Have you ever wondered why children love to play video games? Obviously they are fun, but there is a much deeper reason. Children love video games because the games offer instant feedback. If someone is playing a football video game and he runs a play that keeps failing, he calls a new play. That instant feedback is quite different from what we see in education. For instance if I collect one hundred essays on a Friday, it will take me over a week to return them. By that time, the students are learning something new and the feedback is less important.
Change is impossible without feedback and the most important feedback is your own. However, in order to give yourself feedback, you need to reflect. I personally know that if I get adequate sleep, eat properly, take ten minutes a day in silence, and exercise, my day will go pretty well. But it is not until the end of the day when I journal that I realize why the day was good or bad. I sit and think about the events of the day and, if I am in a foul mood, I think back to determine why I am in that mood. Maybe I did not go to sleep on time because I needed to catch the end of a television show that I wanted to watch, and now I am cranky and tired.
Reflection gives me the opportunity to realize the positive and negative things that go into my life. When I take time to reflect, I give myself feedback to help me succeed. The next time I want to stay up late and watch a television show, I can think back to that time I threw my whole day off kilter because I wanted to watch that rerun of Seinfeld for the seventeenth time.
If you take time to reflect on previous actions, you will be better suited to deal with future circumstances. Each evening, I look at the physical, mental, emotional, and spiritual components of my day. I take time to evaluate my successes and failures in each area of life. At the end of each week, I evaluate all of my reflections to paint a picture of my overall week. At this point, I evaluate which areas I need to improve on and which areas I had the most success. For instance, I never want to have a successful week in the physical realm while neglecting my emotional relationships.
Reflection gives us an opportunity to know who we are and what makes us succeed. We cannot become the best we can be without reflection. Try it tonight; write for about ten minutes on how your day was. Comment on why it was good or bad. Did you have a good day because you helped someone, or was it a bad day because you were unprepared and rushed? When you start to reflect and give yourself feedback, you understand what it takes to succeed day in and day out. I cannot guarantee every day is going to be perfect, but unless you get feedback about what makes a day good or bad, you are less likely to get into a rhythm of good days. This journaling and reflection activity helps me to achieve balance and success.