The Power of Self Reflection

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Photo by Simon Rae on Unsplash

People I’ve talked to all seem to desire one thing — the secret. The secret to wealth, the secret to happiness, the secret to getting a good grade. The secret to life. After all, there must be something that separates those who win from those who lose.

Well, there isn’t one singular secret — there are only tools that can be used to propel an individual to success. Creating good habits, being productive, knowing how to learn effectively. And these tools aren’t too hard to obtain — there are tons of books that go over these tools, such as “The Subtle Art of Not Giving a F***”, “Atomic Habits”, and “The Alter-Ego Effect”.

Each tool is unique, and each offers its own benefits. And yet, there is a common thread in all of these tools, which is perhaps the most powerful tool of all.

Self-reflection.

Self reflection is the act of analyzing or putting serious thought into one’s actions, motivations, and character.

But why is self-reflection so important?

It’s simple: by reflecting on what you’ve done, you can set a path for the future.

When you critically analyze yourself, you can better understand your various successes, failings, and persona in general. By doing this, you can find out precisely what your goals are and how to change in order to get there.

For example, let’s say you want to be more productive. The first step is self reflection, so that you can glean a better understanding about how you waste time. You can use various “things” to help you with your self reflection, such as actively noting how your time is spent. Once you’ve completed your self-reflection, you can analyze the results, and determine your next steps in order to succeed.

And that is why self-reflection is so crucial — if you want to find the right path to take, you need to know exactly what your strengths and weaknesses are, and have a comprehensive view of your life.

How can I effectively self-reflect?

This varies from person to person, as each individual tends to have their own way of self-reflection. One way is to meditate — I don’t mean to sit cross legged and chant “om” — I mean devoting time to think deeply and carefully about something. It can also help to write things down, as thoughts can get lost.

Some people I know write a letter to themselves each day about their successes and shortcomings. In this way, they can figure out how to spend the next day. Note that they’re not reflecting on the day itself — only what they did during the day. This is an important distinction, as most events are out of your control, and it’s the way you react and how you handle this that really tell the story, in this case, at least.

But, as I said, it varies from person to person, and you should try out a few different ways before you find a method that really works for you.

The effects:

Simply — when you utilize self-reflection in tandem with other tools, and put in enough effort, all of your goals will be realized. I can’t promise anything, though, unless you really apply this technique.

You can utilize self-reflection in a long term manner — say, getting a broad overview of how you functioned in the past eight months and planning a road ahead for the next eight months, or in a short term manner — reflecting on how your day went and how you can do better. Regardless, you will see results.

By determining what you do right and wrong, charting a road ahead, and sticking to that road, you’ll be taking the first step to success.

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