I’ve kept a journal in some form or another since 5th grade. Sometimes I write every day, and sometimes I go a few months without writing anything down. The consistent trend with my writing is that I get a lot of value out of it.
When I was in highschool, I used to break down my wrestling practices and meets, remembering how I felt before/during/after in an attempt to get better at a mentally challenging sport.
In college, I wrote a lot about the summer internships I had. The brain has an amazing capacity to change our memories and backfill history, so I’ve learned. But, the act of recording history trumps your brain’s ability to deceive.
One act of journaling was quite pivotal in my life: After my junior year, I interned at a large investment bank. I didn’t have a great summer and knew I wanted to do something else. Nonetheless, 3 weeks after getting back to campus in September, I was ready to sign my full time offer for this bank. I’d completely forgotten how much I was dissatisfied with my internship, and what my original goals were. Luckily, before I signed the offer, I re-read a journal entry I’d written over the summer, and remembered how much I didn’t want to go back…. the 15 minute exercise of writing that journal entry literally saved me a few years in a job I didn’t want.
Because of this experience, I recently created MyRiverGuides.com . The discipline to journal, write down what will be relevant in the future, and unearth these facts at the right time is hard! MyRiverGuides.com makes this process a whole lot easier and automated for those of us doing internships this summer. Now others can save 2 years through a 10 minute exercise!