The Effectiveness of Self–Reflection

Limits to what is possible to achieve are created by our actions and limits to our actions are created within our minds. The philosophy...

Limits to what is possible to achieve are created by our actions and limits to our actions are created within our minds. The philosophy, values or ideas behind our actions can be refer to as mental model. So in order to remove limits to our possibilities we have to change our mental models.

What is Self-Reflection

Having recently made a mistake that caused trouble and worry for others, I was recommended by my supervisor to set aside some time each day to make self–reflections and write them down. Self–reflection is like writing a diary, where you look back on the day’s events and write them down. Through self–reflection, you revise your mental model and make changes to your own actions. Sometimes you really do not know what is going on and what you are doing as the day goes by. You perform actions that might prove detrimental towards your potential goals, or the goals of others or a business, but you may not actually realize what you are doing is hindering possible growth. However, by looking back at the actions, what took place and what you did during a given event, you are more likely to recognize these issues and identify what might be the trigger points for these activities and actions.
The steps that are required in order to create such a self-reflection journal include:
  1. Write down what you experienced during the day. Always write down the events at the end of the day and never skip a day, as events become much more difficult to discern, which in turn might cause you to forget aspects of the event or mentally alter the event entirely
  2. Deduce the mental model to which your actions were attributed
  3. Identify the starting point of when you first came to the understanding of these specific events and when you started to think or act the way that you do (you might not be able to remember the very first time, but attempt to think back as far as you possibly can).
  4. Think of what mental model you should have or what actions you should take in the future in order to be more successful. By noting what you need to do in order to be more successful, you are more likely to actually perform these actions and correct the situations that are causing the problems.

Results of Self-Reflection

After one month of practicing the activity, I began to realize that my everyday life — which had seemed rather uneventful — was, in fact, made up of a variety of experiences. I then came to see that behind everything I said or did, there lay a set of my own preconceptions. As a result of continuing this process of reflection, I became more attentive to people’s facial expressions and words so that I could grasp their intent without being influenced by my preconceptions. I was able to spend time being more focused. That is, the mental model that had been built inside me over many years — which lay behind the actions that caused my mistake — was beginning to change, and my actions began to change too.
While self–reflection is effective for preventing the same mistakes from happening twice; it started off originally as an approach for promoting actions that lead toward achieving more. It is clear that in transforming one’s behavior or engaging in innovative endeavors, the person’s mental model influences the outcome. In order to be successful at various things, I intend to not only learn new skills and acquire information, but to also value these moments of inner self–reflection.
By using these specific techniques for individuals inside of the office or place of work, it gives everyone the chance to see where they can improve and work towards their ultimate goals.

By Kazuhiko Sato, Business Consultants, Inc.


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