How the TIL Journal Changed My Life

Every day, you write what you’ve learned.
That was the plan with my “Today I Learned” journal. Just learn something every day, one little step at a time.
Simple, complicated, however you like. As long as you learn it and write it down.

How It Started

My Reason

I began this journey of daily learning as a timid attempt to confront my intellectual insecurity.
I had a toxic relationship with my own ignorance.
Any time I came across a question I couldn’t answer but thought should be obvious, my self-esteem would plummet.
Overwhelmed by shame, I would be too embarrassed to even try to find the answer! I’d just avoid the problem altogether. And when the question would inevitably return to me, I’d repeat the cycle.
No matter how traumatized I would get, I refused to try to learn.

And once I moved to another country and had to learn the language, this problem became an everyday disaster.
With every tiny mistake I made, my anxiety and humiliation grew. It smothered my ability to learn anything.
It didn’t matter that each person I communicated with was encouraging and patient.
I was my worst enemy, and only I could battle that part of myself.

The Messy Start

So in 2019, I created my first TIL journal, an attempt to make learning a daily routine.
But I was terribly inconsistent. I’d write for a few days, then avoid it for several months, return out of guilt, then repeat the cycle.
It wasn’t until the 1st of January in 2021 that I declared to myself I’d commit to this every single day. I finally made the terrifying act of facing my ignorance, and chipped away at it just a little bit every day.

Not Just a Journal

Gradually, I began to see an improvement in my relationship with my own ignorance. I started looking at problems with curiosity and an eagerness to learn, rather than with blind anxiety.
I slowly learned to accept myself, ignorance and all.
Because now, I was stacking up—one by one, day by day—proof that I could improve. And those little changes add up!
I became proud of my visible, growing collection of knowledge.
Proud of my dedication to the journey.
Proud that I finally returned to my lifelong love of learning, and found a way to enjoy it again!
And so far, 9 months in, I haven’t missed a single day!

Your Turn

This isn’t the end of the story for me. I haven’t “fully mastered” my own anxieties yet (not even close). But I don’t want to wait until some ultimate happy ending to share this.
There are surely more people out there like me. People who can benefit from this process as much as I have.

You don’t have to be pushed by such extreme issues like I did to take the step to daily learning.
And it doesn’t have to be a lifelong commitment.
There are many reasons to start a TIL journal:
– If you need to study for school or work
– If you’d like to get improve a skill (like learning a language)
– If you want to become more curious and openminded
– If you want to improve your ability to openly admit when you’re wrong (that’s a tough one for a lot of us)
– If you love to write and hoard journals, and just need another excuse to start another one
– If you love learning
– Or if you just want to try something new, and make this a sort of 30-day challenge.
Whatever your reason to begin the journey of daily learning, you are welcome here!

What to Expect From My Future Posts:

– How I’ve set up the journal on Notion
– How I organize all the entries into categories
– What rules I set for myself
– What mistakes I’ve made, and what I learned from them
– How I keep this a consistent, daily routine
– And more!

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