What Is Retrospection?


Question:     You have advised that a retrospection period at the end of the days activities is beneficial. Would you elaborate on this?


Answer:       Retrospection is remembering what you did during the day and trying to evaluate it. But, first you must learn to bean observer of daily occurrences before you can put a value on them. We are obviously talking about values for you are striving to become what is best for you; how to be happy, how to be successful, how to have the things that you need and want.


But, it is difficult to come up with a true evaluation of the things you do. If you have a tendency to knock yourself, you will always look to the low side of the scale and feel that you can never lift yourself up. Others are very egotistical and pat themselves on the back for everything that they do. What you must do is get down to what you have really done during the day unhampered by feelings of unworthiness or pride. See things as they actually are in relation to other people. That is just the beginning of a path which ends up with very distinct values. If you are going to be a better person, ask yourself, “Better than what?” The idea of grading yourself is a natural outcome of self-observation, but it must be a true evaluation. This takes years of practice. Retrospection makes use of the virtues by asking yourself, “How do I act, how do I relate to others ,what are my attitudes towards myself, and how do I behave (which is the outward manifestation of what I feel inside) 7”


We become what we practice. If you want to become a different kind of a person, then practice something better than what you are right now. The study of the virtues and grading one’s self on them is part of this process of changing one’s self consciously. The reason we talk about the virtues and describe them is so you have some idea of what it is that might be better than what goes on commonly in the world or even ones self. (10-1972)