I'm interested in improving my ability to be introspective. Do you have any personal strategies for introspection that work well for you? Are there any good books or lectures on this topic? What errors interfere with the ability to properly introspect?
asked Apr 09 '11 at 19:14
The first lecture is described on the link as:
This course is an introduction to introspection. It starts by defining introspection and showing that Ayn Rand's introspective genius was critical to the development of Objectivism. It shows why introspection is important in a person's life and why so few people do it and why so few are good at it. The course proceeds to identify seven principles to aid introspection and includes a series of exercises to help develop introspective skills. These exercises include: identifing things one likes, breaking complex ideas or experiences into smaller units, naming and understanding the causes of emotions, identifying patterns of emotional responses to one's work and job, detecting and correcting defensive reactions, understanding one's reaction to other people, integrating separate introspective observations into a whole and using one's own actions as a clue to one's values and value conflicts.
answered Apr 10 '11 at 18:54
It takes a diligent and significant amount of learning and practice. On the one hand, to increase your powers of instrospection. On the other hand, to recognize and overcome your defense mechanisms or avoidance techniques that probably every person develops over the years.
For learning, the ARI lectures on Introspection could be very helpful. Two authors or books helpful for me were Nathaniel Branden, with his sentence completion technique. Probably his best book in this regard is The Art of Living Consciously. (From using this technique, I had a huge breakthrough in understanding myself. Something I was pretending not to know and hadn't realized it.) To address the defense mechanisms and learn how to overcome them, a helpful book I'd recommend is Crucial Conversations. The book is about how to conduct honest, meaningful conversations with others. It explains how other people's defenses and defense mechanisms can be triggered and express themselves (thus preventing the conversation you want to hold). By learning about these reactions you'll be better equipped to recognize and address them in yourself. The book then gives techniques to move past them.
As another option, you should consider that having someone you trust and is skilled at asking the right questions and guiding someone through their thoughts can help you. This could be a close family member, friend, or a professional psychologist.
answered Apr 13 '11 at 06:01