Self-awareness represents a unique quality of human beings that few people have. This is a shame because it can be used as a useful tool in our personal and professional lives. When we are familiar with our own feelings and are aware of how others see us, it will be easier to successfully direct social situations both at home and at work.
This summary will provide you exploring harmful thoughts and behaviors in yourself and others. Step by step, you will learn how to deal with your feelings and how to request and receive feedback to make positive changes.
You will find that it’s not just about personal development and personal awareness is a group work that will guide your entire team to work better.
Self-awareness includes seven insights and provides the information of who we are and what others’ thoughts about us.
Self-awareness is one of the most striking features that distinguish people and animals. Self-awareness was born around 150,000 years ago when the brain of Homo sapiens developed to allow our ancestors to begin to study their own behavior, thoughts, and emotions.
Self-awareness is the ability to know oneself and to be aware of how others see us. According to psychologists, personal awareness is divided into two categories as internal and external.
Internal awareness involves things that are about recognizing ourselves. For example, being aware of the things we like or dislike, our ambitions, our place in our environment, and our influence on other people.
External awareness is about understanding how other people see us. Simply, we can call the ability to look at ourselves by using an outside perspective.
Surprisingly, scientific research shows that there is almost no relationship between internal and external self-awareness. However, research has found a relationship between a person’s happiness and awareness. Both internal and external self-aware people can make better decisions, also they have stronger professional and personal relationships and they are more successful and more creative people.
So how can self-awareness be improved?
Complete self-awareness needs seven types of insight and the first one includes insight into our values which represent our principles while we live our lives. Honesty, humility, and fairness can be given an example.
Our passions and aspirations shape second and third insights. These include exploring our life goals and the things we love while doing.
The fourth insight is the fit that gives us an understanding of the conditions which make us happy, keeping us engaged with them and improvement of ourselves.
Then the patterns of consistent behavior that make up our personality come. We need to understand how we think, feel and act in various situations.
The emotional and physical behaviors we exhibit in certain situations which are our reactions create the sixth insight. For instance, when we are under stress, our ability to control our feelings shows insight.
Here is the last one: Impact. It refers to understanding the effects of our behaviors on others.
The way of self-awareness is broken by inner and societal barricades.
It is quite common for anyone in the office to see an incompetent jerk but he is a boss who really believes that he is a visionary leader. This is because many people are completely misleading about their abilities. But how does this occur?
From the author’s point of view, self-awareness has three internal obstacles: Information blindness, emotional blindness, and behavioral blindness.
Knowledge blindness is about your evaluation of your competencies and it includes your general beliefs on how you should perform rather than how you actually perform. American psychologist David Dunning demonstrates this well with an experiment: Participants were asked to perform a geography test. Those who generally thought they were good in geography believed that they had a high score, although their scores as a group were average.
Emotional blindness means you are unaware of your own feelings. Say someone to ask you how happy you are. Based on the evaluation of your situation, you can believe that your answer is rational. However, in any case, how you respond will be a scam decision given at that time.
Behavior blindness means that you cannot see your behavior from the eyes of others. The author gives an example of her speech. She believed her speech was a disaster. However, in reality, audiences loved her, and her monthly newsletter had a record number of members.
Unfortunately, these three obstacles are not only obstacles. Our society emphasizes the cult o self and it becomes other barriers to self-awareness.
Have you ever wondered why in America there is an increasing frenzy for new names like Izander, Luxx or Sharpay? They represent a growing cult of self, where people believe that they and therefore their children are special. Here is the age of esteem. Everybody believes they’re unique. Watch out! Making you feel special does not mean that you are superior. If you pretend to be better than everyone else, you will soon find yourself as the object of others’ anger, and you’ll be confused even in the slightest mistakes you’ve made.
Since insight doesn’t provide us with a clear way of insight, we need to do it right.
If we spend enough time and effort to take care of ourselves, we’re going to start to understand ourselves, right?
Although examining our thoughts, emotions, and habits lead to more personal awareness, the wrong type of internal observation can have the opposite effect. In fact, according to some studies, self-analyzers have higher levels of anxiety, less positive relationships, and lower views about themselves. The problem is that while we can grasp any understanding gained from the insights, its validity is not considered.
So, how can we use introspection for more self-awareness?
We need a flexible way of thinking in order for an internal observation to be successful. When we accept that we cannot find a definite answer, we can allow our minds to circulate and explore various perspectives.
Another common mistake people do is asking themselves why I am like this. They seek the reasons for their thinking patterns and behavior, but the human brain is lazy and often gives us the most appropriate answer. Therefore, it may be more useful to seek answers to what kind of people we are. What do you think, feel and do in any case?
We can begin to name our emotions by starting to ask why causes it instead of asking what. Research shows that when we name our emotions, especially less positive ones, we’re in a better position to recognize them rather than allowing them to respond to fight-or-flight. When we consider positive thoughts, we should remember that over-analyzing has a risk of too much rationalization that leads to the danger of losing the joy of our positive experiences.
Finally, be careful about the evil twin of introspection: Rumination. According to the author, rumination is our concerns about our weaknesses and insecurities. This not only prevents us from gaining insight, but it can also cause harmful consequences, including depression.
There are three mindfulness techniques to increase self-awareness.
What does the word of ‘’meditation’’ mean to you? If you have a profession like a writer, you may feel afraid with yoga mats, incense, and chanting. But there is nothing to fear because meditating has helped people raise their own awareness for a thousand years, and there is no need for a monk or a major lifestyle change to do so.
There are three techniques to increase your mindfulness and internal self-awareness that provided by the author. Although they are opposite, it is easy to confuse introspection and rumination with mindfulness that allows you to notice them without making a decision instead of analyzing and evaluating our thoughts. Using this approach, you will begin to make new observations about yourself and develop your self-awareness. Like many people who apply mindfulness, you can increase your happiness, health, and productivity.
Reframing is the first technique and it means that you look at your experiences from a bigger perspective. For instance, you lose your job. You can determine what you have lost but at the same time, you can also focus on what you can gain from it to reframe this negative experience. Maybe you were stuck in your career, and now you’re free to find new opportunities and even free to set up your own business.
Another technique is comparing and contrasting that including realization the process of our thoughts, feelings, and behaviors whether they change or remain same. It is also used by the author as a mindfulness technique. She started feeling uneasy two years into her second job. When she reconsidered how she felt for two years at her last job and the author noticed that she felt the same way.
Then, she realized that her current job was not a problem. Her internal pattern made her feel this way. There is no reason to try this technique for yourself. Ask questions about your job and relationships: What is the same and what is different from past jobs or relationships?
Daily check-in is the third and final mindfulness technique. Take five minutes each day to think about what’s going well and what might be better. Is there anything you can learn from today’s experience, something you can improve tomorrow?
While the two main obstacles block the way to external self-awareness, there are ways to overcome them.
If you want to know how others think of you and gain external self-awareness, it may seem easy to ask directly to your friends and family. However, the problem starts here. The people closest to you will not be honest about how they see you.
According to the author, this is the MUM Effect that means we keep Mum about Undesirable Messages. We prefer to give others information which does not make them feel uncomfortable and even we prefer to remain silent. Sometimes, we tend to tell white lies instead of saying the truth and this is roadblock for self-awareness.
The second obstacle is our unwillingness to request feedback. We tend to make excuses in three categories. First of all, we are convinced that there is no need for feedback. In fact, how other people see us and how we see ourselves is also important to gain self-awareness.
The second mistake we make is that we don’t ask for feedback because we definitely see this as a sign of weakness. But only when we think; if someone asks you to give feedback, will you see it as a sign of incompetence, or do you respect the effort to be better? Even leaders who want critical feedback are seen to be more effective.
The final excuse is that we do not want feedback. We have a fear of being offended by comments of others, and for that, we need to have courage.
Of course, it is easier said than done. However, there are several ways to do it, when you become aware of these obstacles and ready to overcome them. An example of one way is asking for 360-degree feedback that means feedback from all angles. In the business world, everyone from colloquies and managers to clients and board members needs to fill out a feedback form. Thanks to this technique and anonymity, people can behave honestly. On the other hand, people who are jealous or arrogant can see it as an opportunity to release steam. To overcome this, ask only those you trust to be fair and true.
One way to gain true insight: Learn how to react to feedback.
You finally got the courage to ask feedback from your colleagues. Great! They only say you seem over-confident. What would be the result of it? Your first instinct may be to be uncomfortable to them or deny what they said or reject, but that won’t help.
So, what is the best way to process the feedback?
The best way is called the 3R model that means you need to learn how to receive, reflect, and respond to comments to digest your feedback into something you can use to gain insight.
To get feedback, you must first understand correctly to get feedback. If you are not sure, you should ask for an explanation. Ask colleagues to explain, if possible with examples, what is the mean of ‘’over-confident’’.
Then, start to reflect. Here are three questions can help you in the process of reflection:
Can I relate to this feedback?
How will this feedback affect my long-term performance and prosperity?
Should I act on this feedback?
You should also consider how you can behave in feedback. Perhaps you should consult with more colleagues before changing your behavior, or you can lead your overconfidence to reflect as a power rather than a weakness.
When you receive the feedback, there are two other general points for keeping in mind.
First, when you receive negative feedback that confirms the opinion you already have, you tend to close completely, as you are a bad team player or an ineffective leader. You can resist these feelings if you can approve yourself which is self-affirmation. Before receiving any feedback, remember your positive features. These reminders can be as simple as reminding yourself that you are a loyal friend and a loving family member.
Second, your behavior is worth the effort to change, but you should also know that your personality has some aspects that you cannot change. Let us think that you are really bad at reading others’ feelings and intentions. In particular, if you are trying to develop before, but you are not able to do it beside others, it can sometimes be the best way to accept, be open to your weakness, and communicate clearly to others to understand.
You need to follow the five pillars of insight to create a team of self-aware.
Self-awareness is not merely a useful attribute for an individual to have; it can also be at the collective level. So how does a team of people know themselves?
Just like an individual who has self-awareness, a self-aware team knows both itself and others’ opinions. To achieve this, a team should develop areas of insight that the author calls the Five Cornerstones of Collective Insight that consists of objectives, progress, process, assumptions, and individual contributions. Any self-aware team regularly evaluates how well they perform in each area, and tries to become more efficient and effective by asking the right questions and examining issues from all possible angles.
What kind of questions can a team ask for to gain insight into these five cornerstones? Let’s take objectives. When evaluating their goals, a team should ask itself what their most important goal is. For example, is it more important to increase sales, or is it more important to focus on the environmental impact of the company?
Evaluating progress is perhaps the simplest. ‘’How many have we sold’’ or ‘’how many new customers have won’’ may be the questions of the team.
A team should focus on the current way of working and seek development areas in order to evaluate the process. This may include questioning how effective the marketing strategy is, or even the format of internal meetings.
As you know, it is important to be aware of how others see you, and this is also true for teams. This is where the assumptions made by foreigners about a brand are made. A self-aware team takes time to understand how their work is seen by others and tackles how they can develop and improve their image.
Finally, a team can evaluate and evaluate individual contributions by considering which team members have the most impact.
Follow the three guidelines to further enhance your team’s self-awareness.
If you want to go further with a truly self-aware team when setting up your team, there are three other general areas to consider: role models, psychological safety nets, and culture of evaluation.
Any self-aware team needs a leader, a role model, who can clearly communicate the principles and most importantly act according to these principles. Psychologists call such behavior an authentic leadership. When the leaders are clear and genuine about their performance and explain how they measure it according to their standards, they encourage other members of the team to be honest. This allows the entire team to reflect the five pillars of insight correctly.
In addition to good leadership, psychological security is an important requirement for a team that recognizes itself in the presence of an atmosphere where any member of the team will feel safe to seek help. A supportive environment also provides team members to accept failures and increase criticism without fear of negative admission.
Finally, it is important to remember that following your pillars of insight helps your team to gain self-awareness, but this is not a one-off solution. The self-aware process must continue and be included in the culture of the team. A good example comes from a computer animation company, Pixar. A regular day of honesty called Notes Day was introduced by President Ed Catmull and that day encourages employees to think about the issues that the company might face with honesty.
Delusional people are divided into three types.
An example of a deluded individual can be very close to us. We’ve all worked with an angry, aggressive boss who thinks that his approach to leadership is the only way, or we maintain a relationship with our partner who was unaware of the obvious relationship. According to the author, these people are un-self-aware and how we deal with them depends on the type of delusions they have.
There are three kinds of delusional people: The Lost Cause, the Aware Don’t Care, and the Nudgable.
The Lost Causes are really based on their deceptions. They have unshakable beliefs and cannot comprehend another idea other than themselves. As you can imagine, these people cannot be changed. You need to accept that the problem is not about you if you want to minimize the negative effect of others’ opinions about your success and happiness. Then, you need to realize your behaviors against them.
The Aware Don’t Care represents a person who is aware of his/her effect on people. However, these people couldn’t care less. Again, if we control our own reactions, we can deal with these people best because trying to change them might be impossible. The author has developed a technique of her own. Her old boss used to have cruel comments against her, and whenever he did, she dreamed of a laugh instead of crying, making the experience bearable and even fun. She called the laugh track.
The Nudgable is the third delusional person and here is a person that we can change. At least in a small way. They are open to others’ opinions but they are delinquent what those opinions are. The only thing you need to do is helping them by showing how others see them. This provides both them and the team becoming more self-aware and more successful life at work and at home.
Insight: Why We’re Not as Self-Aware as We Think, and How Seeing Ourselves Clearly Helps Us Succeed at Work and in Life by Tasha Eurich Book Review
Self-awareness means that people know their thoughts, feelings, and behaviors and they understand what others think of us. Although it is a vital skill in today’s professional and personal environment, it is often a skill that we are missing. This is caused by both internal and external social barricades. Good news? The more you are aware of these obstacles, the easier you can overcome them.
Rather than a ‘’Meformer’’, become an ‘’Informer!’’
Most of people use social media platforms like Facebook, Twitter, or Instagram. According to one research, there are two categories for people who use social media: ‘’Meformers’’ include 80 percent of users and they post information about themselves. On the other hand, ‘’Informers’’ include 20 percent of users and they are interested in information about others.
The point is that if we only publish something about ourselves, we can’t engage and connect with others. So if you are one of 80 percent, try to be informative by trying to suppress a little vanity. Avoid more self-absorption by posting the world around you and publishing less of yourself.