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3 Reflection Tips To Supercharge Your Growth

A few years ago, I read a book called the Creator’s Code.

It was written by Amy Wilkinson, a leading innovation and entrepreneurship expert. In the book, she discussed six attributes that helped creators and entrepreneurs breakthrough with their innovations and ventures.

What stuck with me the most since I read the book six years ago was a framework I learned about making quick decisions.

It’s called the OODA Loop.

During the Korean War, a US military strategist called John Boyd, came up with this framework. He used it to reinforce the success that the US’ F-86 (smaller and more nimble) fighter jets had over the bigger MiG jets.

Because of the F-86’s adaptability, US fighter pilots could gain a competitive advantage in “fast-moving conflicts.”

The OODA Loop goes:


You observe the situation, orient yourself, make a decision, then act. 

This is a loop that feeds into itself, keeping the pilots nimble and focused on the objective in a fast environment.

This can be applied to decision-making in everyday life and creative pursuits.

It reminds me of the importance of reflecting as we take action in our ever-changing environment.

Smoke Mirrors

Most people are just working and doing but don’t know why.

They are doing what they think they are supposed to do.

Told to them by society, family, and friends. Always trying to keep up.

When they are on their own, they have thoughts about what’s important but struggle to articulate it.

They fill up that uncertainty with more work.

Overworking – the new pill to overcome restless thoughts.

Hold up.

I can hear the hissing coming from the high tower. 

It’s like Top Boy is playing on different TVs at the same time, the way they are all kissing their teeth at me.

“Sccchhewww…..Nifemi, I thought it you were all about biasing towards action?” (Yes, but “over-doing” is also a symptom of senseless hustle culture).

“Allow it man…I don’t have time to become a philosopher?” (What’s so bad about philosophy? It’s going to be more important in the automation age).

“I have more important things to do than sit down to think about life. Like manz need food. You get me?” (Right? More important things…I see you there, scrolling endlessly on Linkedin.)

Just to clarify, action without reflection is thoughtless activism.
Reflection without action is unspoken verbalism.

Let me say this another way.

Acting without reflecting is like a speed boat with no direction.
Reflecting without action is like a stalled canoe on a stormy sea.

What you need is a balance of action and reflection.

Clarity in life is not handed down to you.

It comes through taking action and pausing to reflect on the action taken. This in turn provides the feedback you need to take the next step.

With action and reflection, you grab the sails as the captain of your life, adjusting and moving forward as necessary.

​​You can only really direct your growth through reflection.

3 things to consider on your path of reflection

Just like those nimble pilots on the battlefield, your life is filled with inputs and outputs.

Without a knowledge of how to channel those outputs to direct your inputs, you can begin to spiral out.

Nose-diving or stalling.
Whichever suits the calling.

When you understand that pausing to stand still and reflect on previous action is the only way to move forward, you will develop a feedback system that drives your future.

It will help you facilitate your own growth. You’ll be driven by self-directed goals that you can adjust with your current situation.

You’ll anchor yourself down in your purpose so that you are not swayed around by distraction.

You’ll take your next best step from a foundation of reflection.

Here are 3 things to consider on your path of reflection

1. Self-reflect

If there’s one thing you get from this letter, it’s this: know thyself. 

The best way to do this is through reflection.

Writing is a feedback process of discovery and growth. 

It is a circular nature of action and reflection that can kickstart a virtuous cycle. 

“I write to discover what I know” 

That’s one of the best lines I’ve heard about writing. 

The things that motivate us most are intrinsic in nature. One of them is wanting to see growth. 

To do this we need feedback loops. 

Journaling is great for this. 

When we write what we think or read with a pen in hand, it allows us to observe our understanding of our thoughts and how we express them. 

It is immediate feedback in words that we can come back to reflect on. 

Writing in our own words allows us to do the processing. 

Besides feedback from expressing, externalizing your thoughts gives an opportunity to see connections.

Are there any intersecting or contradicting points from what I thought before? 

What can I improve?
What can I remove?
What did I learn in this process? 

Use writing as a self-reflection tool for growth. 

“It is not the slip-box or our brains alone, it is the dynamics between both that makes working with it so productive”

~ Sonke Ahrens, How to take smart notes

2. Get Feedback

Learning how to receive feedback is part of your growth toolbox. 

I receive feedback about a lot of things. My music, my writing, my business, a social media post. 

They all vary in degree of how it impacts me.

If you give me unsolicited feedback about my writing, I can easily receive it. 

If you start giving feedback about how I’m running my business, or spending my time, that’s a different ball game. 

We all care about things differently. 

Receiving feedback threatens your sense of self.

When the activity is linked to what we believe we are capable of doing, we put up higher walls. 

There is no activity that we engage in that we are perfect at. There’s always room for growth. 

The only way forward is to accept this fact: to be good at anything, you should incorporate receiving feedback as part of your growth. 

It should be a core exercise that you learn how to receive and implement. 

Receiving feedback should be something you constantly work on. 

That’s why it is so important to ship your work.

Put it out there for people to reflect on it. Even silence is a form of feedback.

Get comfortable with receiving feedback. Add it to your toolbox to continuously facilitate growth. 

“Every story I write adds to me a little, changes me a little, forces me to reexamine an attitude or belief, causes me to research and learn, helps me to understand people and grow.”

~ Octavia E. Butler 

3. Develop your own path for self-leadership 

Resistance is not on the outside. It’s within. 

It is your ego. 

One of the most influential books I’ve read is The Power of Now by Eckhart Tolle. I got introduced to this book by one of the older engineers while I was still sharpening my engineering skills on the North side of Austin, Texas. 

During our lunch break, Peter would talk about spirituality and the ego. He introduced me to the book. I read it and the message stuck. 

We have to recognize the ego within us. 

Bringing awareness to the present allows us to reduce the chatter in our minds and understand our impulses. 

This is very important as you do your work. 

The self wants to expand and connect with the expanding world, your ego wants to do the opposite. 

It wants to contract to the world it knows. It wants to sit in certainty. 

Your ego is resistance – the enemy within that does not want you to move forward.

Agent Smith is not outside. 

It is within you. 

Forget the outside world, you have to learn how to master yourself. 

You can’t lead people or your community until you learn to lead yourself through discipline and self-leadership. 

Here are a few ways to forge your own path toward self-leadership. 

  • Find a path to self-awareness: It is not about our actions. It’s about the emotions that trigger our actions. Leaders have used group therapy, personal advisory boards, and circles, to understand the emotional impetus for their actions. Find your way to reflect and stay accountable.
  • Get comfortable with ambiguity: Good leaders know what they can, identify what they don’t know, and make decisions accordingly. They have faith in the laws of averages. They believe the truth will always reveal itself.
  • Learn from failures: You can learn a lot from failed endeavors. You should ask yourself these three questions to grow from a mistake:
    – “What are the external factors that led to this?”
    – “What are the internal factors that i/we contributed?”
    – “What’s the main gem that was learned from the failure?”
  • Avoid the narcissistic visionary: There’s nothing new under the sun. Revisit the past to learn from it. You are not as original as you think. Calm down.
  • Adopt a good amount of contrarianism: Get advice but don’t be limited by the status quo. Develop your capacity for critical thinking and challenge the echo chambers you might find yourself in.
  • Act like an entrepreneur: You have the responsibility to make sure your idea is sustainable. The key to surviving the startup experience is momentum. The entrepreneur is not the person with the greatest ideas but is the person ready to jump off the cliff without all the answers.
  • Be willing to be a deviant: Society celebrates the outcome of what society shuns. The caterpillar gets no love but the butterfly is adored. Be fine with your process. It will all make sense at the end of the day for people.
  • Keep an eye on the backward clock: “If you were told the exact year, day, and time that your life would end, would you manage your time and energy differently? When we break away and lose the support of others, that affects our confidence. Through working through that doubt, we gain the confidence of beating the odds and going against the grain. We either create something new or get more confident in the conventional wisdom.
  • Use love to drive your work: It’s love that will drive you through. Be aware that this same love can be fulfilling and at the same time disappointing. Because we love it so much, we must accept that we may not manifest that idealistic idea that we started out with. We have to be comfortable with this shortcoming.
  • Continuously check in with your expectation gap. 

Mastery comes with knowing and leading yourself. Develop your own process of self-leadership.

Final Thoughts

The most important thing about growth is to know yourself. 

Develop a consistent practice of acting and reflecting. Do this by cultivating a self-reflection practice through journaling. 

Let your community keep you accountable. Use feedback as a tool to facilitate growth. 

As you continue to master your craft, prioritize ease, leverage the wisdom of others, and develop your own path of self-leadership.

Be consistent with how you pause and reflect.

Who is Nifemi?

Hey I’m Nifemi of NapoRepublic

I help busy people fit in a creative practice to bring to bring order to their reality and help them live a more meaningful life through writing and reflection.

Sculpt your story

Know thyself, build a second brain, and unleash your creativity with writing. All in one journaling, note-taking, and dots-connection method that fits into your busy life.