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Introspection - Looking Deeply At Why We Do The Things We Do

Have you ever considered a decision and wondered, "Why do I keep doing this?" There is no identifiable reason for a particular choice you keep making or particular action you keep taking. Still, our choices and actions are always rooted in something.

However, getting to that root requires self-awareness and introspection, which many people are often unwilling or unable to do.

The Role of Introspection

Introspection is a research technique first introduced by psychologist Wilhelm Wundt, also called self-observation. This technique involved training people to objectively and carefully analyze their thoughts.

Present-day, introspection is a way of looking inward to examine one's thoughts and emotions in a less structured and disciplined manner. It is about reviewing internal thoughts, feelings, and memories and examining them for more profound meaning and understanding (Cherry, 2020).

Introspection is valuable when it comes to assessing the decisions you make. Reflecting on your thoughts, feelings, and memories can help you find meaning within something seemingly minor. This can uncover personal knowledge and help make a connection between experiences and responses that helps you gain clarity about the choices you have made or still need to make. You can then make more informed decisions based on a more precise understanding (Cherry, 2020).

The Role of Self-Awareness

Self-awareness is becoming aware of aspects of self, including feelings, behaviors, and traits. Self-awareness utilizes reflection and introspection to look at ourselves clearly and objectively. When we are more self-aware about our feelings, behaviors, and traits, we are far more equipped to understand the 'why' behind our actions, and this allows us to make informed decisions that lead us to the next right step forward. This benefits us in several ways. First, we can see things objectively from an outside perspective and understand how our feelings, behaviors, and traits influence our actions.

Also, we gain a greater ability to make better decisions based on this understanding. We also develop greater confidence that lets us engage with the world boldly and with less hesitance (Ackerman, 2020). Other benefits include enhanced productivity, more open-mindedness and flexibility, and a better ability to engage socially (Better Health Solutions, 2020).

All of these benefits of self-awareness help us gain clarity and confidence to engage in healthier ways, set healthy boundaries, and make adjustments once we identify why we do what we do and then change those we recognize we need to change.

Bringing it Together

When introspection and self-awareness come together, they can be powerful tools for helping us gain great insight into ourselves. We can learn more about what makes us tick, what drives us, what frustrates us, and ultimately why we do what we do. It simply requires intentionality to gather the information. Practicing introspection and self-awareness can be done via daily meditation, journaling, self-reflection, and contemplation.

Each of these methods, along with several others, can help us better understand ourselves and get feedback that serves to help us get clear on the areas of life that are most important to us. Then with that knowledge, we can make needed changes or adjustments to continue to build empowering habits and patterns that move our progress forward.

Thus, each of us should regularly practice asking ourselves 'Why do I do this?' and practice checking in regularly by asking, "What am I feeling at this moment?" as a means of introspection and reflection to gain deeper emotional awareness that will help propel us closer toward a more resilient countenance and understanding of what is important to us, so that we can align ourselves accordingly and exude these values outward from within.

Introspection transforms leaders from fearful reluctance to inspired and energized changemakers. Through introspection, aspiring leaders delve within themselves to examine their inner landscape to explore their biases, beliefs, and limitations. It allows them to honestly confront their fears, doubts, and insecurities and question narratives that no longer serve to transform them into sources of strength and resilience.

Introspection enables leaders to gain a profound understanding of their values, purpose, and the impact they can make. By reflecting on their own experiences and challenging their preconceptions, leaders can identify areas for personal growth and change, paving the way toward creating an inclusive culture. Introspection helps leaders navigate trials and tribulations, providing clarity amidst uncertainty and strengthening their resolve to overcome obstacles and work through constraints compassionately. The benefits of introspection empower leaders to recognize the importance of self-awareness and continuous learning, fostering humility and empathy. Ultimately, introspection is a compass guiding the Hero / Heroine toward the Elixir containing the secret of co-creating an inclusive culture. With continued commitment and engagement, a leader can ignite a deep sense of purpose that inspires others to join them on this transformative journey.


Ackerman, C. (2020, March 20). What is self-awareness and why is it important? [+5 ways to increase it].

Better Health Solutions. (2020, April 6). 5 reasons why self-awareness is important.

Cherry, K. (n.d.). Introspection and how it is used in psychology research. Verywell Mind.

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