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Inspire Yourself– Write Down Your Own Thoughts

July 29, 2017 by  
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Anyone that has followed my blog over the years knows that I think very highly of the power of words, especially the words that you and I write down. I encourage everyone to “journal their journey” through this life. Your own words can be so powerful in helping you through it.

When I go back and re-read some of my thoughts from 5, 10, or even 40 years ago, I am amazed at the things I wrote. Oh yes, there were many goals that I set for myself—I made progress on some and was a failure on others—but the big stuff that often jumps out at me as I read are the words in which I am preaching to myself, pushing myself to do better and, more importantly, to enjoy my life right now.

Reading those words can be, and have been, very motivating years later. Many times, when I go back and read my inner thoughts and ideas days, weeks, or even years later, I say to myself, “Wow, I wrote that?”, or “Wow, where did that come from?” It’s like it came from some other person’s brain. Start writing in your own journal and see if you don’t experience those thoughts and feelings when you read them later on.

It’s very interesting to me that our own words can give us, and our lives, motivation and inspiration. Here are the words I came across today that I wrote in my journal back on January 29, 1998, entitled simply “Thoughts”. I should have titled it “Random Thoughts” though.

  • We involve ourselves in so many activities—games, sports, work, relationships, eating, drinking etc.—to distract ourselves from ourselves. Is making it in the world the most important thing about our being?
  • Climbing and coming back down from Mt. Everest is a perfect metaphor of life. When you get to the top you are only half way.
  • Love is what we were born with, fear is what we learn. Love is our ultimate reality and our purpose on earth. To be consciously aware of it, to experience love in ourselves and others, is the meaning of life.
  • Meaning doesn’t lie in things, because things don’t love us back; meaning lies in us.
  • We overvalue what we perceive with our physical senses, and undervalue what we know to be true in our hearts.

And my last of these random thoughts:

  • Time only exists in the moment of right now. Time is an infinite series of “nows” strung together. The way we spend each “now” creates our destiny. When you are focused, time is your partner.

I do sincerely wish and hope that these few random thoughts may enhance your life and those people, friends, family and loved ones around you.

And once again I strongly encourage you to write notes to yourself in a journal, on a note pad, or on a computer. Later on, as you re-read your own words, you will be so very glad you did and you may even be inspired by those words, ideas, and inner thoughts that you put down.

 

The Life We Want

April 21, 2017 by  
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How do we discover who we really are and what we really want our lives to be? First, listen to what the brilliant Mark Twain said many years ago: “The two most important days in your life are the day you are born and the day you find out why.”

Most of us know what day we were born but, as I’m sure you’ll agree, it’s pretty darn important to figure out why you were born and what you want your life to be although in that regard, many of us feel uncertain. One of my favorite authors, Joseph Campbell, said in his book, The Power of Myth, “I say follow your bliss and don’t be afraid, and doors will open where you didn’t know they were going to be.”

In the book by Elle Luna that we have been examining, The Crossroads of Should and Must, Elle explains that if you want to really discover who you are and what your life should be, you have to “find and follow your passion.” I couldn’t agree more, but how do we find it?

A great starting point would be to look at our childhood. Luna says, “Nowhere is the essence of Must (or in other words what you must do and be with your life) more purely exhibited than in childhood. What were you like as a child? What did you enjoy doing? Were you solitary or did you prefer a crowd? Independent or collaborative? Day optimizer or day dreamer?” She goes on to say, “If you don’t remember, call your mom, or someone who knew you well in your early childhood, and ask for stories about what you were like as a kid.” She adds that you should take good notes because this can lead you to who you really want to be and must be.

When I followed her advice and revisited my childhood, I wrote down what I was like and what turned me on back then and I easily remembered that I loved sports and loved talking to people, especially new people. I loved to visit new places and I loved to tell stories. I began in my early teens to write down stories of my thoughts and dreams and I was thrilled to note that I’ve continued to write and have made a career out of it. So now, when my mind starts wandering and wondering what I should be doing differently with my life, I take a pause and more fully realize I’m already following my passion and that makes me feel so much more satisfied.

“Don’t ask what the world needs,” Elle says. “Ask what makes you come alive and go do it. Because what the world needs is people who have come alive.”

Luna does throw in a big caution flag saying, “While money, time and space are the reasons given most often for not choosing Must, there is another fear that’s far scarier and spoken about much less.” She is referring to the feeling of being vulnerable which is caused by our personal fears. She then gives suggestions on how to rid yourself of those fears, which just might be the thing to cover in next week’s blog.

Break-Through Journaling

February 10, 2017 by  
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Last week I talked about writing in a journal and I shared that I had written some of my very negative thoughts in mine. These are words and inner feelings that I had never shared with anyone. But what the journaling did for me and these thoughts was amazing.

A few days after writing these thoughts down, I re-read what I had written. Man, oh man … what a powerful reaction I have had in the days since.  It has lifted me up and has enhanced and improved my life almost like magic. I was so very surprised that just those few words that I wrote down on paper could have such a powerful effect on me and my life. Here is what I wrote:

“I didn’t have total follow through yesterday on my writing list of my intentions or goals and in fact I am finding that for a long time now I’ve not lived up to my self-promises and I see that I’ve been so very self-critical and have been berating and beating up myself cause I’m just not perfect like I want to be. I’ve been seeing that I’m very hard on myself and I really don’t forgive myself much although I forgive other people. Maybe that’s why I haven’t been feeling very good for going on two years. Maybe I ought to start forgiving myself and take more baby steps that really can turn into giant progress toward my goals like I’ve preached to my readers of my blog. Hmmm … I need to think about that.”

I was very surprised that, within a few days of re-reading those words, I began to feel so much better and noticed that I was not being so hard on myself. I kept thinking about taking baby steps and so now I am not inclined to berate and beat myself up. I think that this change of mind set must be due to my writing down my inner thoughts and that the act of writing it down changed something in my brain. What a breakthrough!

So, I would suggest you give journaling a chance if you haven’t already. Write down your inner most thoughts, especially the ones that you are struggling with or are getting you down. Then put them away and read them a little while later and see what your brain does with it. I’m sure it will get you to think about it and find a way to help yourself feel better along with being a great way just to get it out of your head and safely down on paper where you can, literally put it away for a while. At least until you are ready for your own journal break-through.10

The Super Power of Writing to Yourself

February 3, 2017 by  
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I’ve written about the huge value of keeping a journal of your life before. Writing about what you do, where you go, people you meet, and, probably most important of all, your inner most thoughts as you go through your life. I’ve kept a journal going on 55 years now. Yes, sometimes I go months without making any entries but still, I must say, I’ve made some major discoveries about myself and life in general from the entries I have made and they have helped me beyond what I ever would have expected.

Sometimes re-reading what I wrote years before brings me unexpected break-throughs. You know one of those ah-ha moments that really hit you hard and sometimes changes your life for the better. The latest breakthrough started when I began reading the “Life Story of Kathryn Baird Haroldsen” which are the writings of my mother, all gathered up and put together into a book by my father, Dr. Edwin O. Haroldsen, in 1995. Both of them have long since passed away but their writings still speak to me with great power.

Reading my parents’ words about their travels all over the world and their many great and exciting experiences was so very insightful for me. But when my mother shared on paper some of her inner most thoughts and feelings, it motivated me to get out my journal and put on paper some self-defeating and disturbing thoughts that I have had these last 2 years. These are thoughts that I haven’t shared with a single soul.

For some reason that maybe only our brains know about, when I later re-read my very negative inner thoughts it changed me and, surprisingly, did so in a very good and positive way. I now want to share that experience and the lessons I learned with others so they may have a positive breakthrough like I did that will help their lives. Next week I will share exactly what I wrote and how it began to change me and my life. In the meantime, if you don’t already, start journaling about whatever comes to mind. You never know what you might write down that will bring you your own break-through in the future.

Lesson from the Life of Billy Crystal

January 16, 2015 by  
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I want to continue discussing the theme we had last week on writing your thoughts, ideas and life into a journal. I have strong and passionate feelings about this process of making a record of your life, about having the ability to read over all those ups and downs and the lessons we learn along the way.

This past week, I read about the fascinating life and thoughts of Billy Crystal in his incredible autobiography Still Foolin’ ‘Em. He wrote the book when he was turning 65 and it’s really a great read. It’s packed full of very funny stuff but I was quite a bit more impressed by his deep thoughts and feelings on everything from his family including his wonderful wife, kids and grand-kids plus the big impact his father, mother and grandmother had on him, to his numerous famous friends and not so famous friends and business associates.  I’ll tell you, if you read his book you will quickly grow to love and admire this man. He inspires you and gives you some great insights into the human mind and behavior.

He and his famous friends certainly lived the philosophy of “feel the fear and do it anyway”. That is something we all need to remind ourselves to believe in and practice. I think most of us look at famous and really successful people and think that they don’t have great fears like us but nothing could be further from the truth. Everyone has fears, but the key to success and a great life is to plow right through those fears and “do it anyway”.

The other great lesson I learned from Billy Crystal, or I should say I re-learned and reminded myself to do more of, was the huge value of people networking. I was astounded at how many friends and business contacts Billy had. Even though Billy is super talented I don’t believe he would have soared nearly as high as he did without his people networking. I’m talking hundreds of incredibly influential people he got to know who helped him on his path to such tremendous success. And did he ever soar! His success was not only as a stand-up comedian but as an actor in all those wonderful movies, TV shows and even on the Broadway stage. He made us laugh which is so very good for our minds and souls plus he gave us so many hours of movie and TV entertainment. Now through his book, he is giving even more.

I certainly don’t think Billy is even close to being finished as he approaches his 67th birthday on March 14th of this year. The biggest lesson I think we should take away from Mr. Billy Chrystal is that all of us need to record our life, our activities and, most importantly, our thinking. This can be not only helpful to ourselves when we re-read what our thoughts were at different stages of our lives but also that your autobiography will be equally helpful to others. So keep making those journal entries and leave a legacy for your family, friends and everyone to enjoy as well as learning some great lessons from your own life.

Great Insights from the Best Teacher

January 9, 2015 by  
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Have you started writing in your own journal yet? If you haven’t, I’m going to try to persuade you to start doing it. Why? Because of the many, many benefits you’ll get not just at the time you write them out, but also down the road. This will be especially true if you write more about how you are feeling and what is quietly running through your brain from day to day.

In addition to writing your thoughts down, you will also want to record what you are doing including those steps you are taking to reach your goals. By writing out your thoughts and feelings as well as your goal items, you will no doubt find, as I have, that the biggest benefits come later when you re-read and revisit those thoughts that were running through your brain at different points of your life. You really can experience some major breakthroughs and some life changing and life enhancing discoveries just by looking back and seeing where you were and what you were doing at various times in your past.

I’ve been keeping my “thought journals” since I was 19 years old. I will admit that as I go back and read some of my thoughts and reasoning it’s down-right hilarious, but I’ve been shocked more than once that some of my recorded thoughts as a young 19 year old are rather profound. It’s so interesting to me to actually learn from myself, from my own words, concepts and thoughts that I had long ago forgotten. Many of us try to learn more about ourselves and want more insights into our minds and our lives. With more insights into our minds we can make big improvements to our lives. And who doesn’t want to be happier, healthier and wealthier? Well, that is what journaling can help you with.

Now as we begin a new year I think it would be the perfect time to start your own “thought journal”. If you are already journaling your journey and recording your thoughts and feelings, keep it up. And maybe now it would be good to take some time and re-read some old entries and see what you can learn from yourself. You may even come across some old goals that you logged but forgot about and it will make you realize that it’s time to hit the reset button on those goals.

I just re-read some of my thoughts and thinking from early 2012 and they certainly got me jump started for this new year. Maybe the best teacher you will ever have is actually you! But you do need to pay close attention to yourself and to you inner thinking and be sure to capture and record those thoughts and feelings. Then you will be able to revisit in order to learn and discover great insights from you, one of your greatest teachers, at a later time.

The Gift of Journaling

January 10, 2014 by  
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One of the greatest gifts you can give yourself is the gift of a “journal of your life”.  I’m talking about something much more important than just keeping a diary.  Yes a diary is part of it–recording where you go, people you meet and what you experience–but to make it life enhancing and with maximum meaning, you must write and record your inner thoughts, not just what has occurred. Things like your biggest dreams, goals and ambitions will help you define what you were thinking about in prior years. You can find these insights to be extremely valuable when you go back and review those years.  It’s like having your own personal time machine.

 

In the last few days of 2013 and the first few days of 2014, I’ve had such a wonderful time  reviewing my past experiences including my trips, the people I’ve met, my various goals as they changed and re-focused over the years and, most importantly, my inner thoughts along the way. Think about it–what a great thing it is to be able to relive and bask in all that was great this past year and also have the opportunity to learn some valuable lessons from both the good and the bad stuff that happened. Sometimes it’s like reading about a totally different person; in many ways you are a different person now than you were a year ago.

Also try to take the time–usually at the end of a year or the beginning of a new year– to go back and revisit myself when I was a 30, 40, 50 or  60 years old.  In fact, I can even visit myself when I was 18 and 19 years old since that’s when I started my journal.  Believe me, some of my thoughts back then were down right funny and crazy. Sometimes, especially as I visit that 35 year old Mark Haroldsen I am embarrassed and don’t even like that guy.  Wow, was I ever a hyper driven self-centered business and real estate warrior.  That guy was so full of himself and with so much physical and mental energy! (I’d sure like some of the energy now but without the huge ego.)

If you have not kept a journal of your life before now, it’s not too late. No matter what age you are, be sure to write down what you are feeling as well as your inner most thoughts including your relationships, dreams and goals. Record your successes and failures and what it caused your mind to think. Express in detail your positive and negative thoughts, your great fears and your great strengths.   And when you use your own personal time machine and later review your journal, be it months or years later, I promise you will reap great rewards and learn so much about yourself. You will be thrilled that you took the time, even it is done just weekly or monthly or even once a year. I think to know yourself is probably the biggest “gift” that you can give yourself and to journal throughout your life is one of the best ways to do just that.