Daily Quote and Reflection: Aristotle’s insight on Self-Awareness and Reflection

Daily Quote: “The ultimate value of life depends upon awareness and the power of contemplation.”  Aristotle


In this quote Aristotle is challenging us to become more self-aware and reflective about our lives.

Often when I reflect upon the necessity for reflection in my workshops, I get the response, “Who has the time? I’m too busy!” or “This is silly exercise”.  These type of responses are precisely the problem. Busyness, Urgency and Stress —always going somewhere, never being anywhere and feeling stressed while doing these things—limit our awareness of what is happening in life as we move almost like “zombies” from one activity to the next, as I like to call it sleep walking through life”.

Living life as a “zombie” disconnects us from important events and people. I would say that it creates isolation rather than connecting. Our inability or choice to not reflect and learn from our pass mistakes or remember when we did the right things right leads to a life of stress and time pressure.  If we just move from one activity to the next, we lose the opportunity to discovery important things about our self. And reduce more positive  “recovery-time” activities, such as reflection, play, reading, poetry or and “deep conversations.” The unintended result is that many people feel trapped, tired and stressed as they go through day-to-day living unaware of who or what they want to achieve or accomplish during this limited time on earth.

Sometimes people assess new situations and respond carefully and thoughtfully, but frequently they run on autopilot, reacting unconsciously based on habit. In part it’s because the human brain is wired to follow neural pathways that have been formed by past experiences. Left unconscious, these patterns can inhibit optimal performance because they are a generalized response rather than one carefully tailored to the current situation. Without reflection there is little if any self-awareness because we do not recognize the activity patterns we have created. Be more reflective and self-aware helps you track and monitor your behavior and reactions – which is an essential step to developing new habits and managing poor habits that may need changing.

Challenge Assignment: Over this weekend see if you can identify one habit that you have been doing for a long time and take one small step to see if you change it. Then next week monitor to see if you are still moving ahead to change this habit by identifying how many times you STOP, REFLECT and ACT to change your behavior.


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