I watched a video of John Maxwell giving a talk some time back about “reflection” and the powerful learning tool it is. I assume one of his 500 books is on the subject, or at least includes this as a ‘principle.’ He talked about the age old phrase, “experience is the best teacher.” Maxwell argues, and I agree, that evaluated experience is the best teacher. This requires a time out if you will, a few moments of reflection where you can ask yourself what the day, or a certain experience, has taught you.
This principle becomes more and more valuable to me as I age. I find myself doing this often now. Probably not as often as I should, but certainly more often than I ever did in my twenties. There are a million things going on in and around life all day every day and taking just a few moments out of every day to reflect has become something I look forward to and value when I make it a priority to do so,
I’ve read books and have heard therapists talk about the power of simply talking through something, or even writing it down, and how doing so seems to lessen the stress or tension, or reduce the stronghold, the “energy” you’ve held inside can have on oneself. I’ve never believed otherwise.
However, this realization came to light again recently and has reminded me how much better life can be, and how much more pleasant I’d be, if I’d simply practice both of these principles – 1. Reflect daily, and 2. Release negativity often.
Two weeks ago I was at an off-site meeting with a group of people that I work with. We work separately for the most part, but all contribute in the same department, one way or another. At one point during our time together, set in a beautiful local winery, our facilitator asked us to share something we love about our jobs and something we didn’t love.
In sharing what I “hated,” I made a joke or two but also passionately expressed something I found to be very frustrating. I didn’t think much of it in the moment and ultimately, it’s a very small detail that doesn’t, or shouldn’t, really effect my day or my job.
On the way home, however, as I was reflecting on my own contribution to the conversation, I started to realize just how petty my frustration was. I realized, that in voicing my frustration with this group, I didn’t give power to the negativity, but actually helped call the frustration out and diminished the hold it did have on me. Nothing at work, in this regard, has changed – the basis of my frustration still exists. However, it doesn’t seem to be such an issue for me. Today, I could care less about “it.” And all it took was about 90 seconds of venting about it.
Now, I’m just annoyed at myself for taking so long to just simply call attention to it and let it go. And, of course, now I wonder where else in my life can I do this, should I do this?