The Life-Changing (and Completely Free) Art of Journaling

This Week’s BIG Idea

After reading Malcolm Gladwell’s Outliers (more on this in the “What I’m Reading” section), I’ve been thinking about the 10,000-hour rule a lot. To summarize, the principle says that to become world-class at anything, you have to spend 10,000 hours practicing. If you’re interested in what that seems like in practice, the authors of The Ikigai Journey have done the math:

  • 8 hours a day x 5 days a week = 5 years
  • 4 hours a day x 5 days a week = 10 years
  • 2 hours a day x 5 days a week = 20 years
  • 1 hour a day x 5 days a week = 40 years

So once you understand the rule, the question is: what are you going to dedicate your ten-thousand hours to? To me, that means spending my time on what I like to call “the path to self-development”. What that looks like on a daily basis might change, but I’m aiming to achieve those ten thousand hours in around five years. Best case scenario, this becomes my career and I can make a living out of it. Worst case scenario, I still have my full-time job and I work on self-development in my free time. The best time about this approach is that even in the worst-case scenario, I’m still learning and reading a lot of books.

What I’m Working on 

This week I finally decided to start journaling. To be honest, I didn’t know that much about the topic so I did some research before starting. I soon realized that the approach you take doesn’t matter. I was more interested in the benefits of journaling rather than “doing it right”. According to those who do it on a regular basis, journaling can help you achieve goals, track your progress, get more confidence, reduce stress and anxiety, and strengthen your memory.

What I usually do is sit down and write my thoughts in a small A5 notebook. I then take a picture of what I wrote and I upload it to Day One Journal, one of the best journal apps available and one that you can start using for free. I guess it’ll be fun to go back to previous entries years from now and see some of the things that worried me. Although you can certainly use your computer or phone to keep track of what you’re doing, there’s something magical about writing everything down and tailoring a journal just for you. The best part about journaling is that you don’t really need that much to do it and that there’s no one way to do it. So you’re essentially using a life-changing analog tool for free.

I’ve seen that some people who are into journaling like bullet journaling more because the customization part allows them to do more specific things with it and tailor their journal for their specific needs. I might try that at some point in the future if I like it and I already got a copy of The Bullet Journal Method which some people really seem to like.

What I’m Listening to

After years of ignoring The Tim Ferris Show, I finally decided to start listening to the incredibly popular podcast. First, I picked episodes where I knew the guests (I listened to the Jerry Seinfeld episode, and the Ryan Holiday episode, among others) and since I now know that I really like Ferriss as a host and interviewer, I decided to listen from the first episode. This is a project that will take some time, but I’m taking my time to digest each episode and the best part is that I’m being exposed to several books that are mentioned in the show. Ferriss even has transcripts of each episode in case you want to go back to a specific part of an episode which is quite convenient.

What I’m Reading

  • Outliers by Malcolm Gladwell: in this book, Gladwell analyzes the different facts that come into play when we talk about success. Some of those factors include luck, opportunities, and your environment. A lot of people are probably familiar with Gladwell’s 10,000 rule which states that in order to become world-class at something, you have to spend a minimum of 10,000 hours practicing. Some of the examples the author uses to illustrate his ideas include Bill Gates and The Beatles. Those interested can check out my summary of the book here.
  • Boss Fight Books: I just discovered a series of books by the company Boss Fights Books. They essentially focus on one video game per book and while the books are available digitally, I got all of them digitally on my Kindle. The idea is to read them one at a time in the order they originally came out. For the longest time, I couldn’t figure out a way to keep in touch with the video game industry and while there are some amazing books out there, most of them don’t focus on one specific game. I’m excited to read the first book, which is about Nintendo’s cult classic EarthBound.

What I’m Watching

To start journaling I watched several videos, but the most informative was one that’s basically a tutorial for Day One Journal. I’m using the Android version, but it’s also available for iOS and Mac. Although most of the features can be overwhelming when you first start using them, I like the idea of journaling on paper, scanning that page, and uploading it to a service so that you can keep it there forever. On top of that, a digital journal gives you flexibility. Again, everything is eloquently explained in the video below so go ahead and check it out if you’re interested.

This Week’s Quote

“Achievement is talent plus preparation”

Malcolm Gladwell, Outliers

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