top of page

THREE Reasons Men Should Keep a Journal

I used to think that keeping a journal was only for teenage girls. They would lie on their beds, surrounded by posters of One Direction, doodling and scribbling with their pink pens about the crush they have on the cute blue-eyed boy from math’s class. Why would a grown, middle-aged man in his fifties want to write about his feelings, goals, and day-to-day anxieties?

I retired when I was 48 and got divorced at the age of 49, and my daughter moved with her mother to the other side of the planet. I came to the realization that a large part of my daily agenda had become freed up. Let’s look at a typical 24-hour day during the week – I used to spend 8 hours sleeping, 9 hours at work, 2 hours traveling to and from work (I lived in Mexico City which has some of the worst traffic known to humanity), 2 hours exercising (I am a bit of a nutcase), 2 hours fighting with my wife. That left 2 hours to eat, shower, get rid of excess bodily by-products. I really did not have much time to try and answer questions like: who am I, what makes me happy, what do I want out of life?

At the beginning of 2021, I suddenly have 14 hours per day freed up. Let assume there are 21 workdays in a week – that translates to 294 hours per month which is about 12 days per month. That is a big chunk of time that needs to be filled, and there is only so much sex you can have, golf you can play, and Netflix series you can watch.

Let me tell you what happened when I suddenly had all this free time. I was forced to find myself, and what I found was not that great. I quickly realized that I was not as mentally healthy as I originally thought – I was neurotic, anxious, and filled with self-doubt. My second marriage had come to an end and my daughter, the single greatest thing in my life, was living 15,000 miles away. For the first time, I started to have suicidal thoughts. I felt like a pear-shaped loser and I started to wonder whether maybe the world would be a better place without me.

I used to take these long walks into Newlands Forest. This is a massive green area in Cape Town that leads up to the side of Table Mountain. There is a mega steep section that takes you to the top – Newlands Ravine. You scale the ravine and then into a shallow valley after which it kicks up to Devils Peak. From the top of Devils peak, there is a 100m sheer drop that if you hurled yourself over there would be no return. As I was going through my divorce, I would often sit at Devils Peak and play with the idea of ending it all. This is a scary place to be in – especially seeing as I am an inherently optimistic, enthusiastic person.

It was during these dark times that I realized that I need to start communicating my thoughts, but I refused to go to a therapist. My ex-wife was in intensive therapy and if anything, it seemed to make her worse. In addition, I am old school – I come from a family where you never complain and you most never talk about your problems. I then came across Dr. Jordan Peterson on YouTube and I started to binge-watch his videos. One session spoke about the importance of writing, and more specifically writing your life story.

I figured – I love to write, and I needed to tame the fucking demons in my head, so I threw myself into it – and like everything I do, I did it 200%. I started to document my life from as far back as I could remember. The process was easy and fun at times, and it was hard and painful at times, but this opened my mind to the power of writing especially when it comes to self-awareness and discovery. Here are the reasons why it is so important to keep a journal.

1) It is the Best Way to Tap into Your Sub Conscious

What the fuck is your subconscious? I am going to tell you what I think it is in my own words because I am tired of using the definitions of pseudo-intellectuals who try and impress you with fancy words. I am a simple person and I need things explained to me as if I was an 8-year-old.

Your subconscious is the accumulation of all the shit (good and bad) that happened to you as a kid and has made you who you are today. This is the shit that controls your life and you often don't realize it. Let’s say your mother was never there for you. You would get home from school and she was out shopping with her friends. At night, she would get home, put her feet up, pour herself a drink, and turn on the telly to watch some crap soap opera. Pretty soon, you develop a strong sense of abandonment. You are anxious that at any time, your mother will abandon you forever and you will be left to fend for yourself.

You then grow up, leave home and throw yourself into the real world and start dating. After a couple of years, and multiple failed romantic relationships, you realize a pattern is developing. Whenever you get close to a woman, you break up with her. You find different reasons to exit the relationship. Maybe, she grinds her teeth when she sleeps. Or, she is just too nice, or she flosses her teeth in bed, or she has manly hands.

You realize that all the reasons for ending the relationship are shallow and superficial. You then start to write about your life and keep a daily journal, and when you put the two together, you realize that you are truly a dumb ass. The reason why you are breaking up with these girls is that you expect these women to abandon you, in the same way your mother did. You are therefore implementing a pre-emptive strike – you are abandoning these women before they abandon you.

You need to commit to writing. You want to focus carefully on your relationship with your parents, and specifically your mother because you probably spent more time with her than your father. You want to identify key moments in your childhood – what happened, why did it happen, and how it made you feel. You will be amazed by how much you remember. I remember more when I write than when I talk.

2) You can Unload Your Shit

Think of your mind like a computer – it has bandwidth. The more bandwidth, the better it performs. If your computer is full of shit, it works slowly. If your mind is full of shit, it is going to affect your processing speed. One way to free up space on your computer is to archive and send it to the cloud. Writing a journal is archiving and sending it to the cloud. But putting your shit down in writing, you are getting it off your chest. I am not saying that that the issue is solved, but you are unloading it and a problem shared is a problem halved. You are now freeing up your short-term bandwidth to deal with other issues. Don’t ask me for a psychological explanation of what is happening because I don’t have a clue – I just know that this shit works. You are putting concrete words to a problem – you are defining the issue which is a giant step forward in getting it sorted out.

3) Writing is Organized Thinking

Have you ever tried to argue with someone who knows how to write well? They will rip you apart because they know how to organize their thoughts. The more you write, the better you become at organizing your thoughts and this makes you a better communicator. An important ability in life is the ability to communicate what you intend to do clearly and understandably. Read that sentence again, because there is a lot packed in.

How do you build a business? You need to communicate to shareholders, bankers, suppliers, providers, clients, etc. Success in the world is predicated on the ability to communicate your thoughts effectively. The best way to organize your thoughts is to learn how to write, and what better way to learn how to write than to commit to keeping a journal and contributing to it every day.

#lifecoach #motivation #lifecoaching #coaching #love #mindset #coach #inspiration #selflove #life #success #selfcare #lifestyle #mentalhealth #mindfulness #personaldevelopment #entrepreneur #goals #happiness #meditation #loveyourself #healing #motivationalquotes #lifequotes #positivevibes #fitness #businesscoach #motivationalspeaker #business

bottom of page