By Linda Arnold EBS CONTRIBUTOR
How well do you know yourself?
It’s such a simple question, yet many of us are running on autopilot these days, just trying to make it through the day. And then a sense of emptiness creeps in.
Greek philosopher Aristotle once said, “Knowing yourself is the beginning of all wisdom.” Fast forward to today. Self-awareness is one of the biggest buzz phrases related to happiness, productivity and personal growth.
And it can be one of the most difficult things to master in life, observes author Darius Foroux, who has come up with an inquiry system to shed light on this elusive topic.
There are no right or wrong answers. We’re all different, and the only person who can teach you self-awareness is you. Take a look at these inquiring probes to see if any “a-ha” moments come up for you.
Just answer with the first thing that pops into your mind. Everyone interprets these questions differently. And it’s OK to say, “I don’t know.” That can leave clues about where you need to focus.
What am I good at?
What am I bad at?
What am I so-so at?
Who are the most important people in my life?
What are my most important principles?
What type of person do I want to be?
What stresses me out?
What relaxes me?
What’s my definition of success?
What type of worker am I?
How do I want others to see me?
What makes me sad?
What makes me happy?
What makes me angry?
What am I afraid of?
What type of friend do I want to be?
What do I think about myself?
What do I value in life?
Which things about myself make me proud?
Where do I see myself in five years?
Use the information you’ve gleaned to make any necessary course corrections. We get so caught up in our outer worlds that it’s easy to lose ourselves. Are you spinning your wheels or putting your energy into the wrong areas?
Look at including more advantageous things in your life and eliminating the harmful things, as much as possible:
Do more things that make you happy.
Do more things you’re good at.
Dial down things you’re bad at.
Avoid things that make you unhappy.
I need to raise a caution flag here. Things aren’t always so black and white. For example, relationships can make you both happy and sad. That doesn’t mean you should avoid relationships altogether. Just avoid the things that make your relationships bad: lying, lack of empathy, etc.
The more you practice, the more self-aware you’ll become. Introspection is difficult because you need to be honest with yourself. And lots of times it’s easier to cover things up because the truth can be scary. But following your own compass is always better than losing yourself in the crowd.
Linda Arnold, M.A., M.B.A., is a syndicated columnist, psychological counselor and founder of a multistate marketing company. Reader comments are welcome at firstname.lastname@example.org or visit lindaarnold.org for more information on her books.