The Ultimate Life Hack for Personal Growth
Almost three weeks ago I began the exercise of writing two shitty pages every day. Soon after I started doing this I adjusted this exercise to be "One Shitty Page a Day", since two pages began to feel like a chore. I have been enjoyably writing day after day ever since, and I am now convinced that this is one of the best tools for self-understanding and personal growth.
One of the biggest benefits I have gotten from this exercise has been more peace of mind. I write down anything that is running through my mind during this morning exercise. My entries range from exploring deep thoughts, such as exploring feelings I had as a child, to superficial and unimportant ones like writing about why I did not want to get up that day. Exploring all the thoughts that are running through my mind allows me to partly detach from the feelings that come with them. This detachment often leads me to arrive at a satisfying conclusion for the thought. It's as if all my thoughts want is to be explored, and once they are acknowledged they happily exit my mind.
Additionally, this exercise has strengthened my ability to control the focus of my attention. When I only analyze thoughts in my mind I find myself in never-ending inner chatter. My attention constantly jumps from one tangent to the next, only to come back to the original thought and start the cycle all over again. Writing increases my awareness of what ideas I choose to focus my attention on. If I begin to go off in a tangent while writing, I can clearly notice on paper that I have jumped off-topic. Constantly returning my attention to my initial thought has helped do the same throughout the rest of my day when I am not writing.
Writing one shitty page a day has also led me to understand more of my unconscious habits. I purposely make myself write when I feel upset, sad, or negative, in the hopes that I will find the root cause of these feelings. Often I realize that the problem is with my perspective and not the situation or person that I think has me feeling this way. Once I have written everything down, things that are outside of my sphere of influence stick out like a sore thumb. Identifying what is not under my control helps me stop worrying about these things, and shifts my attention to building an actionable plan for creating the situations I want.
These are only a few of the benefits I have come across while writing one shitty page a day. I would recommend everyone to give this exercise a try. My biggest piece of advice would be to remember that it is okay if the writing is terrible. Write the thoughts exactly as they come to your mind, even if they are not in complete sentences, and practice reading them as if someone else wrote them.
I will continue this exercise every morning and will return to share any other big benefits I find with the exercise.
The idea for this originally came from Tim Ferris. You can watch the video where he presents this idea by clicking here.