Posts Tagged ‘self-awareness

05
Nov
14

It’s not me; it’s you…or is it me???

Self Awareness 2Self-Awareness is a Paradox.  The more of it you have, the more you realize how little you actually possess. It’s like the guy who tried to be tactful by saying, “Somebody around here’s deodorant doesn’t work.” His friend turned to him and said, “It can’t be me; I don’t use any.”

We all love to imagine ourselves as incredibly self-aware, but when a story, a point, a sermon, or an illustration comes up we always assume that it’s our neighbor who desperately needs to hear it and not us. Our time is spent judging whether our neighbors, friends, co-workers, and family members are blissfully unaware of their deficiencies or just too self-absorbed to notice.

Despite 61 percent of Americans acknowledging that a gap does exist between the skills Americans have and those employers seek, 95 percent consider themselves to be either qualified or overqualified for the positions they hold. With such a disparity, one has to ask themselves if they are ignorant or egotistical.

It’s in our nature to think of ourselves as much more than we are and to find fault in everyone else. To avoid this trap we must constantly ask, “What am I not aware of about myself?” In doing so we can cross the critical threshold from unconsciously incompetent to consciously incompetent.

Self-aware individuals speak with candor, admit their mistakes, thirst for constructive criticism, and exude a quiet confidence. They can stay true to themselves because they know who they are. They can keep their ego in check because they are acutely aware of their ignorance.  Power is not a motivator for them. Individuals lacking self-awareness constantly place blame on others, fault-find like it’s going out of style, and possess a firmly entrenched victim mentality. Their base camp is the Isle of Denial and they intend to stay there.

There are two proven ways to increase your self-awareness. First, spend time learning from others. Seek their council and input. Consider everything they say and do and how you can apply it to your life. Second, read personal-development books. How can we develop if we don’t read the manuals?  Life’s too short to make all the mistakes there are to be made, so save yourself some time and heartache and read….and never stop. As Gandhi said, “Our greatness lies not so much in being able to remake the world as being able to remake ourselves.”

11
Sep
14

full of knowledge or just full of it?

10347643_10154390695845296_5449585575170190089_nAs a publisher and personal-development enthusiast, I hear varied opinions about the influence of reading such material. Much to my surprise, I had two highly-successful individuals tell me on two separate occasions that they don’t read it. Their reasoning? They already know it.

While I agree there is nothing new under the sun, it’s also true that the facts don’t change; we change. When we deafen our ears and hearts at one time, at another we have the capacity to see through the glass darkly and be transformed.

Clifton Fadiman said, “When you re-read a classic, you do not see more in the book than you did before; you see more in yourself than there was before.” But if you already think you know it all, this continuous self-awareness is not an option.

If you have any issue going on in your life right now I implore you to open a book on the subject matter. Pain, like pleasure, has the capacity to get us to listen and to seek out the truth, to find a way to either eliminate the negative or accentuate the positive.

We are not programmed robots who perform based on a singular input. We are not “one and done.” It takes some of us a lifetime of hearing and re-hearing, reading and re-reading the same basic principles before they finally take hold. And even then it’s a constant discipline to make sure the transformation sticks.

Those who are genuinely high achievers know all too well how much they still have to learn. Muhammad Ali said, “A man who views the world the same at fifty as he did at twenty has wasted thirty years of his life”, and the legendary cellist Pablo Casals, when asked why he continued to practice at ninety years of age, replied, “I’m beginning to notice some improvement.” Don’t turn a blind eye to self-improvement. Chances are the more you think you know the more you have to learn.

13
Feb
12

I will always love you. It’s me I hate.

This past weekend singer, actress, producer, and model Whitney Houston died at the young age of 48. Her career was defined by her beautiful persona and angelic voice as well as her drug use and erratic behavior. Once again we are faced with the confusion of how someone with so much going for them could leave us before their time. It’s hard for us to put conflicting parts of people together into one package but if we take a look in the mirror, we know it’s a part of the human condition for all of us.

The Cognitive Dissonance Theory was developed by Leon Festinger in 1957. As individuals we seek consistency among our cognitions (i.e., beliefs, opinions, actions). When there is an inconsistency between beliefs and behaviors (dissonance), it creates anxiety and something must change to eliminate the dissonance. In other words, something has to give. To alleviate the stress of living a double life, we can focus on the positive of the more important belief, reduce its importance, or change the conflicting belief so it is consistent with our other beliefs or behaviors.

I heard it explained in terms of pleasure or pain. Something gives you so much pleasure or causes you so much pain that you will eliminate the dissonance in order to preserve the pleasure or eliminate the pain. For example, a marriage may experience troubled times, but the recognition of the good it brings causes the couple to reconcile and mend the relationship. Or in the case of pain, a person is arrested and spends time incarcerated. Because of the pain induced they are “scared straight” and go on to live a life in compliance with society’s laws.

Sometimes, though, we don’t hit the high or low and our lives play out in a state of compromise and subtle self-loathing. Take for example a smoker who knows that the habit is detrimental to their health but continues by rationalizing that it keeps their weight in check. In this unfortunate case, the belief has changed to accommodate the unhealthy behavior, sometimes until it claims their life.

We all experience cognitive dissonance in our lives. In some cases, it’s a minor vice and in others its life threatening. In either case, the only thing that is capable of reconciling the discord is the individual themselves. Unfortunately, it’s much easier to enable the discord by altering what’s at the core of our identity. But when we do that, we kill a little bit of ourselves.

They say that the greatest battle is waged within the self. Don’t seek to change the behaviors of the world. Supporters of our vices, addictions and self pity are far and wide and always ready to oblige our demise. Seek to change yourself because there’s only one of you and the world needs to experience all of you it can!

 




Tremendous Tracey


CEO Tremendous Life Books. Book Evangelist

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