The Magic of Writing Things Down

8th September 2023
Read time:  2 min 29 sec

If you’ve got a problem, chances are it’s running around in your mind like the London Marathon.

Perhaps you’ve suffered a setback, a poor performance, even a heartbreak.

You can’t seem to catch any clarity. You can’t make sense of anything. You can’t see the solution.

But if I was to call you up, and give you a number to remember really quickly, you’d probably respond with a “Wait one sec! Let me write this down!”

You’d grab a journal, notepad or scrap piece of paper and a pen.

Why? Because you require it to remind you later on and recall the information.

Or maybe if you have something you really like that sound of, a quote or phrase someone has said, you write it down to go over again, and get into your memory.

Perhaps you’ve go something you need to achieve, a to-do list for example. You write it down.

But instead of our memory or goals, what about our problems?

So often we allow these thoughts to swirl inside us. Geez, I’ve been there.

And if your first instinct is not to talk and open up, you can get caught in a cycle.

Trying to make sense of the world around us is hard, and takes reflection and work.

Kildins Law offers us some well needed guidance.

The essence of the law is: a problem written down, is half solved.

You might be wondering who this Kidlin character is. He’s a fictional creation of James Clavell in one of his novels.

Kidlin’s Law is a principle of problem-solving.

It’s essence is this “If you write the problem down clearly, then the matter is half solved.”

Sounds great right! Half done! But there’s more to this secret sauce to tackling life’s curveballs.

Let’s break it down into a playbook…

1) Define the problem.

And I’m not talking about vague, wishy-washy stuff like “I’m unhappy” or “I need more money.”

We need specifics. It’s more like, “I’m unhappy in my current job because it doesn’t match my skills and interests” or “I need more money to pay off my debt and save for retirement.”

2) Analyze the problem.

We dissect it like a coach going over game footage.

What’s causing it? What are the effects? What’s holding us back? What do we believe about it? What’s the goal here?

3) Generate solutions.

Don’t be afraid to let your imagination run wild.

Write down every idea that pops into your head. No judgment, just pure creativity.

Once we’ve got our list, it’s time to evaluate.

4) Evaluate those solutions.

We look at feasibility, effectiveness, efficiency, cost, risk – the whole nine yards. Tools like pros and cons lists, SWOT analysis, and decision matrices can be our MVPs here.

Now, here’s where the rubber meets the road…

5) Implement those solutions.

We turn those game plans into action. Write it all down in an action plan – what, when, how, who – the whole shebang. Set deadlines and milestones, and track your progress. Adapt as needed along the way.

It’s not just about making words on paper; it’s about clarifying your thoughts, focusing your energy, and getting organised.

It’s a stress reducer, a confidence booster, and a motivation generator all in one.

Putting pen to paper can be the thing that helps you get out of the funk you may be in.

So, the next time life throws you a curveball, remember Kidlin’s Law: “If you write the problem down clearly, then the matter is half solved.”

And remember: if we’re in our heads, we’re dead.

So get it out and onto the page.

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