This article on Self awareness is the second part of the series which takes you on specific aspects of self development. For those who have missed the first part you can read it here.
Self awareness is a relatively unknown facet of self development. Even though hardly talked about is importance can hardly be overemphasized. So what exactly is self-awareness?
Self awareness is a sharp realization of one’s own personality – it is a collective understanding of one’s strengths, weaknesses, thoughts, feelings, beliefs, motivations and emotions. Self awareness is very important for anyone who wishes to be in better control of his life and relationships.
Self awareness has certain overt manifestations.
Eye for detail:
A self aware person has an eye for detail. This signifies that such an individual always focuses on his priorities and does not miss out on anything important by getting distracted by what is not.
Consciousness about every moment:
Time is money. A moment lost is lost forever. A self aware person is always conscious about his time and invariably knows how to make the best use of it. High productivity and efficiency are key attributes of a person of a time conscious person.
Active, Alive and Alert:
Self awareness enables a person to be alive to any emerging situation and ensures that he is active and alert in his response. This really indicates that such a person never suffers from procrastination which is the bane of life, and which has literally destroyed many personalities.
Learning through self observation:
Among other things, self awareness also inculcates in the individual the conscious habit of self observation. A person is able to observe himself in terms of what is good in him and what is not. He also tries to assimilate the good of others again by observing what to emulate.
Being honest with self:
It is often said – one can never run away from one’s own self. Being self-aware also implies that a person is honest with his own self. This requires a person to objectively analyze on the areas of weaknesses, and focus on covering his development needs.
Three Step process for developing self awareness:
Step #1: Being aware of emotions:
Often we tend to take decisions solely using our mind – what is commonly known as rational thoughts. However, being aware of our inner feelings – our instinct which is what our inner conscience tells us to do is equally important. With awareness of our gut feelings, we can start taking better decisions and take the first step to self awareness.
Step # 2: Track your feelings:
A self aware person is able to track his feelings both positive and negative. This can be best achieved by jotting down on a daily basis these feelings and then analyzing the trend. Monitoring the feelings is a way by which a self aware person is able to define his purpose in life, and is able to enhance positive feelings and channelize his thoughts into positive action.
Step # 3: Expand the practice beyond tracking the feelings:
Once a self aware person gets used to tracking his feelings, the next step is to track the energy level. This enables him to identify the period(s) of the day when he are most energized, focused, and is able to produce highest quality work. Tracking the energy also provides insights into what motivates and what drains the energy.
Ways to Develop Self-awareness:
Certain positive activities that can be undertaken on a daily basis for developing self awareness are:
Look at yourself objectively:
This signifies that a person starts accepting himself for all his strengths and weaknesses.
Keep a Journal:
Maintaining a journal helps you record your day to day experiences and enables you to better understand your difficulties and
Goals / Plans / Priorities:
Start recording the goals, plans and priorities. Goals are the broad overall objectives to be achieved in life over a short/medium/long term. Plans represent the route map towards the achievement of the goals. Priorities signify the areas of focus when plans are put into implementation.
Daily Self Reflection:
A process of daily self reflection ensures that an individual is never trapped in a rut. Self reflection is a key technique for generating self awareness and involves the following:
Try out new experiences:The saying goes that you do the same things, the result remains the same. Trying out new experiences involves exploring new ideas, experimenting new techniques and find out new and innovate ways to solving the problem.
Discover physical limits:A person only becomes aware of his true physical limits when he tests them. Pushing the limits enhances the physical capacity and also enables a person to do more
Self motivate:Daily self reflection on how a person can keep himself self-motivated at all times. Self motivation is the power that enables a person to keep going.
The process of meditation can help become self aware and focus clearing the clutter of unnecessary thoughts. Meditation helps an individual develop a unique focus that helps an individual in covering all the areas mentioned above.
Feedback from friends:
Seeking out feedback from true friends involves getting their honest opinions about areas of improvement and weaknesses that need to be developed upon.
Feedback at the work place:
Professional feedback can be sought from colleagues at work. This helps a person reach out and network and enables him to learn from the experience of others.
To sum up self awareness is not an eventual objective by itself. It is continuing process that enables a person to live a truly meaningful and fulfilled life. The process of discovering the true meaning of the term in all its facets is a truly rewarding process. The pointers mentioned above are only the starting points for you. All the best!
Life has many facets: habits, aspirations, goals, significance etc. It is rare that there has been an artist who was also a good householder and a progressive human being. When I say a good householder, I mean one who facilitates the family in all respects. He not only provides for them materially but also emotionally. This is so, typically for a family man. But when we talk of an individual who doesn’t have a family they too will have to find out their goals, what they want to do in life by controlling or changing their habits. In these circumstances it is difficult to imagine an artist who is totally devoted to his/her passion for art putting similar stress on all the other aspects of life, as said above.
Therefore I think we must understand and practice the ‘Science of living’.
The first facet of this science, according to me, would be ‘Self Awareness’. An individual needs to be conscious of his own body, state of mind including thoughts, actions, ideas, feeling and interaction with others. Besides, self awareness has to be a continuous process. It’s only then that you can mould your thoughts, actions and relationship with others. Without doubt, this requires a constant review – a study that is scientific in nature. It teaches you how to go about finding solutions to the problems.
Once you are self aware, you must set your priorities. It is not only fixing the priorities but also scheduling them according to their relative importance. We must remember that when we schedule a task and provide a time slot, it is not necessary that time allocated will always be found to be sufficient. Time management is another important aspect to be reviewed from time to time. The discipline that you require for constant follow up requires a scientific approach. It should have nothing to do with the moods of the person. When a particular task is not finished as per schedule you need to provide the next slot and abide by it. This protocol alone can bring about the desired results.
Once we are self aware, and we know what to do and we have also fixed our priorities, it is necessary to develop a keen sense of focus. To my mind doing only one thing at a time is the best approach. As far as possible there should be no interruption. Equally important is your total mind and soul into what you are doing. One has to start living in the present, moment to moment. Deliberate effort may be required for some time but then it becomes your habit and you start navigating you life as if you are flying an airplane.
Lastly, I would say that your speech is very important. Because we have to interact with colleagues, family members and the society at large, we must choose our words and use them effectively. Any wrong choice or casual approach towards this very important aspect of human personality can be disastrous. Speech must always be clear; words should be chosen with discretion and spoken effectively. Speech helps to maintain and improve our relations in any environment.
To conclude I would like to say that a successful life in modern times requires us to know and practice the ‘Science of living’.
Thanks for reading.