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People Don’t Succeed by Luck, They Succeed by Doing a Lot of Self Reflection

People Don’t Succeed by Luck, They Succeed by Doing a Lot of Self Reflection

How often do you set aside time to really think about yourself?

If you’re like most of us, rarely.

Self-reflection is the process of looking at yourself, your life and your experiences.

It’s been shown to strengthen your emotional intelligence, help you act with more integrity, and boost your self-confidence. [1]

Even if you’ve never deliberately practiced self-reflection, you probably have at least some experience with it.

Here are some examples of self-reflection that you’re probably familiar with:

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  • New Year’s Day. Most of us spend some time reflecting on each year as it comes to an end, and making resolutions to improve ourselves in the future.
  • Birthdays. Many of us use our birthday as a time to reflect on our lives so far, and think about what we still want to achieve.
  • Job applications. Applying for jobs forces us to lay out all of our skills and experiences in a clear and linear way, which can be an eye-opening experience.

But do we have to wait for the new year’s day or birthdays to review ourselves? If we really want to improve ourselves, why can’t we have such self-reflection every month, or every week, or even every day?

Are you ready to start improving yourself with a deliberate self-reflection practice?

Great!

Just follow the simple tips below.

Questions to ask during self-reflection

To do self reflection effectively, the best way is to ask yourself questions.

What are my strength and weaknesses?

Identifying where your strengths and weaknesses lie helps you solve problems and make good decisions.

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For example, if you know that you’re great at organisation, you might volunteer to help put on an event at work and get on your boss’s good side.

If you don’t work well under pressure, you’ll know not to take a job as head chef at a busy restaurant.

However, remember that your strengths and weaknesses aren’t set in stone. Want to change something about yourself?

You can.

Put together a plan, set measurable goals, and take it one small step at a time. There aren’t many problems you can’t solve this way.

What have been my greatest achievements?

Identifying your biggest achievements shows you where your values lie. Are you most proud of something to do with work, family, or education? Do you want to focus future efforts in the same area, or shift to something new?

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What have been my biggest failures?

Failures can be a wonderful learning experience. Gently acknowledge a time something went wrong, and ask yourself why? Low self-confidence? Lack of planning? Fear?

Now consider what you could do differently to ensure you don’t make the same mistake twice.

What skills do I have?

Making a big list of your skills is a great way to see how you’re doing. Are your skills where you want them to be? If not, commit to learning something new, taking a course, or trying out a new activity.

Are your skills equally balanced. Divide them into categories, including:

  • Work
  • Hobbies
  • Spirituality
  • Health
  • Exercise
  • Social

Are the lists equally balanced, or are you lacking skills in certain areas of your life?

What problems do I have right now?

Self-reflection deals with good and bad. Ask yourself what the biggest source on unhappiness is in your life right now.

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It could be:

  • Your job
  • Your partner
  • Your living environment
  • Your finances

Once you’ve identified the biggest problem, you can start looking for ways to solve it.

How could I improve my life?

Writing a short passage describing your ideal day is a great way to generate ideas for this question. Focus on all the small details, like your home, what you’re eating, your hobbies, your routine, etc.

Then compare your ideal day to an day in your current life, and think about how you can bring the two closer together.

Common challenges during self-reflection

You might encounter some of the following problems when practicing self-reflection:

  • You forget to do it.
  • You’re not sure what to reflect on.
  • You’re afraid to be honest with yourself.
  • You feel embarrassed.

How to stay committed to self-reflection

To ensure you stay committed to self-reflection, try the following techniques:

  • Add a weekly or monthly ‘reflection date’ to your calendar.
  • Write a few sentences about why you want to keep up with self-reflection. Read it when you start to lose interest.
  • Be kind to yourself. Self-reflection isn’t about being too hard on yourself, it’s about helping you to be the best you can be.
  • Keep self-reflection private. It’s hard to be honest if you’re worried about the opinions of others. Don’t feel you need to share your practice.

Ready to stop moving through life on autopilot? Start your self-reflection practice today.

Featured photo credit: The Crunchies! via flickr.com

Reference

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Eloise Best

Eloise is an everyday health expert and runs My Vegan Supermarket, a vegan blog and database of supermarket products.

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Published on October 30, 2020

11 Essential Philosophy Books That Will Open Your Mind

11 Essential Philosophy Books That Will Open Your Mind

There are numerous ways to build your mindset, but none are as profound as reading philosophy books. Through these books, some of the greatest minds around ask questions and delve deep into thought.

While there isn’t always a clear and distinct answer to the many questions of philosophy, the entire field is a gateway to a higher sense of self. It gets you to think about all manner of things.

Below, we cover some of the essential philosophy books that are best for those who are just starting or looking to expand their mind.

How To Choose a Good Philosophy Book

Before getting to this list, we’ve researched ideal philosophy books to help you expand your mind.

We’ve found that the best philosophy books excel in the following criteria:

  • Complexity – Philosophy isn’t a subject that you can’t dive into immediately and understand everything. The books that we selected are great for people making the first leap.
  • Viewpoint – With philosophy, in particular, the author’s views are more important than in your standard book. We want to ensure the viewpoints and thoughts being discussed still hold up to this day.
  • Open-mindedness – Philosophy is all about asking perplexing questions and unraveling the answer. You might not reach a conclusion in the end, but these books are designed to get you to think.
  • Culture – The last criterion is culture. A lot of these books come from early philosophers from centuries ago or possibly from recent years. These philosophy books should paint a picture of the culture.

1. Meditations

    One that you’ll find on many of these types of lists is Meditations and for good reason. It’s the only document of its kind to ever be made. The book focuses on the private thoughts of the world’s most powerful man who advises himself revolving around making good on his responsibilities and the obligations of his position.

    We know enough about Marcus Aurelius to know that he was trained in stoic philosophy and practiced every night on a series of spirituality exercises. These exercises were designed to make him humble, patient, empathetic, generous, and strong in the face of whatever problem he had to face off. And he faced plenty of problems since he was basically the emperor of roughly a third of the planet.

    All of that is poured into this book, and you are bound to remember a line or more that will be applicable in your life. It’s a philosophy book staple.

    Buy Meditations here.

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    2. Letters From a Stoic

      Similar to Marcus Aurelius, Seneca was another powerful man in Rome. He was a brilliant writer at the time and was the kind of guy to give great advice to his most trusted friends. Fortunately, much of his advice comes in letters, and those letters happen to be in this book. The letters themselves provided advice on dealing with grief, wealth, poverty, success, failure, education, and more.

      While Seneca was a stoic, he has a more practical approach and has borrowed from other schools of thought for his advice. As he said when he was alive, “I don’t care about the author if the line is good.” Similar to Meditations, there are several brilliant lines and advice that are still relevant to this day.

      Buy “Letters From a Stoic” here.

      3. Nicomachean Ethics

        Aristotle was a famous Greek philosopher at the time with profound knowledge. He’s named after a form of logic as well called Aristotelian logic. Through this book, Aristotle writes about the root of all Aristotelian ethics. In other words, this book contains the moral ideas that form a base for pretty much all of western civilization.

        Buy “Nicomachean Ethics” here.

        4. Beyond Good & Evil

          Friedrich Nietzsche played a big role in the philosophical world. He was one of the leading philosophers of the existential movement, and it all came through this particular book. He is a brilliant mind. However, the issue with a lot of his work is that it’s all written in German.

          Fortunately, this book is one of the slightly more accessible ones since it’s translated. Within the book, he breaks down the paradoxes of conventional understandings of morality. By doing this, he sets the stage for a lot of the 20th-century thought process that followed.

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          Buy “Beyond Good & Evil” here.

          5. Meditations on First Philosophy

            In Meditations on First Philosophy, René Descartes breaks his book down into six meditations. The book takes a journalistic style that is structured much like a six-day course of meditation. On day one, he gives instructions on discarding all belief in things that are not guaranteed. After that, he tries to establish what can be known for sure. Similar to Meditations, this is a staple and influential philosophical text that you can pick up.

            Buy “Meditations on First Philosophy” here.

            6. Ethics

              Written by Benedict de Spinoza, this came at a time during the Age of Enlightenment. Enlightenment was a movement that dominated the world of ideas in Europe during the 17th and 18th centuries and with that, many schools of thought emerged and were presented through books.

              Out of the many influential philosophy books published back then, Ethics dominated during this period as it discussed the basis of rationalism. Even though we’ve developed further beyond that, Ethics can introduce new ways of thinking from this particular school of thought.

              Buy “Ethics” here.

              7. Critique of Pure Reason

                Immanuel Kant is another great philosopher who brought together two of history’s biggest opposing schools of thought into a single book. Those schools being rational thought and empirical experiential knowledge—knowledge gained through experience.

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                In Critique of Pure Reason, Kant explores human reason and then works to establish its illusions and get down to core constituents. Overall, you can learn more about human behavior and thought processes and thus, open your mind more to how you think and process everything around you.

                Buy “Critique of Pure Reason” here.

                8. On the Genealogy of Morals

                  Another piece of work from Nietzsche that is accessible to us is On the Genealogy of Morals. According to Nietzsche, the purpose of this book is to call attention to his previous writings. That said, it does more than that so you don’t need to worry so much about reading his other books.

                  In this book, he expands on the cryptic aphorisms that he brings up in Beyond Good and Evil and offers a discussion or morality in a work that is more accessible than a lot of his previous work.

                  Buy “On the Genealogy of Morals” here.

                  9. Everything Is F*cked

                    The only book on this list that’s been written in the past few years, this book by Mark Manson aims to explain why we all need hope while also accepting that hope can often lead us to ruin too.

                    While many of the books on this list are all practical, this one is the most realistic one since not even the greatest of philosophical minds could predict things like technology, Twitter, and how our political world has shaped.

                    Manson delivers a profound book that taps into the minds of our ancestral philosophers, such as Plato, Nietzsche, and Tom Waits, and digs deep into various topics and how all of it is connected—religion and politics, our relationship with money, entertainment, and the internet.

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                    Overall, this book serves as a challenge to all of us—a challenge to be more honest with ourselves and connect with the world in a way we’ve never tried before.

                    Buy “Everything Is F*cked” here.

                    10. Reasons and Persons

                      One of the most challenging philosophy books to read on this list, Reasons and Persons will send you on quite the trip. Through a lot of painstaking logic, Derek Parfit shows us some unique perspectives on self-interest, personhood, and whether our actions are good or evil.

                      Considered by many to be an important psychological text around the 20th century, the arguments made about those topics will open your mind to a brand new way of thinking.

                      Buy “Reasons and Persons” here.

                      11. The Republic of Plato

                        Written by Plato himself, this book is the origin of political science and offers a brilliant critique of government. As you would expect, the critique is still important today. If you’re looking to understand the inner thoughts of Plato, this is one of the best books around.

                        Buy “The Republic of Plato” here.

                        Final Thoughts

                        Philosophy books take a while to digest as they provide profound knowledge and leave you with many questions. With many of these philosophy books, you need to take your time with them, and you might have to read through them a few times as well. And with every read, your mind will only expand.

                        More Books to Open Your Mind

                        Featured photo credit: Laura Chouette via unsplash.com

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