Reflect On Your Life and You Will Be Better For It

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ThinkingThey say life's a journey and consequently we all go through life having a past and heading for a future. In between the past and the future lies our life. Being able to navigate this timeline is a skill that will improve your life-experience for the better.

In order to be fully present in each moment, we need to be aware of our past and envision the future. We need to equip ourselves with the necessary tools to heighten our sense of being present in relation to our history and future and one such tool is reflection. We can practice reflection in all areas of our lives from personal aspects to business.

What is Reflection All About

Dictionary.Com defines reflection as, “a fixing of the thoughts on something; careful consideration” or “a thought occurring in consideration or meditation” and in the context of this blog, it is these two meanings when applicable to one’s life and occupation.

In terms of a time frame, reflection is a dynamic activity that can be applied onto past events, the present and also be projected into the future. Each focus in time has its own impact on our lives and it is important to consciously take each direction.

Reflecting on the past is referred to as Reflection on Action. This involves taking a journey into your mind, going over things that you have done and accomplished. It is an act of actively reviewing past events and actions with the aim of improving your future. 

Reflecting in the present moment is termed Reflection in Action and involves examining your current thought process and taking the time to fully comprehend what you are involved with. This activity allows you to be able to adapt your actions and procedure as you go along.

Reflecting on future events is known as Reflection for Action. In this instance you are projecting into the future. You are looking at possible actions and events that have not occurred yet and analysing them on the basis of information you have from the present as well as the past.

Why Must We Reflect

If I was to ask you what you did yesterday, chances are you can give me a good answer but if I extend the period to the past 7 days, the answer will not be concise. At the same time, there are a million details of your present moment that you are not simply aware of or your mind has discarded as irrelevant. As for the future, unless you visualise it, you cannot comprehend how it could possibly turn out.

The different focus of reflection has numerous advantages if religiously practiced. The application extends through from the past all the way to the future.

If you practice Reflection on Action, you give yourself the opportunity to learn from past experiences and make improvements in the present moment. If you previously made a mistake in business that cost you dearly, you will avoid the same mistake in the present. Reflection ensures that referring to the past is a consistent habit in improving the present.

If you practice Reflection in Action, you are bringing together the elements from the past and tying them together with your present reality. Reflecting in the present moment ensures that you are fully aware and present in the moment. By checking into your past and also future possibilities you can make the best decisions for your life in that moment.

Practicing Reflection for Action is time travelling. In this focus of reflection, you are projecting into the future based on the information at hand. This activity includes your past and present experiences. It is important to be objective when projecting into the future but also not be too “realistic” because if you are too “realistic”, you only limit yourself. It is important to reflect for the future so that you can also improve your present.

We Can Only Live In The Present

Life would be radically different if as human beings we could live in the future. Sadly, this is not the case and neither can we live in the past. The true nature of human existence is that we can only live in the present moment. For this reason this is the only aspect of our world we can affect and change- the present moment.

This is where you have to be careful when practicing reflection. Even though we can reflect on the past, present and future we should be conscious of the fact that the present is our only true domain and should avoid being too involved with either the past nor the future.

We have to realise that what is past is past and we can not change it. Try as we might we can not make changes to our future that affects our present lives. Even if this is the case, we also have to realise that past and future reflections are tools in service of our present and we should treat them and use them as such.

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