Learning to avidly journal was definitely one of the biggest upgrades to my life. I was always willing to bring
Part of this was introspective curiosity. Part of this was out of necessity.
In my early
When trying to figure out really hard problems, you’re going to go down many
Sometimes this is because you need to enter a new domain and you don’t even know the language to begin intelligently attacking the problem with. Sometimes it’s because you started with fundamentally flawed beliefs that you based everything off of. Sometimes it’s because you need to make complex series of tradeoffs to rebalance the system, which means even if you get some wins initially you’re off chasing fires caused by whatever tradeoffs you made. Finally for you adult psychological development folks it’s because you actually need to grow beyond your current ways of understanding of the world, not just from an information standpoint but from a mental complexity standpoint.
In all of these cases what you actually need to do is see the forest for the trees. You don’t need a faster car, you need to understand how traffic works. You need to jump aboard the meta rocket ship and sail into the sweet sweet stars of unknowing. Forgetting what you thought was important to see an entirely different problem.
Unfortunately, you often don’t know when a meta-solution is needed, and even if you do know there’s only one way to find it. You need whatever things you are looking at en masse so that you can stating noticing the relationships between them.
Journaling in generally is pretty damn good for this. Even if you never re-read your thoughts, the simple act of having to explicate them can work wonders for increasing the clarity and depth of your understanding.
But journals can often become jumbled messes. Some pages are pure scratch, others are more fleshed out, and there are likely multiple different domains that are beneficial to help your brain out with.
I tried to solve this by using multi-subject notebooks. I had a section for scratch, a section for physical/health stuff, and a section for heady/phenomenology stuff. This certainly was a big improvement, but I would often find myself repeating a thought I had the month before and it was hard to see connections between things I wrote on different pages. When confronting unknown domains you’re frequently playing with completely different lenses or systems of putting things together until it’s clear which will be the most useful.
1. The Notebook
As an experiment, I wanted to see how beneficial it would be to work with a bigger landscape. I did two things. I got a much bigger journal and made a huge whiteboard.
There are some definite pros and cons to this kind of notebook. The cons can be summed up pretty simply with “You can’t fit a journal this size in a backpack”. I enjoy working with friends and at coffee shops, so it’s
The very obvious upside is that it makes it much easier to see the relationships between things.
The form factor itself is a big advantage because it changes how you interact with it. Now each domain gets divided into sections of 18″x24″ (or 18″x48″ if you
With a standard
Instead of a slow rolling pile of pages, you get a beautiful thought painting that slowly grows, evolves. and matures over time. Your past learnings are always in front of you which makes it much easier to build an “architecture” of thought. This can really help reduce mental spaghetti code. As with any architecture… you can also get stuck it in, so it’s important to keep around a little bit of a trouble maker within your personality to start fires every once in a while.
2. The Whiteboard
Honestly, this has been one of the best experiments I’ve ever run. The whiteboard is 6’x7′ and covers the better half of a wall. Having a massive whiteboard in your room is fucking awesome. I can’t recommend one enough.
When I first looked at getting a big whiteboard I was a little bit floored by how expensive they were. Cheap whiteboards this size are
Having a big whiteboard permanently attached to the wall has seriously been a bit
What I found was that you build
10/10 Would do again.
3. What Else?
This idea of specifically trying to see the forest for the trees is definitely one I plan to keep around and want to play more with. Some of the things that seem to be in this category include: recording yourself, meditation, psychedelics, and writing autobiographically. I’ve
If I have one goal this year it’s to climb to the top of my life’s