In the first step on our 12-week journey to Purposeful Living, we look at the mirror principle in order to be more self-aware and self-focused.
With the help of our trusty life coach, Bianca (@BiancavanWyk16), we are going to start our first week with a critical method to practice some much needed introspection – the mirror principle.
Bianca explains the first focus area, application, saying that “it’s going to be very important, because you’re going to have to apply the application method throughout the 12 weeks. It’s important for self-awareness and self focus.”
Application involves observing your behaviour, evaluating it and looking for opportunities to change it.
“We have to ask ourselves if [our behavioural patterns are leading to] the result that we actually want?” she asks. “Is our behaviour benefiting us or hindering us?”
We therefore have to identify patterns in our own behaviour to change our automatic impulses that can create trouble in our lives to improve the outcomes and results that are a result of what we do and the decisions we make.
The “formula”: Event + Response = Outcome
When it comes to our responses to a set of circumstances, we are given two options. Either we can blame the outcome of events (E) for our poor results (R) or we can change our responses (R) to the events in order to get our desired outcomes (O) in terms of our goals and relationships.
“What makes the second option better is that, if we decide that we are going to start looking at our responses and become self-aware, we are able to take control over situations,” she explains. “Don’t give the universe and other people control over the outcomes.”
The mirror principle
1. The first person I must know is myself = Self-awareness
2. The first person I must get along with is myself = Self-image
3. The first person to cause me problems is myself = Self-honesty
4. The first person I must change is myself = Self-improvement
5. The first person that can make a difference is myself = Self-responsibility
“If we don’t start by addressing our own behaviour, we are not going to get to where we want to be.”
Self-awareness is critical for managing the way that you respond to certain events. Bianca then says that you need to take a look at yourself and ask if there are certain parts of yourself that make you unhappy with who you are. Some things can be change and some things can’t (such as genetic problems, for example). There are other ways in which you have choices though and creating a positive self-image is important for the process of reflection. It’s also important to note that some of the criticisms that you receive from other people are often projections and you don’t have control over their feelings. Therefore, it should not negatively affect your self-image.
“We are very quickly to blame, to look outside for the solutions to our problems or the reasons for our problems,” she says. “If we are honest, most of our problems arise out of the choices that we make.”
This part of the mirror principle relates to self-honesty, and if we can focus on the things that we have control over, the things that we’re responsible for. A bad relationship cannot be fixed by responding in a negative way, but responding differently might bring about more desirable outcomes. Once you’re honest with yourself, you are able to move onto self-improvement.
What are you doing to make the changes that you need to be just a little bit better than you were yesterday?
“You are not required to change the world, but you are required to make a positive impact in your small corner of the world,” Bianca says. “And that’s about self-responsibility. How much responsibility are you taking when it comes to taking care of yourself and taking care of others?
“The mirror principle means that you will have to apply self-awareness throughout the entire process, even though sometimes it is uncomfortable.”
On Friday, I will be discussing ways in which I’ve applied the mirror principle with the help of Bianca’s “homework assignment” for the first week of the purposeful living program. She asks that we spend the next week:
1. Thinking of an instance where we know a change in our responses will change the outcome. Write down what your new response will be to this situation and apply it.
2. Asking how your friends, family and colleagues would respond if asked about which behavioural patterns do you more harm than good. If you have the courage, you should approach them and ask them.
Now that you have a better understanding of the mirror principle, you will be ready to move forward on your journey towards a purposeful life.
Check back here at the end of the week for my personal account and join us for the live chat on Sunday at 7pm. DM Bianca on Twitter for more details. Next week, we will be covering the next step in our purposeful living program, asking “Why are you here and what do you want?”