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The ability to self-reflect is an invaluable tool in terms of personal growth and development. Being able to objectively evaluate your own life from a bird’s eye view to determine how well you are progressing towards your goals and identifying specific areas where you may need to modify your approach is a great way to keep yourself on the right path.

Self-reflection also allows you to use past experiences to better prepare for similar occurrences further down the road. The most valuable of all the experiences are the challenges and hardships that you are surely to face in life.

This can be somewhat of a tricky tool however, as dwelling on past mistakes from an overly critical perspective serves only to wear down your self-confidence and make you less likely to pursue difficult tasks in the future. On the other hand, reflecting on past challenges can also be a source of motivation that provides you with the mental resolve to push forward when things get hard.

In this discussion, we will break down three mental notes that allow you to do just that.

Struggle Precedes Progress

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When it comes to growth, in virtually any form, there is an inherent amount of struggle that almost always takes place beforehand. Take physical fitness for example; challenging your body in a way that places stress on your muscles, breaking them down at the cellular level, is necessary in order to gain strength as these muscles repair themselves and grow back even stronger.

We are all familiar with the term, “growing pains,” the aches and pains felt as our body’s grow over time and who could forget the ever-present “pressure makes diamonds” quote featured on inspirational posters everywhere?

The point is the struggles and stress you experience in your life can provide you with an immense amount of growth and tenacity that can be used to seize future opportunities. As you self-reflect on these challenges, keep this thought in mind.

Failing Forward After Mistakes

As human beings, we learn to succeed most effectively through countless mistakes. How many times does a baby fall down before getting the whole walking thing down? What about the inevitable scraped knees that are required to keep a bicycle upright after the training wheels are removed?

Going through life terrified of making mistakes is an extremely self-defeating way of thinking. If you reflect back on anything you have achieved in your life up to this point, you can almost certainly remember all the trial and error that happened before the success.

As you self-reflect on the mistakes you’ve made in the past, instead of allowing them to be a source of fear and hesitation, grasp the lessons available from your failures to create a blueprint for how to do better the next time. Even if you fail again, fail better. If you will allow each of your failures to become a teacher as you self-reflect, each subsequent failure will inch you towards your goals.

Gaining Perspective Through Hardships

The final idea that we will discuss involving how reflection on past challenges can open the door for future success is the way in which hardships increase your threshold for dealing with future obstacles. In other words, the hard things that you deal with allow you to create strategies and mental defenses to combat crumbling under pressure moving forward.

As you deal with increasingly difficult obstacles in your life, it takes even tougher challenges in the future to rattle your physical and mental resolve. Your so-called “bar” moves up each time you successfully face a hardship. By self-reflecting on previous challenges each time you encounter a new one, you gain a better perspective on just how strong you can be in the face of adversity.

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Tony Ramos

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