Life can only be understand backwards – but we have to live it forwards” A B Elliot
Buy a journal or notebook, or make an entry in your “everynotes” app and start a Daily Reflection Section:
So what is Reflection?
These are each pretty big topics, so I’ll explain how to use self-reflection now, and review the best questionnaires to use in a future article.
By “self-reflection”, I don’t just mean sitting and gazing at your navel or just sitting and waiting for something important to bubble up from your brain “Hmmm….what is important to think or reflect about or spend time on right now…” Research has uncovered patterns in how people discover knowledge about themselves , and this gives you areas in which to focus your self-reflection. Start with feedback from others or themes from your life where you get stuck.
The advantage of self-reflection is that you’re not limited to a fixed set of potential answers like you find by taking the Gallop Strength Finders questionnaire. Reflection is harder work, but gives you more insight and doesn’t pigeon-hole you into a framework. You can discover your strengths by reflecting on the following five areas :
1) Impulsive or Intuitive Reactions
If it is true that strengths are your brain’s efficient processes, you’ll probably use them as a kind of default response to various situations. When a problem comes up, do you analyse the situation or jump straight in? If you go to a party, is your spontaneous reaction to woo those people you don’t know, or spend time relating to people you do? Looking for common and sometimes impulsive reactions over a variety of situations can give you clues to who you are and what you do when problems come at you in life. To counteract this type of immediate reaction it is important to STOP-TAKE A BREATH –THINK AND THE REACT. This focus allows your thoughtful part of your brain to override your primitive and emotional first impulses. Find a positive trigger to help yourself re-center and get control of negative thoughts and impulsive decisions.
You’re more likely to draw energy from activities that use your strengths than those that don’t. This is why it’s so hard to go against the grain of your strengths long-term – these activities are draining rather than energizing. Ask yourself where you get your energy from. What activities give you a buzz when you’re doing them? If you can think of some, they probably involve your strengths.
3.) Dreams and fantasies
For whatever reasons, each of us is drawn to some activities but not to others. There are some activities that turn us off, and some we get excited about. This is partly because we get more satisfaction from activities involving our strengths, and it’s easier for us to get into a state of flow when we’re using them.
For example, a dream of becoming a professional golfer because of the fame and money, not for the joy of competing and winning. The way to fulfill a realistic dream is to assess your strengths, set concrete and measurable goals, set deliberate practice structures in place, get feedback and never give-up. Don’t focus on the end result but on actions that will get you to your goals. This type of change process makes your goals from the inside-out not outside-in. If you’re unsure, it can help to interview someone already in the role you striving to become. This will help you to realistically see what it’s really like.
As positive psychologists have discovered, using your strengths makes you happier. Reasoning backwards, we find that the things that make us happy may involve our strengths. Of course, not everything that makes us happy can involve a strength, otherwise you’d come up with a rather silly list, maybe including “being surprised”, “drinking beer”, and “buying a carpet”. Obviously, these are not strengths. You have to use common sense and maybe look at activities that are challenging to some degree, activities that you’d like to do again.
In it you can record any good luck, “coincidences” and fortunate events be sure and share them with us..
Your Reflection Section will be as much as you choose to make it. I have kept one for 10 years and when ever I become confused or have doubts about my journey in life, or disappointments or feel stress and sadness with friends, colleagues or family members or my life journey , I read, observe and write about my success and what I should be grateful in life.