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A Journal – Not a Diary!

January 10, 2013

by Kerry Kilpatrick

Cover of "Treasure Island (New Windmills)...

Treasure Island by Robert Louis Stevenson(New Windmills)

“I always keep two books in my pocket, one to read, one to write in.”  Robert Louis Stevenson

If you are going to effectively utilize the power of a journal it is important that you make a distinction between a journal and a diary.

A diary is typically a place for collecting your most private and intimate thoughts. It may contain details of your day, the people you met plus your interactions with them. It can reflect your most personal emotions, dreams, fears or fantasies. You may write so intimately that you would be embarrassed to have it read by anyone else.

The famous diary written by Samuel Pepys was written by the author in English when it reported the mundane activities of his daily existence. When he wrote about a dalliance or mistress he wrote in a foreign language to keep it a secret in the event it was read by prying eyes. He did not intend for it to be read by anyone other than himself!

Alternatively, a journal, as used by some of the greatest achievers throughout time, is a place to capture your thoughts, ideas and observations. It is a method of gathering information that reflects what is important to you. It is a tool for organizing and launching your action steps and future great achievements. It is a system for personal accountability that leads to success in almost any endeavor you could wish to undertake. It is a place to trap the tiny links of random thoughts that ultimately coalesce into a dynamic chain of a successful life.

The difference between a diary and a journal is very important. There are people who don’t want to write down their personal thoughts for fear they might ultimately be exposed to unwanted eyes. That fear could prevent them from benefiting from the immense opportunities that result from capturing ideas and nurturing them. If I can get you to see the journal as a powerful tool of achievement, that does not have to contain intimate revelations, you will be more likely to begin the process.

As history has shown, begin with this thought in mind, your journal will probably be read by someone in the future so write your entries accordingly. That is a benefit in most cases. You can read sit down this morning and read online some of the most powerful journals written throughout history. In 1994 Bill Gates bought one of Leonardo da Vinci’s journals for 30.8 million dollars. Having your journals available for future generations is one of the benefits of a journal. In many cases personal writings are one of the few things that survive as time passes.

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