Reflection is a Super Power

Reflection is a superpower.

It’s a shame so few take advantage of it.

Adam Grant said that “If I could only teach kids one thing about achievement, this might be it: Success is not a function of the number of setbacks we face. It’s how much we learn and grow from them.” To do that, we must help them reflect, meaningfully.

Amy Edmondson in a study of high-performing teams found teams that created psychological safety and then reviewed their performance, dissected, and looked for opportunities to improve created the best results.

In a longitudinal study in Australia, John Hattie found that the ONLY meaningful driver of in-year student performance was if the teacher stopped at the end of every day and reflected on student performance and their own performance. All the other circumstances were noise – socio-economics, parenting, etc…

The Harvard Grant Study, the only longitudinal study I know of to follow a group of men from their late teens to the end of their life found that the quality of life depends on the quality of their relationships. And the quality of your relationships depend almost solely on your coping mechanisms. There are four coping mechanisms: Toddler Tantrums, Delusion, Deflection, and Reflection. You guessed it, reflection is the only coping mechanism that helps build relationships.

Sara Blakely father asked her every night at the kitchen table: “What did you fail at today?” In doing so, he helped his kids develop a reflective mindset and put failure as a celebrated part of the journey.

Jim Collins has a disciplined journalling strategy where he scores every day. His aim is simple: Spend more days that challenge him and give him energy.

Benjamin Franklin Charlie Munger, Marcus Aurelius, Oprah…the list goes on and on of those who attribute a good portion of their success to reflection.

Ray Dalio said Pain + Reflection = Progress.

I love the maxim. I carry a large heavy coin with it inscribed on it.

But I think it can be better.

We can learn as much from success as we can from failure if we give it the same scrutiny and reflection.

Meaningful Reflection + Intentional Action = Progress

There is one rule to meaningful reflection. It requires you to write it down. Reflection in the head is rumination and rumination leads to ruination if you’re not careful.

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    November 8, 2022