Taking Time for Reflection

On a recent trip to visit friends in Austin, Texas, we went to hear a speaker. Who it was and what it was about isn’t important so I’m going to leave it out of this story to protect the not-so-innocent. My friends were sitting to my left and a man and his wife or girlfriend were on the other side of me. During the talk, they seemed to be engaging in some behaviour that really wasn’t appropriate for a public venue. I’m going to leave it at that. I really didn’t know what to say at the time, and didn’t want to bother anybody else around us by engaging them so I tried to just focus on the speaker.

Later, of course, I had all of the perfect things to say to them pop into my head. We’ve all had that happen, and it can be damn annoying at the time, but we can learn from it if we pay attention. We can remember those things that we wanted to say for the next similar circumstance (although I’m hoping to not have a repeat of that incident).

A recent article by Ulrich Boser in The Harvard Business Review was talking about this idea of the right thing to say, or the solution to a problem, coming to us out of its context.

“In short, learning benefits from reflection. This type of reflection requires a moment of calm. Maybe we’re quietly writing an essay in a corner — or talking to ourselves as we’re in the shower. But it usually takes a bit of cognitive quiet, a moment of silent introspection, for us to engage in any sort of focused deliberation.”

We need time for our minds to quite, to reflect, and then almost miraculously, the solution is there. I have yet to come up with a solution on what to do with those ideas that invariably come to me, sometimes in great detail, while in the shower and I have no place to write them down. Planning time for this calm and reflection may help with this problem.

Author and motivational speaker, Brendon Burchard talked about this recently on his podcast. Burchard was speaking in the context of how to “bring more joy” into your life and said that we need to make the time to reflect on what we’ve accomplished today or this week, what we’re grateful for, what good we’re going to do. This can help us to reset our and calm our minds so that those solutions to problems or ideas for new adventures can come to us.

Having a relaxed mind, relaxed not asleep, makes us more effective and helps those “ah ha” moments happen more readily.

This can also happen through meditation, exercise, reading for pleasure (as opposed to school or work), or playing a game with friends and family. Find what works for you and make the time.


Photo courtesy of Dolphy36 under a CC-O license.

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