A yellow sign sitting on top of a statue.

These Four Introspection Tips Will Improve Your Life

Let’s get real for a moment – have you ever wanted a quick answer? A simple solution. We are in the Information Age, filled with AI and so much technology, but does it feel harder than ever to get a simple answer? I know I have felt that way.

While it may be tempting to pick up a phone or search online for answers, I want to let you know that the best, most available answer you will ever find is closer than you think. Yes, it is! And that place is within you. 

As a life coach for entrepreneurs, I know that everyone wants to sell you something – something to buy into. And yes, I want to sell you on the idea of introspection, the power of looking within. 

In this article, we will define introspection and give you some tools to help you discover the path that is best for you and you alone.

UWASocrates gobeirne cropped

The image above depicts the Greek philosopher Socrates. One of his quotes that I love is, “The unexamined life is not worth living,” and how true this is. Yet, how many of us try to replace self-examination with busyness and activities? 

We think that if we accomplish enough, we will find a sense of purpose and validation. However, I have worked with hundreds of talented and successful people who may have money in the bank but feel no further ahead than a high school graduate.

Enter the idea of introspection, which comes from the Latin words spicere (“to look”) and intra (“within”). Although our culture urges us to mask our sorrows with busyness and things, we can pause and ask ourselves questions to understand the “why” behind everything we do.

Which lights are you following? 

I reside in a semi-rural area where some parts lack streetlights. If I don’t want to collide with a deer, I need to use my headlights, but headlights only illuminate a limited view. To make matters worse, I can become distracted by other sights, such as other drivers, pedestrians, or deer. How do we stay on the path when so many things are demanding our attention?

Similarly, in our personal life, other ‘lights,’ such as unhealed traumas, insecurities, and doubts, may keep us from pursuing our ideal location in life. This is where introspection helps us stay focused, minimize distractions, and concentrate on our ideal path. In the next section, we’ll talk about how to become more introspective.

A yellow sign sitting on top of a statue.

Limitations to Introspection: The Unconscious Mind

Before I list ways to become more introspective, I want to make an important caveat: your mind will not be fully cleared of noise in one day or even year month of introspective work. The reason is that your psyche or mind is filled with lots of noise.

Think of trying to clean up your kitchen after a busy day of cooking; even if you try to clean every nook and cranny, there will be spots you will miss as you inspect and clean. So it is with your mind.

Your mind is divided into two realms – unconscious and conscious thought. We only have access to about 20% of our conscious thoughts, and the rest is trapped in our unconscious mind. The reason is simple: If your mind had to process every single traumatic event minute-by-minute, you would not be able to function.

Just like your computer, which has tons of processes running in the background, it will only alert you when necessary. That’s why most things you will not see. Introspection will allow you to see only what you are ready to know right now.

Okay, without delay, below are four steps to help you during your introspective process.

How to Be More Introspective

What I love about the introspective process is that there is no wrong or right way to proceed. You can spend months, if not years doing one thing at a time.

However, regardless of how you want to become introspective, the process demands rigorous honesty and curiosity on your part. You need to have some level of receptivity as to what your unconscious mind wants to show you.

Pause and Reflect

Busyness can really hijack moments for pause. Kids need to be shuttled to places. Clients want to receive a response. Your partner wants your opinion on your vacation plan. You cannot think for you while trying to accommodate everyone. I recommend taking at least 5-10 minutes each day to pause and reflect.

Now is the time to take a moment to pause and reflect on what truly matters to you. This doesn’t have to be as weighty as “How do you want to be remembered if you died today?” Those kinds of questions are better tackled with support.

Instead, let’s dial back and think about simpler ideas.

  • How am I enjoying my current activities? Are they making me feel good overall?
  • How can I add more delight to my day?
  • Do I like how I’m treating my body, mind, and soul?

Ask yourself questions to make sure you don’t find yourself going down the rabbit hole of workaholism and meaningless distractions.

Quiet the Noise

In today’s digital age, there is a constant barrage of information. So many of us have smartphones and smartwatches that demand our attention with each buzz, ding, and vibration. Turn that mess off and sit with yourself for a minute or more.

Sometimes, it is necessary to silence the external voices and tune into your inner wisdom. Disconnect from social media or any source that might cloud your thoughts. In fact, consider taking a social media fast.

Your brain will want to kill you for taking a break away from the electronics because, like a crackhead to a pipe, your mind has become addicted to the surge of dopamine every time you see your notification screen. But clarity cannot and will not come when your mind is filled with distractions.

Seek Guidance, Not Dictation

It is perfectly fine to seek guidance from mentors, friends, or coaches. However, remember that their role is to guide, not dictate. I know your mom, dad, cousin Jim, and all your mentors have opinions on everything. And yes, some of their opinions have helped you in the past. 

However, their wisdom should help you think, not just offer easy answers. I have come to recognize that the people who offer the most opinions without asking me about my thoughts and motivations tend to offer the worst guidance. Great guidance listens more than it speaks.

Have Gratitude and Appreciate the Journey

Life ain’t easy! It’s no wonder you don’t have songs talking about how weird, difficult, and surprising life can be. Now is the time to take an honest inventory of your life. 

Celebrate both your successes and failures and appreciate how each has propelled you forward. Yes, your ups and downs are a natural part of life, and each experience has value. Gratitude will help you to appreciate how everything was designed to help, not hurt you.

The image below has summarizes my overall ideas about introspection. In the next section, I will share with your my final thoughts.

A light bulb with six different types of introspection.

Final Thoughts

In conclusion, self-introspection is the key to unlocking the life you truly desire. It’s a process of self-discovery, a journey where you define your own path, values, and happiness. 

For more insights on self-introspection and living authentically, I encourage you to listen to this episode from my podcast. It’s a valuable resource to help you on your journey to self-discovery and personal growth. 

Also, if you’re ready to embark on this transformative journey, don’t hesitate to contact me. Together, we can explore your inner world, set your authentic course, and ensure that you’re not just living life but thriving in it.

Remember, life is not about finding quick answers but about finding yourself. Embrace the power of self-introspection, and you’ll find the authenticity and fulfillment you seek.