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The School of Life

Writing as Therapy Journal - Ideas

Writing as Therapy Journal - Ideas

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One of the truly frustrating features of our minds is that the more interesting or pertinent our ideas happen to be, the more they have a tendency to escape our grasp. They streak across consciousness like a comet in the night sky, illuminating everything for an instant, then leaving us back in darkness.

There can be a devilish correlation between how important and necessary a thought is to us and how likely it is to elude our command. The truly precious thoughts have something elusive about them, so inclined are they to simply vanish at the slightest approach of our conscious selves.

A core reason why we can have trouble holding onto our bigger, more essential ideas is because – even though they are frequently crucial to our development – they also tend to induce intense anxiety.

New ideas can threaten the mental status quo and are often sharply at odds with our current commitments and habits. An original thought might, for example, alienate us from what people around us think of as ‘normal’. Or it might herald a realisation that we’ve been pursuing the wrong approach to an important issue in our lives, perhaps for a long time. One part of us may want the comet thought to elude us in order that we won’t have to face up to a regret or loss. If we took a given new idea seriously, we might have to abandon a relationship, leave a job, ditch a friend, apologise to someone or break a habit.

To encourage ourselves to know our minds, a blunt demand that we should ‘think harder’ may not be the best approach. In order to give new, important ideas the best possible chance of developing, we may have to lie in wait for them with some of the patience of an astronomer.

We should accept that our brains are strange, delicate instruments that evade our direct commands and are perplexingly talented at warding off the very ideas that might save us or help us flourish.

  • Hardback
  • Dot grid
  • A5 sized (h210mm x w140mm x d20mm)
  • 192 pages of 100gsm munken paper (acid-free)

About The School of Life

The School of Life Press was established in 2016 to bring together over a decade of research and insights from The School of Life's content team. Led by founder and series editor Alain de Botton, this is a library to educate, entertain, console and transform us. The School of Life is a global organisation helping people lead more fulfilled lives. It is a resource for helping us understand ourselves, for improving our relationships, our careers and our social lives - as well as for helping us find calm and get more out of our leisure hours. They do this through films, workshops, books and gifts - and through a warm and supportive community.

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