Do you love keeping a journal to help you understand life and remember more as much as I do?
If so, you’ll love how Yanik Silver’s Cosmic Journal let’s you skip straight from “hindsight is 20/20” into a more profound future.
Or better said… a more profound present.
What other time is there than “now,” after all?
To help explain the truth of this statement and the power of innovative journaling, today’s guest post is by Yanik Silver, the creator of The Cosmic Journal.
Yanik is also the author of Evolved Enterprise and founder of Maverick1000, Camp Maverick.
These are networking groups for entrepreneurs and industry leaders. Part-retreat and part-humanitarian organization, they involve notable participants including Russell Simmons and Sir Richard Branson.
Yanik is also a board member for Virgin Unite, entrepreneur, digital marketing expert, and now author of the new book The Cosmic Journal.
Part writing-prompt, part motivational story, this incredible innovation on the standard journal will inspire you to follow your true calling, both personally and professionally.
If you’re searching for the answers to life’s big questions and wondering how the necessity of “making a living” fits into actually living life…
If you know that those answers lie within you…
But you’re not sure how to bring them to the surface…this post is for you.
And in case you’re wondering…
Yes, I use a Cosmic Journal myself.
I love the hands-on exercises. I love the art. And I love the randomness and focus on self-realization.
The best part?
Bigger things have been happening for me personally since I started using it, including:
- Thinking more globally about my work with memory.
- Reaching out to more people in a “cosmic” way (make sure to get one so you know how).
- Resting more with intention.
- Taking risks more intelligently and letting go of the outcomes with greater ease.
- And most cosmic of all… I’m even giving a TEDx Talk soon, something I only learned about after starting with this journal.
Why does it work?
The special combination of randomness and structure for thinking about life, work and the nature of consciousness is powerful. It really raises your game.
Plus, Yanik advises you to use The Cosmic Journal in nature.
That’s been really great for me because being outside helps me deal with my workaholic tendencies and just play. I just pop it in my bag, hop on my bike and do the exercises in a park. It’s great and I highly recommend it to anyone serious about improving their game on the fields of life.
And so without further adieu, take it away, Yanik!
Back to the Beginning: The Early Origins of The Cosmic Journal
Many people ask me what led me to release The Cosmic Journal.
It’s actually something that I needed for my own life’s journey. Much like everyone else’s life experiences, it’s not exactly linear, and definitely multi-faceted.
As a kid, I wanted to be a professional hockey player, and then, in the off-season, a cartoonist. Big dreams, right?
There’s a famous story in our family – you know the kind that always gets repeated at every holiday gathering when everyone’s sitting around after a big meal nursing an after dinner cup of coffee?
Well, mine relates to how I got here, in this very moment, sharing about myself with all of you…and it goes something like this:
I come from an immigrant family, a family of very hard workers. My parents would go to work very early in the morning and work long hours to make a better life for us here in the States.
They would wake me before they’d leave for work and I would get dressed on my own, and walk down to the babysitter’s apartment on a lower floor. I suppose the term you hear a lot is “latchkey kid.” Well, that was me.
One morning I decided that instead of going to the babysitter’s I wanted to go and get some markers and paper. I literally walked out the front door of our building, hopped on a bus, and headed to the local drugstore for art supplies.
My plan was going well until I boarded the wrong bus to head home with my treasures. I ended up lost, in a police station, where an officer had to phone my parents to pick me up.
Like any mother or father should, they were understandably upset. But we all look back on it now and laugh, remembering fondly my determination to “doodle.” That part of me has always been there, even from a very early age, and became even stronger in adolescence.
I recently found a journal at my parents’ house, which is actually my earliest memory of keeping a journal proper at 15 years old. It was full of the typical teenage angst about how “My mom’s annoying,” “My dad’s annoying,” and “My little brother’s annoying,” but even now, looking back, there were some nuggets of wisdom amongst the “woe and misery” of adolescence, interesting insights, humor, poetry, and even thoughts of “Maybe I’ll be a writer one day.”
Penmanship as an Art Form
One thing that’s been so important to me is my penmanship as this has developed. It’s something that’s very much underrated as a skill, a tool to develop critical thinking and focus, attention to detail, and an art medium. In short, I love handwriting.
Maybe it’s that I’m the generation that bridged the gap between digital and analog existence, but I think there is truly something behind it. There’s a neural pathway that’s opened up with handwriting versus typing, and using the non-dominant hand for writing has even greater neurological benefits.
Many people ask me about keeping a typewritten log that will let the search back through their previous entries. Although there are some redeeming qualities to keeping a digital journal, search being one of them, I always reply with, “But it’s not the same.”
Handwriting is powerful. Analog is powerful. Combined, they are unstoppable.
Analog Across the Board
It’s also important to think about physical contact in context with relationships. While you might have 5,000 friends on Facebook, how many of those people could you meet up with for a cup of coffee on a rainy Monday, or call on to help you move into your new apartment? Translate this idea of analog across the board. Bring your relationships out of the digital realm. There’s just no substitute for it.
I’ve grown my business in the analog, bringing people together with intention. For over 11 years now with my Maverick club and Exceptional Entrepreneurs, I’ve continuously sought to bring connecting back to an analog state, creating unique experiences for people to bond and grow.
For example, at Camp Maverick we had an Alice in Wonderland themed dinner and served a Miracle Fruit tablet that turns your taste buds upside down.
Things that are sour taste sweet due to the chemical miraculin. Lemons taste like lemonade, grapefruit like candy, and sour cream like vanilla yogurt. We followed this “flavor-tripping” with a walk through the woods to a clearing with an enormous table with a tea party that was worthy of the Mad Hatter himself’s blessing.
Another time I dressed up as kairos, nonlogical, the opposite of kronos, linear time, for a superhero themed party at Richard Branson’s island.
It wasn’t the most “entry level,” household name superhero because all night long I was asked “Who the hell are you?” but I was able to explain about synchronicities to all the other guests. It may have seemed random, but there was intention and structure behind it.
Which leads me to the major theme I explore in The Cosmic Journal…
Structure vs. Randomness
There’s a part of me says, “Nothing’s ever an accident.” But then another part of me always asks of many events in life, “Was that an accident or was that intention?” For me, the jury’s out, and I know, probably, for many others, they’re undecided as well.
I truly think there are two ways of looking at the world, neither of which are the right or wrong answer. Einstein himself echoed this sentiment when he said one can view the world pragmatically and materialistic-based, or you can look at it with awe and wonder and magic.
The Cosmic Journal is your invitation to randomness and synchronicities and the messages that are coming at us all the time. We just have to make the choice of “Where do we tune our cosmic dials on our radio? What frequency do we want to tune into?”
I ignored or pushed away these signals myself for so long, but it’s often said that “We teach what we need to learn,” and eventually I tuned in.
The Cosmic Journal started out as a challenge, but not a writing challenge, an art challenge. The challenge was to create 100 days of original art. 100 days with a new piece every night.
At the time I was traveling around a lot and I thought “I don’t know if I can do it,” but reconsidering, I thought “What’s the worst that could happen? I’ll have a bigger body of work at the end of these 100 days.”
Once committed to the challenge, I decided to up the ante by going for 108 nights. Why? Just because it carries greater significance for me, and that’s what art’s all about in the first place, isn’t it?
The very first thing I created was a “Cosmic Checkbox.” Every, single night I would check that off, and it was such a rewarding feeling of contentment and accomplishment. I loved that feeling so much, I included it on the front of The Cosmic Journal.
This art project challenge eventually turned into me searching for inspiration from old journals. I would pull out my best stuff, meditate on it, and whatever came through me would come through me.
The exploration of my journals then led to me creating the prompts that now live in The Cosmic Journal. It was magical because I decided on the order of the prompts at 1:11am and finished the prompts themselves at exactly 1:11am. It wasn’t like I had an alarm clock and deadline, but it was just one of those awe-inspiring moments.
The True Meaning Of “User Friendly”
One of the prompts in the journal is, “What would your Pixar moment be?” This entry really encourages you to follow your heart and go all the way in. It was actually the very first prompt that I wrote. Other ones want you to roll the dice and keep adding to your responses.
You can approach the journal in two ways, like an oracle, or going page by page, in the order of the prompts I decided on. You flip it open, there’s a message for you. If you fall on that page multiple times you’ll be remiss if you didn’t stop and ask yourself “Okay, what’s going on in my world at the moment that made me land here?”
Either way, be it “random,” or methodical, cover to cover, you discover exactly what you were meant to.
The Silver Age
There’s a narrative arc as well that’s not a coincidence. It reminds me of the ancient cultures we can draw wisdom from. At least a dozen of them explored these different ages. For example, in the Hindu tradition they’re called yugas, and in Greek and Roman mythologies there is the Golden age.
Many people think of history as a linear arc, just going in one direction, but others will look at history as a cycle and history as cyclical.
It’s a much more aware existence. You can see it and feel it. More people are exploring meditation, mindfulness, and consciousness today. In that way we’re heading into a new age.
The Mayans predicted it (remember the 2012 “End of the World” scare?”), but it was not an end, but a beginning of an upcoming age.
Capitalism vs. Culture
This new age, or Silver Age, as I like to call it, is a cultural exchange that’s chipping away at the materialism we were so enslaved by for many years, and 2020 is no different.
2020, for me, feels like a benchmark year. It’s, again, no coincidence that 2020 is perfect vision, and cause to redefine our own vision, both personally and professionally. I truly think 2020 will be the year that evolved enterprise, impactful business will just be business.
Triple bottom line? Conscious capitalism? We’re entering a time now when it will just be the standard for doing business. I talk more about this topic in my book, Evolved Enterprise.
As entrepreneurs, we must listen to the consumers, who are evolving as well. They vote with their dollars on which companies and brands they are about. They are willing to pay the same and change brands, or pay even more perhaps, for a brand with a greater purpose and mission.
Institution itself is being disrupted. It’s already happening, and even more so to come. If you look at the education system, the financial system, healthcare, and government, everything is decided from a top-down philosophy, but that’s not the way that nature works, so there needs to be change. That alignment is missing, and it shouldn’t be.
The more we can get connected to nature, the more we’ll be in tune with what’s going on next. It’s our time now to figure out where to go. We’re not throwing out every system we know, but really exploring how we can take the best of it and adapt to the next phase, the next stage, and the next age of life.
Will You Have 20/20 Vision In The Silver Age?
So what does this mean for you with the upcoming New Year? What if you’re not a business person? If you’re not an entrepreneur how can one relate? Why devote yourself to journaling and analog living in a world of digital saturation?
The Cosmic Journal is a tool, a map, that you need to go where you’re going. It’s a nudge, an instigator, and catalyst. Journaling can help you get in touch with who you are, who you really, really are, and what you are meant to do here.
Journaling helps you tap into the little whisper, or “cosmic alarm clock” that seems to get louder and louder until we either hit snooze and ignore it or actually answer “What am I truly meant to do here?” and “What does that look like?”
The entrepreneurs that I’ve worked with in Maverick have had a lot of success, and they’re looking at “Okay, what’s next?” not from just a goal setting, “Let me get to the next financial goal,” but truly “What’s next?” How do you use all your talents, resources, network, skillset, to make that the new floor for what’s next?
...And the Outcome….
The thing with journals is you can go back serendipitously and open them up and be like “Oh, that was a good idea,” or “Wow, I’ve really evolved,” or notice a theme that keeps recurring, and monitor your emotional state, accomplishments, or even daily tasks. It may seem simple in the moment, but, back to the idea of 2020, it really is true, that “Hindsight’s 2020.” How will you know where you should be going if you don’t know where you’ve been?
Will Your Life Be Cosmic?
Love for yourself and forgiveness are huge, and awareness and synchronicities require reflection. There was a time where I had tremendous success with all the things I was doing online as an entrepreneur before following my heart with Maverick, the first time there were interesting sideways things that were happening, that things were harder than I thought – and so it really forced me to almost go back and have a much greater opportunity to surrender and bring a more spiritual side to my world. Journaling was part of it.
With The Cosmic Journal, some pages are ripped straight from the sheets of my old journals, and then, more recently, how I’ve dealt with surrendering, and not just powering through and setting the next goal, but, instead, listening. Listening more deeply. Bringing more stillness to my world, and then also that forgiveness and self-love. It sounds very soft, but it was.
It was a realization of “You need both.” You need that active, masculine archetype and you need that softer, feminine allowing.
By allowing and listening, I realized I could see from a higher level that I was actually embracing my why, my real, true path. It wasn’t creating an adventure travel company for entrepreneurs, but changing the very way business is played. Realization was all part of that process.
You can embrace that same realization. It could mean big changes for you, a reworking of your day-to-day to align with your values, or it could be an affirmation that you’re already on the right path.
Whatever it is dig deep. You can fulfill your destiny of greatness. It’s already within you…you just have to find it, so put pen to paper and explore.
Further Resources on the Web and the MMM Blog:
Yanik Silver’s Official Website
Yanik’s profile on Entrepreneur.com
Born to Influence’s feature on Yanik
Eventual Millionaire’s Interview with Yanik