6 questions for meaningful reflection
I once had a potential client tell me that she didn't need any help in becoming more self-aware as she over-thought enough. I found it a really interesting point that has stayed with me for well over a year now. It is easy to mistake over-thinking, pointless rumination, as self-reflection. And for a lot of us, over-thinking is a habit that we succumb to when negative things occur.
But just because you often over-think doesn't mean that you can't instil a habit of meaningful reflection. The difference is in the questions you ask yourself.
I think the 6 best questions to turn rumination into quality self-reflection are:
1. What led me to that decision/action? Unearth what was going on, not just in the moment but in your wider life.
2. Why did I choose that decision? Were you even aware that you had a choice in the moment? Why did I turn down other potential avenues?
3. What were the consequences of my choice? All of them, not just the negative ones.
4. If I’m unhappy with those consequences, what changes could I make to my thought process to avoid a similar choice and outcome next time? If I’m happy with them, how can I replicate them in future?
5. What did I not know that I needed to?
6. When have I made better/worse choices and what is the difference this time?
And at the end of the reflection, forgive yourself if you are judging your choices. Commit to doing better in future, but forgive and let go.
And if you are happy with your choices, celebrate them! High fives all round 🙌.
Overthinking solves little. High quality thinking solves much.