Activity 3 - A Book of Your Own

Wednesday, 12 January 2011 08:10

Maurice Gibbons (c) 2008 Personal Power Press International

I’m going to urge you to keep a very special kind of book—a working journal. It’s not a diary, it’s a book for recording ideas and plans, and its purpose is to support your efforts to be more self-directed and productive. It’s magic, and I’ll tell you why and how in a minute.

Successful people from all walks of life keep such a book, and for lots of good reasons. Think of Leonardo da Vinci.(artist), Charles Darwin (scientist), and Dylan Thomas (poet)—and the thousands of scientists, designers, entrepreneurs, historians, authors, artists, architects, choreographers, explorers and others whose journals were their most important instrument and their most treasured possession. Here are a few of the reasons why it was important to them and is to you...

¤ It’s a great place to work through the activities in this program, which make perfect journal entries because they are all focused on your personal progress as a self-directing entrepreneur in your productive life.

¤ You can watch your own progress in your journal, page by page, and check it out by looking back at any time.

¤ You will never lose another great idea again. They come and go like dreams, unless we catch them as you will by getting them down in your journal.

¤ And you won’t have to go searching for missing papers any more either. Everything about your self-initiated projects will be in one place and easy to access.

¤ The very existence of your journal will encourage you to work in it, in the same way that having a sailboat anchored at a nearby dock encourages the sailor to sail.

¤ Being productive in activities you choose is the best way to become self-directed. It is also an excellent way to learn. Self-directed productive activity is an excellent method of learning anywhere, any time, at any age—in your own special way.

¤ This will be your most important textbook, and you will be its author. It will contain ideas you find and record because they are important to you. Your selections will accumulate into a body of knowledge that will give you real power in your field(s) of interest.

¤ This will be your planning book for all of the activities you pursue. It will also be the record of what you do, what you decide to change, and what you learn when you put your plan into action.

¤ Your journal will be the private place where you study the process that you followed as you worked through your project, and where you study yourself as a performer. Such studies will lead you to changes that will greatly improve your productivity.

¤ Your journal will be the companion you can talk to at any time about what you are thinking and doing. People’s eyes may glaze over when you talk about your special interest in why populations of the Vancouver Island marmot are declining, but the journal is always waiting to hear your latest thoughts.

I saved the most important reason for last. So many people keep working journals because they are more than records. When you keep your journal, as we will in this program, your journal will become a machine that will greatly increase your knowledge, productivity and expertise in the fields that you choose to explore. How does that happen? Information and ideas that we collect fuel the ideas that we generate ourselves. Our ideas suggest activities, and strategic planning makes the successful pursuit of such activities more likely. While in action, we ensure the success of our plans by solving any problems that arise, and, when we see failure looming, by correcting the course we are following.

Taking action reveals a lot. Looking back, we can see what actions worked and what didn’t. With this information in hand, we can decide what corrections and advances would make us more effective. Reflecting on ourselves in action—our attitudes and performance—we can see clearly what we can do to become better at what we are trying to accomplish. In these ways, the cycle of ideas, action and reflection becomes a machine that can propel us forward in our pursuit of excellence in the fields of activity we have chosen.


Commitment to the Work?

You will do what you will. If you skim over this material, you will benefit from some of the ideas, and you will be making a personal—and self-directed--choice. That’s good. But if you want to enjoy the full benefits of personal empowerment and achievement, skimming will not do it.

Achievement takes work, hard work. The benefit is that once you find your field-- that match between interest, ability and opportunity—it will soon not seem like work at all, but rather the very best thing in the world you could be doing. If you are hesitant, please persevere. Somehow you have to get below the surface of things where the passion for just doing what you love lies. Many people discover early how to work—how to stay at something when it’s difficult and the results of your effort look crappy. They struggle to stay at it until they break through the surface of their field and discover the delight that lies beyond the surface. If you haven’t made that discovery yet, set your mind now to making a choice and hanging tough until you produce something simple that you are proud of. Then you can decide to move on or go deeper.

It’s a challenge to keep going when the field we have to cross is steep and thorny. We don’t need to be productive all the time, but when we choose to be productive in a field, we should never give up, never give up, never give up. Competence offers many benefits and rewards. I want to urge you to get a journal and work hard at it for three months. After that we will take inventory and see where we are. I will present you with the best material I can, if you will commit to working as hard as you are able to for one month. If it will help you, send this statement of commitment to me, and I will check back with you to see how you are doing:





Commitment to Work at What I Want to Do

I contract to work through these activities for the next three months in an effort to find, and engage in, an activity that I find compelling.
I understand that you will provide me with the most helpful and exciting activities that you can develop.

Maurice Gibbons (c) 2008 Personal Power Press International

Getting Your Own Working Journal

I will guide you through this process. But first, you need a book. Any book with blank or lined pages will do. But here are a few suggestions.

The book should have a hard cover. It will take a beating because you will be carrying it all over the place.

I like a journal that looks like a book. That way it doesn’t attract attention if I’m carrying it in a restaurant or other public place. I also prefer blank pages with enough substance that writing doesn’t bleed through to the other side of the page. I choose blank pages to accommodate both writing and visuals—cut-outs, diagrams, graphs, and sketches—which, as we will see, are important elements in a working journal. I go to an art supply store and buy a black covered sketch book with just over 200 pages that are letter size—8 ½ by 11”. Many other kinds of books will do. The journals I have seen are in various sizes and styles. Suit yourself, but think it through.

I’m on working journal volume #14. All of my journals are a history of my work as a developer of educational programs—especially in SDL—as a wood sculptor, as a writer, as a publisher of Personal Power Press, and a number of other activities over the years, including arrest during a protest against the clear-cutting of a disappearing old-growth rainforest. If you are anything like me, your journal will become very valuable to you, so the first thing to do after you buy one, is to put your name, address, and phone number prominently on the inside front cover.

Some people use binders and have sections in their journals for different topics. I prefer to write sequentially from page to page no matter how different the subjects of my entries are. I find what I need from an index that I keep on the front inside cover. All the pages are numbered. I list the topics as they arise, and note the page numbers of any entries on that topic. Some topic lines are brief, others have two or three lines of page numbers spread throughout the book.

This is a good time to find your book. I make a cover page on the first sheet. On the next page, consider why self-direction is important to you (see the first list above), and look through “How Self-Directed Are You” to find areas of SDL that you want to work on. And then, let’s get self-directed. Let’s get productive.

Last Updated on Sunday, 02 October 2011 02:22