The other day I was asked this simple question, “Jonathan, when did you become self-aware?” My immediate response was, “I don’t know… I always have been”. As the day went on, that conversation replayed in my head over and over again until it hit me! This is exactly why I am so self-aware. All-day, every day, I playback in my head every conversation I had that day to “audit” myself. I do this to see how I could have handled the conversation better, what the person was really asking, if I gave them what they were looking for, or if I could have explained my answer in a more efficient manner. No matter how trivial or pointless this may seem, I cannot go to bed without doing this (replaying each conversation in my head). Now that you have been exposed to this aspect of my brain, you are probably thinking (other than “Wow, this guy is obsessive and straight-up NUTS!”) that I do this because I am self-aware!” and I get it. It is a little bit of the chicken or the egg conversation. But I believe that to be truly self-aware, you must have two things that most people care not to develop.
It is one thing to say that you want to grow or get better in an area of your life, but it is an entirely different thing to put forth the effort to actually change and grow. In order to be self-aware, you have to actually WANT to be able to learn how to be better. Each person’s reason for growing can be different. Some people want to be a better leader, some want to take inventory of themselves to keep raising their lid (great article on that here), and some just enjoy the process of growth. Whatever it might be, you actually have to want to improve and put forth the effort of improving each and every moment of the day. You have to be mentally present in everything you do during the day and ask yourself “how could I have managed my time more efficiently, how could I have communicated better, etc. I will often dream about better ways I could have done things throughout the day, that is how focused on improvement I am.
I am one of the most honest (blunt) people I know and, I have found, this is important while trying to develop self-awareness. After you start taking the time to actually audit your daily actions, you have to be SUPER honest about what you did well and what you absolutely sucked at. This is where a ton of people fall off because of course, we want to think we are awesome. Instead, the question should ALWAYS be “What could I improve” because there is always something. Be your biggest critic because through criticism (constructive) there is huge growth.
Why should you care?
You are probably thinking, “Gee, thanks Jonathan…but why do I care?” about being self-aware and that’s a fair question. The more self-aware you are, the faster your personal growth is which means you can keep raising that “lid” or your potential for greatness. You will also improve your communication skills, leadership skills, and management skills. If you don’t care about those things at all I would recommend a) start going to a different blog and b) reading this joke instead so you don’t feel like your time was wasted here – “What do you call a fish without eyes? FSH”.
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