Everyone loves to be a winner. Every athletic event has a winner, whether individual or team. The Super Bowl produces one winner. The World Series produces one winner. Even elementary school spelling bees produce one winner who goes on to district (which has just one winner). Often, in society, we moan because we aren't winners.
Amazingly, people both young and old can be winners in all sorts of areas that don't require any sort of competition. Writing in journals is one way because, when you write in your journal, every word exudes you, no matter how many words you write. In fact, there are four basic reasons why keeping a journal is really for winners.
1. Write your story and record your own history
The cool thing about writing your own story, your own history, is very simple. You are the only one who understands what really went on in your life. You know, fortunately and unfortunately, all of the particulars of every single event that made you who you are today. You were the one who experienced the embarrassing moment on your first date when you turned 16, the feeling you had when you earned your first (and last) 'A' in English your junior year, the euphoria that welled inside you when your mother earned her bachelor's degree at age 60, the time your dog died after she slept at the bottom of your bed for 12 years... Onlyyou can recall these incidents with a flurry of feelings because you write them in first person.
2. Create memorable entries that safeguard your individuality and personality
Journal writers really create memorable entries. Now, when you write it, you may not think you've written a memorable entry. But as time goes on, you will discover that, when you return to that entry, you remember and maybe even feel those same feelings and emotions. It's almost surreal to go back and experience an event from your life over again. Often, there may come an epiphany as you reread it, and you might realize there was an important reason for writing about it in the first place. You'll also note both the good and not-so-good changes in your personality, and you may discover times you liked yourself better or remember why you chose to follow a particular path.
3. Set a course for your future
Winners write goals, record them in journals and then review them periodically. In many cases, winners place their future goals at the beginning of a fresh journal each year. As the year passes, they review their goals and see how they are doing. By recording goals — whether educational, personal or professional — you become accountable for your future. You are the puppeteer of your own life. Dangle your own strings by setting achievable goals and creating opportunities for yourself to succeed. Goals need to be written down — somewhere they'll prompt you often to follow through. Writing in your journal as you progress enhances your ability to keep your future in front of you.
4. Understand that your journal will become a prized possession
Your journal will become a prized possession for your children and all of your posterity. Now, that may seem a bit freaky now, but think of this: At a recent funeral for her father, a young woman read parts of her father's journal, highlighting his spirituality and his love for his family.
More importantly than any of this, however, your journal entries will become your prized possessions, especially if you spend time writing details, making decisions and recording how you came to certain solutions. Even after years, you will be amazed at the maturity of your decisions. Yes, you will bemoan some of them, but as time goes on, you will overcome many challenges by listening to the counsel you gave yourself "back then." Use your journal to learn from your mistakes and become the winner you always wanted to be. When you learn, you win.
Being a winner is all about becoming a leader and learning from the past, and only you are in control of that. Journal writing can help you become a leader, one who records precious information that will help you — and perhaps many others — to understand who you are and how your experiences have made you wonderful.
Darrel Hammon likes being outdoors, growing things and seeing things the way they could be. You can read more of his musings at darrelhammon.blogspot.com. He and his wife worked as welfare volunteers in the Caribbean.