I got in a spat with my sister. As we assembled a lunch of chicken salad sandwiches, we found ourselves chatting on the topic of journaling.
Each morning I grab my journal and record a few thoughts:
#1 What am I grateful for today?
#2 What are three things I can focus on and get done that day to thrive?
#3 Daily Affirmations
#4 What happened yesterday that was amazing? Why?
#5 What could have gone better? How?
My journaling process is a riff on the Tim Ferris model. She’s more Ryan Holiday. Overall, our individual journaling processes and techniques are simpatico. No irreconcilable differences, then this:
“I’ve started writing my Daily Affirmations as questions,” I shared.
“That’s not an affirmation,” she said as she put her sandwich on a plate.
“Yeah, I know, but it has been transformational.”
“But it’s not an affirmation.”
“I know, but I have been using the same Daily Affirmations for years. ‘I, Orange Doorhinge, LISTEN hard,’ but I seemed to never get any better at listening. Once I started posing my affirmations as questions…”
“You know what an Affirmation is don’t you?” she asked in typical big sister form with pinch of admonition and a sprinkle of condescension to go with the chicken salad.
Now, of course I know what an Affirmation is. An affirmation is a positive statement you put out into the universe to claim your best self with emphatic conviction with the aim to eventually, little by little, embody that best self.
My daily affirmations over the years continually hit the same basic points, meant to align with my values of building trust with other people, building my self-trust and getting rich in the process.
I, Orange Doorhinge, will LISTEN hard.
I, Orange Doorhinge, will RESPOND, not react.
I, Orange Doorhinge, am fabulously DISCIPLINED.
I, Orange Doorhinge, will build a $5 million business.
Then one day, I came across the suggestion to write your daily affirmations as questions.
Looking back through several notebooks, I noticed that my Daily Affirmations did not change much over the last five years. Interestingly, neither did the content under ‘#5 What could have gone better?’ As I flipped journal page after journal page, I couldn’t find any proof that I had gotten any better at listening or responding versus reacting. Yes, I was disciplined, except when I was not. And I still did not even have an idea for a business.
The next day I wrote in my journal:
Do I LISTEN hard?
Do I RESPOND, not react?
Am I DISCIPLINED?
Will I build a $5M business?
Back to the conflict with my sis. “Do I know what Affirmation means?” I repeated as I sorted through several rejoinders nicely seasoned with defensive self-righteous snark. I looked down at my plate. Next to my half-eaten sandwich was a slice of question: Do I Respond or do I emotionally react?
“Yeah. It’s not really an Affirmation,” I said. “I just thought I’d try it.”
That sure was a delicious change sandwich.