great people keep journals

Journaling is a wonderful practice that I believe we all must experiment with. It’s a simple but powerful exercise, and an intimate way to express our thoughts and become cognizant of them. 

Journaling gives us both time and space to explore our thoughts, feelings and emotions and capture them into words. It helps us discover who we are as a person; author Susan Sontag explains this wonderfully in these words, “In the journal I do not just express myself more openly than I could do to any person; I create myself.” She adds, “The journal is a vehicle for my sense of selfhood.”

In addition, journaling is incredibly helpful in our personal growth as we are able to look back at our previous entries and go through the lessons that we learned from our experiences. 

Maria Popova, creator of Brain Pickings writes, “This, perhaps, is the greatest gift of the diary, its capacity to stand as a living monument to our own fluidity, a reminder that our present selves are chronically unreliable predictors of our future values and that we change unrecognizably over the course of our lives.”

Journaling reminds us that we’re all a work in progress and helps us understand the timeless truth that ‘change is constant’. We become aware of the fact that everything around us is impermanent, including our perception and sense of being. 

Great people throughout history have kept journals. Here are some examples: Benjamin Franklin, Andrew Carnegie, Marcus Aurelius, Winston Churchill, Ralph Waldo Emerson, Charles Darwin, George Washington; it’s an endless list. Although there is no study out there that establishes a connection between journaling and becoming great, the correlation between them is hard to miss. 

In your quest to living a life of greatness, journaling might just prove to be an invaluable practice. It doesn’t matter whether you maintain a physical notebook or use a digital tool, and how much you write each day, just get started with writing your thoughts and experiences. If it works for you, make journaling a daily habit; I’m sure it’ll add great value to your success and your life, both personally and professionally.