I believe in self-reflection.
I remember where I was sitting on the first floor of the David O. McKay library. I had just finished my lunch back at my apartment and was ready to fight the Idaho winter chill to finish some homework at the library. I unconsciously opened the double doors and rushed past the computer lab. I headed straight for my usual spot at the row of study desks in the west wing. I sat down in the chair, recovering from the cold that still lingered around my body, and partially musing over what I needed to accomplish that day. I sat there, unenthusiastic and loathing the thought of opening my backpack to begin the many hours of homework I had to complete that day. Just then, I remembered that the book, “Tuesday’s With Morrie” by Mitch Albom, was nestled in my bag. I knew it was required of my literature class, but I hadn’t begun reading it. With my numb fingers, I fumbled with the zipper and opened my bag to retrieve a book that would soon generate a life-change.
The first twenty minutes flew by too quickly to even notice. An hour sped by, and soon it became two. At this point, I was unable to see the words on the pages. My eyes were pouring streams of tears and my heart was overwhelmed with complete emotion. This book introduced truths and themes that motivated me to become a better person. I took its theme to heart: “When you know how to die, you know how to live.” Other students may have thought that I was having an emotional breakdown; in actuality, I was experiencing a change of heart, mind, and action.
Coming home later that night, I turned on my bedside lamp, put on my fleece pajamas and knelt beside my bed. My mind was swirling with thoughts and ideas. It was then that I began my bed-side ritual of my daily self-reflection. What are my goals? What did I accomplish today? What do I believe? What did I learn today? Did I make the best of my time? In my head, I answered these questions and with vigor and excitement I vowed to spend time every night before bed for self-reflection.
Since that experience, I have begun to notice the world around me with a new set of eyes. I have discovered new beliefs; beliefs in the power of courteous phone calls, thank you cards, friendly greetings, and a good cup of mint tea! I have discovered my weaknesses. I understand where my faults lie and the ways in which I can improve them. (I am hoping that someday they will evolve into my strengths.) I try my best to make everyday count. If I don’t succeed that day, my goal is to make the next time my best.
I am convinced that self-evaluation brings about great and powerful change. Self-reflection brings about motivation; motivation to keep on going, “to stand a little taller, to be a little better,” as Gordon B. Hinckley once said. Self-reflection brings about power of self, and, if used correctly, can empower anyone to shape, change and create a successful and beautiful world. Who knew that my one literature class assignment could bring about such a wonderful experience! I am forever grateful to that book and my beginning in living a better, lovelier, and more productive life.
If you enjoyed this essay, please consider making a tax-deductible contribution to This I Believe, Inc.