There are two fundamental ways of viewing life and interacting with the world: inward-focused and outward-focused.
An inward-focused view examines how outward events affect oneself. How does this make me feel? How does this make me look? How does this benefit or harm me? The primary goal of an inward-focused view is identity formation and preservation.
An outward-focused view is about the outward experiences themselves. What is that? Is it interesting? Is it important? Is it worthwhile? The primary goal of an outward-focused view is discovery.
One of these modes is not better than the other. The balanced presence of both is required for a healthy mind. A person with an exclusively inward-focused view regresses in on themselves like Narcissus who withered away gazing at his own reflection. Someone with an exclusively outward-focused view is much like an animal. Observing the world but never reflecting on it and always existing at the level of the present moment.
We should not live what Socrates called an unexamined life. It is proper to reflect on our inward experiences. That is distinctly human. But we should also remain curious and open. Open to pausing before judging. Open to seeing more of what the world has to offer. Open to being an observer rather than a performer. Expanding our identity rather than shrinking it.
Keeping this balance in mind helps me stay happy and mentally healthy. I know that my life is the only one I have control over. This knowledge gives me infinite power in a limited context. Yet, it also keeps me aware that the world is so much more vast than I often realize. This knowledge gives me a sense of wonder and curiosity.
Life: Infinite power in a limited context. Limitless possibilities in a finite world.