"No created success of a substantial nature is ever achieved without using writing and reasoning. Keeping it all in one's head or in one's conversation is the path of losers and/or those who would not succeed in life at the level for greatest happiness."
"Research from my and other laboratories shows that writing is inherently a structured process that forces a person to organize and integrate his thoughts, to reflect on what causes what, to create a coherent narrative about himself, and to consider systematic, step-by-step solutions." Sonya Lyubomirsky, in The How Happiness.
The effort to write down what is going on is well-proven to create greater results.
It doesn't take much effort, but it can be invaluable.
To write things down to get the most benefit will sometimes involve sufficient rigor to push the problem or opportunity to its solution or fruition, but the payoff is huge.
It is essential to use the proper rigor and structure if one wants to progress at the pace that leads one to the happiest life.
Based on false beliefs, which some people swear by, some people try to escape this and argue for keeping it all in discussion, because it seems easier to just talk and listen. But that doesn't work. It does not lead to effectiveness at the level that is needed to form a happy life on purpose.
Because writing is highly structured, systematic, and rule-bound, it prompts you to organize, integrate and analyze your thoughts in a way that would be difficult, if not impossible to do if you were just fantasizing [or thinking "in your head"]." Dr. Sonja Lybomirsky, The How Of Happiness.
DEVISING STRATEGIES AND PLANNING
People who just think in their head and don't' apply the necessary rigor to write and concretize things are using a strategy that produces poor results. It is a lazy, ineffective way to do things. Goals, and so-called "plans", in one's head seldom produce results and definitely leave one without clarity.
If something (a goal) is just in the mind, it evaporates, it often is only partial, there is not as much depth and there is no path set to go down further toward completion, etc. In other words, it doesn't work to keep things in your head, so stop doing it!!! (Duh!)
"Writing about your goals helps you put your thoughts together in a coherent manner, allowing you to find meaning in your life experiences. Writing about your dreams also gives you an opportunity to learn abut yourself - that is, to understand better you priorities, your emotions, and your motives, your identity, who you really are and what's in your heart." Dr. Sonia Lyon, The How Of Happiness.
TRACKING AND CAPTURING INFO, IDEAS, ETC.
Many an idea that would have had a huge benefit has been lost. But if you use systems like The Master Notebook, to keep with you and record everything in, you'll be much better off.
That notebook also helps facilitate the essential recording of how one is thinking (erroneously) and the poor results that are inherent in false beliefs, so that one can then examine and devise what is true and workable.
WHICH BRAIN SHOULD RUN YOUR LIFE?
The primitive mind (the fear alarm system) operates more actively when there is ambiguity and imprecision. It can "go crazy" based on that, having a "field day" of creating fear upon fear upon fear and bad feeling upon bad feeling upon bad feeling - not a good choice, I would suggest!
By the same mechanism that asking questions engages the rational brain, writing brings that higher brain into action. And certainly we do not want to operate our lives based on irrational, emotive, reactive thinking not based on facts. (When we are operating in a reactive, usually pessimistic mode, we believe our perceptions are factual. This occurs even when we "know" the phrase "perception is not reality." See The Reality Conundrum discussion and links.
Also, writing it down in black and white generally forces one to look at it clearly and to not be vague and/or not to BS oneself by telling an untruth. [Ambiguity and vagueness allow fuzzy thinking and false beliefs to continue to befuddle and sabotage one's life.] It leaves a path (or a "marker" of the beginning of a possible path to explore). One can proceed in greater depth. One can share it with a fellow problem solver and/or ally, who can help to contribute a different viewpoint and possibly relevant knowledge.
IT DEVELOPS THINKING SKILLS AND HABITS
Writing things down develops the skills of specificity, discipline, rational thinking, and not operating irrationally. It also builds in the use of the higher brain as more of an automatic habit - and the habitual more frequent use of the higher brain leads to better decisions and healthier thinking. The brain actually rewires itself to do this automatically.
IT BUILDS THE BRAIN'S CAPACITY FOR HAPPINESS
The higher brain's screening center becomes larger and more powerful, so it automatically screens a lot of the nonsense out before it comes to consciousness. Integrally connected to that center is the happiness center, which, when developed more, leads to a natural tendency toward happiness and an increased capacity for experiencing joy and other positive emotions.
IT IS THE VEHICLE FOR BETTER PROBLEM SOLVING
One cannot effectively problem solve anything with any complexity without putting what is necessary into writing. Your brain cannot keep track of too many things at once. And it cannot relate everything clearly just in "thinking" - it must be on paper in some systematic form, such as those in the Problem Solving Process section.
One of the benefits of journaling is that it forces specificity and thereby engages the higher brain's reasoning power and specificity power. In fact, noting down that a thing you were scared about actually resulted in "nothing actually happening" engages the reconditioning of the fear system to lead to extinction of the fear. (The gradual exposure to something feared is often used to extinguish fears, phobias, and anxieties, as our primitive brain gets the message over and over that "nothing actually happens", so it sees there is no threat to react to!)
BUT IT'S SO "COLD" AND DOESN'T FEEL GOOD...
We wouldn't be doing alot of this if we weren't trying to shift the balance away from harmful thinking that results in "bad" feelings. So, you might consider this cold, analytical process to be a "warming" one as it leads away from "bad" feelings toward "good" feelings.
Analysis is neither bad nor good nor cold in itself. Those are only attributions (made up things attributed to something as if they were actually part of it) not actualities.
Analysis either produces a good effect or it doesn't. If it does, we use it, in order to get more good feelings and/or have less bad feelings.
BUT IT'S SO MUCH WORK...OR...IT'S NOT SO EASY...
Some people protest or otherwise resist putting things in writing. The most oft proffered reason not to write it down is that it "seems like too much effort" or "the extra effort is not worth it." (But that would be like a child not wanting to put out effort, waiting to be rescued by having someone else do it or just using magical thinking in hoping that it'll go away. The adult persona just asks "is the benefit sufficient to justify the effort" and then, if justified, does it.)
Easy is not a valid motivation. It is most often the easy way around doing the work. It results in partial solutions and shortcuts, but seldom true completion. And if one does not complete and/or do things with higher impact, one gets to live with the problem much longer and often over and over - needlessly so!
A lazy approach will get the results that a lazy person experiences in life - like rusty cars all over the front yard, etc.
So: JUST DO IT!!!!!