Do You Have Self Awareness

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    I don’t know what it would be defined as. Would it be a skill, a trait, a quality, or maybe all of them? Regardless, whatever it’s defined as, it is one of the most crucial skills, traits, or qualities to master. Why do you need it? It is absolutely necessary for you to live a great life and they say it’s the cornerstone to emotional intelligence. So it’s time to be introspective and take a look at yourself and work on improving.

Smashing The Ego

    When I really started to notice a lack of self awareness in people was when I became a personal trainer. This is just a small glimpse into this societal issue because it just has to deal with the physical side of things, but nonetheless it was noticeable.  For instance, I had clients who were convinced they knew the right way to workout and would question my opinion on the matter as well as try and do more than they physically could, i.e. refusing to take a break because they were in shape and didn’t need the rest. Yet getting winded, light headed, and physically exhausted after each set. Keep in mind I was actually telling them to not do any more sets and just take a rest but they wouldn’t listen. This is a prime example of zero self awareness. They had it built up in their mind that they were strong, fit, in shape, and athletically gifted so to hear different from another person was bullsh*t in their mind. Should they have let their ego go, they would have progressed.

    Smashing the ego in the mental world is something that is tough for lots of people to do. For someone who operates a certain way and uses certain tendencies in their life, to hear that they are coming across in a bad way can be taken offensively. What if you found out that the way you acted and talked to people came across as boastful, braggy and arrogant, how would you react? Would it be denial? Would it be shock? Would it be anger? Or would it be a reaction of self reflection and wanting to understand? If you react in the former way instead of the latter than I think you need to work on self awareness. This goes for any way you could be acting whether it’s through guilt, manipulation, anger, selfishness, rudeness, or any other traits that can affect negativity. 

Something We Struggle With…

    …is picking between what we are actually experiencing or what we are just remembering. Nobel prize winner, Daniel Kahneman, says that “each person breaks down into 2 parts: an experiencing self and a remembering self”. What I take from this is that the experiencing self is living in the now and can tell you what is happening right this moment. While the remembering self is living in the past and can tell you what we think happened. The problem is when the remembering self takes over and just tells ourselves what we think has happened based on what has been ingrained in our brain for years and years, leaving no room for the experiencing self to, well, experience. This results in throwing off the experiencing self into not actually perceiving the correct information. Which is why a person might have “problems” with every customer service person they encounter; “You would not believe how I was treated. It seems like everywhere I go the sales person treats me terribly”. It’s because the remembering self is telling the story of “poor me” has to deal with all these terrible people without letting the experiencing self analyze the real situation. If they let the experiencing self take the lead sometimes, they might notice that they act very hostile to sales people or that they use obscene language which causes bad service or one of another hundred different reasons. Don’t let your remembering self always take over and miss out on actually experiencing what is happening right in front of you.

Here are 4 ways to improve your self awareness:

  1. Pay Attention…about everything to do with yourself. Practicing mindfulness is taking the time to focus on yourself in a particular way to analyze how you are doing. This is the key to self awareness.
  2. Listen…to what is being said. Don’t just hear the words. Pay attention and absorb the information that is being presented to you. It’s about having empathy and looking to understand in a non-judgmental way.
  3. Alone Time…where it can be just you and your thoughts is needed to help you achieve self awareness. Completely unplug and just think, read, write, analyze anything and everything about yourself. Take into personal account of how you acted that day and if there is need for improvement, work on it.
  4. Ask For Feedback…from people you can trust. Asking your spouse, best friend, a family member can give you access to another perspective that you might be missing. It could be the final piece to the puzzle for that particular area of life you are struggling with. It might be hard to hear but you need to hear it. The tricky part with this one is not everyone is a good feedback giver.  If you are asking the wrong person then the feedback they give you will be flawed, so really pick your feedback giver wisely.

    Now keep in mind this is something we ALL have to work on, including me. I don’t want it to seem like I think I have this mastered. Self awareness is a constant learning process and will be ever changing for your entire life. Take every moment you can to progress, just smash your ego and let yourself grow. If you do it correctly, you won’t regret it. But I would love to know what you think on this topic? After reading this can you think of an area in your life where you need to be more self aware? Let me know in the comments below and don’t forget to share this post and blog with anyone and everyone. We really appreciate it!

- Papa Bird