The Power of Reflection




By Lorie Pope 

If I could tell you about something that if it were added to your day, would 1) make each day more fulfilling, 2) give you skills to better meet challenges and 3) give more insight on whatever you are trying to solve…would you want to make it part of your daily routine? 

What is it? It is the Power of Reflection or reflective thinking.  Reflective thinking is powerful when used every day. Reflective thinking helps us plan and also gives insight. 

When I discovered John Maxwell’s book How Successful People Think, it was life changing. He goes into detail about different ways of thinking, and how to incorporate it into a person’s life. One of the ways of thinking was reflective thinking, and he brought out fascinating benefits of it that I hadn’t thought of before.

What does reflective thinking do? It’s like the crock-pot of the mind…encourages thoughts to simmer until they are done. It’s a way of  “Processing Your Day” before going to bed. As I go through this process at the end of the day, my goal is to reflect so I may learn from my successes and mistakes, discover what I should try to repeat and determine what I should change so I’m living more effectively in every area of my life. 

And…also to enjoy life more abundantly! Have you ever thought of it that way before? Reflection adds more joy if done in the right way.

One valuable result is that it lays each day “to rest.” Once I’ve processed it, discovered what I need to learn, savored making memories and processed things that need to change, then I am “free” to let the things in the day go that need to be let go such as frustrations, and keep those that are worth keeping. It’s like “closing the chapter” on negative thinking and keeping the positive.

Values of Reflective Thinking:

  1. Gives perspective within context.
  2. Allows a person to continually connect with “life.”
  3. Provides counsel and direction regarding the future. 

Purpose: 

1. Reflective thinking gives you true perspective.

a. Puts an experience into perspective – small stuff of life, a crisis, an irritation or a great event to savor forever.

b. For example, thinking/reflecting on a vacation helps make memories. Without reflecting on something, memories are not made. Ever wondered why you have vague memories of some things? Vivid memories of others? Part of it is the attention you paid to it…going over it again, reflecting on it from various angles.

2. Reflective thinking increases your confidence in decision-making.

3. A person looks over the various angles of something to ponder and gain insight.

4. Reflective thinking clarifies the Big Picture.

a. Puts ideas and experiences in a more accurate context.

5. Reflective thinking takes a good experience and makes it a valuable experience by examining it.

a. Learn from successes and mistakes.

b. Discover what you should repeat.

c. Determine what you should change.

d. Connect with your life to gain true perspective and think with understanding.

e. Profit from experiences to empower direction for your future.

6. Reflective thinking adds value to my life

a. Few things in life can help you learn, improve, and enjoy life the way reflective thinking can.

b. Add appreciation for the little things of each day by taking the time to acknowledge and appreciate.

 

Power of Reflection:

Reading the “signs” along the way of life each day helps us determine direction, perspective, and gain fulfillment by celebrating moments of value we may otherwise miss in going too fast.  By mentally visiting the events of the day (or past week), we can think with greater understanding. 

Here’s a challenge for all of us:  Each day for the follow week, take 10-15 minutes at the close of the day to reflect on your day.  Here are some guidelines I’ve found helpful:

Personal Growth: 

  1. What have I learned today that will help me grow?   Mentally?  In relationships?
  2. What was the highlight of my day?  Successes?
  3. What is a memory I’d like to remember?
  4. Where do I need to change?
  5. What was most meaningful in the day?
  6. Was I able to reach out and touch someone’s life by a smile?  Help? Make a difference?
  7. What mistakes can I grow from?  Changes needed that will help me?
  8. What other perspectives do I need to look at?
  9. Did I laugh today and have fun?
  10. What action steps do I now need to take? 

Is this journaling?  A journal usually is used to help figure out what a person is thinking and feeling.  Reflective thinking is more writing down significant thoughts and action points.  But it can be either.

The questions can be used in the context of the workday or teamed up with personal also. Pick and choose what you’d like…or come up with your own. Set aside 10-20 minutes a day to do it. 

It’s up to you…have a fun adventure with this.