Road to self discovery.

Updated: Apr 27

I have written and rewritten this text a few times now, never been a good writer, or even thought about being one. But after joining a mentorship program things changed. My mentor suggested that I share my ideas and discoveries. Journaling is something I have done on and off for a while now, but the idea of writing for someone to read never occurred to me, so this opportunity intrigued me. After some quick consideration I accepted and committed to writing something at least once a month. At first I wanted to write purely on productivity, even started a challenge of creating and completing five tasks each day. This course quickly failed, but it did make me think and write more about why I was doing these things, why I was failing and what I could do differently. So, I thought, why not start off by thinking of why do I want to write in the first place?

Learning how to write is learning how to think.

My mind is often chaotic, thoughts race one after another and nothing concrete can be made out. A fog of words, scattered ideas and concepts that make no sense fill my head. This is a huge issue as it makes it difficult to navigate in life. Ways to tackle problems are often vague and prone to failure, reasons for doing something difficult are too shallow to be sustainable and new information is difficult to understand. But there is a way to improve and structure the way one thinks - by writing. Thinker and clinical psychologist Jordan Peterson says, writing is indistinguishable from thinking. Learning how to write not only improves the way you think by helping you structure your thoughts, but also improves your communication skills. With these skills it becomes way easier for others to understand what you want it to say. By being able to properly structure your thoughts into understandable sentences you are able to understand a concept, an idea or even yourself better. Not only that, but by honing your writing skills allows better communication with others. As Peterson says, people give so much to someone who can clearly state his ideas, they give them opportunities, invest in their ideas with money or time, by successfully communicating ideas one can achieve so much. But, as with many skills, practice is needed, so one must write a lot. I have never been gifted with words, but I believe with enough practice anyone can become at least somewhat competent in a particular area. For this reason having something that pushes you to practice writing is something worth pursuing and trying, and is one of the reasons I wanted to start writing.

A way to understand myself.

Another reason is that I want to understand myself. See, during my second year of university I had a huge existential crisis. A sudden rush of extremely difficult questions just bombarded my brain all at once and it overwhelmed me. I was in a state of confusion and panic, not knowing or understanding anything. So naturally I was drawn to the self-development and productivity sphere. The idea that anyone can become what they truly want if they work hard enough intrigued me. I started to consume all the books, videos, podcasts and advice I could find. And for a while it worked, it improved my life immensely, but something was still missing. I started to feel intense anxiety if I didn’t do the things that “successful” people do. This image of the person I should be started to clash with the person I actually am. I spent too much time trying to adopt and use all these productivity hacks and not address the real issues. I avoided answering, or even raising questions at the root of the problem. The famous quote by Socrates “An unexamined life is not worth living” made me think that I should not spend so much time on learning productivity systems and what other people think a “successful” person is, but rather watch myself and analyse what kind of person I am. With this knowledge and understanding of “me” it would be possible to then build on top of that foundation, to add, rather than change, to improve, rather than remove. And having an outlet, a reason to ask and answer these questions that normally would be put to the side is a huge driving factor for why writing would be beneficial to me.

A reason to experiment and try new things.

I recently started listening to a podcast “Philosophise this!” where the creator, Stephen West, in one of his episodes talked about a philosopher Soren Kierkegaard. During this podcast I heard a quote by Soren that made me think and encapsulated the last reason why I wanted to start writing. Kierkegaard says that people often get stuck in the infinite and the finite. What he means by this quote is people have seemingly infinite choice and possibilities on what they could do, but often get stuck and paralysed by them, not doing anything in the end. In the same way, they can get stuck in the end by getting too complacent with their life, following a plan given to them by someone else, not trying to change things up and make their own decisions. Kierkegaard argued that a person should have sort of a balance of both, to make their own decisions and to choose something for themselves, to take a leap of faith. In doing so one can better understand himself and perhaps even find meaning. Because of this I thought that trying to create something that to me seems like a good idea is an opportunity I can not miss. I do not know how well this might go, but at least I will have done something and most importantly - perhaps I would have learned something new about myself.

So, the process of writing is not only a great way to document my journey, but it can also bring me other benefits as well. Learning how to write is extremely similar to learning how to think and the opportunity to actually have the need to write can help me more clearly answer important questions I might have. Not only that it is a great way to try new things and to see what it is that I like, or don’t like, and why. I know I might not have many deep insights or things that I discover can be cliche and self-explanatory, but it is not the reason for writing, the reason is to just try and see where it leads, to perhaps understand something about myself and discover something new.

Deividas Gineitis