‘The unexamined life is not worth living’ – Socrates
Reflection is not something monks do atop a faraway mountain. Refection is a necessary practice for us to realign our vision, both on a personal and professional front. It does not require us to get into a transcendental state or be around ‘elite’ thinkers.
The best way to start is to leave your phone at home or office and go for a long walk, preferably in a quiet or aesthetically pleasing place (where there are lots of lovely people, just kidding!).
There is also an undergirding scientific explanation for why we should reflect often.
“All of your future goals and dreams are not only a reflection of your subconscious thinking, they are also mediated by your Reticular Activating System (RAS). The RAS is the part of your brain that serves as a filter between your conscious mind and your subconscious mind. The RAS, which is located in the core of your brain stem, takes instructions from your conscious mind, and passes them on to your subconscious mind.” NLP Institute of California
Our minds are so powerful that when we focus on the thing that we truly want, the universe works in our favour to ensure we are set afoot on the very path to get it. If being a coach of a football team is what you really want, then chances are your RAS will kick start things for you to begin that journey.
I recall my early days setting up what today is called the Functional Training Institute. I would never stop thinking about my vision and I would always talk to people about what I was doing and where I was heading. This made it possible to connect with the right people who today have shaped where I am. WE NEED TO PUT OURSELVES OUT THERE IN ORDER TO BE WHERE WE WANT.
Without reflection and even a degree of ‘obsession’ I wouldn’t be where I am today. I say this because it is possible for us all to achieve it. With the right environment and conditions we can achieve more than we give ourselves credit to believe. What creates a fixed mind set (as Carol Dweck would say) is our predisposition of limiting ourselves. But what if society is wrong and breeds limiting beliefs?
This is why it is so important for us to get into a habit of reflection. It is not about being lost in the woods but based on our desire to want and achieve something.
Reflection also ensures our motives for doing or wanting something are aligned with our vision and values. Is that latest gadget really going to enhance my quality as an individual? Will my clients benefit if I undertake that certification?
Reflection ensures we become less impulsive and more authentic.
To get the most out of reflection, devote ‘reflection time’ into your daily life. This can be taking a stroll with your dog; time out with your partner; family time;
The most important thing here is to strip yourself of distractions such as your phone and television. These imposters will warp you into a different mind-set and inhibit your ability to activate the RAS effectively.
By reflecting we have an opportunity to tap into our creativity. This is where magic happens. It also segways us into the next principle which is to ‘Keep a Journal’.
“Reflective practice begins where practitioners are problematizing their practice and learning afresh about both the knowledge and skills and attitudes that their practice demands.”
Peter Jarvis, The Practitioner-Researcher: Developing Theory from Practice
Recommended Read: ‘Reflections in the art of living’ By Joseph Campbell