Journaling Your Way To Influence

Photo by Kaitlyn Baker on Unsplash

Blind judgement is foolish. Judgement backed by data is clever. There can be situations where you do not have data to form an informed judgement. In this situation, instead of just going with your gut, we should find ways to gather data. There is always a way. If you are at a problem, you will obviously have pointers that will lead you to the data you are looking for or the way to collect that data. I think a good analogy to this can also be found in Netflix’s culture statement:

“You are good at using data to inform your intuition”

This also reminds me of a statement for Emerson’s essay Self Reliance:

“What is the aboriginal Self, on which a universal reliance may be grounded? What is the nature and power of that science-baffling star, without parallax, without calculable elements, which shoots a ray of beauty even into trivial and impure actions, if the least mark of independence appear? The inquiry leads us to that source, at once the essence of genius, of virtue, and of life, which we call Spontaneity or Instinct. We denote this primary wisdom as Intuition, whilst all later teachings are tuitions.

Our intuition always gives us the right answer, but people mistake perception or notions for intuition. To make your intuition give you the right answer, you should ask yourself very deeply about what your question is. I have learnt a lesson for myself through this writing (But the reader will not understand it, so don’t bother).

This reminds of yet another statement from ‘How To Win Friends and Influence People’:

“You cannot teach a man anything, you can only help him find it within himself”

You can only lead or motivate people to like your school of thought which then leads to people discovering your conclusions by themselves. This is the point where you no longer have to convince anyone to do anything. You cannot convince a man to accept his own thoughts. Those are his thoughts, you can only reinforce those by strongly accepting them as correct. Second lesson today. Think about the process through which you reached to a certain conclusion. In your mind, you are totally convinced about the power of your analysis. The conclusion might look foolish to the outside world, but within your mind you are convinced that you have thought through it well. However, we are not telepathic. Your thoughts are true only within your mind. You cannot bring the other person into your frame of mind. You can only lead the person to that frame of mind. If you are not able to convince a person about your conclusion, that means you yourself are not completely convinced about it yourself. But, how can you be totally convinced about your judgement?

  1. Ask enough Whys: That’s the ultimate solution to every problem.‘WHY?’is such a powerful question, that charlatans are perplexed when they are faced with a hard resounding WHY in response to their bluffing. WHY can also bring the hypothetical Gods to your feet. And when you ask enough WHYs to yourself, you are forced to leave behind all your notions and accept the fact that you do not know anything.
  2. Write: We have a monkey mind. We have stopped thinking straight. It is difficult to focus on a singular topic for a long time. So, when you ask enough WHYs to yourself in your head, it is likely that you will wander from the topic and start thinking about Blue Whales, Eiffel Tower, The Declaration Of Independence and what not. Writing on the other hand forces you to think slowly. It forces the monkey mind to concentrate on the task at hand. You see your only thoughts being typed out on your screen and you reiterate them as they appear on the screen. You will notice times, when you will go back to delete a sentence or a few words. This is your mind getting rid of weak ideas which it is not completely convinced about.

When you combine the above two actions, you will surely reach a point where you are totally convinced about your judgement.

Some may ask:“What do you mean by write?”

The word ‘write’ is generally attributed to writers, poets, great thinkers, who have a flamboyant vocabulary. True, but they are writing for others to read. You should write for yourself. Don’t worry about the structure of your sentences, the grammar, spellings, vocabulary. Nothing matters. Because you are writing just for yourself. What matters is you type out what you are truly feeling at the moment. Trust me on this: When you come back to read your thoughts after a few weeks, you will not believe you had written them. Because the words you will be reading then will take you back to the same state of mind you were in when you were writing them. The same feelings which you had put into words will be evoked in your mind, thus causing a disbelief that you could write so well. This is called ‘Journaling’. The process of writing your thoughts just for yourself, not for the world.

To be frank, this writeup was a part of my journal. But, I got so carried away while my journaling session that it ended up as a general piece of advice that anyone can apply to their lives. You can discover wonderful insights yourself through journaling. All you have to do is find a quiet place, put your phone on flight mode and start writing your thoughts. Initially, during your writing you will notice a lot of times you will read your sentences from the perspective of the reader, but just ditch them. Write just for yourself. I do not care about my style of writing. I also do not care about the likes or follows I might get by sharing my thoughts. What I truly know deep down is that we are ephemeral and no one truly knows the truth. So, it doesn’t matter. I do not write for my readers, I write for myself.

Security Analyst aka Triager @HackerOne. Curious. Minimalist.