Introspection may connote different meanings to different people from diverse walks of life. For example, in the case of a sportsperson,
introspection may mean contemplating on the various mistakes made or the high points achieved by him during the day’s game, a detailed analysis of all the moves, his own and the opponent’s, both correct ones and mistakes, strategies to counter high impact moves of rivals in future games etc. For this, he may require external inputs like video recordings, suggestions from his coach or captain, site/ground conditions etc. for proceeding with the introspection in addition to a disturbance free environment.
For a businessman, introspection may mean gloating over a super fat business kill or despondency of a heavy loss. He may perceive the act as sitting quietly by himself with a bottle of liquor to either celebrate or moan over whatever happened in his last business transaction. Somewhat similar situation can prevail in the case of a politician; only in his case the object of merriment or misery may be an electoral result or one upmanship over a political member of the opposition party.
True introspection will arise when you as an individual proceed to examine, analyse, dissect each and every aspect of your own action or feelings generally or in the context of some happening or with reference to a person or ideology. This may in a sense lead to self improvement in a limited way if the previous happening or behaviour was not up to your own expectation or shameful or it can lead to a major change in life.
The true spiritual seeker also has a kind of introspection, which on a higher plane may also be termed as meditation and involves contemplation on the larger purpose of life like it happened in the case of Buddha, who was deeply moved towards introspection by seeing the three stages of life viz. a diseased person, an old person and a dead person. This led to his final salvation and transformation into a great sage, saint, philosopher, thinker and founder of the Buddhist religion. India, as the religious and spiritual capital of the world, has innumerable instances of the above nature and can be proud of a heritage of the richest and greatest of ancestors who taught humanity on methods of introspection/meditation among many other things. Although the method to be adopted in both cases viz. meditation and introspection may appear to be similar, the latter, as mentioned above, is about oneself whereas meditation seeks the highest goal of attaining the universal Self by contemplating and focusing the mind on some particular object.
In introspection, you examine your own actions and feelings to understand yourself, and if any mistakes were committed, try to find ways to correct them with the main objective of self improvement. On a practical note, introspection should start by first finding a quiet and disturbance free spot where there is solitude and time to allow free flow of thoughts. The mind has a vast potential. You can condition the mind to prevent negative thoughts and worry from entering the mind. This can be done by countering any negative thoughts by thinking positive and creative thoughts. Consider that there are no mistakes in life but only lessons to be learnt. What may seem to be limitations are all our own creations.
Introspection should also concern with having some fixed goals in life, living a life of some purpose like service to others, charity etc. in addition to simply earning money for ourselves and family. The subject of introspection should also include leading a life of self discipline and ways and means to utilise Time, which is the most important and precious commodity in the world, in the best possible manner. The process of introspection should proceed on similar lines so that we can expand our horizons, take responsibility for our thoughts, improve concentration, achieve the set goals, envision and make the dreams become reality.