The Importance Of Reflection

Staring At SeaThink about the last time someone told you:

I’m so busy. It’s a good thing, though.

Today? Yesterday? Last week?

Maybe you were the one that uttered it to someone. Maybe your spouse. Maybe to your coworker or boss. Or if you’re the boss to your employee.

We almost wear it like a badge of honor. There is probably some truth to that. But it can also be a bad thing. In multiple ways.

Let’s focus on one of the possible bad things that result from staying busy all the time.

No Time For Reflection

Many successful people in history have taken time to reflect:

  • Steve Jobs
  • Arianna Huffington
  • Ernest Hemingway
  • Albert Einstein
  • And many more

I think most of us do it without even realizing it, but staying busy all the time helps us avoid reflection. That busy time keeps tough questions and thoughts out of our minds.

Instead of taking time to think about that painful thing that happened we just fill the space with email or social media or writing or talking on the phone or meetings or whatever.

We even do the same thing with non-work items that we fill our schedules with. TV shows on Netflix, podcasts, after school events with the kids, drinks with friends, reading, etc.

It’s all great and stimulating and wonderful, but it never leaves time for the mind to be alone to ponder life and consider the tough questions and situations.

The Tough Questions

We all deal with tough things in life. It’s easy to think that we’re the only ones when we’re going through something. I think that can lead to some loneliness. It can lead to the tendency to kind of block things out with busy items on the to-do list.

An argument with our spouse. A bully hassling our kid. The lost sale last week that was four months in the making. Lack of sleep. Poor health. A bad habit.

Whatever it is it feels bad. It’s not an enjoyable thing to take the time to consider it. To think it through. Work it out. Figure out what we’re feeling, why we’re feeling it and then figure out a way to move forward.

That comes from putting emphasis on time alone with your thoughts.

How To Be Alone With Your Thoughts

It’s not difficult to be alone with your thoughts. There are plenty of ways to do it. I guess it is difficult because there is pain and discomfort that comes with it.

Many successful people are able to find ways to be alone with their thoughts:

  • Walking
  • Sipping coffee on the proch
  • Hunting and fishing
  • Commuting
  • Daydreaming

It really comes down to doing something that doesn’t require conscious thought. Not paying attention to anything. Just kind of getting lost in your mind where it’s just you and your issues.

That’s a scary place to be. And today we have so much that can fill our minds. The smartphone stuff. We sit in the waiting room somewhere and instead of getting lost staring at the wall we immediately grab our phones and fill the brain with stimulants.

So to be alone with your thoughts it takes finding the type of activity where you can be alone. Where you don’t need to think about what you’re doing physically. That allows you time to get into the uncomfortable place and sort through things.

Final Thoughts

You’re going to be uncomfortable when you do this. You’re going to want to get out of it. But practicing reflection forms resiliency, which is one of the traits that successful people have. They take the time to reflect on life. The good and the bad. And it’s not easy when you begin, but over time it becomes easier. There is no apparent ROI from it. You’re not making money when you’re reflecting in the direct measurement sense. But if you look at the big picture those moments of reflection could provide¬†the most ROI of anything you do in life.

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