Psychology – Reflection on Self
Our universe has the general tendency to move from order to disorder. And yet look at how complex we are. The puzzle becomes: How does our universe creates complexity? David Christian said, “The universe can create complexity but with great difficulty. ” According to him, we live in the “goldilocks region” of our universe – not too hot, not too cold, but just right for the creation of complexity. Then, things slightly more complex started to appear stage by stage. Each stage is magical because it creates something utterly new appearing almost out of nowhere.
We have known that DNA accumulates information through random errors some of which just happened to work. But DNA actually generated a faster way of accumulation information. It produced organisms with brain. And those organisms can learn and accumulate information first-hand. The sad thing about it is when the organism dies; the information dies with them. We, humans, appeared about 200 thousand years ago. What makes humans different is our way of communication, the human language. A system of communication so powerful and precise that we can share our knowledge and form a collective memory that accumulates from generation to generation.
The main reason why as a species humans are so creative and intelligence. But then things started to get more complex, emotions, intuition and consciousness started to materialize. We became much more sensitive and perceptive to our environment. We began to reflect upon our different behaviours. That is when “the self” emerges out of the mere reflection upon our behaviour and social interaction. Our self-concept determines our level of performance in our everyday lives. All the changes we act on the outside begin in the inside of our self-concept.
The way we think, act, interact and everything that happens in our life is the manifestations of our self-concept and the way we understand it. Our outer life is always a reflection of our inner life. It is extremely important to know ourselves in order to be very clear of our values, principles, beliefs and ideals. These elements contribute as a whole on how we behave and interact with other people. Our self-concept influences our emotions, behaviour and even the way other people respond and interact with us. The problem with that though is when we think about ourselves negatively.
Everything starts to be affected from just the way we think about ourselves. We start to become helpless and depressed. “We are born with pain. We are born through difficulties,” Nik Vujicic once said. Nik Vujicic was born without limbs. He tried to drown himself when he was 10 years old because he felt like he was hopeless and abandoned. He felt like it was only him against the world. But the one thought that saved him was what will his family feel and suffer when he would kill himself saying, “You know what’s worse about being born without limbs? It’s being born without limbs who gives up on living.”
Personally, I don’t know why we are born this way. But we have a choice, either be angry for what we don’t have or be thankful for what we have. If Nik Vujicic, limbless but can still smile despite difficulties and trials, then so can we. When we feel like we don’t have love and hope, we start to become helpless and lose the strength to love. We start to doubt and question our very own existence when we lose those qualities. We all have those people who are going to bring us down no matter how good our day is, or bring us even lower when we are having a bad day.
But when we think and accuse those people as the greatest discouragement of our lives, we’re wrong because they’re not- we are. We have a choice to give up on living or get up. Those things are like the wounds or scars in a tree bark. Judging from how a tree grows, it will never go away. But we can grow as much as we want and let those kinds of things be a small part of our lives, or we succumb to it and die. We need to remind ourselves that we are important and special, and our values are not determined by our social status, background and the way we look.
During fifth grade, I was oppressed by many people even my own teacher because I was a bad kid. There was one time I was accused of doing something and I tried to defend myself saying that what happened was an accident, but it was futile. I could only do so much. People were already saying that I was the “black sheep” of my family and that I was very different from my other siblings. What happened will forever be a scar in my memory but I have to grow. I have to stand up for myself and continue on living.
Everyday we make choices, and most often the simple choices are the ones that can have the huge effect for the rest of our lives. The world needs love and hope. Let us start our day by giving just that. We are here for a reason. William Barkley said, “The greatest two days in anyone’s life is the day you were born and the day you know why. ” We may not be able to get a miracle but we can be a miracle for others. We need to remind other people that they are important. In order to help ourselves, we first need to become selfless, not egocentric but sociocentric.
Just like one famous song would state, “Love is something if you give it away. It will come right back to you. ” When I was a kid even until now, I was always inquisitive and curious. I was really thinking if an optimistic belief in ourselves and self-confidence would really make a difference. I wanted to find out how do you really become successful. Eduardo Briceno asked, “What do you think is the the key to achieving goals and success? ” Most people believed that it’s hard work, persistence and focus but Briceno showed that these are all products of something more potent that anyone could develop.
Josh Waitzkin, a chess international master and the subject for the movie “The Search for the Next Bobby Fisher,” is an example of a person who achieved great success. No one won more international competitions than him. But even more impressive, Waitzkin took on the challenge of mastering a complete new field, martial arts. It was very different from chess. After intense devotion, hard work and some broken joints, he became a great martial artist having won two international competitions. Believe it or not, Waitzkin said that the greatest thing that ever happened to him was losing his first international chess championship.
He avoided the greatest psychological trap. The key trap Waitzkin avoided was believing that he was smarter than other people and that he didn’t have to work hard. He could’ve thought of himself as a protégé but he didn’t. He said, “The moment we believe that success is determined by an ingrained level of ability, we will brittle in the face of adversity. ” Stanford University Professor Carol Dweck discovered that some people think that intelligence is fixed while other people see intelligence as Waitzkin does as something that we can develop and grow.
In a study she did, several hundred seventh graders were surveyed for which kind of mindset they had and were tracked for two years. Result showed that students with growth mindset increased their performance over time. The only difference between the two groups was a different perspective of what intelligence is. “The key to success is not only effort, focus and persistent but it is the belief that we can develop ourselves and the growth mindset that creates them. ” If we are to fulfill our potentials, we have to start thinking differently.
Our thoughts influence our actions because if we don’t believe it then no one else will. We have to realize that we are not constant and locked to our contemporary abilities. We can change our ability to think and perform. Because when we lose sight in the belief that we can do something, we are done. In fact, most of the greatest thinkers of our era were once thought of as having no potential and future. Einstein once thought of committing suicide regretting why was he even born. But along with him and other great achievers from Mozart to Robert Boyle built their intelligence and abilities.
“We are what we repeatedly do,” Aristotle famously proclaimed. “Excellence, then, is not an act, but a habit. ” Once we start to believe in ourselves, that’s when confidence and excellence comes in. Excellence is not something we are born with. We have to work our way to it. We have to make it a habit. William James once said, “Any sequence of mental action which has been frequently repeated tends to perpetuate itself; so that we find ourselves automatically prompted to think, feel, or do what we have been before accustomed to think, feel, or do.”
But before excellence and success, we have to believe in ourselves. The real way of achieving self-esteem and self-confidence is not by being born with it but by working and being certain of it. The key insight of the context is the belief that we can somehow do it, being confident about it and that we have to work hard at something in order to attain it. We must be confident about what we do because we’ve done it a million times. By that, we bring our game to a whole new level. Einstein worked for 10 years in completing his equations for the General Theory of Relativity.
Behind it is the understanding that setbacks and failures are part of growth. Every time we became discouraged at something we are doing at, we start to tell ourselves that, “I can’t do it. ” When we hear that, let us talkback with affirmation, “I can’t do it but not yet. ” Just a little faith in ourselves can create great leaps. Having an optimistic belief in ourselves does create competence and effectiveness on what we do. As I would paraphrase a key text in the Bible, “Faith as small as a mustard seed can move mountains. ”