Stranger to yourself
If someone asks you who you are?
What do you answer with?your name, your occupation, your company, These are all things to be proud of.But who are we really?
“….what am I?A mere body,estate-holder, or reputation?…” — Epictetus, Discourses.
How well do you know ‘you’?This physical, entity that has a mind of its own and you claim to be yours.
What are you good at?
What are you bad at?
What relaxes you?
What tires you?
The need to find the answers to these questions is well exemplified in the social experiment Dan Ariely conducted on his students.
A group of students from three different classes has to submit 3 main papers over a 12-week semester and the deadlines for each class are different.
First class allows every student to pick his own deadlines, the deal is they need to set three dates for the papers and commit to these dates, late submissions are penalized.
Second class was given no deadlines, the deal is students need to submit the papers before the last day of the semester.No special credits for prior submissions.
Third class had it hard, Dan set the dates and any late submission is penalized.
Guess, which class did better?the better question to ask is this, Which environment would better suit you?Where would you complete the papers?
To answer this question, you need to know yourself, How do you react under pressure.What stresses you out.
The more you know about yourself, the easier it is to improve yourself.
“…..there is one quality that trumps all, evident in a virtually entrepreneur, manager, and leader.The quality of self-awareness…”- Anthony.K.Tjan, Harvard Business Review.
To understand, why we do what we do the way we do it.Take a moment to reflect on every decision you make and every choice to take.
Self-awareness is not easy, humans are creatures of habit, this ever-stimulating world doesn’t wait for you, it demands an immediate reaction, it doesn’t give you time to ponder on and make the right choice.
How do you do it then?
Every day before going to bed, reevaluate every decision, choice and emotion you came across that day and how did you deal with them.Given enough time to think everyone comes to the right answer.The goal of this exercise is to understand what mistakes you made and how could you do better if the same situation repeats, make a note of all the things you are going to make a change to.
The late great Maya Angelou once said that “ When you know better, you do better.”
Once you make a mistake and you learn from it, you don’t do it, at least you don’t do it intentionally.
Day after day, it will be easy to be aware of yourself. It becomes muscle memory.It comes naturally after then.
“The more we learn to be conscious of our impulses, thoughts, and actions, we can more easily become our best selves.” — Paul Jun,99U Magazine.
‘Self-awareness is a powerful weapon to fight the battles of life.’