“The most important conversations you’ll ever have are the ones you’ll have with yourself.” — David Goggins

Everyone talks about self-awareness these days and how important it is – but what does it really mean? And why is it so important? It seems to be an overrated concept, but is it really? Let’s talk about it.

What is self-awareness?

Most dictionaries will define self-awareness on a very basic level, such as “knowledge and awareness of your own personality or character.” When you’re self-aware, you have an accurate and clear understanding of your personality, strengths, weaknesses, and beliefs. You know what makes you tick. Self-awareness also includes an understanding of how others perceive you. It’s a deeper, more complex understanding of self and of your consciousness, if that makes sense.

Isn’t everyone self-aware?

While it would seem that most people have at least some amount of self-awareness – even babies are known to have a really basic level of self-awareness – there are so many reasons you might struggle with having a deep understanding of yourself. This could be due to traumas in your life, personality disorders and mental health issues, and many other possible reasons.

What happens when you lack self-awareness?

Lacking self-awareness can lead to a very confusing and frustrating life, to put it mildly. You might find yourself feeling confused at someone’s reaction to something you said or did, or you might not really see yourself clearly.

Plus, unfortunately, your level of self-awareness can influence your relationships, career, and happiness.

Why is self-awareness so important?

Self-Awareness Means You’re in Control

Self-awareness is necessary for taking control of your life. The direction of your life is determined by your thoughts, beliefs, emotions, and reactions. Self-awareness is how you understand and manipulate these things. Self-awareness highlights faulty beliefs and emotional reactions that stand in your way and gives you the power to make adjustments.

Self-Awareness Helps You Understand Your Choices, Challenges, and Behaviors

Self-awareness illuminates the real reasons for past failures and challenges. We often dismiss our failures as bad luck or a lack of proper timing. It’s much more likely that you failed to perceive the situation, others, and yourself accurately. It’s much easier to see the reason behind relationships, work, and other struggles when you can look at yourself clearly. Do you consistently struggle at work or in your relationships? It’s only logical to conclude that you’re doing something ineffectively. Some people who lack self-awareness are puzzled by their negative outcomes or blame others exclusively.

Self-Awareness Makes You a Better Leader

Self-awareness is a critical quality for leaders. One study concluded that a high degree of self-awareness was the best predictor of success for executives. Executives that have an understanding of their weaknesses are able to build a team composed of members that fill those weaknesses. A lack of self-awareness puts a limit on your leadership abilities.

Self-awareness is the foundation for personal progress. Without it, any personal development efforts will be severely hampered. Building greater self-awareness won’t happen overnight, but it can be developed.

How do you develop self-awareness?

Build your self-awareness one step at a time.

Write your own manifesto.

Think about and then document your views on life, your goals, and your intentions. You might be surprised by what you write. This is a great first step for understanding yourself and your beliefs.

Make a list of your strengths and weaknesses.

How do you know? Are you certain? Avoid jumping to conclusions. You may have always believed that you’re a hard worker, but are you? To whom are you comparing yourself? Provide yourself with proof before you make any decisions.

Think about how you’re perceived.

What would others say about you? Consider how your partner, children, friends, family, co-workers, and boss would describe you. What would they suggest you improve about yourself? Then ask them and see how accurate you are. Do you know how others perceive you? Find out how perceptive you are.

Meditate.

Meditation is all about developing a better awareness of the present moment and yourself. Meditation is an ideal activity for enhancing self-awareness. Meditate at least once each day. Spend the rest of the day paying attention to yourself, others, and your surroundings. You can develop a higher degree of self-awareness by just paying attention.

Keep an Eye on Your Head.

Question yourself throughout the day. “What am I attempting to achieve?” “What emotions am I currently feeling and why?” “What are the people around me feeling?”

Self-awareness is the cornerstone of success and self-improvement. Without self-awareness, the knowledge you possess can’t be applied effectively. It’s necessary to understand your beliefs, habits, strengths, and weaknesses to make a personal change. Avoid assuming that you’re self-aware. Give it some time and thought.

Life is easier when you’re self-aware. You can start building your self-awareness, and reaping the benefits, today!