Have you ever come across someone that is so well put together, confident, natural, and authentic? That person is likely extremely self-aware. They know what they want in life, they know what they need to do to get what they want, and they’ll go about accomplishing all their goals without breaking their core principles. They’re understanding of themselves — they’re introspective — they’re self-aware.
They say once you’re self-aware everyone else seems dumb. This is only true because so many people aren’t introspective and continue living their lives along with some template that they feel they have to for the sake of something else out of their control. They’re not truly happy; they’re not truly fulfilled; they’re not really going anywhere in their lives. Everyone only looks dumb after you’re self-aware because you broke a plane that so few people have the patience and persistence to break. It’s an advantage and edge that you can hold over your competitors, your enemies, and even your friends and family.
Introspectiveness allows you to understand what you want. It allows you to stick to your guns, fight through other temptations, and breakthrough hardships. It will also help you perform better in no matter what you are doing. Self-awareness will keep you calm and force you to control yourself since it’s the only thing you truly can control.
Perform better in no matter what you are doing. If you are stuck in a job, relationship, or curriculum that you are unhappy with, introspectiveness will help guide you out of it into something that is more suitable of the type of person you are. Those that are not introspective will continue down the path they are already on only to become stifled and hurt in the end when they hit the tipping point of how unhappy they are.
Controlling oneself is not easy for most people. We all get annoyed while driving in traffic, when someone cuts us in line at the supermarket, or when we lose a client or get fired from a job. These are all inevitable things that might make or break your day, week, or even year. The one thing all these scenarios have in common is that the reaction is controlled by just one entity — you.
After my first week mediating consistently, I noticed how much calmer I was while driving. People would cut me off, I’d hit long red lights while i’m crunched for time, and I’d run low on fuel at the worst times. All of these things are mostly out of my control and instead of throwing a mini fit or getting worked up about them I merely relaxed, took some breaths, and carried on in the most efficient way possible.
Imagine you are James Bond — you are on a mission with a clear goal in mind. Things are going to come up and get in your way. Bond would never stomp his feet and throw his hands up over one little mishap — he’d assess the situation, find the most effective next step, and take it. That kind of power and control only comes when you are in full control of yourself and have the introspective ability to understand where you have to take yourself next.
Many people would take the alternative route and play the victim. “I was late to the event because of traffic”, “I lost this client because they don’t understand the value I’m providing”. All those things may be true — but those are things that can be improved on your end if you can reflect and correct. Putting a system in place that allows you more time to travel could prevent showing up late for your next event. Brushing up your sales strategies could increase your chances of properly conveying the value you’re providing to this client so you won’t lose the next one so easily. Knowing how you’re living, seeing yourself from a different perspective, and enjoying an out-of-body experience will help you determine what needs to be fixed and, more importantly, prioritize what should be fixed first. It’s always easier to tell someone what to do than it is to do it yourself — simply be that person that is telling yourself what to do.
What Does It Mean to Be Self-Aware
Being self-aware means that you are in full control of your thoughts, your goals, and what you can and should do to maximize your potential. It will help you happen to life instead of allowing life to constantly happen to you.
The unaware will continue on their cookie cutter life, make the decisions that they think should be made next based on nothing but social norm or their family conventions, and ultimately never reach their potential. An unaware self won’t take a risk for something that could be a life-changing event or experiment because they’re too unsure of the outcome and themselves to even give it a shot.
Being self-aware allows you to open new doors and meet new people. Your awareness will come into play while you’re networking, selling, or even hosting a party. Whether you’re famous or not, rich or poor, or locked in your dorm writing a thesis, self-awareness is the first thing that should be on your todo list since it helps with each and every scenario possible.
Self-awareness means understanding yourself. It means that you are in control of your life and your body. It means no matter what comes your way, your principles are accounted for and the situation is dealt with. It means that every person you encounter — whether they love you or hates you — respect you. It means that you have the power to make people comfortable and the power to influence others. It means you’re enlightened.
The importance of self-awareness comes down to you. Are you happy with where you are and where you’re heading? If you had to imagine where you’d be in a year from now would you be okay with that? Are you waking up excited about what you’re doing? These are the questions you have to ask yourself and answer truthfully to even begin the endeavor of introspectiveness.
How Is Self-Awareness Beneficial
Life is full of easy and difficult choices. The easy ones are made when you accept a job because you have bills to pay or want to make your loved ones proud. The hard ones are when you go against the grain for something that is not a typical move made by someone in your shoes. An introspective person would be comfortable with whatever decision was made because they’re looking further than what instant gratification can provide them with.
Someone who is self-aware can easily quit their job, cut ties with people in their lives, and potentially upset some family if it meant that they’re fully content with what they’re doing. Someone who is self-aware could also stick to a day job they hate while pursuing a family. The bottom line is that they are one hundred percent certain that what they’re doing is what they want to be doing and that it will get them to where they want to be without any regrets whatsoever.
There are many instances where you can find someone stuck behind a desk writing server code when they should be on a stage performing musical numbers. If the person is built to be an entertainer but chooses a path that they found easier they’ll never be happy. The benefits of this scenario are that any entertainer would probably interview very well so they have no trouble getting a job — but they may be upset every time they enter the office because they’re now staring at the computer for ten hours a day instead of making people laugh and cry with their voice and acting.
Similarly, you may find someone who has the mannerisms, attitude, and wit to be on a regular comedy routine. They chose their second-most-valuable trade as a plumber over that instead and figured they should stick to that forever. If this person was self-aware enough to realize they had potential in another field, they’d have no trouble quitting the trade and getting up on stage to make people laugh. However, since this person is struggling to reflect on what they’re best at and what they should be doing, they’ll never do it.
Environment plays a large role in what we decide to do with our lives. Self-aware people will overcome what is around them to determine what is truly best for them. There are certain types of people that are born every day. Some people are born to perform. Some are born to get their hands dirty. Some are born to create art.
Imagine one of the most politically passionate people in your life. Whether they’re leaning toward the right or left doesn’t matter — what matters is that they’re passionate about their country and have a knack for talking policy and foreign affairs. Now picture that same person being born on the other side of the country around people the total opposite of their current political views. That person will likely be born and raised with those other values instead of the ones you’re familiar with. They were destined to be in politics — it didn’t matter where in politics they were thriving — just that they are at all. This is an example of how whoever you are should find you unless you stifle it and take easier ways out.
Getting stuck doing something you don’t want to be doing is very easy since others might see that potential and game it for something else. A potentially phenomenal CEO might get picked up by a fortune 500 company to manage a small internal team. The person happily accepts the offer since they’ll be getting paid and can essentially perform the job well enough. Little does the new manager know, they’d be much more suited for running a company at a higher level and calling bigger and more important shots and to more people. The hiring manager at the fortune 500 company probably realized this but wanted those skills under their umbrella instead of having them build their own umbrella. The self-aware person would tell the fortune 500 company no thanks I think I’ll do this on my own instead. In this case, lack of self-awareness is putting someone in a job they’re overqualified for and essentially stifling them into something they shouldn’t be doing. They’re built for bigger things but can’t reflect well enough to see that they can succeed in bigger things.
Why be Self-Aware
There are many reasons to invest time and energy into properly reflecting so you can be maximally self-aware. It’s perfectly possible to live a seemingly happy and fulfilled life without ever reaching full introspectiveness — but who would want to live that way if they knew there was a better way?
The most important case for self-awareness is your happiness and self-worth. If you are happy with where you are, what you’re doing, and where you’re going then you might be good enough to swing by the next few decades on that alone. If you’re even slightly annoyed at some aspects of your life and think you might have a better shot with something else then it is definitely time to spend some time reflecting. Your eagerness to wake up in the morning and your willingness to get to work is the most important thing that will determine your overall happiness in life — if those things are a problem right now then that’s a large prompt for introspectiveness.
You can make more money. However, you may not make more money; but, you’ll certainly have a better time making the money you are making. If you told me you can make 150k/yr as an accountant who hardly sees their family or 100k/yr selling houses where your own hours are created, that sounds like a more valuable approach — unless you also told me that you hate selling houses and love accounting; then that calls for further investigating in search of a better solution. Putting a value on the things in your life that isn’t just revenue is important to your self-worth and reflection because it helps you determine where your time, money, and energy should really be spent.
The case for self-awareness should be obvious. You want to thrive in your body, you want to have people eager to speak with you and introduce you to more people, you want to make money and let it not be an issue for you and your family, and you want to control every minute in your life instead of your life taking control for you and bringing you down paths you don’t wish to enter.
The benefits you’ll find after pursuing introspectiveness won’t be exclusive to any facet of your life. You may decide to work on your relationships at one point while you hope to work on your health the next month. Everything and anything you throw at your life in a time of enlightenment will improve if done correctly.
Who is Doing Self-Awareness Right?
Movie stars, celebrities, politicians, artists — just about anyone who has (or even craves) the spotlight should be a great example of how to do self-awareness correctly.
When you consider the benefits of self-awareness and what it enables someone to do, it is easy to understand why certain people are more self-aware than others. Although everyone should practice self-awareness, people can get by working a 9-5 job and raising a family without any sense of themselves — it’s sad, but it happens all the time and it is everywhere.
Talk show hosts are some of the best case studies for self-awareness. Watch some late-night television and observe how well the host does at being comfortable, making everyone else feel comfortable, and all while creating valuable and compelling content for the viewers. It’s a talk show host’s job to discuss with someone of notoriety their recent work or accomplishments while cracking slight jokes when appropriate and increasing the number of people tuning in to watch them at all. This is no easy task.
A talk show host has to not only be self-aware enough to have gotten the job in the first place, but they have to get out of their own mind from time to time to understand what is happening in their guest’s mind so they can effectively communicate for the audience. If the guest isn’t comfortable on stage or has trouble answering questions, it’s the host’s job to remedy that situation as soon as possible and get everyone back in a state of ease in an entertaining fashion.
A non-aware person would have no idea how to put on a talk show. Someone who has no sense of how they present would be unable to entertain since they may ramble or speak in a dull and boring manner — this is why talk show hosts are good at their jobs. They understand what the audience wants, perform accordingly, and confirm what they’re doing is working because they can envision how they are behaving in an out-of-body way.
As a talk show host, there’s no guarantee the person on the other end of the table is going to be as enlightened as you. This nearly requires you to be self-aware for them — crazy, right?
The great thing about being self-aware is that if you’re doing it right it’s going to come naturally to you and there will be no effort put forth. This gives you room to dive into the mind of others and perform how they want you to perform so they can be as comfortable as possible — this is essentially hacking their lack of self-awareness and giving them a break since you’re a better performer than they are.
Imagine an author comes on the talk show. Their newly published book came out last month and it’s a wild success. However, the author themselves are timid and prefers to stick behind the keyboard rather than on stage with eyes on them. Typically, this has every right to be a disaster unless the host is able to practice external self-awareness on them.
A host knows their audience and what they want — they’re aware of how they act and can use every move they make to their advantage since they can imagine how it’s going to play out. If a question comes at this author and they stumble on an answer, the host can easily chime in with a follow up that would keep the conversation going. This encounter can very easily be awkward and leave the guest feeling embarrassed, the host feeling ashamed they weren’t able to have a good interview, and the audience annoyed they didn’t get entertained in a positive way.
You may be saying to yourself you can do that too and this should not be a problem. I don’t doubt you can throw follow up questions and interview the guest but I do doubt you can do it in an entertaining and effective manner if you’re not fully aware of how this encounter is going to look before you do it.
The non-aware could do a number of things. They may not even realize there are awkward pauses and give the guest a few seconds to come up with an answer. Five seconds of dead air on TV feels like an hour to viewers. If there isn’t constant stimulation they’re going to feel like something isn’t right. The non-aware may rudely interrupt and, although with good intentions in an attempt to keep the conversation alive, throw the guest off, even more, causing more anxiety on their end and further decreasing the entertainment value of the show. Finally, they might make jokes or do some interesting things that they think would reinvest the crowd in the program but ultimately fall short and create more awkward situations for everyone.
Actors and politicians require self-awareness for these same reasons and the successful ones do it very well. Actors must have the ability to have out-of-body experiences or else they would have no idea how they seem on screen nor in the audition rooms.
If you are required to play an action hero planning a heist, do you know how to seem like an action hero planning a heist to viewers? Do you know how to properly and effectively communicate the action hero motifs to the casting directors and producers on the other side of the audition room? It’s necessary that actors consider how others are perceiving them and to sell them on their performance — this requires massive amounts of self-awareness that can only be honed by practice and patience.
Finally and similarly, politicians are in the same boat as performers. It is important to convey certain attitudes, mindsets, and ideologies to voters and although people can sometimes be levelheaded and listen to facts and make decisions based on those, they more often resonate with what they perceive to be the best option based on how others make them feel. Self-awareness can easily allow you to influence in this regard. John F. Kennedy was self-aware enough to work his image and charisma into winning an election against the not-so-dashing Nixon.