Where’s your focus? Are you a soul searcher, who can often be found digging deep, pondering on your internal feelings and sifting your way through memories, thoughts and everything fiber of your being?

Looking within oneself comes naturally to some – it’s a process that happens spontaneously and comfortably but not without its challenges. To others, it’s something that happens less frequently – they’re more preoccupied with exploring what’s around them, examining external factors and using their objective eye.

Both introspection and extrospection are essential for a healthy worldview. It’s integral that we can truly connect with our inner self if we want to seek self-improvement and live life in an authentic way. But we can’t expect everything we want to happen by purely focusing on ourselves, we need to look around us and take on the factors and challenges that are posed by our external environment and consider the rest of the people in it. What’s our role in these environments and how do we play a part?

And perhaps most importantly, we need to understand the connection between internal and external factors.

Introspection

A simple way to explain introspection? It’s the way that we think about our thinking. It’s one of the most obvious components of our unique human consciousness and sentience. Judging our knowledge, emotional state and the accuracy of the information we have at our disposal is a really crucial skill to practice and possess, as we make our way through life and negotiate careers and relationships.

Here’s a straight-forward and early examples of using an introspective perspective and you’ll need to cast your mind back; assessing whether you knew enough about a subject or topic you had to revise for school. Did you know what you needed to? How well could you communicate your knowledge of a specific subject? Did you work your hardest and do everything necessary to succeed? This combines a need to be self-reflective, honest and challenge yourself intellectually, but also emotionally, as you need to be at peace with your choices and whether you’ve actually been truthful and revised enough!

Healthy doses of introspection are crucial if you want to make progress. Denying the idea that your own thoughts, feelings and actions could possibly impact a situation negatively is outlandish – besides, in the event of a positive occurrence, you’re more likely to praise yourself after some introspection and award more focus on your own input than external factors.

Understanding yourself and acknowledging that you can’t live a perfect life and do everything perfectly is a powerful act. Accepting this is easier said than done, but making changes when you need to can help to benefit your external environment.

Case in point, if you’re managing people at work and going through some personal problems at home, leading to behavioral changes, it’s important to introspect and try to stay professional. If you let your emotions and problems spill out into how you manage and relate to your employees at work, you can create a tough environment for them. A bad environment is an external challenge for everyone and can create problems with attainment, productivity and wellbeing in the workplace.

At its heart, introspection is about being aware of your inner self and your triggers. Question yourself, listen to your emotion and always leave time for reflection.

Extrospection

Tuning in to what drives your thoughts, feelings and ideas is a way to understand how you react to the external environments around you. Acknowledging your triggers and techniques can help you to unlock new and productive ways to respond to your environments. Likewise, you also need to be able to focus on the impact of external factors around you on your inner self – positively and negatively.

Thinking about these external environments is a practice of extrospection and challenges you to examine the actions that you take and how they influence the world and people around you. A good way to audit your external environments and the feedback loop on your introspective qualities is to question whether externally, you’re supported and in situations that complement your mind-set and emotional state; and vice versa.

Learning your triggers and concentrating on how you can react to them in a more productive way, creating a supportive framework around you and how to take action that links your introspection and extrospection together can help to create a healthier holistic outlook.

Creating a Link

Re-balance your focus and ensure that you give time, space and commitment to focusing on inner and external energy. Making connections, links and deconstructing thoughts and feelings will enable you to connect more deeply to yourself and also understand how to take meaningful action that influences the world around you.

Taking the time to self-reflect and acknowledge others around you can produce healthier ways of relating to your environments. Learning about the impact you can have on scenarios and the impact external factors can create is a good exercise in being someone who’s active and aware.