Self Authoring and Journaling are the best training you can give yourself – other than basic physical fitness. I promise you.
Why? Because we evolved our minds to search for possibilities optimistically. So its very easy to say stupid things to yourself in the madness of the moment; and much harder to write down stupid things in organized prose; and much, much harder to read stupid things you’ve written in organized prose even a day later. So journaling rapidly teaches you the frailty of human contemplation and forecasting. It teaches you intellectual honesty. This is why, prior to the leftist destruction of education, we were all taught to keep a diary (journal) of our thoughts – once we have any to journal that is. 😉
Self authoring is simply setting goals for yourself for life, the year, and the day. And reviewing them. And revising them. That’s it.
If you add two checklists to your life goals (“seven habits”) so that you satisfy your full self’s needs. And a set of “virtues” (you must select from the virtues you want, not assume all virtues will help you), then this is effectively a project plan for your life, that provides you with mindfulness.
If you read Marcus Aurelius, do so with the intent of learning how to write to yourself. His book is the best living example of an exceptional man’s use of thinking about his thoughts of the day, by writing them down.
You must write honestly. Most of us will write very simple things. We are not Marcus Aurelius, Emperor. We are mere Warriors for the Working Day.
And you must not worry about the structure of your prose – punctuation or sentence structure or spelling even. That will come with practice.
All plans are created only to assist you in thinking and measuring yourself, as well as insulating you from the opinions and coercions of others.
However, the best strategic plan is opportunism in pursuit of your goals, and searching for and creating opportunities for the achievement of your goals. And so any plan is merely the default opportunity you plan to seize unless a better opportunity for a different plan surprises you.
I work (like Napoleon) by doing an exhaustive amount of research then making a dozen or two plans, and then doing whatever will advance the majority of those plans, so that by accident of iteration, one of the twelve plans (or more) will work out. This is too computationally difficult for many people so keeping it simple is better for them. You have to discover your own equilibrium plan, revision, and opportunity – by trial and error.
Now, I find that fb and my web site, and emails to myself work as a good journal for me and I just mark private stuff private (for me only). The reason is that when I write in public I am even more honest with myself than when I write to myself in private. This is a trick of personal psychology. All of us are different. I have a lot of confidence and so I don’t mind being public. Others won’t be.
And the only way to ensure that you are not talking madness to yourself (letting the elephant run away with the rider), is to write it down and review your progress.
You wouldn’t believe how much your mind will lie to you on behalf of the Elephant if you do not keep a journal on the directions of the Rider.
But the fact remains – you are able to master yourself (agency) by practice if you are willing to spend 90 days practicing.
After a year you will find you are dependent upon using the writing to feel you are thinking clearly and organizing your thoughts.
When you have an idea and immediately feel the draw to ‘write it out’ and organize your thoughts then you are engaged in Self Authoring, and the training is complete. It’s only application after that.
If you do this you will need no self-help books, no great philosophies, no religions, no teachers, other than to read a book that expands your knowledge now and then.
There is no secret to the Ritual of Self Authoring, and questioning information as to whether it improves your goals or not.
No one else’s opinions or attitudes matter. Events do not matter. All that matters is your gradual progress to your virtues and goals.
Excellence is striving is to be better than the day before, never giving in to the voice that says, “That’s good enough.” Instead, listen for the voice that says, “Now that’s awesome!”
Unapologetically go after what you want in life. Be assertive and let the world feel the full weight of who you are. Live with passion … without being a jackass.
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Do what you say you’re going to do without excuse. Suit up, show up everyday, and give your best effort.
Tenacity is the ability to stick it out and never give up, to keep going when things are tough and there is no end in sight. This is the only way to live a life of contentedness because regret only happens when we give up.
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Courage isn’t the absence of fear, it’s the strength to move forward in the face of fear. Courage is perhaps the most vital virtue to develop. When we feel the fear and do it anyway we develop courage.
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Staying true to yourself and standing by someone else’s side when they face adversity is mastery of loyalty. Never giving up on someone, no matter how hard it gets, for as long as it takes: that is the true measure of any great relationship.
The respect you show to others is a reflection of your self respect. For this reason, respect is something you do for yourself. That doesn’t mean you have to agree with others, but you simply value yourself enough to give others respect.
Honor is respecting those over you and acting in a way that is deserving of respect from those under you. Honor is the reputation and alliance that you earn from those you serve and those who serve you.
Being true to yourself isn’t easy. Pulling off the mask that hides your flaws and living in the fullness of who your are creates a contagion that gives others the courage to do the same.
The most important virtue for success is the ability to cooperate. If you can’t play well with others you’re going to get kicked out of the sandbox. Learn to cooperate and you’ll be successful.
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You are only as good as your word. If your word isn’t worth anything, then you have lost a piece of your soul. Being honest is difficult, but it is the bedrock of character. A house is only as strong as its foundation.
Integrity is the solidarity of our virtues; it is the quality by which we live out our values and prioritize our principles. It is the culmination of character in action. To act with integrity is to be a good man.
Humility is the leadership quality of taking the brunt of the blame when things go south and giving away the majority of the credit when things go well. The leader who practices humility will never ask anyone to do what they themselves cannot do. Humility is leading from a position of service.
Prudence is the capacity to face reality squarely in the eye, without allowing emotion or ego to get in the way, and do what is best for the team.
Be honest, but be tactful. Remember there is another human being on the other end of your words. Strive to live by the golden rule, “Do unto others as you would have them do unto you.”
Empathy is the ability to put aside your ego, step into someone else’s shoes and experience their emotions. When we do this, we create connection. The number one emotional need we all have is for connection.
The ability to step outside of yourself and perform an act of selflessness: this is the foundation of compassion. To be compassionate is to value others above yourself for the sole purpose of contributing to the greater good.
Grace is giving something to someone who hasn’t earned it, doesn’t deserve it and yet we give it anyway. Simply put, grace is giving someone dessert even though they didn’t eat their vegetables.
When we forgive we are giving up our right to collect on a debt. “An eye for an eye will only make the whole world blind,” said Gandhi. When I no longer have the need for revenge, then I have forgiven.
There is strength in kindness. A simple smile, a kind word or even an arm on a shoulder can change someone’s life for the better and thereby change the world … Kindness is your super-power.
Maya Angelou said, “People won’t remember what you said or did, they will remember how you made them feel.” Be generous with how you treat everyone … they will feel amazing and so will you.
Did you know you can’t be resentful and grateful at the same time? Try it. To be truly grateful is to consider all the gifts you have been given and to understand that no matter what, there is always something for which to be grateful.
There is no truer act of love than patience … just ask anyone who has raised a two-year-old.
“Improvise, Adapt and Overcome” is the mantra of the United States Marine Corps. Adaptability is the ability to be flexible to change and gain the advantage in any situation. Things that aren’t adaptable break … things that aren’t adaptable don’t survive.
Dissatisfaction is the misconception that you need more than what you already have. Contentment is a mind-set: it’s choosing not to look at lack but see the abundance that already exists.