Reflecting on Reflection

Once upon a time, there were no mirrors to gaze in, only bodies of water…

As civilizations advanced, various cultures began experimenting with polished surfaces to create reflective tools. Archaeological discoveries suggest that ancient Egyptians used polished copper and bronze surfaces as mirrors as early as 3,000 BC, many of these were handheld. But, even further back mirrors were found in Turkey around 6,000 BC. 

However, it was also found that the Aztecs and the Mayans created similar reflective tools using polished obsidian - which is volcanic glass. Many of them were part of rituals and held symbolic significance. 

In Ancient China, mirrors were tools of physical observation and spiritual protection. Some of them date back to about 4,000 years ago. 

One thing is clear, each culture, though unique and far from one another, used reflection in some way. 

The mirrors we are now used to seeing came about from Justus von Liebig, a German chemist, in 1835, who discovered coating the back of the glass with a thin layer of mercury (now metallic silver) made the surface extremely reflective. 

So, what’s the big deal? Precision and quality control.

Think about it, when you stare at a mirror and it has a little spec on it, or a piece of dust…or even worse a crack - it makes a huge difference. You’ll even get bad luck for 7 years if you aren’t careful (trust me I think that’s actually real.)

You may or may not see where this is going…

If you are planning on doing some end-of-year reflection, you need mirror-like precision and quality control in planning your goals for next year. 

Let’s be honest, you can look just about anywhere now and see your reflection. Hell, you can even distort your own reflection on your phone with a touch of an AI button. 

Reflecting with precision and quality control through presence is the only way a true reflection is possible. Presence in your reflection helps create acknowledgment, accountability, and future action. 

So whether you are going to create goals, intentions, visions, or resolutions for 2024. Start with presence and be sure you see the entire picture CLEARLY with no distortions. The best way to do this is through no self-judgement, I know like the hardest thing ever. Picture it like you are putting your brain on the table in front of you and just analyzing. All you’re doing is collecting data, you’re not trying to solve any equations - save that for later. 

Here are 6 questions from my book The Possibility Project, that can help you jumpstart your goal setting without distortion. 

  1. What in my life is working right now? (You could also say this year if you are working on yearly goals)
  2. What in my life exhausts me right now?
  3. I will continue to integrate what is working in my life by….
  4. Where do I notice myself struggle?
  5. What’s at stake if everything in my life stays exactly the way it is right now with no change?
  6. What’s possible this time next year?

Once you have those questions answered, then you can start to analyze and create goals or a vision of what you want for 2024. Then dig a little deeper and start to create small action items for those goals created. Then BOOM, you’ll be looking at yourself with clarity in no time. 

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