Making A List, Checking It Twice

I’m a big believer in visualization.

In the same way that the hardest stage of a rocket is the first, the hardest part of the trajectory of an idea is the stage where it leaves your brain and makes the jump into the world. The brain cleanses itself; it forgets things, rewrites them, convinces you that ideas weren’t good.

Once it’s on paper, the brain can’t do those things to it anymore. It’s escaped the brain’s gravitational pull.

There is a distance between “an goal in my mind” and “a goal I wrote down;” call that Distance A. There is also a distance between “a goal I wrote down” and “a goal I accomplished.” Call that Distance B.

I’m telling you that Distance A is way, way, way greater than Distance B.

Is your self-esteem lower than it should be, given objective facts about you? Have people told you to “tell yourself that you’re great!” Well, that’s hogwash. You’re the one telling yourself that you aren’t great, so at best you’re evening the scales.

Instead, write down that you’re great. Every day. And hang it up where you can see it.

Because unless you’re writing down that you’re a loser every day and hanging THAT up (and if you are, you know, stop), you’ve not put the good thoughts in a tremendously advantageous position over the bad ones. (By the way, this includes words you post on social media or anywhere else.)

You can say “I want to lose weight.” But another part of your brain is saying “sitting on the couch is easier.” Those scales are even, so inertia breaks the tie and you do nothing. Instead, write down your goals. Make a plan on paper. Commit to it publicly. Take the good thoughts and ideas and barricade them outside of your brain, where they’re vulnerable to all the biases and flaws of our psyche.

Outside of your brain, somewhere you can see them, these thoughts will gather power and momentum. A wall will slowly fill with pieces of paper you’ve taped to it with goals and positive words. A word document or excel spreadsheet will grow and grow with things you’ve accomplished or wisdom you’ve gained.

Maybe a blog will gather entries like a snowball rolling downhill.

And before you know it, you’ll have a combined sum that is far greater and more powerful than any passing, fleeting negative thought. “Man, I feel like such a loser today. Oh wait, here’s this list of 547 things I’ve accomplished in the last two years. Never mind, I’m cool.”

Write down something today. Anything good. A thing you did, a thing you learned, a thing you want to do that’s positive. It doesn’t matter, just write it down, right now. Comment on this post if you want, and you’ll have an instant cheering section. But wherever you write it, write it where you’ll see it, and do it right this second.

Then do it again tomorrow.

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