Reflection, as in Mirrors?
Yes, well not exactly... Welcome back to the second part of the mykagami Growth Process blog series. If you’re reading this I can see that my Jedi mind tricks have worked on you and you are now back for more. Following on from the first post I talked about the self-discovery process and it being the first step towards
personal growth. Today I’ll be talking about reflection.
What usually follows after you’ve begun the process of self-discovery is a stage of contemplation about what you’ve encountered or experienced. In fact this stage of contemplation usually occurs after almost every experience of your life; whether that’s consciously or subconsciously. In a nutshell, acknowledging how something has made you feel. The difference between this simple acknowledgement and reflection, is the conscious processing of these thoughts and feelings.
Reflection is about taking time to look back on these experiences and evaluating how they truly make you feel, processing that and reaching decisions.
The thing is, everybody reflects, one way or another. Whether it’s in much detail and whether it’s constructive or destructive is another thing. Often you might find yourself after an embarrassing moment thinking the world is about to collapse and you’ve come to the conclusion that you’re never going to do that again; well that’s a reflection. Alternatively, you might have won an award and in preparing for a speech thought about the people that you’d like to thank who have helped you get to where you are, that’s also a reflection.
Reflections are undeniably important and it’s even more important to think and reflect positively. It’s not always easy, trust me, as I’ve said previously, I’m not a guru and I definitely try and avoid reflecting on situations that are not great as sometimes it can be cumbersome. However, if you find that you can reflect positively, frequently and with specific goals in your mind then you very much have the power to orchestrate the things that you want in your life.
This leads me on to unstructured and structured reflection. Although structure is not always the best thing to go. For example, it can halt creativity or sometimes a business might need to become more agile. That being said, I personally think structured reflection is a great way to get started and it’s what my focus is on.
For me it’s quite a straightforward process, I usually sit down at the end of the day and I do a 2 minute breathing exercise, in and out for 5 seconds – I’m sure you get my drift. After my breathing exercise, I think about how I’m feeling right now in the present moment and specifically my attitude and mindset. I then think about the events of the day and what has potentially made me feel this way. I personally am a little old-school and write down these thoughts and then mind-map/spider-diagram to the events that have happened during the day. This helps me isolate the emotions to specific experiences and helps me identify what can be considered trivial and what’s important. I then like to hop onto mykagami and write briefly my conclusion on that reflection.
For example, my lunch today wasn’t that great and it consequently put me in a negative mood that impacted the rest of my day. Now obviously, you can’t have great food all the time but isolating this problem and focusing on the fact that actually my outlook on that one experience altered my day adversely. This was a subconscious feeling that took a conscious reflection to figure out why I was in a bad mood all afternoon.
Now I’m aware that is somewhat of a trivial example but often the smaller things in life can get to us. It’s also important to note that the bigger things life can get to us as well, such as work or your relationships. I think the key takeaway from reflecting is that ultimately it can help you realise things that you make you feel sad that you want to change, or it can help shine the light on the positives in your life. You might think that like my slightly over exaggerated food example is silly, but it’s important to note whatever you think or feel for whatever reason isn’t silly. Your reflection is for you, and it can be very private if you want to be.
As a reminder there’s no right or wrong way to start the process of self-discovery, or how to reflect ‘correctly’ but it definitely helps to start. Reflecting frequently and consistently for me has led to realise important things in my life. Things I want to change and things I want to continue as I grow as a person.
Tune in for the next blog on how to turn these reflections into actions!
Next Post in the Series: Start Your Engines!