Within each of us are two selves, suggests David Brooks in this meditative short talk: the self who craves success, who builds a résumé, and the self who seeks connection, community, love — the values that make for a great eulogy. (Joseph Soloveitchik has called these selves “Adam I” and “Adam II.”) Brooks asks: Can we balance these two selves? I was touched when he talked about discovering our “signature sin” and how it’s in fighting to overcome it that we build a depth of character. I’ve noticed that a lot of people lack introspection, people aren’t really living from a knowledge of themselves, of their own mind, and the workings of their thoughts and emotions. This is as a result of our fast-paced environment which makes it really difficult to sit down and reflect. However, introspection might just be what would save some of us, below is why I think so:
- It allows you notice patterns in your life. Whether negative or positive, introspection allows you to recognize patterns that occur time and time again, and how and why they have an effect on your actions, emotions and general outlook.
- It keeps you focused on the bigger picture. What is the ultimate goal for you? when you understand this and constantly have it at the back of your mind, it informs your response to challenges, it makes your daily tasks and obligations more meaningful.
- It prevents you from worrying about things out of your control. Introspection would help you learn to detach from issues and situations over which you have no influence, and instead, direct your energy toward things you can absolutely improve on yourself. It would help you learn to adapt to unfavorable conditions.
- It helps you face your fears. By discovering what it is that scares you and why, you can eventually learn how to handle them.
- It allows you to clearly define happiness on your own terms. What does happiness mean to you? When are you most happy? Who do you most enjoy spending time with? What accomplishments are you most proud of and why?
- It allows you to make decisions based on your conscience. Introspection helps you make decisions based on fully understanding what is right or wrong for you, but not only that, it helps make your sense of right and wrong become deeply rooted which in turn informs who you are and what you do.
- You will finally get different results. By becoming more self-aware, you are able to have a better understanding of what you truly want in life. Naturally, this involves making changes, whether they’re significant or menial. This might involve you constantly asking yourself, is it worth it?, and then lead from there.
I would like to recommend “The Road to Character” and “The Social Animal” both written by David Brooks to everyone, they’re a great read. The talk is a bit rushed but worth seeing.