“Reading can teach you the best of what others already know. Reflection can teach you the best of what only you can know.”
—James Clear, author, entrepreneur, and photographer
Image from Unsplash by Ben White
How are reading and reflecting a bit like eating and digestion?
Depending on what you read, you may consume both good and not so good nutrients. Just like reading the labels on packaged foods, we all need to be more discerning as to what we take into our minds as well as our bodies.
With many having made resolutions to be healthier and fit in 2021, we could all more carefully reflect on concepts worthy of digesting and assimilating into our lives.
How would greater selectivity in your reading and far more thoughtful reflection help you lead a more wonderful and wiser life?
“It’s hard to see your own face without a mirror.”
—Phil McGraw, American TV Personality “Dr. Phil”
Image from Unsplash by Laurenz Kleinheider
I recently facilitated a team-building workshop with one of my favorite clients. Half of the twelve participants had worked with me before. The other six were with me for the first time. The senior leader has been coaching each of them for more than a decade and he wanted to boost his efforts with this session.
We discussed a variety of topics, and did a strength/weakness exercise, which is fairly standard for such meetings. Surprisingly, the feedback and comments from their colleagues made an even bigger impression on the participants than most expected.
Where are or could you more fully use the people in your personal and professional communities as a mirror, to realize more of your fullest potential?
“By going out of your mind, you come to your senses.”
—Alan Watts, 20th Century British-American philosopher
Image from Unsplash by Zac Durant
Have you ever considered that going out of our minds was a good thing?
Not in the One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest way, but in a quieting the inner voice/monkey mind way.
During a recent meditation session, the instructor led me through an exercise that focused on each of the five senses. With this shift of focus, I noticed a considerable reduction and even a few momentary stoppages of mental chatter and a greater sense of calm and presence.
Consider spending 60 seconds on each of your five senses. Make a note or two regarding what you perceived:
Where in your life would going out of your mind and coming to your senses have the greater benefit?
“The most important things are the hardest to say, because words diminish them.”
—Stephen King, American Author of horror, suspense, and science fiction
Image from Unsplash by Aaron Burden
Last August, my wife Wendy and I took an extraordinary vacation with two friends. We went to Africa, Ireland, and Iceland.
As I so often do, I took a journal to capture our daily adventures, but found that I had surprisingly little interest in detailing our many wonderful experiences through the written word.
When I did write something, it felt like a recounting or summary of the days, and had none of the emotions and deep feelings of awe we experienced. I did, however, find that taking pictures lived up to the “thousand words” motto – and we sure took a bunch!
Reflect on some of the most important things in your life and consider how you experience them beyond the limits of any words. Feel free to reply to this post with your best description of what you observe, even if it falls a bit short of the full experience.
“To read without reflecting is like eating without digesting.”
—Edmund Burke, 18th Century Irish Statesman
Image from Flickr by Sebastien Wiertz
Think back to your biology or life science classes in high school. How much do you recall about the central nervous system, the cardiovascular system, or in the case of today’s quote, the digestive system?
The journey a single bite of food takes from our mouth, into and through the stomach, small intestine, large intestine, and colon takes somewhere between 18 and 24 hours.
What do you think would happen if the length of digestion time were cut in half, and food was processed in 9 to 12 hours instead? What percent of the vital nutrients would be available to nourish our bodies?
Consider speed reading, executive book summaries, the classic CliffNotes or Monarch notes – and even Twitter – as ways we short-cut the learning process. What valuable nuggets of wisdom are being missed or lost through the use of short-cuts?
Where specifically would greater reflection on the materials you are currently reading make the biggest difference?
Consider re-reading one of your most highly prized and valuable books from your past. Read it slowly, with the intent of digesting and teaching the most important lessons to a class composed of people you know would benefit the most.
Please let me know which book you would re-read, and what you discovered in the process.
“Remember, all the answers you need are inside of you; you only have to become quiet enough to hear them.”
—Debbie Ford, author of The Dark Side of the Light Chasers
Image from Pinterest
Take a moment to reflect on your day so far.
How much quietness, peace, serenity, and tranquility have you experienced? On the other hand, how much stress, chaos, multi-tasking, and general noise have you experienced?
If you have plenty of quiet time, you are one of the lucky ones who have time to think and reflect on the important questions life may be asking.
If your life fits more with the second category, you may be unable to hear yourself think.
Find a special location in both your personal and professional worlds to spend just ten minutes per day in quiet reflection, to discover the important answers to the questions life is asking.
FRIDAY REVIEW: REFLECTION
Do you give yourself adequate time for reflection? Here are a few reflection-related posts you may have missed. Click on the links to read the full messages:
“There are two ways of spreading light: to be the candle or the mirror that reflects it.”
“My sun sets to rise again.”
“Life always offers you a second chance. It’s called ‘tomorrow.’”