“Knowing yourself is the beginning of all wisdom.” This quote from Aristotle hints at the power of reflection.
History and personal experience demonstrate that only by truly understanding ourselves are we able to progress. Reflection is harder than it first seems and confronting the truth can be difficult and even distressing. Initially, we may discover imperfections and it takes great courage to accept those flaws and accept the challenge to address them.
Most of us have just finished our school exams. This gives us the perfect opportunity to reflect on our performance during the next few days. Whether better than expected or slightly disappointing we should try to put some time aside to reflect: What did I do right? How could I improve next time around? What habits do I need to develop? Asking ourselves these questions is the first step, but it is crucial that we act on what we have discovered and create a plan for what we must do next time in order to see even better success.
In general, taking the time to reflect – perhaps at the end of the day – provides us with a reliable technique to help improve our performance in any area of our lives. Meditation can often be an efficient way to reflect, spending as little as five or ten minutes can really help us understand ourselves better and think clearly about what has happened during our day. I encourage all of us to spend this short amount of time to reflect on our own actions carefully and act on the conclusions that we have drawn. Be honest. In doing so, we will thrive and be the best version of ourselves.
If we can all begin to reflect, I am certain that the school community as a whole will see positive developments. For example, we will see further integration of our School Values, including integrity and respect.
Finally, it is important to note that reflection is not used to achieve our perfect self, but only to develop gradually as a person. When we reflect, we should “strive for progress, not perfection”.
Lower Sixth Form student