The Difference Between Inaction and Reflection

Action vs Reflection

A few months back, I wrote a post about The Ache of Inaction and the effects of a season in my life where activity levels were low in a number of areas. Life, in ways, has been jump started again back into a flurry of actions, projects, and more mental and physical stimulation than I’ve experienced for some months.

Action/Play

As is common when new initiatives or goals are identified, we naturally throw ourselves into it 100%. You stay late at work because you want to, or keep reading that book because the story has pulled you in or the ideas being presented are sparking ideas you’ve never had before, or you’re at the gym 5 days a week pushing yourself to the max and loving every second of it. This is an exciting time and with good reason. These times are indicative of change and progress, two things which many people want whether or not they know it. It feels like progress is happening.

Reflection/Pause

However, it’s impossible to be on the move all the time. Our own bodies remind us of that daily. In the midst of action, it’s not uncommon to take moments of pause. I believe it’s in the pause that the real work is being done.

It’s that moment of non-movement where the real work begins. That information you’ve been soaking in needs to be processed. The story you read opens up as you ponder upon the author’s words and draw your own conclusions. Connections are being made in your brain that were just waiting for you sit down for a minute and not do anything else. Training programs for large goals like marathons specifically call for a day of rest because the body needs to take a break! The same must happen for us mentally to truly thrive and succeed.

If we constantly try to stuff ourselves with information, when are we going to actually do anything with that data? Not stopping to analyze anything creates a dangerous behavioral pattern of just taking in and stuffing ourselves with information that we ultimately do nothing with moments later.
This year, I am planning to embark on a lot of initiatives and am setting what I consider to be significant goals for myself. I have new (to be defined) goals and responsibilities at work. I’m seriously considering training for and running a marathon this year. I want to be more well read and to write more in the midst of all this too. It will be critical for my physical, mental, and spiritual health that I maintain a healthy cycle of action and reflection. Too much of either and I will fall short of where I want and need to be. I either will burn myself out if I don’t ever stop or fail miserably if I just lay around on the couch for too long. Let’s hope neither happens.