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The Value of Writing

George Grombacher September 1, 2023

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The Value of Writing

Do you see value in writing? What about critical thinking? When we write, we think. When we think, we get better at it. Each of us is fully capable of making up our own minds, and formulating our own opinions. 

George talks about how to become a better thinker through writing.


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Episode Transcript

Do you ever think to yourself? What the fuck is going on here? How does any of this even make any sense? Why is this happening? Yeah, me too. There’s so much going on right now. So much BS, so much good stuff, so much bad stuff. There’s just so much stuff. It’s never ending amount of just stuff, new information, new content, new problems. We’ve got aliens, we’ve got lots, lots, lots, lots of stuff to be worried about lots of stuff to be mad about lots of stuff to be happy about lots of stuff to be concerned with. There’s natural disasters, and there’s nuclear war, and you get it. We are just awash, just drowning in information were literally literally drowning in it. And I think that I know that we’re looking, we’re yearning for wisdom, drowning in information, yearning, wanting for wisdom. Is it valuable to have information? Yeah. But if I can’t decipher it, if I can’t sift through it, if I can’t interpret it, well, then it’s not valuable at all. In fact, different way to think about that, you could have the greatest book in the world. But if it’s in a language that I can’t read, B, that if it is in Spanish, and I can’t read Spanish, or if it’s in some kind of computer code, or if it’s in some legalese, or just a type of writing that I don’t understand, then it does me no good. The value of the information is just not there. It’s very low, because I don’t understand. So wisdom, not showing up. We’re not finding it. So what do you do? Just keep looking, keep wandering, the hellscape. That is social media, that is Fox News and MSNBC and everything else. We just keep doing that. Keep doing it? I don’t think so. I think the answer to that question is no. I think that a lot of ways we’re looking in the wrong places. And I know that when we look outside of ourselves for answers, that’s when we really start screwing up, you think about what we ought to be doing is, instead of tuning into Rachel Maddow, or Tucker Carlson to get the answers that you’re looking for, in reality, the answers are inside of ourselves, we should tune those folks out or Down, Out, and really tune ourselves up a little bit. I think that you and I have the answers. We have a lot of the answers, if not all of the answers that we’re looking for. We’ve had them the whole time, maybe the dirty little secret or the reality, it’s all in your head, the reality is, the truth is your ability to figure out and to know, what is wise, what is true, what is real. And that’s really what I wanted to talk about is the value of writing is better thinking. The beneficial outcome of writing is better thinking. Is it a good thing to be thoughtful? I think that it is I think that being thoughtful, is a really, really, really positive thing. I remember being having a coffee with with a mindfulness practitioner 15 years ago, and it was the first time I ever heard the term mindfulness. I thought, well, that’s really interesting. I don’t, what what is this mindfulness? And she’s explained to me what mindfulness is. And I was like, Oh, it’s just being aware. And thinking about my own my thoughts and being aware of the impact on my thoughts, my behaviors on other people, and just thinking about what I’m thinking about and being mindful of them. So I fancied myself a mindful person. And that seemed very obvious to me. But what is obvious to me and what is obvious to you, is oftentimes brilliant to other people. Because maybe you have thought about something or have done something and what that something is, is now very basic to you. It’s second In nature, not that you take it for granted, but it’s just something you do. It’s something that’s there, part of your everyday reality. And maybe somebody else just hasn’t gotten there yet. So is it good to be thoughtful? It is, it is very good to be thoughtful. It’s good to think. And are I already thinking? Aren’t you currently thinking? I don’t know. Are you thinking? Are you already doing a lot of it? Sure. We’re all always doing thinking, my brain is always processing information. And it’s moving stuff around. But a lot of our thinking, is just the response to a stimulus. information comes in. I’m not a light, it’s red, turns green, my brain springs into action, hopefully, or the car behind me starts honking, that prompts me to spring into action. I take my foot off the brake, put it on the gas, and I’m moving once again. You’re in line, you want chocolate, vanilla, you make the decision. You know, how much time do I have to get this thing done? Whatever it might be. It is the thinking oftentimes, that we’re doing, not necessarily proactive or intentional, it is more in response to things. So we are not that we’re playing defense. But we’re certainly not playing offense a lot of the time, I think the better thinking, which is what we want. I think I think that we want better thinking I want to become a better thinker. It’s better thinking it comes from being intentional about thinking becoming a more intentional thinker. So I guess what I’m really talking about is, am I a good critical thinker? Do I know what critical thinking is? Do I have the ability to think critically? And what that is the process of objectively analyzing and evaluating information in a systematic manner? So instead of just impulsively responding, the fast part of my brain? Yes, no. And I need to do a lot of that, because we’re hit with so many different messages and stimulus a lot of the time. But when I do am taking in information, or I’m considering something that’s really what the critical, critical thinking is. And our ability to do that is, in my estimation, what our path to wisdom really is. So instead of just spewing out information, or talking points, somebody else’s information or somebody else’s talking points, somebody else’s beliefs or thoughts, what do I think about this critical thinking is how I get there, I can’t formulate my own opinion, unless I critically think about something. So it is the link in the chain. And writing is something that is going to help us to get there. And unfortunately, fortunately, you know, good thing, bad thing. Fortunate, unfortunate, there’s so much information that is out there. And the amount of technologies that are available and at our fingertips become this figurative veritable firehose, that just is constantly hitting us. But it’s not helping, none of it is making us any wiser. I think that it’s really dumbing us down. Because we can’t critically think about everything. And unless we are making good stewards, or making good decisions about what it is that we’re going to spend our time on, well, then we’re living on somebody else’s agenda. So the idea is, with critical thinking, to move beyond just comprehension of something. Yep. Understood, to more full understanding of it. So moving from simple literacy on something to actually be able to apply. So think about

literacy versus actual wellness, it’s closing the behavior gap. I intellectually understand something. But do I know how to actually put it to work in practice, can articulate this? Can I have a conversation with somebody about a topic about something? Or am I just somebody’s pulling a string, I’ll head back, and I spit out talking points, like politicians on TV, or so many activists that you see on TV, just saying the same nonsense over and over again. So go okay. Have you thought about any of this? Is anything that you say what you really believe? And I don’t know the answer to that. I think that within each of us exists a creative. So we all have this inner creative, that is yearning to come out and think it’s there. I’m sure of it. I’m sure that maybe it’s been a while since you have exercised or or put your inner creative to work or, or honored your inner creative, but they’re still in there. Think about what Some things are that you love doing when you were a kid. What did you really love doing? Maybe you loved drawing, maybe you loved art or painting or you loved playing dress up, maybe you liked writing, you know, whatever it is, maybe you got a magnifying glass out and burned things. Maybe that’s just me. Anyway, letting your imagination run wild, when when was the last time you did that? I was a grown up going through the drudgery of life. It easy to do that. But it is easy to do it if we’re actually mindful of it. So simple, the Easy, easy to understand why we stopped doing it, why our inner creative gets shelved, because it’s not practical. I’ve got work to do, I got bills to pay place to go people to see I’ve got I’ve got a ton of kids to drive places, you’ve got things to do also. So these tiny people also have place to go and people to see. And it seems like they do that same stuff on a pretty consistent basis anyway. And I don’t have time to be a pirate anymore. Do I have time to be a pirate? Cool, that I submit that the drudgery is of everyday life, like paying attention to our inner creative and nurturing that inner creative, more necessary than ever, as opposed to less necessary than ever more important. We need when our life is this, you know, gray, just this gray color of blah. That’s where we want our inner creative to come out and express our express his or herself, or whatever. Maybe you’re a creative Dragon, I don’t have any idea. I don’t want to put confines of gender on your inner creative can be whatever you want it to be. Used to be. Do you remember being bored? How long has it been since you’ve been bored? You know, it used to be that we were bored. Before all of our little weapons of mass destruction, which are our smartphones, went around with us everywhere. The 1600s, Blaise Pascal wrote philosopher Blaise Pascal wrote all of humanity’s problems stem from our inability to sit quietly in a room alone. All of our problems come from our inability to sit quietly in a room by ourselves. Could you do that? Could you just sit in a chair? Your own little form of solitary confinement? How long could you last? You know what, I’m going to do that. But then I just remembered I’ve got these kids. And so it’s probably going to be hard to do that. It’s gonna have to be during the workday, I guess. Because they’ll come looking for me, those kids in Rome. And I’m not saying that that’s bad. I’d like to spend time with them. Anyway, you didn’t think you understand what I’m trying to say here? What do you think the Blaise Pascal would say about us now, because that was in the 1600s. As long time ago, in the 1600s, he said that, what would he say about us today? Be like holy shit, lucky people. My God, we are distracted, we are restless, we are so affected. Our innovations are taking us way further away from our humanity than they are bringing it’s toward it. They’re removing our ability to entertain ourselves. To use our imaginations to ruminate on things and to think our own thoughts. No, there’s no time for that. I need to scroll through stupid shit on my phone. I need to get back to doing that. Can I cannot sit and think about something. I must have input from a device of some kind. And I’m guilty of this. I’m not saying I’m like, perfect, because not saying that. I’m not. I am saying that it would be good if we did more of that. And I think that that’s really where and why writing is such a valuable thing. When you write or your journal. You think about your thinking, and then you write about it. And when you think about your thinking, you get better at it. When you do something you get better thinking is a skill just like any other when you do more of it. You get better at it. If you do less of it. You get worse at it. Interesting. Oh, okay, good enough. I made a decent enough argument for thinking but for writing. What am I gonna write about? What What will I write about what were you write about. And it’s gonna be hard at first, because if we have not been doing this, which is the vast, vast, vast majority, have not been doing this. And this was me for a really long time, it will be difficult, just like, if you try and go play golf without ever playing golf before, you’re not going to be Tiger Woods right away, you’re really going to suck at it. But a good place to start is simply to think about or write about rather, whatever it is, whatever is your whatever it is that you are curious about, whatever it is that you are bothered by whatever it is that you are interested in, what would you like more of? What would you like less of these are things that you can be thinking about, and writing about. There is enormous value also in finding your voice. This is again, a skill like any other, how do I express myself and my thinking, my opinions, all of these things, critical thinking will help you to make up your own mind, you will help you to develop your own opinions, and writing will help you to find your voice. Now, none of that means that you all of a sudden need to become an outspoken advocate or anything else. I’m not trying to make you an activist by any stretch of the imagination. But you’ll be able to if that’s something that you want to do. If you have a contrary opinion, which I hope you do, I, I hope that you are around people who think differently than you do. Hope that you’re all people who think. And then I hope that you’re around people that think differently. And that I hope that you and those people who think differently, are able to have a conversation about it. And when we get closer to that, that’s good when we get further away from that, that’s bad. And that’s where we are right now is that we have people here in the country that are so far apart on issues, and unimportant things, but refuse or have the inability to engage in a conversation about it. So this will, thinking about what you’re thinking about becoming a more critical thinker writing, that will position you to be able to do that being thoughtful, as good, being creative. As fun, it’s good. Finding your own answers, and making up your own mind is as important today, as it has ever been. Blaise Pascal would absolutely agree. So I’m really excited to have released the purpose book. It is the idea is designed to help you lead in examined and aligned life. And you will most certainly think when you read this book, it’s less than 100 pages, you can read it in an hour and a half. It will get you thinking it will give you so much to think about so much to chew on. Also excited to be releasing the lifeblood daily journal very soon. And the idea there is to help you create the habit of daily thinking and daily writing. So find information on both of them in the notes. The only way to live how you want is to know how you want to live, the only way to know how you want to live is to think about how you want to live.

To your part by doing your best, the only way to do your best is to know what your best is. So it’s a lot of circular thinking chicken in the egg kind of stuff. But getting started with it starting to utilize our most valuable skills and resources, which is our ability to think about things and to think about our own ideas and to consider other people’s ideas and to be able to, to kill bad ones and to hold on and strengthen good ones. That’s really what thinking is. There is that quote by Whitehead who talked about writing allows you to kill your bad ideas. Instead of me dying, my ideas can die. So I think that that’s a good one too. And that’s really what it is that I’m talking about. While I’m talking about a lot of things, the value of writing is better thinking. Better thinking gives us better life allows you to be your best, which allows you to do what I advocate and encourage everybody to do. So again one more time. Do your part by doing your best

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