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  • Elena Jean

Take a break, step back, and prioritize reflection time

Regular reflection will help you create purpose, develop valuable ideas and make better decisions.

Regular reflection will help you create purpose, develop valuable ideas and make better decisions. It’ll also help you be more grounded and just chill the heck out (something people increasingly seem to need prescriptions for).

When you look at your reflection in a pool of water, it’s not as clear as what you see in reality. It takes some time and moments of calm to discern what’s really there. I think historically we found our reflections quite fascinating. But, as modern conditions would have it, that pool has become a screen and we prefer to spend our time tapping away at imaginative ideas of ourselves and others.

We also like to excessively read stuff like “The Top 10 Ways To Make Better Decisions”, rather than reflect on our own experiences to develop our own “Top 10”. This is creating some weird echo chambers online (on Instagram, Medium, in the news, etc) that I’m noticing and getting rather tired of.

Many issues stem from a lack of reflection, including less awareness and understanding, and less control. We risk ripping through life on autopilot, or at the whim of exterior pressures, which can lead to dissatisfaction, hurt and confusion. I think in this busy and competitive world, it can seem difficult to find space to properly reflect. But it’s critical we do – slow down, find quiet, take time out and ask questions.

My values have strengthened over the last few years. Through trial and error I’ve figured out how I want to live, and the belief systems I want to live from. It’s regular, honest reflection that brought me here – reflecting on experiences I’ve had, and the choices and impact I’ve made. Reflection has enabled me to be more intentional in my actions, and thus more in control.

In contrast, there have been times when my values weren’t fully developed or known, and my actions were (rather unfortunately) misaligned. This was particularly true when my values weren’t as strong as the pressures of my environment.

For example, not long ago, I was building a clothing company (some of you know) with a wildlife conservation spin. For a period of time, when I wasn’t very in tune with myself, I was interested in scaling the company out with investor money, annoying digital marketing tactics, and overseas mass manufacturing. I’m happy I didn’t follow through with that plan, as it would’ve been very misaligned with my conservation-based values (I’m no longer interested selling clothing, since we‘ve got more than enough 👕 on this crazy busy 🌎 #lessismore).

With time and honest reflection, I believe my values strengthened and I made better choices for myself, as well as for people and planet. I learned that just because you can do something, doesn’t mean you should.

We want our values, sense of purpose and belief systems to be able to carry us through challenging times. To have this kind of internal strength, we must regularly reflect. In university, I generally lacked this internal strength because A) I was young and learning (dumb), but also B) because life was crazy busy, stressful and I felt pressure coming in from all sides. A wiser, older self would tell my younger self to take a break, a step back, and prioritize some proper reflection time.

I won’t pretend I’ve got it all figured out (HA!) – this is just an insight I’m developing. Like you (dear reader), I find my values and sense of self tested and challenged on a daily basis. From the time I wake up, to what I eat, to the work I do, to living with an ADHD brain. But I’m loving getting better at turning inwards and moving onwards.


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