“It is necessary for a man to go away by himself, to sit on a rock and ask, ‘Who am I, where have I been, and where am I going?” ― Carl Sandburg
Here are 10 questions that you can ask yourself every day which will help you exercise the art of self-introspection and self-reflection to monitor your progress in life. It is best done at the end of the day before retiring to bed.
1. Am I a little better than yesterday?
You know you are progressing if you are a little better today that who you were yesterday. Instead of comparing yourself with others and falling prey to envy, jealousy and despair, try to become a little better every day.Advertising
2. Have I built my character?
“When wealth is lost, nothing is lost; when health is lost, something is lost; when character is lost, all is lost.” – Billy Graham
Your character is what defines you. Build your character upon the principles of truthfulness, humility, meekness and honesty. Character is not built in a day. It is built by daily investments you put in as you go on with your day’s activities. Do your work with integrity. Treat everyone with equality. Keep your words soft, sweet and comforting. Do not do anything, even if it seems petty, that can erode your character.
3. Did I give my best at work?
Did you feel excited about going to work today? Did you put all your heart and enthusiasm into work? If no, find out what is hindering you from doing so and resolve it. A satisfying day at work will elevate you mood.Advertising
4. What did I learn new today?
Learn something new every day. Your mind and your health are the most precious resources that have been bestowed upon you. It is important to keep your mind sharp and supple. Read a book. Learn a new language. Build your vocabulary. Learn something new that you find interesting or useful to you. You cease to grow once you stop learning. Learning is never a waste of time. It will sure fetch huge dividends.
5. Have I made healthier choices?
Your health is your responsibility. Jog, run, or hit the gym; anything your schedule will allow you to. Sparing as little as 15 minutes a day is better than being dead 24 hours a day! Avoiding unhealthy food habits is a healthier choice as well. Reduce the consumption of junk food.
6. Have I protected my planet?
It is your duty to preserve the planet you live on. Do not leave the water running while you brush or shave. Turn off the lights and electrical appliances when not in use. Leave the earth a better place for your children.Advertising
7. Have I expressed my love for my family and friends?
Note the word “express”. It is not enough to think lovingly or merely talk. Express your love and affection both in words as well as in action. Do a little work of love every day. A small investment everyday will reap big dividends.
8. Have I spent quality time with my spouse?
Spend quality time with your spouse. You don’t have to go out on a date every day. Take time to share your day, your experiences and your feelings with your spouse. And listen to your spouse as well.
9. Do I bear any grudges against anyone?
Before you go to sleep, rewind your day and check if you’d had a bad experience with anyone that day. No matter whose fault it was, try to resolve it before midnight. Call and say sorry. Speak it out and resolve the matter. Brooding grudges and malice isn’t healthy for your heart. The anger destroys you slowly. Forgive and let go, make peace.Advertising
10. Am I content with my life?
Be content with what you have. Make happiness your ambition. Mind you, that doesn’t mean you have to be complacent. You need to have goals and strive for the best. But be content with what you have been blessed with. Count your many blessings and life live cheerfully.
The Gentle Art of Saying No
It’s a simple fact that you can never be productive if you take on too many commitments — you simply spread yourself too thin and will not be able to get anything done, at least not well or on time.
But requests for your time are coming in all the time — through phone, email, IM or in person. To stay productive, and minimize stress, you have to learn the Gentle Art of Saying No — an art that many people have problems with.
What’s so hard about saying no? Well, to start with, it can hurt, anger or disappoint the person you’re saying “no” to, and that’s not usually a fun task. Second, if you hope to work with that person in the future, you’ll want to continue to have a good relationship with that person, and saying “no” in the wrong way can jeopardize that.
But it doesn’t have to be difficult or hard on your relationship. Here are the Top 10 tips for learning the Gentle Art of Saying No:
- Value your time. Know your commitments, and how valuable your precious time is. Then, when someone asks you to dedicate some of your time to a new commitment, you’ll know that you simply cannot do it. And tell them that: “I just can’t right now … my plate is overloaded as it is.”
- Know your priorities. Even if you do have some extra time (which for many of us is rare), is this new commitment really the way you want to spend that time? For myself, I know that more commitments means less time with my wife and kids, who are more important to me than anything.
- Practice saying no. Practice makes perfect. Saying “no” as often as you can is a great way to get better at it and more comfortable with saying the word. And sometimes, repeating the word is the only way to get a message through to extremely persistent people. When they keep insisting, just keep saying no. Eventually, they’ll get the message.
- Don’t apologize. A common way to start out is “I’m sorry but …” as people think that it sounds more polite. While politeness is important, apologizing just makes it sound weaker. You need to be firm, and unapologetic about guarding your time.
- Stop being nice. Again, it’s important to be polite, but being nice by saying yes all the time only hurts you. When you make it easy for people to grab your time (or money), they will continue to do it. But if you erect a wall, they will look for easier targets. Show them that your time is well guarded by being firm and turning down as many requests (that are not on your top priority list) as possible.
- Say no to your boss. Sometimes we feel that we have to say yes to our boss — they’re our boss, right? And if we say “no” then we look like we can’t handle the work — at least, that’s the common reasoning. But in fact, it’s the opposite — explain to your boss that by taking on too many commitments, you are weakening your productivity and jeopardizing your existing commitments. If your boss insists that you take on the project, go over your project or task list and ask him/her to re-prioritize, explaining that there’s only so much you can take on at one time.
- Pre-empting. It’s often much easier to pre-empt requests than to say “no” to them after the request has been made. If you know that requests are likely to be made, perhaps in a meeting, just say to everyone as soon as you come into the meeting, “Look guys, just to let you know, my week is booked full with some urgent projects and I won’t be able to take on any new requests.”
- Get back to you. Instead of providing an answer then and there, it’s often better to tell the person you’ll give their request some thought and get back to them. This will allow you to give it some consideration, and check your commitments and priorities. Then, if you can’t take on the request, simply tell them: “After giving this some thought, and checking my commitments, I won’t be able to accommodate the request at this time.” At least you gave it some consideration.
- Maybe later. If this is an option that you’d like to keep open, instead of just shutting the door on the person, it’s often better to just say, “This sounds like an interesting opportunity, but I just don’t have the time at the moment. Perhaps you could check back with me in [give a time frame].” Next time, when they check back with you, you might have some free time on your hands.
- It’s not you, it’s me. This classic dating rejection can work in other situations. Don’t be insincere about it, though. Often the person or project is a good one, but it’s just not right for you, at least not at this time. Simply say so — you can compliment the idea, the project, the person, the organization … but say that it’s not the right fit, or it’s not what you’re looking for at this time. Only say this if it’s true — people can sense insincerity.
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