Getting tired of the whole samurai riff?  Well let’s change cliches.  You can call me Notebook Kid, the rootenest, tootenest, notebook slinging samurai thar is.   I always walk around with two notebooks:   one cocked and ready for a new thoughts and the other in my holster (um, manbag) ready for review.   (I could also use a samurai metaphor.   You know samurai traveled around with two swords, a long one and a short one for close combat and hari-kiri.  But I still have a day job.  I can’t quite stretch that metaphor right now.)

Okay, well, the long and short of it  (Oh yes, I managed to mangle the samurai metaphor!  Samurai–I just can’t quit you!) is that you need to keep stretching but also reminding yourself of where you’ve been.

I got two katanas and an old notebook!

Some guidelines for a Samurai Notebook:

  • try to keep entries positive or neutral ….you can have a different notebook for complaining etc
  • review regularly and have fun with it–if it feels like a chore either change your mind state or do something else. Review is good, but when you tire of it move on to something fun.  You can review it and you can change your thoughts about review.  Maybe what’s in it isn’t so interesting.  So what are you doing with a notebook that isn’t so interesting?
  • put dates on entries–it helps if you are going to do schedule reviews
  • fun, fun, fun–this is your place to play–find new ways to expand

What a samurai notebook does for you:

  • reminds you of your dreams, hopes, and actions
  • works on the subconscious level by constantly reminding you of important thoughts you want to have
  • reminds you that you are important
  • helps you to be an artist with your life
  • keeps important thoughts at the tip of your tongue


There is a preciousness and non-preciousness to my notebooks.  I just finished one notebook.  It looks beaten up and yet it reminds me of some fun and important stuff.

Some of the things that were in my last Samurai Notebook:

  1. A list of things I want to make happen in my life.
  2. The lyrics to “We Will Rock You”
  3. Quotes from Steve Chandler’s book, 50 Ways to Create Great Relationships.    He quotes David Viscott:  “If you cannot risk, you cannot grow.  If you cannot grow, you cannot become your best.  If you cannot become your best, you cannot be happy.  And if you cannot be happy, what else matters?”  (I don’t agree with every quote, but it’s good to have things that challenge your mind keep popping up regularly.)
  4. Copycat sprints from Japanese self-help books.  I copy out sections of Japanese books as a way to learn.
  5. Quick future brainstorming circles.   Draw four circles and project what you want in your life: always, one year from now, one month from now, and today.   Another Steve Chandler technique.
  6. Notes on things that were important to me during staff meetings.
  7. “The real secret of success is enthusiasm.  Yest, more than enthusiasm.  I would say excitement.  I like to see people get excited . . .when they get excited, they make a success of their lives.”  Walter Chrysler
  8. “As stars with trains of fire, and dews of blood, disasters in the sun . . .”  Shakespeare’s Hamlet.
  9. Notes (in Japanese and English) from my participation at the Financial Success Academy
  10. “Everything in the universe is within you.  Ask all from yourself.”  Rumi
  11. Quick brainstorms on how to best help my students.
  12. “We possess such immense resources of power that pessimism is a laughable absurdity.”   Colin Wilson.

Just scouring through my notebook to make the list has given me a lift.   (That and the hot cup of java!)  The notebook itself is a little beaten up.   Part of the binding is separated from the rest of the book.   Samurai notebooks are like battered signposts, weathering the elements, pointing you back to yourself and your samurai journey.

What’s in your Samurai Notebook?