So how do you get better at reflecting? How do you get better at weighing up all the variables, possibilities, contributing factors, to a situation or circumstance?
Here are a few quick fire thoughts...
1. Understand your biases - we all have them, we are all biased towards all sorts of different things in all sorts of different situations. We have complex personality biases, biases due to nature and biases due to nurture. We have simple biases, some people are more negative than positive, some people all ways take the side of the underdog. Know your biases and take them into account when you are reflecting on something.
2. Ask someone what they think and why they think it - have you ever noticed that different people have different opinions than you on all sorts of things? Have you ever noticed that some of these people (one or two) are intelligent and wise people that you respect? How can these intelligent people draw conclusions on an issue so different to yours? Ask them. It will give you insight into their reflective process and perhaps allow you to see things from a different perspective.
3. Try using different thinking hats has you reflect - this just means intentionally thinking about things from different perspectives. Negative, positive, objective, creative, etc, etc. Make your own (figurative not literal) or use Edward de Bono's.
4. Learn to mull - that is to think over, consider, dwell upon, ponder, muse, contemplate, and weigh. Certain situations require quick thinking, instant consideration of all the facts known, and decisions to be made. Where possible; mull. Take time to consider. It can be over the course of a week, a couple of weeks, overnight, or best off all with some cheese and crackers and a fine Shiraz (all though not possible when you are required to mull over something at work). Basically practice slowing things down where possible to give careful consideration.
5. Converse more - make an effort to have more conversations and more meaningful conversations with the world around you. Learn to ask questions, this will get conversation going and also allow you to hear other people's considered (hopefully) opinions. You'll never know what your learn. As you reflect on what they think, don't just reflect on their theories, reflect on how they may have come to their conclusions and ask them. You'll learn a lot that could help you.
Here are some things to reflect on...
* What are we going to do about child abuse in New Zealand? What could you or I do?
* How green has God called us to be? What part should Christians play in looking after the environment?
* What are the top 10 essentials of every summer break? Will test match cricket make the cut?
I look forward to reflecting on these issues in future posts.