated and unique. It may have helped you conquer some disease. It may have helped you conquer poverty. It may have caused you to walk away from the ghetto. Your library—the books that instructed you, fed your mind and fed your soul—is one of the greatest gifts you can leave behind.

The third treasure is your journals: the ideas that you picked up, the information that you meticulously gathered. But of the three, journal writing is one of the greatest indications that you’re a serious student. Taking pictures, that is pretty easy. Buying a book at a bookstore, that’s pretty easy. It is a little more challenging to be a student of your own life, your own future, your own destiny. Take the time to keep notes and to keep a journal. You’ll be so glad you did. What a treasure to leave behind when you go. What a treasure to enjoy today!