“We learn wisdom by three means: first, by reflection, which is the noblest; second, by imitation, which is the easiest; and third by experience, which is the bitterest.” – Confucius. Reflection still holds the reputation of being a surest way to tapping into the wisdom of life. No one learns from experience; we only learn when we reflect on them. What are those things you’ve been through in life? There is so much wisdom and value in them, but only through the power of reflection can you tap into them.
How to tap into the power of reflection
There are few ways I have mapped out by which one can benefit greatly from the power of reflection. They include: introspection, retrospection and observation.
Retrospection simply means, looking behind, taking critical look at things that have happened in your past (probably a recent experience, occurrence or incidence) in order to draw wisdom and find a meaning. It has been said, “no one joins the dots of his life by looking ahead, but by looking behind.” To find the meaning of life, one always needs to retrospect. It’s not just enough to be experiencing life. You also need to be able to question why certain things are happening in certain ways around your life. This is how to make sense out of life and draw wisdom to face future circumstances.
This requires looking within. Wisdom in life always require you knowing who you are, what you stand for, why you’re existing and what value you’ve got. You can’t be wise when you’re not self-aware. Introspection is an inevitable part of the whole. A man who does not know himself really knows nothing, regardless what else he knows. How much you know about yourself is what determines how wisely you make life decisions. When you spend time enough with yourself in solitude, you unlock the power of reflection (to dig deep beneath the realm of fleeting thoughts).
One of the best skills a man can have in life is the skill of observation i.e. being able to notice patterns and pick clues around him. Life is the best teacher, but only those who are good observers can be called good students. “Several people saw Apples fall from the tree, but only Isaac Newton asked ‘why'”. The ‘why’ he asked was what brought about the law of gravitation. Are you just waking and sleeping daily, looking at plenty things, but seeing nothing? This is because you lack observation. A searching mind will always see better than the brightest eyes. To be a good observer, you don’t just allow things to happen and go; rather, you ask questions.
These three ways are the major ways to draw from the pool of wisdom that life offers to us on daily basis. Without them, you may be increasing in age, but adding no wisdom. As a matter of fact, we may only be as wise as the experiences we’ve had which we have reflected upon to draw lessons. Without the evaluation, experience is nothing.
I remain your clarity coach and your clarity remains my priority.