193 – Introspect

Don’t just do something, stand there.

Think about thinking. Think about your own thinking. Take time to think about thinking. Think about how you think about your thinking—to think about whether you think about thinking the right way.

Now, if you only think about thinking about thinking, I’d just say you’re stalling. But, taking moments to trace how one idea has impacted different parts of your worldview can help you become stronger on the inside.

A worldview is like fabric. It doesn’t need to be elaborate or flamboyant, but it needs to be well-knit. Sometimes ideas are knit by a single thread, other times they are woven by warp and weft. Threads out of place, too loose, or too tight can make the entire fabric weak. Just the same, a thread that doesn’t belong can change things for worse.

A little introspection is no waste of time. Consider it maintenance, which can be overdone or underdone; your preference is not the standard. Many “personality” conflicts between friends and family stem from having different levels for introspection, accusing each other of thinking either too much or too little.

Parents who think of themselves as “hard-working” often have trouble understanding introspective children. Parents who are not introspective probably have at least one child who is. The signs are usually an idiosyncratic interest in arts or programming language—the two are similar since code is poetry and poetry is code. Introspective people are easier to understand if one takes a little time for introspection oneself. Introspection is an acquired taste. Ironically, if an introspective child becomes estranged as an adult, the gruff parent becomes more introspective so as to ask why. “Why did this happen? What did I do?” they ask themselves at last.

Too late do too many realize that introspection has its value. Do it yourself and recognize it in others. Be introspective at times, but not to a point where it interferes with work. If you struggle with being happy it might be good to take a break from your thoughts and just focus on work. That’s not the same as unhealthily avoiding problems, but, as the doctor might say, rest is the cure.