Michael's Monthly Column "Throwing My Loop"

Throwing My Loop…    

By:  Michael Johnson  



     That power has changed the world…the power of the pen.  My awareness of just how powerful the written word can be in our personal lives began around the age of forty when I attended an “Improve Your Memory” seminar.  Like most of us, I thought I was going to an event that would cause me to remember everything without effort.  Imagine my surprise when the “expert” opened up the training session with… “One of the first and best things we can do to help our memory is write things down!"
     “Well, good grief!” I thought to myself.  “I knew that.  I wanted some fancy secret information about memory.”  When I mentioned to the instructor his first recommendation was somewhat obvious, he said, “So you know the power of writing things down?”  I answered that I did.  He replied, “I doubt that.  If you really knew about that power, you wouldn’t be here.” 
     Once I heard someone ask television star and early talk show host, Steve Allen, how he could be so creative having written forty books and four hundred songs.  Allen answered that he was no more creative than anyone else.  “Everyone has thoughts and ideas,” he said.  “The difference between most other people and me is that when I have a thought, I write it down.”
     Later, an interviewer asked Roger Miller how he could be so creative with his music.  Miller said, “I’m no more creative than anyone else.  It’s just that when I have a thought or hear a rhyme in my mind, I jot it down on a sheet of paper and drop it in the cookie jar.  In a few months, I’ll have a couple of
 hundred ideas.”
    Novelist Joseph Wambaugh, who wrote such best-selling police/detective thrillers as The Onion Field, The Blue Knight, and The Black Marble, among others, said that all of his work could be attributed to “the hundreds of scraps of paper I generate with little notes on them.  I write everything down.”
     Still later, I would read – and hear - the words of Earl Nightingale, the gravelly voice radio storyteller of the fifties and sixties, who explained the foundations of success in life.  “If you chart the lives of 100 men,” he said, “when those men reach age 65, you will find only five have achieved their heart’s desire in life.  Why?  Was it because the five were blessed with good fortune?  Were they born into wealth?  Just lucky?  No.  You will find early in the lives of the five who succeeded, they did something most people don’t…they wrote down their plan for living on paper!”
     Naturally, some scoff at this notion.  “How could writing something down affect the outcome?” they might well ask.  All I know is that I was an F student for years.  Then, a kind professor told me to write down what the teacher said.  My life changed in a most dramatic way.  I no longer made Fs. 
And then there is this…
Twenty years ago, I stuck a little yellow sticky note on my bathroom mirror.  “First Book,” it said.  Now there is a little yellow sticky note on my bathroom mirror that says, “Eighth Book.”  While none are Gone With the Wind (sadly) I have managed to eat most every day during all that time.  Writing things down causes us to focus.  Noted horse trainer, Craig Hamilton, suggests that once our session with the horse is over for the day, that we take a moment to make some notes about what went well, and what we might key on in the coming days.  In a similar fashion, nothing has helped my roping - or golf swing - more than making notes after a practice session to pinpoint my crosshairs on what needs to be done tomorrow.
     The memory expert was right.  Had I known then the power of writing things down, I would have been too busy to attend a memory seminar.  Putting thoughts to paper causes us to zero in on our heart’s desire.  What we think about, talk about, write about, and do something about causes the thing to come about.  The goal or desire put to paper causes us to not worry about food or drink, but rather to keep our eyes fixed on the prize. 
     And it is the only way in the world to remember everything your wife tells you to get at the grocery store.     


                                                           Michael Johnson

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