My obsession with taking notes has very little to do with writing.
From an existential
perspective, taking notes brings me joy. It gives me energy and makes me feel
like I’m a productive, purposeful and useful citizen of the world. I always say
that I can rationalize almost any activity or experience, as long as I write
down at least one interesting thing I heard.
Sentences are my spiritual currency.
From a psychological
perspective, taking notes makes me a better person. Writing has been
scientifically proven to help people focus attention, strengthen patience,
stimulate creativity, illuminate patterns, build motor memory, lower blood
pressure and enhance the brain’s ability to process, retain, and retrieve information.
What’s not to like?
Writing is the basis of all wealth.
From an interpersonal
perspective, taking notes allows me to contribute to others. It’s how I add incremental value to my interactions with people. Even if I only write down one
sentence, taking notes demonstrates listening, presence, gratitude, respect and
encouragement. It brings people to life, helps them believe in themselves and
makes them feel seen and heard.
Burning a few calories with your pen goes a long way.
From a inspirational
perspective, taking notes helps me get through to people. If I’m using my
journal, I flip the book around and show people what I wrote down. If I’m using my
phone, I email them a copy. If I’m using a whiteboard, I snap a picture and
send them a text. If I’m using my jotter, I tear out the page and hand it over.
If I’m using my laptop, I print out a copy for people to read on the way home.
And if I’m taking notes in my head, I stop in the middle of the conversation,
repeat people’s exact words back to them, and wait in silence as they write it
down for themselves.
That’s how you give someone a front row seat to their own brilliance.
The moral is, if you don’t write it down, it never happened.
What notes have you taken today?