Introspection and extrospection

Over the past few weeks I’ve been asking myself the question ‘what is this blog about?’.
I’ve been thinking about the topics I share most often and how that can be encapsulated into a few words, a clear answer to my question.

Over the past few months I’ve been in a personal development, problem solving, self-help space which is reflected in my writing.

But in the last few days the ideas I’ve had for blog posts have been things I’ve noticed or observed, nothing to do with personal development.

I was then reminded of the origin of this blog, taking the opportunity to notice something in myself or the world then use that to find a lesson, growth point or a helpful reminder.

It’s a balance of introspection and extrospection.

To observe and understand life in the same way that we can observe and understand ourselves.

It’s a mix of personal development, self-discovery/exploration, career, social-media, wellness and blogging tips.

Value in the workplace

When you go to work, you want to feel like you’re of value. Perhaps not to the point where the whole place would fall apart without you but at least like what you contribute each day matters.

When a person wakes up, gets ready and goes to work, if they feel like they don’t need to be there or as though everything would seamlessly continue if they walked out, the person won’t take much care in the work they do.

And deep down or perhaps just beneath the surface we all know that often the care comes before the feeling of significance. It tends to start with taking pride in what you do and then the feeling of value or making a worthy contribution comes after.

But what if you’re doing your best and that feeling still never comes?

I think a big part of feeling of value in your job can come from external validation. This isn’t about knowing that you’re working hard and doing a great job but your manager or boss is undervaluing you. This is about how you feel about yourself and the role you play.

I think when a person doesn’t feel like they make a valuable contribution at work, they also start to feel a loss of interest in their work. When it seems like what you do doesn’t matter, what’s the point in caring?

If you don’t see the value in what you do and you’re not interested in it anymore then chances are you’re not happy either. And so the next step is to think about whether or not it’s time to move on to something new or to find a way to make things work.

The importance of introspection

Sometimes taking the time to understand yourself can help you start to understand others.

In particular when it comes to interactions and exchanges not turning out how you’d hoped or think they should. The disclaimer for what is to follow is that of course you don’t need to internalise and understand someone treating you poorly. This is more about having unrealistic expectations based on a false perception of reality.

If you find yourself caught up in thinking about the way a person should have acted in a situation or what they should have said, question it, where are the expectations coming from.

You may find that you’re so focused on the way that things should be, that you’re missing on what is actually happening.

An example could be that someone didn’t ask for your advice on something you had spoken to them about. Your initial reaction may be to feel hurt or annoyed because you feel like they should have spoken to you. But as important as it is to acknowledge your feelings, it’s important to acknowledge the feelings of others.

Ask yourself, why would this person not come to me? It could simply be that they went to someone else instead but you have a habit of berating their choices or trying to make them do what you think is best rather than trust their own judgment.

It’s so easy to just look at things on the surface and get annoyed at the other person but making a little time for introspection might help you see things differently.

Then you can decide how or if you want to change. For example, you could decide to work on telling people what you think is best without pressuring them to do what you think is right.

On the other hand, you could decide to do nothing at all, to stay just as you are. But you can’t continue to get annoyed at people when the problem is you.

And it’s not about getting caught in a spiral of blame, it’s about being aware of your interactions with other people and then figuring out how you can improve them.

How certain is probably?

The idea of language, the way we speak and what we choose to say is fascinating.

There are words you may use without really understanding exactly what they mean or how they could be interpreted.

I recently received a message that included the word probably. My first thought was how far from definite it was.

I found myself asking google ‘How certain is probably?’. The answer I got, is that it’s more likely a yes than no. However, that no is not a no without a shadow of a doubt, it’s more like a no with a shadow of doubt.

For example, if you asked someone of they would help you with something later in the day and they responded with ‘probably’, you haven’t really gained any clarity from the answer.

When you’re looking to someone for some form of clarity, you’ll want responses like yes, no or certainly, you want an answer that you can rely on.

Exciting or comforting

If you had to pick between the 2, which one would you go for.

When you think about word association exciting is probably associated with words like fun but also maybe risk.

Comforting on the other hand is probably associated with familiarity and being boring.

Despite what you might think you’d choose, if you look back on your past choices many people find that they choose comfort, over and over again.

I think the reason for this is that even if we can’t admit it, we’d much rather stick with what we know and be bored than take a risk and potentially have it go wrong.

And so the real choice we give ourselves is risk or relief.

Moving forward

A major contributing factor to moving forward in life is being able to let things go.

It could be physical possessions, people or memories and experiences.

An easy example is if you tried something and it didn’t work out. If you can’t let go of the thing that didn’t work you may find that it underlies future situations when you try something new.

Suddenly you’ve become someone that believes that nothing will work out for you, you become closed off to new things and remain stagnant.

That may seem extreme but that’s the reality of life. You won’t realise how much that one situation affected you until you’re randomly pondering life one Sunday afternoon.

I don’t think there’s one specific way to let go, what works for one may not work for another so it’s important to figure it out for yourself.