What Do Barack Obama & the Black Eyed Peas Have in Common??

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By James Mills, Associate Partner, Lighthouse International

The more you look at legends, the clearer it becomes that there are certain habits which are crucial to success. We’ve looked at successful people who meditate: a practice that the billionaire investor Ray Dalio says has been central to his success. Let's take a look at another habit adopted by legends from Fergie (the lead singer of the Black Eyed Peas) to President Obama…

Both share the discipline of keeping a journal as a means of clearing their minds through expressing themselves on paper.

Fergie credits journalling not only for helping her overcome her addiction to the drug crystal meth but also for going on to win countless awards on the global music stage.

In an interview with Oprah, she shared the powerful difference journalling made following her therapist’s recommendation to keep one.

“Once I started journalling and figuring out all the stuff from earlier in life. Okay, why did I do this? Why did I people please? ...All of those little things that I learned about myself – learned about my parents, and how their divorce affected me and all of that—learning how I deal with things—what makes this girl work… all of that.”

President Obama has also publicly shared his personal history of journalling.. He was inspired to do this because of his hero Abraham Lincoln who used writing to clarify his thinking. In an interview with USA Today he said:

"In my life, writing has been an important exercise to clarify what I believe, what I see, what I care about, what my deepest values are. The process of converting a jumble of thoughts into coherent sentences makes you ask tougher questions." 

Fergie and Obama are not alone in this; the likes of Oprah Winfrey, Thomas Jefferson, Charles Darwin, Anne Frank, Eminem, Richard Branson and many other legends have all kept journals.

To learn more about the benefits of journalling, you may be interested in this article about more reasons to keep a journal.

If you already keep a journal, or if you'd like to start, we would love to hear your thoughts in the comments below....

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Fergie image courtesy of Wikimedia: Moses Namkung @ Flickr; Barack Obama image courtesy of Wikimedia