Gaining a slightly better understanding of our thought-process
“Reflect upon your present blessings — of which every man has many — not on your past misfortunes, of which all men have some.”
― Charles Dickens, A Christmas Carol and Other Christmas Writings
By spending time being still and reflect, we might be able to understand ourselves better. Pondering about certain choices and decisions that we made recently; or wondering about whether the choices that we have made in the past was the right one; or imaging about the future that we might have missed if we have made a different choice in the past.
Is that really necessary? Why do one like to reflect in the first place?
There could be many reasons why we stop at times to reflect upon the decisions that we have made and the circumstances that we are currently in. One of the common ones are the systematic and societal pauses and milestones designed in the education or professional systems: education pathway and specialisation, and yearly performance review are just some examples. Reaching a certain life stage may also trigger us to reflect and possibly prepare or take certain actions: marriage, lifestyle, retirement. As for me, reflection is mostly to help better understand my thought-process. At the same time, it helps to know myself a little bit better.
Transiting from the education system to the employment system, the free time that one for oneself usually decreases tremendously (especially when you are working for an organisation — not owning one). Maintaining a health family relationships and friendships also take up time and resources. Often that not, one might feel as if one’s a prisoner of the binding systems that trapped one into working and having a routine and discipined life. The funny thing is the most of us might spend the most time doing things that actually don’t matter to us at all but need to find a way to convince ourselves that it matter. Most of the time, it can’t be helped as that’s how the system works. Yet, by reflecting regularly, it’s possible to take action to carve out bits of resources that we still have left or plan out our time over a longer term such that we maximise the remaining time and resources we have on those that matter instead of materialism or unworthy pursuits.
Learning because of the system, and learning because of curiosity can make a big difference in long term interest and depth of knowledge that we’re willing to dive into. That seems rather similar to learning with expectations of reaping certain benefits, and learning to fulfil some inner desire. Reflection on where you stand helps you to decide how much resources you’ll invest and the opportunity cost of that you might have based on the decisions.
A balance should be strike between reflection and actually living and experiencing the moment. Spending too much time reflecting is a lost opportunity as is spending too much time living and experiencing without any reflection.