Why you need to document things to improve your decision-making



"The first principle is that you must not fool yourself and you are the easiest person to fool." ~Richard P. Feynman

Feynman is one of my heroes, a brilliant physicist who was also a renaissance man

4/ with current conditions. And the sneaky part is, we genuinely believe that our current "memory" of what we thought in the past is accurate. One way to see just how true this is is to keep a handwritten journal of decisions and beliefs throughout time.

6/ The term was coined in 1961 by Wayne C. Booth in "The Rhetoric of Fiction."" It's hard to describe the first time you adamantly maintain you held a certain view in the past, only to discover by returning to your handwritten journal that you did *not* hold that view.

8/ the *day before* the actual crash!

My journal revealed that I had changed my mind and that I thought the worst had passed and was worried that the huge bull reversal would *crush* my put position. Here's the thing: I would have sworn under oath that wasn't the way things

10/ Imagine what would happen if our brains *didn't* edit and rework all of the data hitting our perception field. Given that we register only a fraction of all the data and stimuli we take in, taking it all in might genuinely lead to loss of control and madness.

15/ but it genuinely does surprise people who have not. Many who have not experienced this are incredulous and think "well, maybe that's a problem for you, but I would *never* do something so dumb!"

Hint: that's another trick of the brain and, yes, you would.

16/ So, in addition to some interesting speculation about writing things out by hand imprinted differently on your brain than typing things, the more pragmatic reason is--you can't scribble things out of a handwritten document without noticing that you have done so.

17/ And seeing things in your own handwriting makes if very difficult to argue with or fool yourself. This process also makes your mind far more open to understanding that we do such things unconsciously and that it is generally a universal part of being a human being.

19/ But, it's honestly hard to begin drilling down on yourself in this manner. It feels unnatural when you start and you might originally find yourself abandoning the practice. To that I say, of course you will, I did, we all do because we're all human and share similar

20/ software. But if you're diligent and get over the hump, you'll be amazed that you didn't realize this process was happening and after getting over the shock of seeing this happen the first time you go back to your journals, you'll actually begin to rewire your brain for

21/ the better. Our brains are quantum supercomputers that do amazing stuff for us, but it's okay to understand that some of the programs they run are no longer useful to maximizing of decision-making capabilities and deleting and replacing them with better programs.

22/ We're amazing creatures that have the ability to optimize and improve ourselves, the trick is, like many new habits, to repeat it enough times to make it stick. And the first time you see your thought process improve, you'll be delighted you did.