Friday, November 15, 2013

Why I Take Notes On Everybody, Everything, All The Time, Everywhere, And Refuse To Stop

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?