Does it matter the speed we’re going if we don’t know where the final destination is? Socrates famously said, “The unexamined life is not worth living” and this has proven to be true in a fast-paced world filled with distractions and detours. How then do you align your thoughts and decisions to a life of purpose? The answer is self-reflection.
I talk a lot about reflection in my book, Purposeful Hustle, because it is so powerful! Simply put, self-reflection is consciously taking the time to give serious thought to and evaluate our behaviors, attitudes, motivations, and desires. Self-reflection brings perspective to our lives and helps us understand the “Why” behind what we do. Without it, we go through life moving from one thing to the next, keeping up with a routine without evaluating whether things are truly going well.
A result of constantly moving and grinding without purpose is the feeling of being stuck or stagnant. However, by practicing personal reflection every day, you could find yourself moving closer to a career that's fulfilling, joyful, and impactful.
WHAT ARE THE BENEFITS OF SELF-REFLECTION?
The benefits of self-reflection are far-reaching in our everyday lives. Some of these benefits are:
- Perspective -- self-reflection gives you the opportunity to slow down, take a step back, and look at what truly matters. It allows you to process what is happening and to gain clarity.
- Effectiveness -- it flips the switch from being reactive to being proactive in our actions and decisions. Being able to understand fully what it is we want to achieve allows us to then plan on how to achieve it. This allows for concise and targeted action that will lead to our end goal and ideal life.
- Wisdom -- being able to reflect on the decisions of the past and present will give you a deeper understanding of life. This enables a more holistic and healthier approach to work, relationships, and building community.
METHODS OF SELF-REFLECTION
There are different ways to practice the art of reflection and gaining understanding. In my book I share some of these practices:
Journaling is a method that allows you to keep your thoughts organized and remember important moments. It can allow for self-reflection in how you are feeling, why you’re feeling that way and how important events align with where you want to be in life. It also allows you to look at how you've changed and what you can improve on as time goes by.
This method promotes stillness: slowing down and restricting outward distractions to be left with your thoughts and emotions. Meditation can help with reducing stress, increasing calmness and promoting clarity and happiness. It’s a learned skill that takes time and practice. We sometimes are so used to being distracted or having our mind run through a million thoughts. But, if done consistently, meditation provides space to truly reflect on your life and how it aligns with your purpose.
Talking it out
Being able to express yourself fully and without restraint with someone you trust allows for a clearer mind and perspective. The quote “two heads are better than one” is a cliché for a reason: when you can access a different viewpoint on ideas, you leave room for inspiration.
This one is my favorite. Prayer requires us to make time for quiet in our minds and humility in our hearts. Prayer can be done anytime and anywhere. It can be conversational or just a way of expression that allows you to slow things down a bit and be centered in your actions and direction. From the minute you wake up to the moment you fall asleep, you can pray at any interval and ask for guidance in the things you’re doing and saying as it relates to your purpose.
Now that you know that there are different ways to practice self-reflection, the next question is what do you reflect on? Some questions that I'm always asking myself center on:
- What is my purpose?
- What are my passions?
- How have my prior and present experiences positioned me to be able to live a life aligned with these things?
Which daily reflection method will you choose? Do you know of others ways to reflect that I missed? Let me know in the comments! Whether in the morning, during your lunch break or at night before bed, let us reflect and get one step closer to living a life of fulfillment.