The craft of reflecting

As Mike Hughes has written: "Trying to learn without reviewing is like trying to fill a bath without putting the plug in."

Unless you are prepared to make a real effort to review and reflect on what you have experienced, your learning—just like the bath water—is being wasted. The more you can learn from what you have done, the more you will be able to adapt and change.

Many people choose to write down their reflections. Here are three different approaches.

Will Hutton, ex-Fleet Street editor, not surprisingly chooses the medium of the printed page:

I am a writer. I have to express myself on paper. The act of writing forces me to sort out what I think. It's like storytelling. The same is true of public speaking. I trust my brain to come up with what I think and what I want to say.

In an echo of this, Sir Michael Bichard says:

Learning is about reflecting on experience and situations, working out how to do things differently. I do a lot of public speaking and use these opportunities as a chance to force myself to reflect on what has gone before.

Sir Bob Reid is quite specific:

In all my jobs I meticulously write down what I feel about things in the first weeks. Then I put it away for six months and look at it again later to reflect on what I wrote and felt.

Zoe van Zwanenberg keeps an occasional journal:

At certain times of the year, I take quiet time and think through what I have seen. Then I let my mind wander around the parallels and meanings. I often work by association.

There are two main aspects to the skill of reflecting: thinking about your experiences, and thinking about the process of your learning.

How To Accomplish More In A Fraction Of The Time

How To Accomplish More In A Fraction Of The Time

The pace and intensity of our lives, both at work and at home, leave several of us feeling like a person riding a frantically galloping horse. Our day-to-day incessant busyness too much to do and not enough time; the pressure to produce and check off items on our to-do list by each day’s end seems to decide the direction and quality of our existence for us.

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