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Introspection: How To Reclaim Self Reflection In a Digital World

If self reflection was an animal, it would be on the endangered species list. There is no question that we are living in a world of increased digital distraction. It’s almost impossible these days to get a moment for yourself to reflect. The omnipresence of our digital devices keeps us busy with incoming calls, texts, emails, and notifications — no matter where we are. We could be taking a walk in the park, waiting for the train, or driving to the beach—these quiet moments don’t seem to belong to us anymore.

This page has my best articles on how to take back these moments. I provide practical techniques based on the newest scientific discoveries.

Confucius said it best: “By three methods we may learn wisdom: first, by reflection, which is noblest; second, by imitation, which is easiest; and third by experience, which is the bitterest.”

So, if you are striving for wisdom in the noblest way, self reflection is key. To take control of your life, happiness, and success, you must understand how you “tick.” Are there certain situations at work that leave you feeling stressed while others aren’t? Do you have difficulty talking about certain topics with family members? Why is that? Taking the time for self reflection is for many people the first step to understanding and overcoming long-held misconceptions and limitations.

Taking action is important, but there’s power in stillness. When we hold a mirror to our thoughts what do we see? We visualize more possibilities.  We are able to envision relationships between events and ideas that help us connect the dots. We also gain insights that help us live up to our potential.

Whether you want to improve things at work, at home, or with friends, this page contains everything you need to know about how spending time looking inward can change your life. All articles discuss introspection and self reflection strategies that you can use today. Explore below and learn how to live your best life.

Top Articles on Introspection

Why People See Problems Where There Are None

Why People See Problems Where There Are None

Our baseline dissatisfaction is what motivates us, but we must harness it correctly. Do you often experience a strange malaise, that feeling of blah-ness you can’t quite explain? The good news is you’re not alone. You may be surprised to learn that, although people don’t often admit it, everyone’s default state is dissatisfaction; it’s how we evolved.
How to Embrace, Not Fear, Being Alone

How to Embrace, Not Fear, Being Alone

Are you afraid of being alone? Well, you’re not alone in that. In a 2014 survey of 2,000 adults, one in three said they fear being alone: 40% of women and 35% of men. Ironically, the more we subvert quality alone time with distraction, the more we cripple our capacity for being alone—and stoke our fear about it. Giving in to fear of being alone perpetuates a cycle of loneliness.
Why It’s So Hard to Shake the Way People Make You Feel

Why It’s So Hard to Shake the Way People Make You Feel

Good or bad, our feelings color how we see people. In psychology, a “trapped prior” is a perception of reality that’s colored, or trapped, by past experiences. If not treated, trapped priors can turn into debilitating phobias.
Are We Really Having Fun at Bars or Just Escaping Reality?

Are We Really Having Fun at Bars or Just Escaping Reality?

For many people, bars and booze serve as the original Tinder or Grinder, a socially acceptable way to shop for a mate. But not everyone in a bar is on the prowl. Some will tell you they go out for drinks to just unwind and have fun. That’s certainly true, but is there a deeper reason?
I Changed My Mind About Saying “Merry Christmas,” and You Should Too

I Changed My Mind About Saying “Merry Christmas,” and You Should Too

In fifth grade, I was the only Jewish kid in my elementary school class. This was the 1980’s in Central Florida and even though it was a public school, unaffiliated with any church and funded with taxpayer dollars, my teacher taped a poster to the wall in her classroom that read, “Jesus Is The Reason For The Season.” The Christmas specials on TV said Santa visited “all the children in the world.” The good ones got gifts. The naughty ones got lumps of coal. The Jewish ones got told Santa wasn’t coming to their house.
Getting Over FOMO, the Fear of Missing Out

Getting Over FOMO, the Fear of Missing Out

FOMO, the “fear of missing out,” refers to the feeling of “anxiety that an exciting or interesting event may currently be happening elsewhere.” Most people at one time or another have been preoccupied by the idea that someone, somewhere, is having a better time, making more money, or leading a more exciting life.
Here Are The 4 Simple Introspection Steps That Will Boost Self Awareness

Here Are The 4 Simple Introspection Steps That Will Boost Self Awareness

Last year, over 15 million books were sold in the self-help genre, accompanied by a panoply of videos, courses, and workshops that fuel this multibillion-dollar industry. But there’s a secret the gurus don’t want you to know — many of the answers to life’s most important questions can be found inside of you, for free. It’s called introspection.
20 Common Values [and Why People Can’t Agree On More]

20 Common Values [and Why People Can’t Agree On More]

When you replace the typical definition of ‘values’ with a better one, your life suddenly becomes clearer.When I recently came across the headline “The World’s Most Influential Values, In One Graphic,” I couldn’t help but click–a good data visualization is like catnip...

Can We Please Stop Calling Everyone “Addicted”?

Can We Please Stop Calling Everyone “Addicted”?

It’s disrespectful, degrading, and disempowering. In my review of The Social Dilemma, I challenged the filmmakers’ rather extreme view that huge swaths of people are “addicted to technology,” that social media is like a dangerous drug that’s hijacking people’s brains,...

The Influencers Dinner: An Interview with Jon Levy

The Influencers Dinner: An Interview with Jon Levy

Nir’s Note: What do Bill Nye, break dancer Crazy Legs, cyber illusionist Marco Tempest, and economist Nouriel Roubini have in common? They’ve all been guests at a little-known "Influencers dinner" regularly hosted by behavioral scientist Jon Levy at his New York...

An Illustrated Guide to the 4 Types of Liars

An Illustrated Guide to the 4 Types of Liars

What is the psychology of the liar? There are various ways of classifying lies: by their consequences, by the importance of their subject matters, by the speakers’ motives, and by the nature or context of the utterance. Perhaps the most useful way to classify lies is by the type of liars who tell them.
Hypocrites: How to Survive in a World that’s Full of Them

Hypocrites: How to Survive in a World that’s Full of Them

What is a Hypocrite?hyp-o-crite /ˈhipəˌkrit/ noun a person who claims to have moral standards to which that person’s own behavior fails to conform.What is an Example of Being a Hypocrite?I once worked with a person we’ll call “Dick.” Dick always told me he’d get...

How to Turn Off Harmful Stress Like a Switch

How to Turn Off Harmful Stress Like a Switch

By Nir Eyal and Todd SnyderLet’s play a game of “would you rather.” Would you rather speak in front of 500 people for an hour or be stuck in an elevator with your ex? Would you rather get a cavity drilled or be forced to take a four-hour Zumba class? Would you rather...

Handling Life Transitions: Interview with Bruce Feiler

Handling Life Transitions: Interview with Bruce Feiler

Recently I had the opportunity to sit down for a Q&A with Bruce Feiler, a Ted Talk veteran and seven-time bestselling author, who most recently wrote Life is in the Transitions, a guidebook for navigating the times when our lives pivot dramatically. You can find...

Here Is How to Practice Stillness and Increase Focus

Here Is How to Practice Stillness and Increase Focus

Ryan Holiday is the author of ten books which have sold over 2 million copies. His books, including The Obstacle Is the Way, Ego Is the Enemy, The Daily Stoic, and Conspiracy have been translated into thirty languages. In this interview, Ryan discusses his latest...

How to (Finally) Put an End to Pointless Arguments

How to (Finally) Put an End to Pointless Arguments

Count me as a Buster Benson fan. His 2016 Cognitive bias cheat sheet is legendary among behavioral designers. I have a framed print out of his codex in my home and I’ve enjoyed his writing on various topics for years. He has extensive experience building products that...

Why Our Tech Obsession Might Be a Work Obsession

Why Our Tech Obsession Might Be a Work Obsession

Nir's Note: Below is the transcript of an interview I did with David Burkus, an award-winning podcaster and author of Under New Management: The Unexpected Truths about Leading Great Organizations. This interview was part of a Heleo Conversation on the topic of...

It’s How You React to Failure that Matters: Why Ego is the Enemy

Nir's Note: This guest post is an excerpt from my friend Ryan Holiday's new book, Ego Is the Enemy. Ryan is the author of three other books and his monthly reading recommendations, which go out to 50,000+ subscribers, can be found here. It can ruin your life only if...

4 Cures for Feeling Overwhelmed: A Book Review

Nir’s Note: This book review is by Sam McNerney. Sam writes about cognitive psychology, business, and philosophy.Many of us feel we’re drowning in the rising tide of emails, updates, and digital distractions. According to a survey by the Families and Work Institute,...

3 Ways I Use Technology to Find Happiness

Nir’s Note: This guest post comes from Brendan Kane who has built technology for MTV, Paramount, Taylor Swift, Rihanna, and the NHL. In this article, Brendan describes how he reprogramed the way he views the world using little more than his iPhone and iPad to find...

To Become a Superstar, Improve Your Strengths (Not Your Faults)

Nir’s Note: This guest post is by Auren Hoffman, the CEO of LiveRamp in San Francisco. This essay is a bit different from the normal subject matter on the blog but I hope it will stir some discussion about which of our personal habits are worth improving. Connect with...