The power of self-reflection is often underestimated. Thereby the reflection and reconsideration can be enormously enlightening. Not only because of the numerous benefits and insights we gain in the process. Reflection is a mandatory requirement for happiness and success in life. It starts with the simple question: What was your biggest success today? – We show you how to sharpen your self-awareness and find out more about yourself with smart self-reflection questions. After all, no one but yourself can see so deeply into you…
➠ Contents: What you can expect
Definition: What is self-reflection??
Self-reflection is a form of conscious self-awareness or self-observation. In doing so, we question and analyze ourselves – our thoughts, feelings and actions. The central question is: Who am I?? The goal is to learn more about ourselves, to understand ourselves better and to grow personally. The result of successful self-reflection is therefore not only self-knowledge, but also a kind of personality development.
When thinking and reflecting we illuminate habits or behavior patterns and ask ourselves questions such as:
Thus, self-reflection not only contributes to self-discovery. It is also an essential key to happiness and success. Only through this reflection can we learn from mistakes, avoid impulsive reactions and control our emotions. In short: we live more consciously and less on "autopilot.
The term "reflection," by the way, comes from the Latin word "reflexio," which means "to bend back" or "to reflect". Popular self-reflection synonyms include: Retreat, retreat, deepening, self-reflection, deepening.
Difference: self-reflection and self-knowledge?
Self-awareness is a snapshot, self-reflection, on the other hand, is a permanent process – on the way to self-awareness. However, our personality is changeable. Likewise the view of ourselves. Depending on whether and how our values or goals shift throughout life. Therefore, it would not be a bad thing if the result of your current reflections is not exactly flattering. What matters is what you do with the insight and how you implement the impulse.
Meaning: Why is self-reflection important?
What does self-reflection bring? A lot! From the billionaire Warren Buffett comes the beautiful bon mot: "You should invest first and foremost in yourself. This is the only investment that pays off a thousandfold."Only if we understand ourselves, recognize connections, we are able to improve ourselves, to develop further, to use our potentials. And, of course, understand other people. Self-reflection broadens our mental horizons and awareness in the literal sense of the word.
Progress needs a look into the past. In the reflection process we try to learn from successes as well as setbacks. At the same time, this sharpens our view of the present and provides us with important conclusions for the future. It is important to find a balance: an honest and critical examination of weaknesses and failures – without condemning yourself or putting yourself down.
Successful self-reflection only works, if we deal with ourselves constructively and think positively at the same time. So establish a fundamentally positive view of one’s own life. That does not mean to put on rose-colored glasses and to fade out failures, bad luck and mishaps. But it is only in the big picture that we can continuously improve ourselves. Therefore, do not only ask WHY but rather WHERE TO!
Advantages of self-reflection:
- You get to know and understand yourself better.
- You recognize your strengths and weaknesses.
- You get clarity about your work and your effect.
- You use more treasures of experience.
- And learn from mistakes and solve problems.
- You train structured and analytical thinking.
- You correct misconceptions.
- You exploit your potential.
- You create the basis for a new orientation.
- You become clearer about your life goals.
- You will achieve more.
- You become more satisfied and happier.
- You live more consciously.
Self-reflection example: Every day a success
It’s the story of multiple Olympic gold medalist Bart Connor. In 1983, the artistic gymnast suffered a serious injury to his left biceps. Nine months before the summer Olympics. It could have been the end for him. But Connor underwent surgery and intensive therapies and eventually qualified for the Games. More: He competed in all eight events and won gold with the U.S. team and as an individual athlete on parallel bars.
Later, in a TV interview, he was asked how he had managed to do this. Connor thanked his parents. His parents? The moderator asked: "Come on Bart, how was it really??"Then Connor told his story: When he was still a little boy, his parents had come to his bed every night before he went to sleep and asked him: "What was your greatest success today??"So he went to sleep every day knowing that he had achieved something. And every morning he woke up with the certainty of having at least one sense of achievement again. Thanks to this constant self-reflection, he knew that he could make it to the Olympics this time, and even win.
Methods: Which are there for self-reflection?
How does self-reflection work? Simple really. But self-reflection is like buttoning a shirt: Once you get it wrong, it’s hard to get the rest right. That’s why we present a few methods and exercises for self-reflection below.
60 helpful questions for self-reflection
These are questions you can (and should) ask yourself regularly:
Questions to find out what you want:
- What do I really want?
- What makes me happy?
- Am I taking my passions seriously enough?
- What does success mean to me??
- What job would I give myself?
- Suppose I get promoted: Is this what I want?
- What would I like to improve in my life?
- Why is this goal so important to me?
- What needs would this satisfy?
- What would I have to give up in return?
- Could I?
Questions to overcome self-doubt:
- If I could start from the beginning: What would I do differently?
- What values do I want to stand for?
- What would I have to do to reach my goal?
- Do I believe that I will achieve this goal?
- If not: Why do I trust doubts more than my first impulse??
- What exactly makes me think and feel this way?
- What experiences are behind my pessimism?
- If they are not my own experiences, why do I believe them?
- Do I give in to doubts because I feel safer as a skeptic?
- What’s stopping me from getting started on my venture – now?
Ask before you change jobs:
- What are my greatest talents and which ones would I like to use better?
- What am I really unhappy about: my job or my life??
- In which direction do I want to develop?
- Are the current conditions the main motive for my change?
- Is a job change the only alternative?
- Would I actually make better use of my talents somewhere else?
- Do my strengths match the new employer??
- Would I be willing to make sacrifices – such as financial ones – for this job?
- What would I gain in return?
- Would I want to be my own boss?
Ask questions before you accept a new job:
- What exactly are the challenges of the job?
- In what time frame do you expect what results from me?
- Will I be trained? From whom?
- What happened to my predecessor – promoted, transferred, fired?
- Who would I work with? How big is the team?
- What are the company’s current plans and goals?
- Are employees continuously developed?
- What influence can I have on my own career path?
- What chances of advancement do I have from this position?
- When can I expect your response?
Ask if you can’t get a job:
- Am I being honest with myself about my market value??
- How much time and effort am I investing in my job search?? Could be more?
- Do I regularly expand my network?
- What opportunities do I take to promote myself?
- Am I limiting my job search too much? Why?
- What do I choose employers based on?
- Do I follow up when there is no response to the application?
- Do I learn from it and continuously improve my application?
- Do I have enough practice with job interviews?
- Do I say thank you after an interview?
Questions when you are dissatisfied:
- How much time do I invest in myself and my development every day??
- How much success do I personally need?
- Can what I do today still excite me in five years??
- What would I give up in order to have more time for myself??
- Do I involve my partner in my life planning??
- On an exit: have I thought about funding?
- Have I prepared thoroughly for the interview with the boss??
- If I were in my dream job, I would be satisfied?
- What could I do to be more satisfied??
- What three things do I do today that bring me closer to my goals?
5 exercises for self-reflection
All beginnings are hard. In fact, self-reflection can be learned and practiced. Daily routines help immensely. The following tips show how easy it is to incorporate reflection exercises into your daily routine.
Start the day with good thoughts! So-called morning pages are an even freer form of brainstorming. You write down everything that comes to your mind at the moment. Through this "emptying of thoughts" many come to amazing insights about themselves.
Review the day in the evening and write down some notes about it. In a diary or bullet journal. What went well? What was your greatest success? What are you grateful for? Journaling has been proven to have enormously positive effects on the psyche and health. Especially because it helps you sort thoughts and stop ruminating.
Whether you call it "prayer" or "meditation" is secondary. In both cases you find inner peace and gain clarity of mind. With a little practice, you can find answers to burning questions and gain mental strength.
Take a walk
Great thinkers and philosophers have always sought the vastness of nature to aerate and inspire their minds. Walking has numerous advantages. We let our thoughts wander and indulge in daydreams. That’s good! Idleness forms the humus on which creative thoughts can blossom.
Talk to yourself
No joke! Self-talk increases success. Prove it! They act as an outlet: anger, sadness and frustration can thus not eat into you in the first place. Unclear thoughts and feelings are put into words and sorted, decisions are made easier. However, self-statements shape our self-image. Therefore, make sure to talk to yourself only in a conciliatory and constructive manner.
Tips for better self-reflection
- Take time
Self-reflection needs sufficient rest. In order to listen to your own thoughts, you should switch off all sources of interference beforehand and schedule a fixed time window. Half an hour a day is ideal.
- Develop a ritual
Great insights rarely come overnight. Therefore, have some patience and establish a fixed ritual for thinking and reflecting.
- Take it seriously
Take your insights or perceptions seriously – even when they are uncomfortable. We only grow outside our comfort zone. Many an aha experience leads us onto new paths. But only if we allow it.
- Be honest
Self-reflection is useless if you are only flattering yourself. This is self-deception. If you want to learn more about yourself, you have to be ready for a disappointment or two. Nobody is perfect! The goal is to develop oneself.
- Be gracious
Our biggest critic – it’s often ourselves. But if you’re too hard on yourself, you’re only hurting yourself and sabotaging your self-esteem. Only constructive criticism is allowed.
- Get feedback
Don’t believe everything you think! – Of course we can be wrong. In order not to succumb to a perception error, you should compare the reflected self-image with an external image every now and then. Only the feedback objectifies the view.
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