I’m trying to re-envision for work, for myself, my audience and students. I bought Zen and the Art of Making a Living, by Laurence G. Boldt, many years ago but was put off by its size and its tendency to ramble. But I’ve decided to put a few minutes each day into reading it and its starting to get its grip on me. Zen contains a lot of questions and exercises to reflect on your life, vision, and how to translate that into a career.
The effect of Zen and the Art of Making a Living has the potential to be even more powerful because I have put key parts of it into my samurai mind notebook. A samurai mind notebook is just an over the counter-notebook that I fill with inspiring ideas, skill work, and reflective exercises. What “weaponizes” the notebook is that I review these notebooks on a rough “Spaced Repetition System” schedule. I have an easy to use system where I am reviewing my notebooks 1 day, 2-3 days, 1 week, 1 month, 3 months, 6 months, and 1 year basis. If I hit upon positive knowledge or inspiration or even reminders to follow up on different projects, I place that in the latest notebook.
Reviewing my notebook, helps me create my own inspiration and information ecosystem, that reminds me of what is important to me and through others’ word helps me expand in areas where I want to grow. Looking at my notebook provides a little immunity from the information ecosystem that the media provides us: despair, statistics, stories of violent crime, etc. So instead of picking up the daily rag and reading about who is divorcing who or who killed who, I get a little message that directs me to myself and to how to best serve the world.
For example, one of the fun ideas I’ve gotten from Laurence Boldt is the idea of playing the career game without getting to wrapped up in it. I put one of his affirmations into my samurai mind notebook:
Because I choose my career with full awareness, I am able to play with intensity without getting serious.
I wrote that quote into my notebook on June 9th and then came across it again in relaxed reviews on June 10th, June 11th, and June 13th. I would then come across that thought a week later, two weeks later, etc. If upon review, my spine tingles and my heart quickens and I realize I really need that thought right now, I will copy it again into the latest notebook entry so the thought gets further looped into my daily routine. A useful thought is now further “weaponized” into my mind.
Keeping a samurai notebook is one way to fight for your life. A notebook helps fight against mental decay, despair, and has the potential to multiply the benefits of any self-improvement work you are doing. Pick up that pen. Use it. Weaponize.