Travers, Morisano, and Locke (2014) found that completing regular self-reflections is an important milestone on the way to accomplishing personal growth, development, and greater outcomes and satisfaction with one’s life. This is something that is incredibly important to me, as I desire to continually develop and achieve personal growth. Of course, I would like to be very satisfied with my life. Satisfaction with life seems to represent basic needs, which, over time, will result to truly understanding yourself and feeling as though you are making a difference. Moreover, I feel like truly satisfied people will have their own vision and mission that they strive to make a reality. It is against this backdrop that I undergo a self-reflection and self-assessment about my progress as a graduate student in applied behavior analysis.
My Vision and Professional Aspirations
My long-term career vision is to become a professional wildlife photographer. Ever since I was young, I was fascinated with the high quality photographers that were captured of animals in their natural habitat. Subscriptions to National Geographic, among other nature and wildlife magazines, introduced me to the interesting and rewarding career of wildlife photography. This motivated me to work hard so that this career goal of mine can eventually realize itself.
Personal Time Management
I believe that time examines the multiple valuable items in our lives and the improvement of other roots depends on the existence and availability of time. It is key to achievement in life which is to focus on effective time management. Insufficient time management could lead to ineffective workflows, misused time, missing out on deadlines, inferior quality work, and inadequate job satisfaction.
Application of Critical Thinking Analysis
Latif and Narual (2019) defined critical thinking as a type of research with a purpose being to explore a situation, phenomenon, or problem to reach a hypothesis or conclusion. This involves a complicated, systematic process. It is the art of analysing and evaluating thinking to improve and is important to our lives because it could improve a person’s attention and observation of what they are working for (Latif & Narul, 2019). This practice would improve my skills, not only to understand knowledge points more easily, but also to teach how me to learn more efficiently.
Being well-informed is a part of my daily task which helps me to solve the problem efficiently. This very important because it helps me complete work and various other tasks in a profound structure.
Flexibility is another factor that has become increasingly important, especially over the past year. This is because of the coronavirus pandemic, which has forced millions of people across the country to adjust rather quickly. For example, many people are now working from home and having to get acclimated to a new work environment and teleconferencing. It has become increasingly clear that flexibility is a highly valuable skill, and is essential to work effectively and efficiently.
Third is being fair-minded. To me, having a fair-minded observation and perspective would be beneficial in working within an organization or even in a graduate program. This would determine how an individual perceives and reacts to other’s opinions and judgements. In graduate studies, there are students from diverse backgrounds and upbringings. It is important to ensure that all viewpoints are treated fairly and with the respect that they are due, even without reference to how one might personally feel. Demonstrating just behaviour requires one to be fair.
Clear about Issues
Finally, having a perception towards a clear vision of issues is important. That is because, if there is no clear of the issue, then it might create a negative self-impact as well as others. Having a clear view of the problem might also help complete the task by critical thinking.
A SWOT analysis essentially analyses one’s strengths, weaknesses, opportunities, and threats (Chermack & Kasshanna, 2007). Though this framework is most commonly implemented in business or managerial environments, it is able to be effectively used to evaluate oneself. Accordingly, this next section will use the SWOT analysis to evaluate my strengths, weaknesses, opportunities, and threats that affect myself. A brief discussion regarding how I might overcome the identified weaknesses and threats in my future career will also be occur. This is also expanded upon in Appendix A.
The three strengths that I possess are commitment to work, flexibility, and industrious. I believe that each of these core strengths have helped me succeed in my academic career thus far and will also serve me well in my professional career. First, I believe that having flexibility is critical because it helps individuals adjust and adapt to the various curveballs that life will throw my way. It is natural for challenges and unforeseen obstacles to come my way, so it is important that I adapt when those arise. Second, I can attribute my accomplishments and successes, such as advancing through graduate studies, to my high level of commitment to my work. This commitment has facilitated my learning because I put forth tremendous effort into my studies and demonstrate initiative.
Similarly, my industrious nature has served me well. Upon reflection, many of my proudest accomplishments happened because I am a hard worker. Part of this has to do with my ability to be intrinsically motivated. That is, I am motivated to work hard at accomplishing any task that comes my way because I want to get the job done to the best of my ability. For example, during the last academic semester, working hard to do my best so that I could get a good score intrinsically motivated me. I knew that this could only be accomplished through being an industrious hard-worker.
It is also important to be cognizant of one’s weaknesses, of which mine include deadlines, excessive drive to be precise, and rushing to get tasks completed. In many respects, each of these three weaknesses are interrelated. That is, my weaknesses contribute to one another such that it seems like a spiralling problem.
Often, I have challenges completing work that needs to be completed my specific deadlines. As I am working on my tasks, I feel an inner dive to be precise to the point where it sometimes feels somewhat like perfectionism. Eventually, this drive to be precise ends up being time-consuming and takes away my time in solving situations with critical thinking. As a result of this, I feel like I will often rush myself to get something completed on time. The more I try to hurry up, the more confused I feel, in turn contributing decreased productivity.
First, I feel like I still have opportunities ahead of me to diligently focus on improving my weaknesses. With upcoming assignments and projects, I will have opportunity to work towards overcoming my weaknesses. This might mean taking steps to calm myself down and create a plan well so that I do not miss any deadlines. For example, creating mini-goals for myself as I slowly progress towards completing a major assignment. If I set goals and a timeline for completing a specific paper beforehand, I can allocate time to refining my work so that it is more precise and to my liking.
Longer-term, I would like to act on any promising opportunities that arise to help me fulfill my goal of becoming a wildlife photographer. Specifically, I would like to take the time to gain more knowledge in my desired professional field.
There are three prominent threats that could potentially interfere. The first would be if I changed my mind and decided to shift professions.
A second threat would be monetary insufficiency.
Finally, a third threat would be family disputes about my professional career as a wildlife photographer.
There are some behavioural strategies that can be implemented to help me on my quest to overcome some of my challenges. As Starostina (2017) described, psychologist Abraham Maslow theorized about how human behaviour can be understood through a hierarchy of needs. However, Starostina (2017) expanded on this and contended that achieving any degree of success creates a pattern of behaviour to help us survive. In particular, “When our learning effort and actions prove to be beneficial and either safeguard survival, provide success or allow certain transformation, the applied behaviour will be memorized and saved on our human brain ‘hard discs’ for repetition” (Starostina, 2017). In other words, we are building behavioural routines and patterns that will help us succeed and survive.
I found this notion especially interesting and possibly useful to help me overcome some of my challenges and weaknesses. For example, if I can create a time management plan to help me complete assignments before the deadlines, this is something that can be replicated. Over time, this will develop into a behavioural routine that will become ingrained. Consequently, I will feel more confident and self-assured as I have overcome these self-identified challenges. Moreover, I will know that I have faced the problem with full efficiency.
Strengths and Challenges Impacting my Ability
At the end of the day, my acknowledged strengths and challenges can be likened to my ‘vital energy pills’. That is, they encourage and motivate me to want to work harder and smarter. I personally believe that everything has a solution; no one is forcing us to do good or bad things; and that most personal challenges are in our head and being controlled by ourselves. This means that if I want to succeed in my professional career, I will need to work hard to accomplish this goal. Challenges will inevitably arise, but it is important for me to rely on my flexibility to adapt and adjust to these events. Otherwise, the challenges will knock me down and be disruptive to my ultimate goals and vision. Also, it is important for me to learn from the various challenges that I experience. This is because these negative results and challenges will help me improve my skills and will serve as a learning experience. After all, I am constantly on a learning journey.
Recommendations, Conclusions, & Final Thoughts
We should all work hard in order to have a successful life ahead. There would be struggles while making a professional career and it is essential to overcome all the struggles with critical thinking and to move forward. Time would not stop for anyone, once the time is gone it would not come back again, so we should work hard in a effective way and also teach others for self-development which is very important in any career.
Chermack, T.J., & Kasshanna, B.K. (2007). The use and misuse of SWOT analysis and implications for HRD professionals. Human Resource Development International, 10(4), 383-399. doi:10.1080/13678860701718760
Starostina, L. (2017). Challenges in behavioural change and ways to overcome them. https://www.thepigsite.com/articles/challenges-in-behavioural-change-and-ways-to-overcome-them
Travers, C.J., Morisano, D., & Locke, E.A. (2014). Self-reflection, growth goals, and academic outcomes: A qualitative study. British Journal of Educational Psychology, 85, 224-241. doi:10.1111/bjep.12059