The power of self reflection
Judge someone by their questions, rather than their answers.
As we start a new year and think back on the one that has just passed, we often find ourselves at a forced point of reflection.
Did I get that promotion?
Did I hit the gym more?
Did my relationships progress?
Did I travel to those new places?
Did I learn that new skill?
These are the kinds of boxes we aim to ‘check off,’ understandably seeking a sense of clarity or closure in preparation for a new year. But the trouble is, these questions only represent one aspect of a much larger picture…
When we’re only looking at our goals or dreams in boxes, we confine 365 days of living and learning into squares on a page to be ticked or crossed. It’s a somewhat linear way to measure ourselves — we either did or didn’t achieve our goal.
But the thing about boxes? They can be stacked inside each other.
When we take the time to look a little deeper, there’s often another box inside. We may have ticked “promotion,” but did we also tick the boxes of getting through unexpected challenges, experimenting with new ideas, building habits that lead to more improvement? We may have been fulfilling our mental need for learning and growth in a way that runs much deeper than what first meets the eye.
Having big goals or boxes to tick is an important part of our life journey, but it’s perhaps even more important to get curious and find the boxes inside, to understand if we’re fulfilling our other human needs:
The physical need to live, the social need for connection and love and the spiritual need for contribution (for more on this, head to Chapter 2, Exercise 1 in the Mojo Mindset Course).
When we really take the time to reflect, we can recognise what fills our cup and what drains it. What we want more of, and what we need less of. Without the art of self-reflection, we’re simply living life on a treadmill, pressing the + sign to speed up and wondering why we’ve run so far, yet remained in the exact same spot.
So, as you look back on this last year, maybe ask yourself some new questions, with the aim of exploring your growth and learning within those additional ‘inner boxes’. This might look like:
Physical Need to Live
- Where are my energy levels at?
- Am I physically healthy?
- Have I lived within or beyond my means?
Mental Need for Learning and Growth
- Have I experimented, explored and given things a go?
- Have I learnt new things?
- Have I failed at something? (Remember, failing is learning!)
- Have I ventured outside my comfort zone?
Social Need for Connection and Love
- Have I spent time with people I love and care about?
- Have I found a sense of belonging?
- Have I removed negative relationships, or removed myself from negative environments?
Spiritual Need for Contribution
- Have I found something or someone that really matters to me?
- Am I contributing to something or someone bigger than myself?
If you’re starting to plan the goals and dreams you want to chase down in 2023, now is a great time to start cross-checking them against these 4 human needs — asking yourself ‘are these needs being met?’, and if not… ‘how can they be met in this next year?’
Self-reflection is a skill.
And just like any skill you want to become better at, it requires practice.
After a while, it becomes second nature.
Self reflection is a unique and personal journey… but you don’t have to do it alone!
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