Assessment and Reflection

Assessment and Reflection

Assessment and Reflection

Assessment and Reflection

Many of us struggle to find time to think. Life is full of activity. Planning, organizing, directing all take significant amounts of time. Add in interruptions and notifications our ability to reach and stay in deep thought decreases.

This deep thought is essential to understanding impact, creativity, and problem solving. No one understood that better than George Shultz in the 1980’s. He was the Secretary of State during the Ronald Regan presidency. As expected, an 80-hour work week was the norm with a schedule full of activities. Schultz though understood that he was in a strategic role where every decision echoed a global impact. It was essential that he got time to think.

Each week Shultz would take an hour alone in his office with just a notepad and pencil. He would let his mind wander and preferred not to go into these thought sessions with a prechosen topic. He would then simply think and write down the ideas that he like the most. Only the president and his wife were allowed to interrupt this hour. A treasured exercise that brought clarity.

 Assessing Your Goals

 To make progress in life, you will want to periodically check where you are at. There is a dangerous balance because you don’t want to compare yourself with others. You also don’t want to obsess daily on your life’s progress. But you need to know where you stand on your roadmap.

Goal accomplishment is simply a report card on progress. Your opportunity to look inward on if you are still on the right road or if you need to adjust. If you’re scared of the report card or to assess where you are at, you understand right away that your life has gone astray.

The progress check can be a good periodic exercise to stay aligned. It can also be a great pivot point. You change throughout your life, your goals change with it. Having a chance to periodically assess where your life is going can be the opportunity you’ve been looking for to change paths.


Teachers and psychologist for years have pleaded with children to build the habit of journaling. Even with all my heroes that journaled growing up, I still struggled to follow suit until later in life. I never thought I had the depth to write that extensively about myself. Later I realized that I wasn’t pushing far enough to explore myself.

Journaling is an assessment tool as well. A chance to explore your thought process. To think at a deeper and intellectual level. A process that brings greater clarity and understanding.

Another approach is using imagery journals to paint pictures of where to go. An imagery journal can help create a mystical future state that words can’t precisely capture. They can also at time better understand where on life’s map what you want to create out of your time here.

Negative Visualization

Complacency is a silent killer of dreams. It also has another side where we become complacent with what we have and only want more. It makes it hard to be thankful for what you have. Most high achievers have only lived in a world to never be satisfied. To always strive to get better. It leaves an accomplished person continuously wanting only more.

However, this pushes the higher achiever. Taking people to heights originally thought to be unreachable. It also leaves a spoiled and sour taste in the mouth of accomplishment.

The Stoics developed an early exercise or thought experiment to feel grateful. Called negative visualization. A person imagines that they lose something they have. After emotionally coping with he perceived loss they find an increase in their gratefulness.


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