*SIGH*. Let me guess. Whether it’s a to-do list, shopping list, or last-minute ‘you better think of gifts, it’s f&%*ing Christmas already’ list… you use and abuse it like an overused handkerchief.
Or worse, you don’t even have one…
Hey, look, how can I blame you? We’re in a digital age, documenting digital things, smothered with incentives to buy digital stuff. To many of us, notebooks, pocketbooks, diary books, or any page sourced from a literal tree are seen as antiquated, outdated… obsolete.
“So Mr. Hunter, why bother with them?”
OKAY okay. I’ll settle down. Solely working on tablets, laptops, and phones is an easy trap to fall into, I get it. However, with opportunities to disconnect from our screens and dopamine-pumping apps dwindling by the day, we have to push back. Jotting in a notebook can give you a much-needed reprieve from the constant emission of those blue light, cortisol eliciting stressors that torment your brain. Translation: fewer screens… a sounder sleep. So, are you interested?
Source: Flickr by Damian Gadal
Damn right, you do! However, what you write in a notebook is far more valuable than the notebook itself. It’s the difference between owning a collection of incomprehensible scribbles or seizing a credible opportunity to transform your life.
Are you ready?
STEP 1: FUTURE YOU
Now, before rolling your eyes to the back of your skull to the point of snapping your optic nerves, ask yourself… when’s the last time you thought about the person you want to be? And I mean REALLY thought about it. No, this isn’t a pity party to dwell on what you aren’t, but the beginning of a new journey to capitalise on what you are.
I’ll save you the ‘manifest your reality’ woo woo but, to expressively write about the ideal person you want to give material weight to the possibility of becoming that person — it’s a powerful nudge in the right direction.
So, therapeutically let rip your deepest desires for yourself in your notebook. Concern yourself with your ideal fitness, your ideal job, your ideal living situation, your ideal partner, and your ideal life. Writing about these things is qualitatively different from a daydream — it gives you a chance to reflect on what matters to you, and perhaps even adjust and re-examine those things to better understand yourself.
I wanna do that!
OH, and for this bit? Avoid bullet points, numbered lists… whatever. Just write. Put grammar aside, put spellings aside, throw out every rule in the literacy manual… let whatever comes flow.
STEP 2: PRESENT YOU
Make no mistake, this one’s TOUGH. It requires you to do what we humans dread most… write about yourself. Sure, you might get PTSD flashbacks from every CV you’ve hobbled together but listen… this one’s for your eyes only.
See, in order to embark on the journey toward your desires, you need to know where you are, the tools at your disposal, and the equipment you’ll need to acquire — I’m not sure why I’m envisioning a backpacker but, y’know what… YEAH.
You need an inventory check. A means to get to grips with just how equipped you are for the hike ahead. Concern yourself with your skills, your traits, your strengths, and yes… your flaws.
No God, please!
I know right, ew. HOWEVER, self-awareness is key to becoming a better communicator, a better relationship-builder, a better adversity tolerator… and a round, better go-getter!
Self-awareness is a skill that requires training — being able to write about yourself is a perfect practice and a great way to monitor your foothold in reality. Let’s face it, if your flaws list is as long as a roll of toilet paper, you might as well wipe your a$$ with it… because that’s where your self-esteem’s been living.
Remember, if even serial killers have talent, surely you can write at least 5 strengths you currently have. Writing about what you’re good at, as well as what you’re not, is an excellent use for your notebook — it demands that you dial into reality, forcing you to recognise the value you possess right now.
OH. and for this? Grammar. Spelling. All the rudiments of writing you can think of? Follow them. Stick to them. Be strict.
Why would you do any of that?
Trust me, all will be revealed.
STEP 3: TACTICAL YOU
Are you with me?
Now, if you’ve been doing this right, whether your pages are stained with sweat, tears, copious amounts of doodles, or even blood (although, I certainly hope not) steps 1 and 2 are underway. So, for step 3?
You bridge the gap.
Without a computer. Without an iPad. Without a smartphone… OR APPLE WATCH (nice try) …nothing but your mind… begin writing your best guess as to how to address your flaws, utilise your strengths, and ultimately reach the promised land you depicted in step 1.
Now seriously, DO NOT PANIC. You’ll feel lost at first, utterly unconvinced you already know how to connect the dots… and that’s the point.
There are no wrong answers for this step.
HOWEVER. No free-flowing sentences for this one. No well, spelled, or grammatically strict descriptions. Simply begin listing, bullet-pointing, or mind-mapping the steps to correcting the flaws you have, using the strengths you have, and acquiring the skills you need in order to reach the ‘future you‘ that you’ve already described. AND TAKE YOUR TIME.
Now, of course. What you’ve written here will most assuredly be wrong.
I know, I know. “there are no wrong answers for this step” yadda yadda. Well, I suppose that was partially true. See, what you’ve done so far is one of the hardest steps to realising a journey worth embarking… you’ve begun. Better still? Now you have a foundation to springboard from.
After completing step 3, you’ll have a basis for which you can conduct meaningful research to confirm or correct the steps you’ve drafted in order to reach your future you. Essentially, you can now use your writings to take to the internet highways and begin tweaking your guesses into a formidable plan for self-actualised glory.
Glory be mine!
“OI, but Mr. Hunter. Why on earth did you have me write steps 1, 2, and 3 so differently?”
Well, step 1 is gas. It should be a nebulous, unbound exploration of your deepest desires. Thinking of this should be a joyful task, free from the restraints life burdens us with. Then, step two is solid. It should be a raw, grounded dissection of who you are now. The goal here is to take yourself seriously and with it the rigour of grammar and spelling — don’t worry if you’re not a natural-born writer, but you should do what you can to legitimise what you scrawl because you ‘my friend’ are LEGIT.
You’re God damn right!
Finally, step 3 is liquid. No, getting bogged down by the rigidity of report writing, but structured enough to allow for meaningful growth. Bullet pointing, listing, and mind-mapping provide fluidity — a place to start, but one that can be moulded, shaped, and changed by any new info you gather!
Gas, Solid, Liquid.
Each step, or use, for your notebook, should feel like a separate state: distinct, unique… different.
Feel like you need an escape? Let your mind run wild with fantasies of a life worth striving for, and continue expanding on who you could be.
Feel like you need a reality check? Ground yourself with an introspective reflection of who you are now, the good and the bad.
Need a plan, a way forward, or motivation? Build on the foundation you’ve established, fine-tuning it with what you learn from any book, search engine, or YouTube tutorial you can access.
When you’re unplugging from the matrix, your notebook should be a safe haven. A means in which you can experience a range of headspaces, all without being jacked into the cloud, or interrupted by ‘WHY THIS PRODUCT WILL TRANSFORM YOUR BANK ACCOUNT’.
So there you have it. 3 steps to loving your notebook! Buy one, make one, recycle one, or steal one (please, don’t do that)… Whatever the case, get started and never look back!