on reflection

7 minutes

Dear readers,

I am an introvert. I do not talk a lot, nor reveal myself just to anyone. Most of the times, I am juggling between the rights and the wrongs, about the decisions I have made, about my attitude in responding to certain situations, about the prejudice I have given to someone I am working and interacting with, and many more. I know that even as a being I have damages for I think I have made so many mistakes, moreover some of them are consciously done.

Long time ago, there is this quite painful word that someone had ever said to me and sadly, it affected me that much. I even could not even stop remembering the twinged feelings I experienced. The word is rusak–broken. I was agreeing to that someone said, even though that specific person was actually never knew me that deep, never he/she became someone so important to me like a family for being friendly did not mean I was allowing he/she to be a part of me.

There are times when I was so consumed by what society think. But then again, there are the more times I think and reflect, that the hurt may mean something,  signaling paths that I have chose so my mind will grow. It takes time to finally I realize that I am not an inanimate object, yet a living being. I do have so many shortcomings, weakness and other things which I could learn for my own goodness. And the most important part is, again, I am a living being so the word ‘broken’ is never for me.

That pretty much realization happens only after I was getting hurt.

This makes me wondering why during Ramadan, a holy month of Islam, people are easier to conduct good deeds such going to pray in Mosque on time, saving more money to give to those in needs, even willing to do Tarawih–evening prayers in congregation for a full month. However in the same time, for 30 full days during the day we are fasting. Could anyone guarantee that we will do the pretty much same thing even though we are not fasting? or are we only calculation beings who are doing good deeds only at certain months? The answers, to me, are on how we are used to pleasure ourselves. To be spiritually strong, ones need to be ready with travelling thorny paths, to not easily hate someone disagreed from us.

Now, why we should make time for reflection even if we hate doing it. The above examples may be too personal and seemingly cannot be generalized. I am moving my topic about reflection on professional levels.

Working in a corporate, I realize that with the hustle and bustle of the works makes me less to reflect about my own self. Thus, I sometimes need one medium to accommodate me reflecting in more visible and comfortable way. Expressing myself naturally not only becomes a catharsis to relinquish the hidden emotion accumulated through anxieties and tensions, but also becomes reflection I could see as a third person reading complex feelings which often have been poured out in a messy way. Reflection is about careful thought so the most useful reflection will involve conscious consideration and analysis of beliefs and actions in order to learn.

There is this interesting research that employees who manage their time to reflect for 15 minutes at the end of working day will performed 23% better after 10 days than those who don’t. As an introvert, reflection seems pretty much natural until I realize that there are actually not many people who understand the process. Chances are, maybe my families, my friends and even coworkers are way better at rating some parts of my personality that I am. Reality is this, I am the only person on Earth who have direct access of my every feeling, experience, and thoughts. The only person who know best about me should also be me.

As we actually may realize, the busiest person in company should be the C-level employees. One of CEO half jokingly said that his real job is answering 2000 email per day or the other spend for tons of meetings, meaning making time for only reflection will be a total waste. Being slow down when we are already getting busier will not even help productivity.  However now let us learn from great fortune 500 leaders about how they are making time for reflection to support their productivity. Many of those leaders, even though they are extremely busy, have set at least an hour a day during their entire career with activities classified deliberate learning. They are, from what this article said, often take into three forms like extensive reading, safeguarding time for reflection, and diligently experimenting for new stimulus and perspectives.

A daily self-reflection practice will improves leadership performance. Reflection requires honesty. Often times in social media, people are more eager to share positive sides of their working life, carefully not to mention the hardships behind those positive results. So to me, reflecting through social media, including blog, Twitter, Instagram, etc., is not for everyone.

I am now thinking and try to reshape reasons why people often times neglecting reflection. First, maybe they just never set aside their time only for reflecting. It is like setting a side for regular exercise, to become a great leader one should manage their time to reflect. Outside, we tend to look ourselves more desirable and capable to our surrounding so pretty naturally we tend to only show the positives of our daily life.

Bill Gates, Mark Zuckenberg, Warren Buffet and Oprah Winfrey have this 5-hour rule which also contains time to reflect. CEO of Linkedin, Jeff Weiner schedules his 2-hour time per day in order to think. He was saying that scheduling for nothing improves his productivity.

I, in other hand, usually take time for thinking and writing during my commute. It usually takes about 3-6 hours of commuting and either I spent my time for sleeping, I sometimes use the time during commute by reading, thinking, and writing. This turned out to be one of the most effective way to be productive. Based on research published by BBC here, there are more to do in commuting, so lest assure, even if reflection are not your forte, this articles will give you ideas on what to do in long commute.

Second, some of us must be scared of the reflection results. Being honest will help my decision-making, learning, and even communication to become more effective. The more I practice, the more it is to be easier. When I was getting hurt, there is this fact that deep down, I did not accept to be treated that certain way. Maybe my ego was hurt by those treatment, maybe I was in denial about some things, and etc. By setting aside who is the right and the wrong, I could slowly understand myself and the people treating me badly.

Denial has become one of the most destructive practices in leaderhsip. Reading at this article, it tells how Henry Ford, the owner of Ford Motor Company, was constantly at denial about one of Its Line Product, T Model. History already shows that the declining of company was affected by denial leadership. Through history, Ford believed that the company knew best about their customers even though there were clear statistics showing the declining number of T Model market share. In his vision, the declining numbers were just a manipulaion of his competitive company and even fired one of his top executives for against his ideas.

Third, they might still wonder the best way to reflect. I have told you before that I usually use my commute to reflect.  However, people are different. Beside doing it during my commute, I ask and talk about questions I have found to those who are capable at. This also becomes one alternative on reflection.

Think of the most possible way that we can be really honest on answering questions. Personally, I have this ‘honest moment’ everyday. The time are random, but me being honest is a must. No matter how hateful I am toward just anyone, how bad my attitude and decision, I will state it and some people may read or see them that really depends on when and how I am expressing it.






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