The Importance of Knowing Yourself

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A lot of smart people before us have stressed the importance of knowing one’s self. Ancient civilizations of our world, thought leaders and philosophers have touted the virtue of this. This still persists today. Depending on who you ask and what school of belief you subscribe to, knowing yourself has been framed as the literal meaning of life.

Self examination plays a huge role in your personal economics. Knowing who what you value and what has influenced impact your decisions and your goals

Start by understanding who you are, what you value and how your history and upbringing have influenced your ideas about money and life.

Understand Your Values

Spend time to understand what you value. Without knowing your values, you run the risk of taking action without proper reflection. Ask yourself: What do you value? Do you value family, status, relationships, power, career, service, art? Try not to judge yourself. Be Honest.

Whenever you’re faced with a decision, knowing your values is one way to help guide your decision. If the decision to act is clearly in line with your values, I would argue, to take that action.

A good example is whether not to take a steady job or to work for yourself. If you value stability, consistency, free time (joking about how I’m not joking) and certainty, I would argue that a steady job is in line with your values. On the other hand, if you value extreme autonomy, the thrill of uncertainty and the adventure of forging your own path, it sounds like working for yourself is in line with your values. The rub is whether or not your values can translate into reality.

If you don’t take the time to discover what you value and who you are, your decisions will based on external factors like what society expects of you and how other people perceive you.

What Are Your Goals?

Know what you want. Once you understand your values, that will really drive what your goals are. You can work backwards: Define your goals and ask yourself if what you want is in line with who you are and what you value.

For example, if you want to own a home, try to understand what the driving forces are behind this desire. Is it a symbol of stability that you need in your life because so many other dimensions are unstable? Once you understand your values and what drives your, it’s easier to stay on track with reaching your goals.

What Has Influenced You?

I think most people can agree that being self aware of how certain events, people and relationships have impacted the way you think and navigate through situations literally gives you a leg up in life. We are all imperfect, with our own beautiful idiosyncrasies. Yes, I’m going to say it: we’re all sparkly unicorns that are screwed up in our own special way.

It’s important to know all the many ways that you’re screwed up because you might have to enter into a partnership with someone (in love or in business or in both). And you’ll both come to the table with your histories and your own ideas and your own baggage. Understanding yours will help you navigate these conflicts. The hope is you’ll be compassionate with yourself and your partner.

Be Mindful

I’m sorry if you’re tired of hearing people tell you how important it is to be mindful. But it just is. In all areas of your life, mindfulness is helpful. It’ll save you from making weird decisions, some of which have financial repercussions. It’ll help you navigate everyday. And everyday choices add up, they aggregate. Mindfulness helps the small choices that aggregate into the big picture.

I know some of you reading this may want a quick fix. Maybe you want an app or a quiz that gives you the instant gratification of having done something that helps you know yourself. But it just isn’t that easy. Knowing yourself is a life long process. You’ll change, you’ll evolve. You’ll become someone else. You have to keep checking in. There isn’t a metric for this, which makes it hard. But just do your best. I’m here if you if you need me:

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We help creatives freak out less about finance. Not investment advice.

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