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A Beginner's Guide to Self-Awareness

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https://www.thecut.com/2017/10/how-to-be-more-self-aware.html

thecut.com

A Beginner's Guide to Self-Awareness
The vast majority of people - up to 95 percent, in fact - believe they have a decent amount of self-awareness. And maybe you're one of the lucky 10 to 15 percent who really does have an accurate view of themselves - but if we're going by the numbers, well, the odds aren't in your favor.

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Self-awareness has 2 components

  • Internal self-awareness: the ability to introspect and recognize your authentic self;
  • External self-awareness: the ability to recognize how you fit in with the rest of the world. ...

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The “bias blind spot"

It relates to our tendency to recognize cognitive biases...

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Self-awareness and leadership

After examined the traits that contribute to the effectiveness of successful leaders, researchers concluded that a high level of self-awareness was the strongest predictor of success: whe...

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7 pillars of self-knowledge for introspection

  • personality
  • values
  • passions
  • aspirations
  • strengths
  • weaknesses
  • the environment most conducive to your well-being. 

They act ...

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"Why" is the wrong question to ask

When introspecting, it’s common for people to ask “why”. But the question ‘why’ sucks us into an unproductive, paralyzed state. It gets us into this victim mentality.” And no matter how confident w...

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Accepting and integrating feedback

You need to get feedback from people you trust, people who want you to be successful but are also going to tell you the truth, to ensure you aren’t only getting one view. Getting a second, or third...

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Self-awareness is not just a buzzword

Self-awareness and introspection have the ring of a self-help guru's empty promises, but they are the starting point that leads to every improvement. They are not the solution to everything,...

Self-awareness = self-understanding

Understanding your own desires, emotions, failings, habits, and everything else that makes you tick. The more you know about yourself, the better you are at adapting life changes that suit your needs.

Self-improvement is impossible without Self-Awareness

You can read every productivity tip out there and you can adapt the routines of geniuses, but it's completely pointless if you don't know yourself well enough to put the correct advice into practice.

The three why’s

Before acting on a decision, ask yourself “Why?” Follow up your response with another “Why?” And then a third. 

If you can find three good reasons to pursue something, you’ll have clarit...

Expand your emotional vocabulary

Putting your feelings into words has a therapeutic effect on your brain; if you’re unable to articulate how you feel, that can create stress. 

Practice saying 'no' to yourself

The ability to say “no” to yourself to put off short-term gratification ( from daily temptations like social media or junk food) for the long-term gain is an important life-skill. 

Like a muscle, it is strengthened with exercise

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Social Awareness

.. means having an in-depth understanding of societal setups, communities, environments, norms, and cultures.

Human beings are social creatures, but many lack proper social awareness....

Importance of Social Awareness

Human beings would be misfits in society if it wasn’t for social awareness. It helps us to:

  • Understand and communicate with others productively.
  • Feel what is being said and say the right words.
  • Sense people's inner conflicts and pain.
  • Excel in communication and problem solving by being able to feel the vibe of a group of people.
  • Being valued and respected.
  • Contribute to solving society’s problems.

Developing Social Awareness

There are three competencies that are to be developed to grow one’s social awareness skills:

  • Empathy: Being able to feel what others feel.
  • Organizational awareness: Being aware of relationships, attitudes, and politics of a group.
  • Service orientation: Responding to the needs of the situation.

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Reflection and introspection

  • Introspection is simply looking in. Stopping there not only limits your perspective, but it can also diffuse it. It can lead some to pessimism, or even depression. 

Authenticity

Authenticity is about getting closer to our true identity.

The more authentic we become, the more we are authoring our lives, and not simply living someone else’s script. And the more authentic you become, the greater is your sense of well-being.

Warren Bennis

Warren Bennis

“To be authentic is literally to be your own author, to discover your own native energies and desires, and then to find your own way of acting on them.”

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Self-Reliance

It's "a reliance on internal resources to provide life with coherence (meaning) and fulfillment” (Baumeister, 1987: 171)."

Ralph Waldo Emerson and Self-Reliance

Self-Reliance is the topic (and title) of an 1841 essay from US philosopher Ralph Waldo Emerson.

He argues strongly that self-reliance, self-trust, and individualism, amongst other things, are ways that we can avoid the conformity imposed upon us.

Examples of Self-Reliance

  • Thinking independently: The ability to think autonomously goes hand in hand with trusting your own instinct.
  • Embracing your individuality.
  • Striving towards your own goals, bravely.

It’s important to remember that self-reliance is not about cutting yourself off from everybody.

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What Self-Awareness Is

It means paying attention to yourself, knowing what’s going on in your life. 

Self-awareness means understanding your personality. You also understand your values, your relationsh...

The Benefits of Self Awareness

It involves three elements to get you where you want to go:

  • Introspection: the process of attempting to directly access one’s own internal psychological processes, judgments, perceptions.
  • Self-reflection: the examination, contemplation, and analysis of one’s thoughts, feelings, and actions.
  • Insight: the clear discernment of a solution to a problem. It’s the result of self-reflection and introspection.

Don’ts Of Introspection

  • Don’t obsess: More thinking about yourself won't automatically lead to deeper knowledge.
  • Don't ask the wrong questions: When we ask why questions, our brain points toward the most obvious answer. We usually land on the one that confirms our pre-existing beliefs.

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Self-sabotage

Self-sabotage occurs when your logical, conscious mind (the side of you that says you need to eat healthily and save money) is at odds with your subconscious mind (the side of you that stress-eats cho...

Understand self-sabotage

Self-destructive behaviors can become habits and can continually undermine your success and happiness.

Self-sabotage is when we want something, but somehow we never accomplish it, because somewhere deep in our subconscious we’re fighting against that goal:

  • Our disorganization distracts us.
  • We’re constantly overthinking all of our decisions.

Recognize self-sabotaging habits

  • Procrastination. Start setting deadlines and mini-deadlines to work toward your objective.
  • Negative self-talk/negative thinking. Be patient with yourself; be kind to yourself. Work to build yourself up.
  • Perfectionism. It is an impossible standard that keeps you from moving forward.

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The most influential gift is a journal

The most influential gift is a journal
  • Journaling initially affords you to get rid of your anger/frustration (with pen and paper).
  • Journaling helps you to get your frustration out before you can direct it at anybody els...

Living in the moment

When we write we focus on the details. We write about the little details of an interaction with someone. And most times when journaling we write while the interaction is still fresh in our minds.

This strengthens our observation muscle. Then we start looking for little details in our next interaction.

Journaling helps us reflect

Journaling increases self-awareness. Recording your thoughts is like stepping in wet concrete. The outline of your foot is now there forever.

You can find out who you really are. You can find your weaknesses and new opportunities. You can challenge yourself with those realizations. You can make plans to better yourself.

Biases...

Biases...

... specifically cognitive biases, are your unchecked tendencies to make decisions or take actions in an irrational way. 

Instead of making decisions based on facts and data, you ...

Biases = shortcuts for processing information

The brain creates shortcuts in order to make fast decisions when it hits information or inspiration overload

These shortcuts form unconscious biases so it’s easier for your brain to categorize information and make quick judgments over and over again.

Self-serving Bias

It causes you to claim your successes and ignore your failures. 

This means that when something good happens, you take the credit, but when something bad happens, you blame it on external factors.

Self-serving bias may manifest at work when you receive critical feedback. Instead of keeping an open mind, you may put up a defense when your manager or team member is sharing feedback or constructive criticism.

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Change and the unchangeable

We like to think that things can be changed. That we are in control somehow.  That's why “never” hurts, because never means that it can’t be changed. “Never” means it’s over. It’s gone. And ...

Meaning and relationships

  • We generate meaning through relationships. And meaning is the fuel of our minds. 
  • Our relationships also define our understanding of ourselves. And when one of these relationships is destroyed, that part of our identity is destroyed along with it. 

Depression vs. sadness

  • Sadness occurs when something feels bad. 
  • Depression occurs when something feels meaningless. 

When something feels bad, at least it has meaning. In depression, everything becomes a big blank void. 

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