Updated April 5, 12:18 PM CT
Do people call you obtuse? If so, here's how to become more 'Self-Aware'
You probably know people who are clueless about themselves. They make the same errors over and over but never seem to notice. In one study of more than 13,000 professionals in financial services, technology, nursing, and more, researchers found almost no relationship between self-assessed performance and objective performance ratings.
The "catch-22" of self-awareness is that the people who need it most are usually the least likely to know they need it. When given the opportunity to purchase a discounted book on improving EQ, the students with the lowest scores— that is, those who most needed the book— were the least likely to buy it.
There is strong scientific evidence that people who know themselves and how others see them are happier. They make smarter decisions. They have better personal and professional relationships. They raise more mature children. They’re smarter, superior students who choose better careers. They’re more creative, more confident, and better communicators. They’re less aggressive and less likely to lie, cheat, and steal. They’re better performers at work who get more promotions. They’re more effective leaders with more enthusiastic employees. They even lead more profitable companies. Some research has even shown that self-awareness is the single greatest predictor of leadership success.
1) Reflect Less, Notice More
Spend less time theorizing and more time collecting data points to see patterns and trends.
“After I exercise, I feel better about myself.”
“When I wake up early I get more done during the day.”
“When I put blogging off to the last minute, it’s hard for me to generate three examples of anything.”
2) Ask “What” Not “Why”
A lot of research shows that asking “why” we do things is a really bad idea. It makes study subjects more depressed, they tend to fixate on their problems and focus on blaming rather than fixing the issues.
But asking “what” questions helps us learn and grow.
Why questions stir up negative emotions; what questions keep us curious. Why questions trap us in our past; what questions help us create a better future.
If you ask why, you’re putting yourself into a victim mentality.
When you're uncomfortable, ask yourself:
“What’s going on?”
“What am I feeling?”
“What is the dialogue inside my head?”
“What’s another way to see this situation?”
“What can I do to respond better?”
3) Set Goals
Not only does setting goals help you get what you want, it also helps you get to know who you are. You’re defining what’s important to you. And that’s a big part of what makes you, well, you.
4) Do A Survey
Ask the people around you for some feedback. This is where knowing blunt people really pays off. You don’t want to ask friends who are gonna sugarcoat anything.
5) Keep Learning
By continuing to learn, especially in the areas where you think you’re an expert, you discover the mistakes you’ve been making. And being aware of your mistakes takes you a long way in terms of self-awareness.
A true commitment to ongoing learning— saying to ourselves, the more I think I know, the more I need to learn— is a powerful way to combat knowledge blindness and improve our effectiveness in the process.
This is how to be more self-aware:
Reflect less, notice more
👉Ask “what” not “why”
👉Do a survey
The single most important thing to realize is that self-awareness doesn’t come naturally. It takes a little effort.
The biggest mistake you can make is assuming you already know everything there is to know about yourself and you don’t have anything else to learn.
Parts of this article originally appeared in Barking Up The Wrong Tree
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