Note: This post is s guest post submission from Yvonne Root, a LiveHacked.com reader.
Your Mark is as Important as Your Markers
Walking away from the devastation after earthquakes, hurricanes or tornados with life and limb intact is an ultimate moment for some. A turning point. A distinct division. A marker.
Sometimes we share markers with our families – the day Justin was born. At other times, our markers spread across neighborhoods or cities – the day of the flood. Then, there are the markers shared by a nation – the day the twin towers…
Life’s turning points
You and the sociologists in your life know there are certain turning points, particular occasions or events which work in conjunction to delineate you, the you who is different from any other person, even if you’re a twin.
Some of those markers are shared and common to particular societies. For instance in the US some of the common markers are:
- Begin school
- Baptism or Bar Mitzvah
- Join the armed services
- First job
- Job changes
- Birth of children
- Empty nest
- Death of loved ones
- Loss of job
- Major health issues
Even if you don’t share all these common markers you know someone who has experienced the ones you haven’t.
And, to a greater or lesser degree each of these markers changed your life in one way or another.
Markers mark a change
Here, I’ll show you what I mean. My daughter recently attended a graduation service at Embry Riddle Aeronautical University. Part of the ceremony included gentlemen who were being inducted into 3 different branches of the American Armed Forces.
Our daughter delighted us with her story of how each group, and their leaders, behaved as they took part in their separate portions of the ceremony. Both the Army and Airforce groups walked to the stage, listened politely while their inducting officer spoke from the podium and gave them entry to their chosen branch.
Then came the Marines.
Yes, you probably know where this is going. The Marines didn’t walk to the stage. They marched. Their inducting officer didn’t use the provided microphone he spoke (yelled?) from the side of the stage – and the audience heard him quite well, thank you.
The fact that an important marker had been placed couldn’t have been any more dramatic if a huge, real-life stone marker had fallen to the stage with big black letters saying, “Your life will never again be the same!”
Marriage as marker
One of my favorite ways of getting to know more about people is to ask a question like, “How did you meet your spouse?” Of course there is always a story. No one I’ve ever asked has said, “Um, well, I can’t remember.”
Well, I suppose there are those folks who might say, “Uh, I don’t remember, you see I was on vacation in Las Vegas and . . .” But, even that would be a very distinctive story. Don’t you agree?
Some markers are loud and glaring like a wedding. Others are more subtle.
Even more markers
Whether the choice is to join the Marines, to get married, to go to college, to take a particular job, to open your own business, to adopt a child, to get divorced, to write a book, to play an instrument, to take a sick day or to eat a chocolate bar there is either a marker or the possibility for a marker to be placed in your life.
You can probably see the markers right away for the first few choices I mentioned above. Yet you may be wondering about things like play an instrument, take a sick day or eat a chocolate bar.
- James Valentine, lead guitarist for Maroon 5 one day decided to play a guitar.
- My friend, Susan, met her husband while she was playing around on a day she should have been at work.
- As for chocolate bars. Ask Rick and Michael Mast how chocolate has changed their lives.
You want to leave a mark, to have your say, to know you contributed in some way.
There may come a time when you and those around you figure out what you did to leave your mark. You can make it easier to see what you’ve done, how you’ve changed your own and other’s lives. It is a method so simple that it is often missed, frequently poo-pooed by others and only taken advantage of by the savvy few.
I’ll give you a clue concerning what this simple technique is. Here are a dozen people who’ve used it.
- Benjamin Franklin
- Mark Twain
- George Patton
- Brett McKay
- Thomas Jefferson
- Ernest Hemingway
- Charles Darwin
- Hannah Senesh
- Leonardo da Vinci
- Oprah Winfrey
- Isaac Newton
- George Lucas
These people all did or do keep a journal. In case you missed what I just said, I’ll put it another way. Everyone in the list above made or makes a habit of handwriting entries in their diaries or journals on a regular basis – all the time – frequently.
They are famous
You may be saying, “Yeah, but they are famous.” And you are right. With only one exception each of these people sought fame. Did I mention that one side effect of handwriting in a journal is you become more focused on achieving your goals? Just saying.
Your basic self-improvement tool
Because a journal, a diary, a notebook or whatever else you want to call it is the rock bottom, down-to-the-basics tool for self improvement there are tons of ways to use it. Everything from skill improvement to anger management, from goal achievement to problem solving, from self analyzation to improved memory becomes part of a well kept journal.
But, that’s not why we’re here today. This article is about leaving your mark, having your say, making a difference. You are the only one who can tell your story in your individual way.
You are the only one who experiences the breathing in and breathing out of your unique life.
Whether you are exploring the underwater caves off a Caribbean Island or taking the subway to work today, whether you are recovering from the flu or from your engagement party, whether you’re slated to be the next person on the spaceship or the next person on the bosses hot seat it is only you who occupies your exclusive skin
Capturing your story your way empowers you to go beyond the limits of shared markers and delineate your own markers.
An entry as brief as, “I did it! I did it! Today I moved that tassel,” leaves a mark.
So does, “God and I are the only ones who watched that single snowflake fall.”
Or, “Our only food today was the frozen hides of the pack animals.”
“It only took 9 tries to get the Model A going today.”
“I found the solution!”
Your Mark is as Important as Your Markers
Because you were created with a brain that really does want to be cooperative you can take advantage of that design to boost your marking power.
When you alert your brain to something you want to change or improve about you life you have a built in partner to help in the process.
Everyone at some time or another has thought they would like to change something in their lives in order to have some type of improvement. That is as far as most people ever get. And, their brain yawns, rolls over and goes back to sleep.
A few people will go so far as to write out a plan for self improvement. You most often see this at the beginning of a year and it is called a New Year’s Resolution list. The people who do this actually get the brain to say, “Huh? What is going on here? Should I pay attention?”
Fewer still will actually move on to the point of doing something about even one item from the list they created. Focus. Focus is the answer to actually moving ahead. The simple tactic of handwriting about what you want to focus on alerts the brain. By using the visual and kinesthetic aspects of your body along with the call to arms of your brain you take a giant stride toward reaching a goal.
By putting your marks on the pages of your journal you have instant notification to the brain. You have also created a document for future reference when you need to remind yourself about your goals. And you have a measuring tool for analyzing what needs to be done next.
Oh. And did I mention that the marking in your journal need not take long. 5 or 6 minutes a day several days a week will be the constant nudge to your brain that you mean business.
About Yvonne and Journal in a Box: The irreverent attitude toward many journal writing “rules” taken by Yvonne Root and the other Journal Guides at Journal in a BoxTM is turning heads – and the minds inside them. Yvonne focuses on ways to use a journal for self improvement. Connect with her on Twitter and Facebook, and click here for a free special exclusively for LiveHacked.com readers!