Proper introspection leads to greater learning

productivity Jan 20, 2024
Proper introspection leads to greater learning

In my previous post, I talked about the importance of experience when it comes to learning effectively. Today, we'll be talking about how proper introspection leads to greater learning and increased efficiency, as well as how to wrap your head around it.

Here's why introspection is so powerful for learning:

  • Deeper reflection leads to greater discoveries
  • Get past roadblocks by only thinking
  • Build & reinforce a stronger self-image

Prime people to learn introspection

Those who would benefit most from this post are those who have trouble learning from their mistakes. Particularly, those who get stuck in a loop and eventually give up because they never try anything different.

That was certainly me and I've seen the benefits firsthand of how a different approach changes the learning process. If this is you as well, then stick around and read on.

Deeper reflection leads to greater discoveries

In the past, I would never really think too hard about the moments where I messed up. I would simply move on and try again. This is how I ended up getting rejected three times in high school. Looking back, I didn't need to be rejected even a second time to begin the reflection process, and neither should you.

When we make mistakes, we must reflect and learn from what we did wrong. However, it's just as important to learn from what you did right.

All too often in this era, we hyper-focus on the mistake and completely ignore the positive effort. I remember when we'd get tests back in high school, and everybody would be discussing their answers and marks.

Too many people are like how we were back in high school, scrambling over what they got wrong and why. Not enough people are looking at what they did right and why.

Proper introspection requires that you not only reflect on your mistakes but also on your achievements.

It sounds a little bit silly to have to analyze why you got a perfect mark on your test or how you won a race. However, if all you do is beat yourself up for not being perfect, the result is you will never be perfect.

Luckily, this deeper reflection is really easy to do. Simply analyze what you did that you want to improve at, and then analyze what you did that you want to keep doing.

When you take the time to reflect deeply, you will learn so much more. You just have to make sure you do it properly and deeply.

Proper introspection helps with roadblocks

When you're in the moment, it's not a good idea to slow down and think. This usually leads to you tripping over yourself. I may have gotten rejected three times in high school, but I didn't trip over myself during any of them. Now if only I had taken the time to think afterward.

If you never take the time to reflect, you will never know your roadblocks, let alone know how to get past them. Unfortunately, many people never do reflect.

When you take the time to properly introspect, you will be able to obtain the information you need to get past your roadblocks. This process can be scary, which is why it divides people so firmly.

To do this properly, you need to keep two things in mind.

First, you need to be honest with yourself.

Those who are bold enough to reflect on their experiences are the ones who learn faster and become who they want to be. They aren't afraid to sit down and be honest with themselves. 

They have a strong enough sense of self that they can admit to themselves when they make a mistake and not feel destroyed afterward. This sense of self can be cultivated through self-honesty.

Second, you need to have a goal in mind.

It's one thing to be honest with yourself, it's another to do it for no reason. Without a goal in mind for your introspection, it's being done for no reason.

When I say to have a goal in mind, what I mean is to make it clear to yourself. Write it down, put some detail into it, and have an image of the end goal in mind.

By combining self-honesty and a strong goal, your reflection will lead to you being able to identify your roadblocks and find a way around them with ease. When you can manage this, learning becomes more enjoyable and a lot smoother.

Build & reinforce a stronger self-image

How many times have you done something that scared you? Now, how many of those ended up terrible for you? Chances are, none of them ended up going bad for you and they went better than you expected. When I finally decided to reflect upon being rejected in high school, I realized this about all three of them.

Have you ever wondered why so many people have a low sense of self-esteem? One answer to this question is they're never allowed to tackle their challenges.

For most people, they're told what to think and how to live. They never get to try and figure things out for themselves when they're young.

When we take the time to properly introspect, we are allowing ourselves to solve our problems with our knowledge and strength. This process is what builds self-esteem over time.

By repeatedly putting yourself in these self-reflection scenarios, you are showing yourself that you are capable of handling these things by yourself.

You show yourself that you are sufficient enough to handle problems in your life. To make this easier, there are a few tricks to keep in mind.

First, be honest with yourself about your limitations.

If you know you can't do it by yourself, ask for some help. If you need to ask a question before making a decision, then get your question answered.

Don't let your pride stop you from taking those important steps to solving your issues. This can make or break the entire process.

Second, put more emphasis on what you did right.

By focusing more on what you did right, you give yourself an anchor to hold onto when the sea gets stormy. Once the storm strikes again, simply repeat what you did last time if things get too dicey.

If this means you forget to do what you were trying to improve, that's ok. Every time you remember that you didn't do that thing will make it easier for you to keep it in mind without having to think about it.

Third, stay relaxed.

If you're panicking when the heat is on, then something will catch fire. Maintain your cool even if the fire is blazing right next to you.

Be like a duck: no matter how fast you're moving underneath, keep everything on the surface steady and calm even if it's just an act. No matter what happens, you will be okay.

Building self-esteem through thorough reflection is a long process. For this reason, many people never start the process. 

By taking the time to properly reflect, you are making things easier on yourself by making yourself more competent. Just remember to take things slow and steady.

Proper introspection leads to an easier life

How would you like to become better at life without having to live a whole lot of it? Or how about learning a lesson without having to go through a lot of the same experiences? 

Those who know how to properly reflect on their experiences are those who achieve this. They work smarter instead of harder.

One final tip: proper introspection requires you to take proper time for yourself. Yes, pressure builds diamonds, but it also causes buildings to crumble into rubble.

- Karl