Achieve Mental Clarity through Writing

  • Thoughts dictate actions, so put intention behind what you’re thinking
  • Declutter your mind by using systems, tools, and mindfulness
  • Practice unedited writing to spot your golden ideas
Keyboard, notepad, coffee cup and earbuds on a wooden surface.
Photo by Lukas Blazek

It’s a meme at this point, but maybe there’s something more that can be taken away from it. 

You know, the person stuck in inaction self-deprecatingly enough posing as a lazy, unambitious human being. 

The likes and shares on that. Everyone relates, right? Even the people you’d think have their lives together are in on the fun. 

Internal life vs external life

Display of carnival masks.
Photo by Finan Akbar

Whoa, something doesn’t quite add up here, huh? You clearly wouldn’t describe these particular individuals as lazy, unambitious human beings, as you’d tend to think of yourself. 

You’d be correct not to, both in reference to them and, shockingly as it may sound, to you. 

Truth is in an overly stimulated world such as this current bit of the 21st century, the pressure of having so many choices could easily determine us to choose none. And as fair of a choice as that may be, it’s not going to take anyone very far. 

These internal wars that we carry behind a poker face have real and deep consequences on how we manifest our potential as individuals. Like it or not, your noblest dreams, your most exciting ideas, and the ways you envision to express yourself to others are very much at the mercy of these internal battles. 

As an organism pertaining to the human species, you’re designed that way i.e. for everything that you want to put on the outside to start on the inside. This sequence won’t change any time soon, but in knowing and accepting it you can start working it to your best advantage. 

Cluttered mind, cluttered life

You might have already spotted a reason to panic. 

If everything I put into the world starts internally and the inside of my head is a mess then that means I’m not creating things that represent the best of my potential. I’m just creating… things. 

Yeah, and that’s a shame. Both you and your community have to lose because of it. 

Now for those who might be thinking: 

Well, it’s a mess up there but I’ve got it handled, people around me would never know because I’m putting out a happy front. 

Sure, but for how long are you going to be able to keep this up before you do some real damage? You’ve probably seen Joker. And as messy as it can get inside your brain, you don’t want to end up with a bloody smile and a city in flames.

If anything has an impact on all the things that you do – it’s your thoughts, or rather, how you manage them. 

You cannot control what you think about so this already puts you at a great disadvantage, which means that to keep a handle on it, you’ll have to bring in the big guns. 

Romantics might call it willpower. You can call it:




Your thoughts and emotions might single-handedly be the most complex things you have to deal with in your lifetime, so you should give yourself the best odds in approaching them in a manner that stirs growth. 

Mythbusters wisdom

Man getting ready to draw on a blackboard.
Photo by Luca Laurence

As Adam Savage famously put it “The only difference between screwing around and science is writing it down,” and his legacy speaks for itself. 

In functionality, your brain resembles a computer. It works better if it’s not overloaded. So prevent just that. If you keep going back to the same thoughts, write them down, put some space between you and them. 

That’s ultimately how you can have a say in managing them – by detaching your overall persona from what you are thinking at a certain moment about a certain topic. Safely store this information in some other place you can access whenever you want or are ready.

What’s the one thing that could mess with the process? 

Self-editing. In itself a good thing, but when applied prematurely, not so much.

The discomfort of having to confront incomplete or plain dumb ideas buzzing around in our heads could be a strong reason for many of us to feel like it’s not really worth it to take the time to put it all out there on a physical or digital notepad. 

But that’s the whole point of such a process – to have it all in front of your eyes so that eventually by comparing, analyzing, and engaging the perspectives of others, you can weave out the irrelevant, weak ideas, and give your attention to what stands strong. 

Time can also have quite the decisive power. If you still think about a certain topic a week after you wrote it down, it’s clearly something worth looking into a little closer, and not some random gibberish that happened to surface one day because of who knows what stimulus. 

So, delay self-editing as much as possible and fully embrace looking dumb to yourself. It pays well in mental clarity.

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