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About Personal Timelining

"A life spent making mistakes is not only more honorable but more useful than a life spent doing nothing."

George Bernard Shaw

Read our 7-page 7-pg introduction to personal timelining Introduction to the Concept of Personal Timelining.


"An enhanced way of looking at our list of chronological events is to put them on a graph of calendar time. Take, for example, jobs you’ve had and promotions you’ve received. Upon this chart, your events are placed corresponding to the dates or date ranges they occurred. So now, rather than reading down a list of “three years here” and “two years there,” you can experience a visual representation of your career. This illustrates the most notable distinction between a timeline and a simple listing of events, namely that spatiality is preserved—the relative position or space between events.

"To better appreciate the significance of this, consider our ability to enjoy music. It’s been said that the space between the notes is what makes the tune. So if you think of your life as a song, then timelining can help you “hear” the cadence and melody you live by. Or stated another way, a timeline helps you perceive the continuity of events—to understand how the instances interrelate.

"We all form our identities by relating the circumstances of our life in such a way that explains why they occurred or presently exist. The statistics of our lives shape our personalities to such an extent that we characterize ourselves by these criteria.


"A collection of historical facts does not make the person—but it does catalog the situations that generate the building blocks of one's identity. It is our personalization of those events—the choices we make about which details are significant and what to emphasize in the telling of our personal story—that constructs our concept of who we are.

"A time-honored method of self-exploration is journal writing. A journal has many forms: a young girl’s diary, an artist’s sketchbook, the scientist’s notebook, the traveler’s log. As the need arises, the journal writer records thoughts, feelings, observations, and realizations. In journaling, we practice the art of perspective-shifting. By examining different viewpoints, we broaden our sensory acuity.

"Without this examination, we fail to recognize changes that have been, and are, taking place. With retrospection, however, we get in touch with the transformations, and re-align our image of reality to the updated representation. Journaling, like life, is a voyage of discovery."


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