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Rewriting to Sharpen Thinking

Writing and especially editing down your writing into fully formed and supported ideas will help you not only communicate competently but also think in a more organized and straightforward way.

Tim Ferriss’s video explains how journaling could facilitate higher thinking, how writing can “sharpen your thinking.”

He says drafting down your thoughts allows you to freeze your thinking in time. This process will enable you to rewrite and edit your frozen thoughts, which is the most crucial part of writing. Rewriting allows you to go back and see all the extraneous things said. Things that take away from the main point. Things that make what you’re communicating unclear.

You can analyze which parts of your ideas are sharp and clear and which parts are dull and lacking. You can hone your arguments and beliefs by rewording or clarifying incomplete concepts.

And finally, you can improve your use of language. You can find more suitable words to be more succinct or to be more precise with language and meaning.

Since 19 years old, I‘ve been writing regularly, but I never went back and edited my thoughts into fully formed ideas. I’m realizing now how beneficial it is to rewrite.

For some time I’ve been recording voice entries every day, around an hour a day. I currently drive trucks, so it’s convenient to make audio journals while I drive. I’ve seen improvement in my ability to communicate. However, I still notice that it could be significantly better when I compare my articulated ideas to those of the majority of professionals that talk on podcasts like J.R.E.

I never realized the discrepancy, or how significant the disparity was. Perhaps, since I’ve left the educational system, this gap has increased as in school, students are required to write frequently in classes of many disciplines.

I’ve been trying my best to educate myself. I watch and listen to stimulating educational content by a lot of different intellectuals like Jordan Peterson, Sam Harris, Stanislav Grof, and many more. I love listening to new research into psychedelics by the MAPS organization. I enjoy listening to audiobooks. One book I recently finished that I found fascinating is “The Body Keeps the Score.” It is a revolutionary book about how trauma affects behavior and has given me so many revelations about my psyche. I also listen to a bunch of podcasts. I hear a lot of J.R.E. I have received so many insights through the passionate conversations Joe has with a plethora of professionals.

What I’m trying to say is I’ve been absorbing a lot of what I consider educational content, but I haven’t been expanding MY ability to think and reason. I assumed, “The more I listen to smart and educated people, the smarter I’ll be.” I think this notion is incorrect.

Contrarily, thinking is something you have to practice, just like anything. For example, yes, a painter needs to be inspired and draw from lots of different artists. Still, ultimately he needs to practice many hours before he sees any improvement in his ability to create paintings. Just like that painter, I need to practice painting my ideas. I need to write, rewrite, and sharpen my thoughts to be able to think, reason, and communicate clearly.

Flatiron School Graduate, React.js, NodeJS, Ruby on Rails Developer, Learning Enthusiast

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