Stevan Popovic

Pain + Reflection = Progress

13 Oct 2019 | Self Growth, Learning

For the great philosophers of Ancient Greece, reflection was a way of life. The exercise of pausing to reflect - to think - was an important use of their time.

Today, we tend to focus more on doing. We have long lists of todo’s, striking each off with the implicit notion that it represents steps toward progress.

A takeaway from Ray Dalio’s fantastic book Principles was this simple formula: Pain + Reflection = Progress.

I’ve written before that reflection is an important part of explicit learning, but it often goes missed. In a world so focused on doing, we often forgo time to stop and reflect.

In a gym setting, you might hear the common expression “no pain, no gain”. What this expression really means is “no pain (+ recovery), no gain”. Recovery of the body after exercise is like reflection for the mind after a learning experience. Only with reflection can you reap the rewards of that experience.

So it pays to remind ourselves what Plato, Aristotle and Socrates knew well - to stop and think is to learn. Reflection is time well spent.

pain + reflection = progress

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