I occasionally listen to the oddly-named but excellent “Art of Manliness” podcast, and a recent episode brought me up short.
It was an interview with Gregg Krech, author of “Naikan: Gratitude, Grace and the Japanese art of self-reflection“.
Krech suggested a practice of self-reflection through three questions.
First: what have I received from others?
Second: what did I give to others?
Third: what trouble or inconvenience did I cause others?
There are obvious similarities here with the practice of gratitude journals, but there is no action required: you don’t have to write a thank-you note or scribble in the gratitude journal. But you might well feel impelled to.
Instead, it’s a kind of spiritual accountancy: reflecting on the credits and the debits as you roll through life, and perhaps altering your actions based on what you notice.
Gregg Krech suggested this practice within a relationship. What did I receive from my partner yesterday? What did I give to him or her? He also pointed out much wider applications: what do I receive, and what do I give, when – say – I order take-out?
I loved the questions, so my resolution for 2021 is to ask them of myself every day.
Meanwhile: happy new year to you. If you’re reading this, I am receiving your time and attention. I am grateful for it.
“Nobody makes the statistics of everyday life more fascinating and enjoyable than Tim Harford.”- Bill Bryson
“This entertaining, engrossing book about the power of numbers, logic and genuine curiosity”- Maria Konnikova