Do You Have Self-Awareness?
Updated: Jul 14, 2022
Are you self-aware? In other words, do you have the ability to see yourself clearly and as others see you? Tasha Eurich, an organizational psychologist, believes that the odds are against it. Tasha wrote a book on self-awareness called Insight, spoke about it at a TED conference and wrote a paper for Harvard Business Review in 2018. She said that there are two types of people: "those who think they are self-aware, and those who are." In a study she conducted, 95% of those surveyed believed they had good self-awareness, yet upon evaluation, about 85-90% of people lacked it. Most people are not aware that they are not self-aware!
It turns out that the typical way people evaluate themselves - through introspection - is the wrong approach according to Tasha, and it actually leads us away from the truth. For example, asking "Why?" tends to cause our subconscious to rationalize explanations that are far from reality rather than lead us to the truth. For example asking, "Why did I fail?", "Why did I get so angry when that driver cut me off?", "Why is my life the way it is now?" focused backwards rather than forwards and tends not to give us true insight. Instead, we get stressed, depressed and generally are unsatisfied.
Those who actually have good self-awareness (called self-awareness "unicorns" by Tasha due to their rareness) instead ask forward-looking questions, centered around the question "What?" - "What can I do to improve my chances of getting the job next time?", "What could I do to help myself react a different way to a situation?", "What do I truly value in life?" These forward looking questions are more likely to lead us to self-awareness, Tasha says will give us power, fulfillment and comfort and will help us to be better communicators and more effective leaders.