“Know thyself” is one of the Delphic Maxims.
The Delphic Maxims are a set of 147 aphorisms inscribed at Delphi, originally they were said to have been given by the Greek God Apollo’s oracle at Delphi and were therefore attributed to Apollo himself.
Self awareness and emotional intelligence have become a part of our daily vocabulary in recent times. Intelligence can be of two types, emotional intelligence and aptitude or intelligence required in profession and academics, what we call as IQ. A person with low IQ may have higher EQ, on the other hand a person may have high IQ low EQ.
Self awareness is the first component of emotional intelligence, by definition self awareness can be defined as our ability to understand our emotions, weakness, strength, what drives us and what annoys us. A person with high self awareness is likely to be at an advantage in all aspects of life than a person with low self awareness. A self aware person neither daydream nor think over critically. They know their limitations and strength. Imagine an employee who is asked to sit in a meeting with those who are at higher position than him. He knows it’s his chance to show his talent, he understands that he needs to speak but if he is self aware, he knows him limitation and strength, he will never dwell in those areas about which he has less or no idea, but will never resist himself where he is strong. A self aware person knows how he will mess up the project when the deadline is near, he will prepare his work slowly before the deadline, he knows his goals and what he needs, some people chooses a job and after a couple of years they say that they are not not interested in this job, they can do a lot of things than this job is offering, they feel like the job is boring, if you ask them why did they take the job, most common answer will be “The money was good” or “it seemed good”. A self aware person knows what he wants to achieve in his life, he does not opt for an option only for a time being, unless he is not in urgent need.
Self awareness can be divided into two types, internal and external, internal self awareness means how clearly we know ourselves, our emotions, passions, aspirations, thoughts, feelings, weakness, strength, their impacts on others and understanding of our environment. On the other hand external self awareness is how do other peoples view us, their perception about us in terms of our weakness, strength, feelings, emotions, ability etc.
Peoples having high internal self awareness and low external self awareness knows what they are, what they want but they do not challenge their own views about themselves because of the fear of what others may think, this may limit their success and harm their relationship. Peoples with low internal self awareness do not know what they are, they feel frustrated and stuck in jobs even when they’ve chosen the job or subject to study with full interest. Both internal and external self awareness are important, suppose you were working in a company in the sales division but later you learnt that your passion is not sales but R&D, you concentrated on your internal self awareness but denied the external self awareness, you were least bothered about what your colleagues perceive about you, later you got a very bad feedback from them.
How to develop self awareness
The most important part of increasing self awareness is introspection, although introspection does not always help us but this gives a clear picture of our interests, beliefs, passion, what our mind and body likes to do. Introspection can be done on the basis of past experiences, the past is the seed that grew into the present in the form of you.
- Write down every remarkable events and situations of your past, whatever you remember.
- Now, take some time and read it, find if there was any unhappy moment and what was the root cause behind it, was that because of you being confused about your own feelings or about not understanding other people’s feelings. Or that was because of you lack of external self awareness.
- What are the difficulties and losses that you can remember?
- How did you manage those situations?
- Do you have regrets or guilt about anything ?
- What were the most incredible things that you have ever done?
- Now, take half of an hour every week and analyse these past events of your life.
- Think about your talents, skills and abilities, what are the areas in terms of skills where you’re almost unbeatable and where you’re not good at all.
- How capable you’re in achieving anything that comes in to your mind.
- In which situations you feel more competent and less competent.
- How competent you’re in your office/ in academics/ sports / passion that you follow.
- How well you manage your relationship with your family, friends and any intimate relationship.
- How do you handle your presence in social affairs like parties, gathering, visiting friends. Do you feel uncomfortable, if yes than why? What are the things that you think others perceive about you? Do you need to change their perception?
- Which work makes your body feel more energetic.
- Do you like to work in a 9 to 5 job, a desk job or you love to work in field, outside your office.
- How do you communicate with your friends and fellows in office or college? What feedback they give after any project or your results. Do they honestlythink you’re very smart at work or very boring in personal life vice versa.
Although this exercise may seem very boring, but it will give you a clear picture of what you’re and what you really want.