Writing for the purpose of self reflection is a task that most of us never really get around to doing. Many might consider it a complete waste of time. However, in reading the Parallax, the real benefit of writing for self reflection is made clear through Frank’s story. It is interesting to think about how two people experiencing the same moment can have such drasticallly different viewpoints and perspectives on the experience. Writing allows us to transcend a personal experience and break it down in order to see the experience from another perspective. It also allows us to deconstruct our thoughts and perhaps discover a part of your subconscious self that you may not have known or understood. While writing for self reflection is something that most average people probably don’t do or even think about doing, the Parallax helps put into perspective the benefits of doing so on personal effectiveness both in our daily lives and in the workplace. It’s important to know how others perceive you because this may not match with how you wish to be perceived or it may not match with your intentions. The best example is how Kyle, the CEO in the story, is able to slow down and realize how much of an ass he’s being. He’s able to realize this for a moment in time. The experiences of the workshop attendees definitely allowed them to see themselves more clearly and increase their personal effectiveness
It is quite amazing to see how much of an effect The Parallax has had on everyone that has read it, and how it helped people realize the “power of writing”. I have always enjoyed writing. Back in high school, my favorite classes were english/literature classes. The disappointing thing about college is that there aren’t very many classes that allow us to freely and creatively write. The disappointing thing about many people today, is that writing is a lost art. Many people don’t realize that writing is the basis for many other things such as music, lyrics, theater, and movies. It is people’s ability to write freely and creatively that allow these things to come together. It is discouraging that today people no longer enjoy writing, and reading as well. It is important for us to stress to future generations that writing is a great way to express oneself and control one’s emotions and worries. One great thing about free writing, is that it allow you to go back and re-read your thoughts and feelings and “re-live” them if you please. This is why I find writing to be such a powerful way of expressing yourself.
I agree with other readers of the parallax in that the author has created a very intriguing story and one that can bring goose bumps to your arms because of the reality. We all can connect to the setting because everyone remembers what they were doing on 9/11. It is very easy to connect to the personal struggles of the Beck family and even those struggles of those who attended the writing seminar. I felt as though I was a part of the family watching the tv in the cabin and also there at the seminar relating my personal experiences with the members at my table. Seeing yourself with new understanding can take on many meanings but I believe that it is truly in regards to accepting truths and realties even if that decision is one of unpopular consequences. Emotion can get the best of you and truth can be your immediate enemy because of negative perceived consequences. On the other side it is also your long term solution to peace and harmony. Sometimes it takes deep insight to realize that the truth is the correct path and this deep insight can sometimes only be brought out in therapeutic writing sessions. Writing for therapeutic purposes is like singing in the shower, it allows you to express yourself without the doubts of immediate harsh criticisms.
The Parallax is an intriguing story that provokes the mind into a different way of thinking. A way of thinking that actually involves writing; writing about your feelings, thoughts, and actions. Each of the characters in the book discovered the healing power of writing. As an author, William Allen White used this “power” to grieve over the loss of his daughter and to come to the understanding that life in words has so much meaning. I found it very interesting that such a simple thing as writing down the thoughts from your mind could be so powerful. Many people keep journals but who really lets their mind take over and allows themself to write continuously? For me, this was a hard concept to grasp. Today, most people, including myself, have a million things on their mind every minute. Letting my mind just relax and to try and forget about my worries for the day provided much more of a challenge than I thought it would. A challenge that I am ready to take on so I can feel for myself the benefits of the written word. I have only partaken in this adventure a few times so far and already I am feeling the healing benefits of it. When I sit down to write, I let all the thoughts in my head flow onto paper and instantly I feel better. Somehow, seeing all my worries and thoughts on paper make them seem less daunting to me because my mind is no longer exaggerating them into concepts that are bigger than reality. I feel refreshed and like the characters in the book, a weight is being lifted off my shoulders. I strongly encourage those of you contemplating starting this adventure to go with your instincts and take on this initiative. Without a doubt, I believe you will feel more connected with yourself and with others around you.
What is emotional intelligence?
Emotional intelligence is the ability to recognize, understand, and manage emotions—our own and others’. Everyone knows the importance of emotions. It’s one of those common sense things. But as Samuel, a fictional character in the The Parallax, points out “common sense ain’t necessarily common practice.” Emotional intelligence is the missing element in our understanding of personal effectiveness and a possible explanation for the disparity that often exists between cognitive intelligence (IQ) and success.
How does emotional intelligence impact our effectiveness?
Have you underestimated or neglected the importance of emotions? Or most importantly, do your behaviors reflect recognition of their importance? Baby boomers might remember Data, the android in Star Trek: The Next Generation. His cognitive abilities were super-human; however, Data knew that it was his inability to experience emotions that limited his effectiveness and differentiated him from humans—something he desperately yearned to be.
How can we improve our emotional intelligence?
When you experienced anger and frustration as a child, your mother may have offered this advice: “Count to ten.” …more common sense. But in our 4G world things happen very fast, eliminating the opportunity to pause and reflect which is key to managing and controlling our emotions. Without this critical self-reflection, our emotional intelligence is diminished and our effectiveness is impaired.
What is the relationship between emotional intelligence and writing?
Writing engages our brain differently. Think about it. Try writing something without giving attention to what you’re writing. You can’t do it! Writing demands that we focus our thoughts, and as our first words spill out onto the page, others begin to emerge, as if they’d been hiding, waiting to be discovered. Your mother was right—counting to ten helps. But even better, taking the extra time to write about something that is troubling you can yield one-hundred fold results, improving our emotional intelligence and increasing our personal effectiveness.
It was a typical spring morning in Emporia, Kansas on May 11th,1921, when Mary White, daughter of noted journalist William Allen White, mounted her horse for a morning ride. Across the country in Atlantic City, Mr. White himself was having a typical morning when he picked up a telegram at his hotel where he was staying while on one of his frequent political trips. As a political journalist, he was accustomed to messages throughout his day; so when an urgent telegram came, he took no pause. However, his world changed as he read what his wife, Sallie, had written: “I need you…”
Mary had been knocked off her horse. Two days later, Mr. White would find solace from that distinction. She had not fallen from the horse. A low-hanging branch had stuck her in the head, knocking her from the horse. She died from the blow to her head. On the day of Mary’s funeral he sat at his typewriter, pounding out an editorial, an epitaph of sorts, which would run not only in the Emporia Gazette, but would be reprinted in hundreds of newspapers across the globe. In his sorrow he confronted his grief, “The Associated Press carrying the news of Mary White’s death declared that it came as the result of a fall from a horse. How she would have hooted at that!” Years later William Allen White would reflect, “If I have any fame beyond my death, it will come from the Mary White editorial.” He continued, recognizing the verisimilitude of what he had written, years before, in his grief, “I shall go as far as I go along the path where Mary’s hand may lead me.”
William Allen White was a journalist. Writing was his profession, but I doubt that his journalistic prowess had much to do with his need to write about his daughter’s death. You don’t have to be a writer to achieve the positive therapeutic results that writing has to offer. Frank Beck, a fictional character in my book, The Parallax, discovers this secret. Participants in my workshops and readers of the book have discovered it as well. They tell me that they had never previously thought of themselves as writers and yet, after being presented with the idea of writing as therapy, have experienced the positive benefits from their writing. I urge you to do the same. Discover the secret. And when you do, I invite you to share this experience with me, becoming an inspiration and a model for others.