In today’s busy world, few people take time to pause and reflect: to think about what they are doing and why, where they are in their lives, and where they want to be. And yet, reflection is one of the most important qualities of success people. Luckily, cultivating this quality is not difficult, and it brings many benefits that will boost your success in life.
What is reflection?
After a match or competition, professional athletes will review their performance during the game, carefully considering not only what they did, but also why, what results they produced and how they can improve in the next game.
Personal reflection is much the same: an opportunity to reflect on what you are doing and why, what results you are getting and how these results differ from what you want to achieve in your life.
Reflection means taking time to look at and think about your experiences, actions, feelings and responses, as well as the context, the meaning and the consequences.
Why is it so important to success?
In the rush of daily life, reflection may not seem a priority. However, if you don’t think about what you are doing or why, you will likely simply keep doing the same things again and again, and that will give you the same results over and over. This causes stress and emotional turmoil and can leave you feeling run down or burnt out, unable to see opportunities or envision a better way.
Reflection allows us to move out of this loop by providing insights into why we do things and revealing ways to improve what we do, so we can move forward.
Reflection also develops critical thinking and problem-solving skills, and improves our reactions to daily stressors, situations and people. It also builds self-esteem and self-confidence, broadens our perspectives and allows us to examine our beliefs and question our assumptions.
How to cultivate this quality
Fortunately, reflection is not a difficult quality to master. What is required is simply to get started and to make this a part of your life. Here are some tips to help you get going.
- Set aside some time, even if you start with just 15 minutes a week.
- Choose a place such as a quiet spot in a garden, or reflect while going for a walk or even during your morning commute.
- Reflection is often done in writing but it can also be a conversation with a friend, tutor or mentor.
- Decide what you want to achieve: to reflect on an event or experience, to observe or acknowledge your current reality, or to contemplate the future you want to create.
- It is helpful to prepare a few questions, for example: “What is the most important thing for me to focus on now? Why is it important?” or “What could I have done differently in this situation? How can I do better next time?”
- Equip yourself with a way to capture the insights you gain – whether in a journal or a diary, or even notes or voice recordings on a phone.
- Decide how you can integrate these new insights and ideas into your everyday life.
Remember, the more you practice reflection, the easier it becomes and the better the results will be, delivering many benefits that will significantly boost your success in life.