Being introspective is a blessing and a curse.
It’s diving into the dark, damp recesses of my mind. I live so much in my head that I wonder if it’s normal to do that.
Now, I don’t mean that I incessantly worry and fret and wonder if I’m ever going to get anywhere.
That time has already passed.
That level of anxiety, thankfully, is receding into the distant past.
What I mean is that I ask myself questions, I cajole my inner demons to get in line with my higher aspirations.
I think that one of the keys to living a good life is to get in tune with who you really are.
It’s what the ancient Greeks suggested, and I think it’s a good remedy for modern ailments.
In modern times, we suffer from a malaise that our forbears could never have imagined.
We are absolutely inundated by stuff. Pure, unadulterated nonsense.
In the past, life was hard. Sure, most of us would not want to go back to a time of famine, disease, and abject suffering. It’s not something that any of us would want to do.
But this modern age? It’s not all that it’s cracked up to be.
We have technology, but technology has us.
We have convenience, but convenience has robbed us the feeling of a job well done.
When we no longer have to work at being our best selves, we rob ourselves of the hard work needed to become a person that is more than who we currently are.
Hard work creates good lives.
Struggling to understand eventually creates solid understanding.
We all miss out when we eschew what’s hard for what’s convenient.
So what is the answer to this fast-paced, success-driven culture?
Introspection, plain and simple.
When you go deep into your mind, you find things you didn’t even know you were looking for.
You explore areas that would never emerge if you followed the simple spoon-fed life that you’re given.
It’s better to live life on an explored rampage than to accept that this is as good as it gets.
You only get more if you demand more from yourself.
Growing up, I was always a curious boy, but I also was a scared boy. I had anxiety, and I had it bad.
I worried incessantly, and that’s not the same as intentionally exploring the crevices of your mind.
With introspection, there is intention.
There is the desire to go where you’re going and behold the wonders that you find.
With anxiety, it’s the opposite.
Anxiety is a pulling force. It sucks you in.
You know you shouldn’t be doing it — whether it’s staring at the blemishes on your skin or replaying conversations in your minds — but you do it all the same.
Self-awareness breaks the cycle.
And you get that self-awareness — or at least I do — by shutting up and having the courage to be at peace with myself, however flawed I might feel.
Here’s what I recommend to build up a rich inner life for yourself:
1. Never be satisfied. Always be curious about your life and what it could become.
If you approach your life with a sense of wonder, you’ll never get bored.
2. Respond to your questions with more questions.
This goes along with number one.
If you ask yourself a question, don’t stop to rest on the first answer.
Ask another question. And another and another.
Eventually, you’ll get to a place that is far away from where you started but still loosely connected. This is the underpinning of a creative mind. It’s an exciting place to be.
3. Create stories, even if you know they don’t exactly adhere to how the world is supposed to work.
Humans crave stories. It’s how we make sense of the world. Research has even shown that our minds sync up with others when we listen to their stories.
Telling stories is one of the best meaning-making devices that we have — if not the best.
And when you get introspective, when you suspend your judgment to find your truth, you are inevitably in the myth-making process. You are creating your very own stories and legends.
Project who you currently are into the places you think you could go.
Take introspection for a drive, and feel the wind overcome you.
You’ll be amazed by the world you’re able to create.