What is the Carpe Diem journal?

Creating masterpiece days is how we operationalize our highest goal of flourishing, Brian Johnson shares in his year-long Optimize Mastery course.  In future posts we will do a deeper exploration into this powerful idea, but today we start at the beginning.  The beginning of our day.  

Before we start our day, Brian recommends we create a “Carpe Diem journal.”  This practice takes less than five minutes and includes as few as nine words.

We begin by creating a small table:

On the left are the three rows – categories of our lives on which Brian suggests we focus: energy, love and work.

We then add three columns: one each for identity, virtues, and behaviors.

Brian calls this “The Big 3 (x 2).”

For each of the energy, love and work categories:

1: We choose an identity, a word or phrase that captures the essence of the absolute best version of ourselves; 

2: We consider the virtue which is most at play when we are at our absolute best.  Note: we can find a comprehensive list of virtues and learn our own top virtues at: viacharacter.org.    

3: We focus on one behavior we do when we are at our best

Brian suggests we have fun with this exercise.  For our identity, perhaps we choose to be a superhero or the hero of a movie or book.

Here’s my take on my Carpe Diem journal for today:

For energy:

1: My identity: The sun

2: Primary virtue:  Zest

3: One behavior: Go to bed by 11 pm 

For love: 

1: My identity: World’s Best Dad

2: Primary virtue: Gratitude

3: One behavior: 100% present.  Not distracted

For work:

1: My identify: Servant Leader

2: Primary virtue: Love of Learning

3: One behavior: Seek to understand, rather than to be understood.

Brian recommends we take time each morning to freshly consider and write down our answers to these questions.  It’s a powerful way to prime ourselves for the day.  We create a vision for our day and then collect small wins along the way by asking: What would the best version of me do right now?

__________________
Reflection: Do I start my days with a sense of energy and purpose?

Action:  Experiment this week with the Carpe Diem journal.

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