Keep a Lesson Journal

The more we know, the better positioned we are to make good decisions.

Millennials are lucky in this regard. Our era has unprecedented access to information! There are many guides on how to leverage today’s readily available information for advancement and I won’t address that here. There is, however, one major hole in the readily accessible public information — no information about ourselves. This type of information is so specific and cannot be replaced by generalised information about whole populations. This is exactly where a lesson journal comes in.

A journal can be used to track specific lessons relevant for an individual, that may be different from population-wide lessons. The two sets typically overlap, but they are not entirely the same. Consequently, it’s okay for lessons noted in the journal to also overlap. So what would be an example of an entry in such a journal?

We know for example that most people are not confident enough, instead of arrogant. But this is not necessarily true of a specific individual. An individual can easily be arrogant. For an arrogant individual, both pieces of information — that most people are not confident and that he/she is sometimes arrogant, are extremely useful in order to understand one’s position relative to others. And to understand where other maybe be coming from. For example, a person who tends to be arrogant must realize the need for humility when discussing points of view. On the other hand, when listening to less confident people, knowing their tendency to lack confidence makes it easier to overlook a weak delivery and seek the underlying message.

Accumulating such small lessons over and over again is life changing.

Most of what we know is attained through painful experiences or tenuous efforts. Knowledge is not cheap.  Keeping a lessons journal makes it easy to track individual lessons and further increase our efficiency in life without repeating the same experiences. Moreover, we are more likely to repeat a small number of mistakes over and over again, rather than a broader set of mistakes. Pinning down these tendencies effectively — identifying mistakes prone to repetition, character traits viz-a-viz those of others, non-obvious causes and effects–  makes life much easier and improves self-mastery. Because the lessons are specific to an individual, it’s incumbent upon the individual to this and the same benefit can’t be attained from a generalized source.

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