Surprising Secret of the Successful

Marcus Aurelius, Leonardo da Vinci, Thomas Edison, Peter Drucker, George Lucas, Oprah Winfrey… the list goes on and on. The world is packed with examples of successful people who believe(d) strongly in the habit of daily journaling. What is it these great people see in this age-old habit? In this day and age, why should we choose to physically write rather than download one, two, three more apps? Why do we find it so hard to start and continue this routine? These are all great questions I have asked and vetted extensively throughout the creation of The Manager’s Journal. We will address the first question below and the two remaining questions in following posts. In each article, we will provide actions that can be taken today to use this knowledge to our advantage.

The Power of Daily Journaling

The repeated practice of journaling can be found in the repertoire of a list of famous names throughout history and today. This fact alone is worthy of a deeper look into this habit. Below are a few examples of these leaders and their particular styles on the daily process of journaling.

Benjamin Franklin – He is the textbook self-made man who went from modest beginnings in Boston to leading author, printer, political theorist, politician, Freemason, postmaster, scientist, inventor, civic activist and, in his spare time, founding father of the United States. Anyone who looks at Franklin's life can see that he is a driven person, determined on self-improvement and leaving a mark on society. In this pursuit, at the age of 20, he created a program to produce in him a habit of self-reflection and more virtuous habits. Below is the daily routine and 13 virtues of this great man. Franklin viewed his life as a constant striving toward self improvement and maximizing his time.

Sheryl Sandberg, COO of Facebook – Miguel Helft at Fortune had the following observation of Sandberg, “Her days are a flurry of meetings that she runs with the help of a decidedly undigital spiral-bound notebook. On it, she keeps lists of discussion points and action items. She crosses them off one by one, and once every item on a page is checked, she rips the page off and moves to the next. If every item is done 10 minutes into an hour long meeting, the meeting is over.”





Sir Richard Branson, Founder of Virgin Group - The wildly successful billionaire is repeatedly questioned on the means and methods of his success. In his new book "The Virgin Way: Everything I Know About Leadership," he indulges us with "one of the most powerful tools" he has in his "bag of business tricks,". The mystery item is not an intricate tool or task, but the habit of carrying a notebook with him everywhere he goes. He writes extensively in this book, everything from observations about his company to daily activity to personal musings. He has even submitted his notebooks as a means of evidence in lawsuits. 

Aristotle Onassis – We round out our quick list with a strong quote from the Greek Shipping Magnet Aristotle Onassis. "Always carry a notebook. Write everything down. When you have an idea, write it down. When you meet someone new, write down everything you know about them. That way you will know how much time they are worth. When you hear something interesting, write it down. Writing it down will make you act upon it. If you don’t write it down you will forget it. THAT is a million dollar lesson they don’t teach you in business school!"

As said before, the list of ultra successful people with a developed practice of daily journaling goes on and on. For more examples, just type "successful people who journal" into google. You will find case after case of the effectiveness of this habit in the lives of great men & women, and extensive evidence of why this is a practice you need to start today.

Action Steps

So what are we to do with this information? (Besides Mr. Onassis obvious answer of writing everything down). In each case, the user has their own means and methods of repeating a process that gives them insight and organization in their purpose of journaling. These processes, as was in the case of The Manager's Journal development, can take years to refine so that they are repeatable and effective. With that said:

  1. Start a process of daily journaling asap, keep your journal with you at all times and give that journal a purpose/routine. 
  2. We highly recommend the purchase of a premade journal system. This will save years of frustrations starting and stopping this habit and trying to hammer out your own system. 
  3. In the case of business/project manager's, the journal to start with is The Manager's Journal . We have developed our system over years to provide structure and efficiency in the high stress ever changing environment typical to these roles. 

Blessings In Your Endeavors,

Ruben Watson

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