I think that at some point of our lives, we are hamsters running on wheels. We keep working hard to get promoted, we keep hanging out with those colleagues whose company we never enjoyed just to fit in, then we keep pushing ourselves to carry on with the same thing because we have that glimmer of hope that one day, things will change. Well,

Nothing is going to change in our lives, until we reflect.

When we reflect we make ourselves truly aware of what is going on. Sometimes, we would move to a better course in pursuit of what we want – lets’ call it the Dream Goal – and eventually succeed. Lets’ talk about that promotion. Just stop and reflect on why. Why do you want that promotion? It is my dream job. Sure. Then how are you supposed to get it? Prove I am capable and keen about it. Good to know. I see you work hard, but what is lacking? Well, maybe I need to ask my manager and convey my interest in that role so I be told the specific skills needed for the role. Good call.

I always begin with Why. A question that saves my time from making fruitless efforts for something that I may not really want eventually. In the case of trying to fit in with those colleagues, I would ask myself, Why do I try so hard to be accepted by them?. If you can’t find a good reason, then stop doing anything about it. And do not feel bad – you are merely using your time and energy for something to which you can contribute more. You have every right and you are not putting your precious time to waste.

The reason we need to reflect is to stop and think if something or someone is any beneficial or necessary to us or vice versa. More importantly: does it makes us happy? I recommend getting to know yourself better. Read Stephen Covey’s 7 Habits of Highly Effective People. His first three habits cover principles of personal vision, leadership and management. I view them as the three basic principles of self-awareness. The better you know yourself, the easier you manage your time and decisions around things that make you happy. Stephen says:

Happiness can be defined, in part at least, as the fruit of the desire and ability to sacrifice what we want now for what we want eventually.

Why is your dream goal and  what you choose to sacrifice is how you pursue it. You need to come up with a method that is effective to bring you closer to your dream goal or better yet, achieve it. This is where your creativity kicks in. 

What I normally do is stand back and observe or learn from others how they go about in pursuit of the same thing. Whatever they have tried and tested, I would factor those in. Perhaps I could come up with something better but more importantly, I should enjoy the journey I am taking in pursuit of that dream goal. We know that:

Success is a journey, not a destination. The doing is often more important than the outcome. 

And when you enjoy your journey towards your dream goal, you would feel no regret should you fail. You hardly feel tired or bored throughout the process. 

Lastly, What. I usually measure how far I am standing away from my dream goal. What helps to bridge the gap in between. In this case, we need to be honest and critical with ourselves. Sometimes the method we chose is not effective or efficient enough. I recommend setting a time frame as this way, you can get the extra push to reach your dream goal.

So briefly, Why establishes the reason behind your efforts to reach that dream goal, How realizes your plans to pursue it and What is the occasional checks on how far you are from it.

Now, stop awhile, and reflect.