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Journals Propel Greatness

Edison had 3500 of them and became the greatest inventor ever with a record 1093 patents! Ben Franklin developed his character with one. Leonardo DaVinci’s filled 7000 pages. Malcolm X used his to go from prison to intellectual power. Darwin’s polarized the masses. Einstein’s and Newton’s changed the way we look at our world. What are “they”? They are journals. More importantly they are the discipline to trap your ideas, inspirations and thoughts in order to encourage high levels of mental creativity that ultimately leads to uncommon success. Do geniuses use journals or do journals create geniuses? We will explore that question here as we review and learn from the journals of the greatest thinkers and achievers in history.

  1. Ken Kilpatrick permalink

    I agree wholeheartedly with the premise that the only way one can journal incorrectly is to not journal at all. I have been a dedicated journal keeper for over two decades. I had inclinations to do so earlier in my life but never found as powerful a motivator as the onset of fatherhood. This is the written legacy to which my progeny can refer when my written words only will speak for me.

    I see journalling not as a means of giving tactile substance to ephemeral ideas, but putting my own mark, however subtle, on history. I also make no distinction between journalling and diary-keeping, as my own effort has at times leaned to the former, at others the latter. Sometimes I write just to keep track of what has occurred. Sometimes I wax philosophical. Sometimes I am in a poetic mood. Thankfully, through it all my journal keeps calling out to me. I cannot leave it sans entry for long, or it will occupy my thoughts with greater and greater urgency.

    Having spent some time delving into the discipline of genealogy, it has become startlingly apparent to me how sparse a record people leave of their lives. There are so many questions I would love to pose of my progenitors, but am restricted from doing so by the impenetrable barrier of time. Would that they only had the foresight and motivation to commit their thoughts – via the so very personal medium of old-fashioned handwriting – to paper.

    A journal is the best listener. It makes no moral judgements, nor criticizes one’s grammar, word choices, or logic. It is not a work that is “copy ready” for an editor. I am free to make a mistake and cross it out, thus revealing the imperfection of my humanity. I regret errors to be sure, but were I to endeavor to produce an error-free product, I would likely deprive posterity of ever hearing from me.

    A journal allows one to make sense of life. Sometimes events bewilder – they come out of the blue and take us by surprise, taxing our ability to accommodate them. Once written down however, they read like a novel, and line up with a greater degree of clarity and sense.

    Anyway, these are a few of my musings on this near-and-dear-to-my-heart subject. This blog gives serious consideration to an endeavor I consider priceless, and as such, has my enthusiastic support.

  2. shea626 permalink

    I totally agree journaling is a great thing.You can express your self and its a great exercise for the brain!

  3. Kaylee permalink

    Hi Dr.Kilpatrick,

    This is Dr.Peterson’s daughter, just read all of your blogs! I have been stuck on the all night! They are very interesting, I made my older brother read them too and he LOVED them. He was attached to them as well! It was a pleasure to meet you, hope to see you again soon!

    ( I just started writing my journal! )


  4. You are a powerful writer. I am enjoying your perspective on journaling. I have been using that method of creative self expression for many years and recommend it to my seminar attendees.

  5. You are an excellent writer and I enjoyed this post very much. I also keep a journal and agree that it is an important to do. I have stopped making entries at various times in the past, but have always returned to it. I find it a great way to document events and other things that are important to us in our lives.

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