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Monday, October 1, 2012

Self behavior observation- Tools for introspection

This is Essentially an update to the last post "Where to ask questions" on "We Cognize".
This is an attempt to try and find an objective and truthful answer to the question posted in that article. For clarity's Sake, you can read the question again, below :

"The Question :
Am I growing into a weed OR  a useful plant ? "
(might be a harsh, yes, but asking it is important for self development).

As you might understand, answering this question honestly and in an unbiased way, requires some serious introspection. Reading this article might help in gaining more information about "introspection". Introspection, I think is a very important tool for self development but fewer people tend to use it.

 I would like to add a word of caution here though. Please do not come down to an outright conclusion about your self or your life because our opinions about our self can be biased. One has to be prepared to give up all the beliefs about oneself, be skeptical, if at all one is willing to progress in the right direction.

 Man usually likes to believe what is  more pleasant and less painful rather than going to the bottom and finding the truth, because the truth, by nature, might be hurting and it takes a whole lot of time and effort to find. As a result some times people can have a bloated image of self or on the contrary have trouble with accepting self. 

Both of which are usually results of bias. This kind of painful search is always required to get one acquainted with self and the world and the universe. It all can be summed up as gaining "Self Awareness". And there are no gains without pains.

For Introspection, one does not really require any external tools. The basic requirement is just two things :

1. The willingness to experiment and explore
2. An open, unbiased and strong mind

(both of which can be acquired).

 But in the hope of making the process more objective and therefore more effective, one might choose to use the sheet embedded below.Also, I suggest, for some years, keep your new understanding of self without announcing it to others simply because, it is better to keep quiet than to speak what might be untrue or inaccurate.

I still hold that Meditation is the single most effective way of developing awareness. There is no substitute for it. But, if you are having trouble to begin with it (which I think is quite common and natural), you can make use of this sheet as a warming up exercise. 

Below is a short video to serve as an introduction to the process of meditation.

Coming back to the point, There are two behavior Observation sheets in this post, designed with one purpose in mind  - to get a better insight into self behavior and psyche.
You can download these sheets from the links below, or print them or alternatively replicate your own sheet for this purpose. 

How to use the self  Behavior observation sheet :

1. First and foremost, be honest with yourself when you use it.You do not have to show it to anyone, you may consider using it solely for your own development.

2. You do not necessarily need to record each occurrence of the day, this might not be practical either. You may just choose to record those happenings which were more significant. What is significant and what is not, you have to be the best judge of it, because you are the one who is doing the research on yourself.
For example : "I brushed my teeth"  - might not be so noteworthy. But...

"I cut myself while shaving and that gave me pain"  OR  "my baby wanted to talk to me and could not talk because of my lack of time" -  such occurrences are very important and might be noteworthy.

3. For how long you must you use this sheet? The longer the better. But I suggest if you cannot go on for very long, or do not wish to,  try and do it for at least a week, few weeks.

4. When you use them, keep the used sheets in a safe place for later reference.

5. Many times one might have difficulty categorizing the behavior and the occurrence of that behavior, please feel free to email me, if that happens (details given below).

Note About Sheets below :

  • You can use the maximize and minimize buttons on the top right hand corner of the document, in order to see it properly.
  • You can use the two scroll bars on the right and the bottom of the document
  • If you click on the "arrow mark" on the right of the document, it will open in a new window and you can print /download it from there.
  • The first sheet is an example, to show the usage.

If you face any problem in using this sheet, Please feel free to get back to me. Email address:

If you have practiced self observation/ introspection in any form, and have experiences to share, kindly click on "comments" below.

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