12 March 2009

Journaling - Keeping a Private Journal

There are many people who are so busy talking that they often forget to listen to themselves, or others. How might such people learn to listen? Could a private journal help?

It is especially important, in my view, for anyone who wishes to publish their work, on paper or online, to keep a record of their private thoughts over time, even if for no other audience but themselves.

How do your private thoughts differ from your publicly expressed ideas? Are they the same?

Making good decisions

Are you too busy to keep a journal? Are you too busy to reflect in a structured, documented way on your thoughts and decisions?

I have frequently observed that politicians seem to think that having power is just about making decisions. Politicians sometimes seem to forget that in democratic life, and in all courteous social interactions, it is important to listen to alternative points of view and to communicate the basis on which decisions are made.

In business and politics, a private journal can provide a clear and accurate record of how and why particular decisions are made, and why other options have been discarded. A journal might even improve thinking and decision making.

Perhaps some politicians are fearful of keeping records of their decisions. Would keeping a private journal mean that the accounts in their memoirs would be more accurate and honest too?

Why I keep a journal

The main reason why I keep a journal is because I do not have a particularly good memory. When I began typing the journal into a computer in 2001, it was meant to be a record of my past experiences, current reflections on those experiences, and an analysis of the events that happened between the daily writing of my journal.

Another reason for keeping a journal is that it is a physical and mental discipline, one that can be continued for little cost whatever else might be happening in life. As a touch typist, I find it very easy to put my thoughts from brain to fingers to computer. Touch typing is a very useful skill for journal writing. It makes the discipline more of a pleasure and less of a chore.

The most rewarding reason to keep a journal, though, is that it helps to enrich the sense of one's own identity across time, whatever changes and crises may be happening in the world.


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