One blog I subscribe to is lifehack.org. It's a cool site that focuses on productivity. One post I read today I think speaks to both the theme of New Year reflection and links well to my personal experience with the MBA application process, 20 Questions to Help You Reflect the Past Year. The post discusses 4 facets of prosperity (material, spiritual, physical, and social) that you can evaluate for yourself by asking some key questions.
I can honestly either answer yes to many of the questions or at least say that I made some concerted efforts to make progress in those areas last year. I believe one big reason for this is the MBA application process. Simply acknowledging to myself that I want this, and I'm willing to go for it, and following through gave me a great feeling of satisfaction that I believe I still would have maintained even if I didn't get accepted to the programs I wanted. That is because I believe I've learned that the process of taking action toward a goal is much of the battle in terms of remaining in control of my happiness. In other words, success lies in the journey, not the destination (as they say).
Another unexpected benefit from the process is the huge amount of self-reflection that is necessary to craft a good application. I realized I hadn't thought back on my college accomplishments in a long time. I actually had to pull out old resumes to find activities that I had been involved in because I'd forgotten about them! I also realized that there are many accomplishments and worthy pursuits that I've accumulated since college that have truely impacted me and my happiness that I've never really reflected on. The end result, in addition to the essays, resumes, and completed application packages, is the confirmation for myself that I really do have a great life. Even before I heard back from schools, I felt lucky for what I have, proud of what I've done, and excited about the future. It's a really great feeling.