We spend most of our lives looking forward, forging ahead to achieve more, do better, be greater.
We are all programed to get somewhere, and many of us blindly comply without quite knowing where our path leads. Life becomes a series of check boxes that we accomplish, cross off, and move on from—on to the next. We strive to excel in high school to attend a great college, to secure our first job, which ultimately paves the foundation for career success and safe retirement. For many, this path progresses forward in clear, unwavering, steps.
While this constant forward momentum can be positive, driving results and stability, it can also be draining, to both the mind and body. The trouble is, many of us charge forward never pausing to reflect on, ‘why.’
Why do we do what we do?
Understanding ‘why’ we do what we do is key in illuminating our direction, and ultimately, our happiness. And to do so, we must pause, and take time to look back on how far we have come...
One of the best ways to gain clarity in future direction is to reflect on past accomplishments. Our proudest moments remind us of what we value, what means most to us, who means most to us. These moments of accomplishment, when distraction ceases and time stops, these are the moments that help us to see what’s motivating, energizing, worth committing time to. All too often, achievement is fleeting: celebrated quickly and then forgotten. We must not forget how far we have come. Our past can be the key to our future if we reflect wisely.
We must all engage in rear-view reflection.
Find a comfy chair, take a pause, and reflect on your ten proudest accomplishments. List these in order of how you vividly you remember them.
Next, under each accomplishment, jot down bullet point reflections:
- What happened?
- Why did I do it?
- What did I gain?
- What did I sacrifice?
- Did someone help me?
- Did it make me happy?
- What did I learn about myself?
While a seemingly simple activity, reflection can unlock great insight into inner motives and desires. It can help us more clearly articulate what makes us happy; what's worth committing to.
More than we might realize, past experience is powerful in shaping who we are in the present.
In times of uncertainty, it’s okay to look back, check the rear-view for blind spots, and determine the best lane change to forge happily, ahead.