The importance of reflection

Taking time to look back on all that has happened in your life


Quinn Robinson-Duff, Opinions Writer

Life can be a vicious cycle in which similar situations and issues arise repeatedly, seemingly out of control. However, this constant pattern could be the result of not learning from personal experiences. It’s crucial that we acknowledge a mistake, adapt and learn to prevent the same mistake from happening again. Almost everyone does it to a certain extent. Let’s say you’re exchanging a conversation between friends, cracking jokes and having a laugh. You say something that causes the scene to go silent, whether the statement was straight out weird with no context or it just was not in tune with the topic at hand. As an individual, you recognize the error of what was said, sometimes even feeling ashamed. That feeling, that sense of shame is something no one likes to experience, so what do you do?

In most cases we discover what we did wrong and change it. A simple “okay so that embarrassing statement I just made that makes me feel shameful, yeah let’s not say that again.” We all learn from our mistakes. It can be easier said than done at times, especially if a provoking emotion already exists. Therefore, reflecting on the past is a valuable tool, it challenges us to dive into our past, to examine a multitude of actions and the following of consequences or rewards. By doing so we can delve deep into our thought process, studying our own behavioral patterns that caused us to execute the selected action being dwelled on.

The further we undergo the reflection of our past, we begin to learn an abundant amount of ourselves. We begin to learn who we are, what makes us unique and what makes us human. That’s an exponential difference between us and other animals. We have conquered the ability to think outside the box by being able to contemplate what we did and why we did it.

Failures are some of life’s most powerful lessons. It exemplifies our weaknesses and how we can overcome them, they help define us.

“I have not failed, I just found 10,000 ways that won’t work”- Thomas Edison.

At the end of the day, it’s critical to know that failures change us. They show us our true selves during a moment of weakness. In that sense, we should never be discouraged by them to the point of giving up. Because once you give up, the failure will never become a success. Isn’t that what we all want? To be successful? Sure the idea of success is different for everybody, but no successful person achieved great accomplishments without going through difficult times. The main difference between them and us is that they did not recede. They persevered.

Reflect on those failures in the past, learn from them and try again, if it still does not work try harder. Dissect them from your personal life and understand what could have been done differently. Discuss it with personal friends and family, do what needs to be done to understand why you failed. Learn, adapt and overcome. Life’s too long to wallow in the past, so use it as a foundation to create a desirable future for yourself then act on it presently.