Why should you start recording (from now)?

"Recording" has three meanings in the "Modern Chinese Dictionary" (Seventh Edition). As a verb, it means to write down what is heard or what happens. As a noun, it refers to either the material recorded on the spot or the person who keeps records.

What we are discussing in this article is the verb form of "recording".

1. We record every day#

If someone asks me why I started recording, I would definitely answer that we actually record every day.

Let's start with the perspective of Buddhist philosophy, which I am more familiar with.

In the basic concepts of Buddhism, there are six sense organs, six sense objects, and six consciousnesses. The six sense organs are the eyes, ears, nose, tongue, body, and mind. The six sense objects are color, sound, smell, taste, touch, and dharma. The six consciousnesses are the visual, auditory, olfactory, gustatory, and mental consciousnesses that arise when the six sense organs come into contact with the six sense objects. If we translate these three concepts into modern language, the six sense organs are physiological organs, the six sense objects are the physical world, and the six consciousnesses are psychological functions. Together, they constitute the entire world that we can perceive.

The colors seen by the eyes are transmitted to our brains through visual cells, and after being recognized by the brain, they are reflected as the color names we have been taught. The same goes for hearing, smell, taste, and touch.

If a child is taught from an early age that 🟥 is black and ⬛ is red, then throughout their life, they will refer to red as black and black as red.

Is the child wrong? No, that's just how they were taught. The teaching about colors is recorded in their brain, which is what Buddhism refers to as dharma and consciousness.

Why do we know that the sound of an explosion is an explosion, and the sound of a train is a train? Why do we know that sugar is sweet and salt is salty? Why do we know that cotton is soft and steel is hard? It all comes from our records in the brain.

Expanding on this, emotions such as joy, anger, grief, and happiness also stem from the records in our brain.

Now, let's talk about the mechanism of memory. In my article "The Process of Memory," I shared a picture. All the information we encounter has to go through the brain and be allocated to the hippocampus to determine whether it needs to be remembered.


The hippocampus determines whether the information is short-term memory or long-term memory based on its frequency of occurrence (storage or retrieval). And the ability to make such judgments relies on records.

Recording is something we do every day, at all times. It's like the hard drive in a server that always needs to write data as long as it's not shut down, even if the data is as small as it can be.

2. There are few downsides to recording#

There are many benefits to recording, and few downsides. Of course, if we have to mention a downside, it would be the consumption of brain cells.

If we understand it a bit more, by recording our daily physiological, psychological, and unconscious behaviors, we can gain many benefits, while the downsides can be overlooked.

Firstly, recording is a response to life. Every time we record, whether it's writing a diary, taking photos, drawing, or using voice or video recording, it is an expression of our experience of a certain moment in life. It is not only a record of the external world but also a reflection and understanding of our inner world. Recording gives us the opportunity to observe ourselves and our relationship with the environment more deeply, leading to a deeper understanding of life.

Secondly, recording is a form of respect for life. When we start recording, regardless of the method, we are actually saying to every moment of life, "You are worth being preserved, you are worth being remembered." Our lives may be ordinary, eventful, exhausting, or joyful, but regardless of the state, recording allows us to see the value and meaning of life.

Furthermore, recording is an expression of love for life. What we record is our perception and feelings about life, our love and admiration for life. Every recording is a deep look back at life, a sincere love for life. Through recording, we can experience life more deeply and feel it more comprehensively.

Recording goes beyond these aspects. On a deeper level, recording is a process of thinking and the evolution of ideas. When we record our thoughts and observations, we are actually engaging in deep thinking, pushing our thoughts to progress and evolve.

When we record our thoughts, we are not just transforming them into words (images, audio, etc.), but more importantly, we are clarifying our thoughts and organizing our thinking process. Through recording, we can see our thinking path more clearly and understand what we are thinking and why, gaining insights from this thinking process.

In addition, recording not only helps us capture moments of thinking but also allows us to see the development and changes in our thoughts. Over time, our ideas will change, our perspectives will adjust, and our understanding will deepen. By reviewing past recordings, we can see the trajectory of our thoughts and the iteration of our thinking from the past to the present.

For most people, recording can also improve efficiency and productivity. By recording ideas, tasks, and projects, we can better organize our time and energy, and more effectively complete tasks and achieve goals. For creative work or tasks that require a lot of thinking, recording can help us clarify our thoughts and improve the quality of our thinking, thereby enhancing creativity.

3. How to engage in long-term recording#

Please note that I am talking about "how to engage in long-term recording" rather than "how to persist in long-term recording." There is a world of difference between the two.

As mentioned in the first section, we record every day. Therefore, we don't need to persist in long-term recording. If something requires persistence and willpower, then it can be classified as something that doesn't need to be done.

Long-term recording is spontaneous. It only requires conscious recording behavior, without the need for a rigid marathon-like approach.

All we need to remember is to become a person who observes and thinks continuously, and to write down our observations and thoughts. Leave the rest to fate.

When the conditions are ripe, things will naturally fall into place.

For example, a clerk who writes a work log every day will find it easy to write a weekly report. A student who has collected a lot of information and made extensive notes and summaries will find it easy to write a thesis. To put it more bluntly, even if you want ChatGPT to help you write an article, the more detailed the prompts you give it, the more accurate the output will be.

As for the ways of recording, there are many options. Writing a diary irregularly, using the bullet journal method to record daily life, taking shorthand notes... as long as it can transform the present moment into a form of data that can be relatively preserved for a long time, use whatever method you prefer.

Recording is for becoming a better self, so don't put pressure on yourself.

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