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The secret to know Yourself

Have you ever heard a recording of your voice

Have you ever heard a recording of your voice? You don’t sound like that, am I right?!

Everyone has been in that situation, and that is strange, especially because we spend so much time with us. Even so, we sound like a poor imitation.

It’s really common to listen to people that seem pretty sure that they know themself. We even find a lot of books about self-knowledge. The world seems to lead us to believe that we need to find ourselfs by meditation and introspection.

Even if I think that taking the time to reflect is important, I don’t think that is enough.

The vision that we have about us tend to be highly influenced by our ideals and our dreams. Our brain is a specialist in fooling us and uses our wishes to trick us.

So, what can we do to escape that illusion? We need to see how we act as if we were in an out-of-body experience.

We can use professional sports as an example. We see athletes recording their training as a performance analysis tool. This is a good tool that top performances use to perfect their craft. Seeing yourself performing in a given context, can be enlightening.

You can follow the example of pro-athletes and record yourself while performing a given task to try to figure out what to improve.

But, the reality is that when we know that we are being observed, we start acting differently than we normally do and influence the outcome. Similar to the Observer Paradox from quantum mechanics.

Observer paradox: the observer's paradox refers to a situation in which the phenomenon being observed is unwittingly influenced by the presence of the observer/investigator.

If you don’t know this paradox, I highly recommend the following video.

So, if recording yourself can be a good way to lie to yourself, what can you do!?

The secret is Feedback! Ask for feedback! I’ve written an article that you can find here about the importance of feedback for improvement. Go ahead and read it. I will wait…

Reaching out trust worth people that spend a lot of time with you is the easy path. When we are in our day-to-day life, lost in routines, we tend to express our true self and that has an impact on the people that surround us. So, if we do something positive or negative, if we have an annoying or peculiar characteristic, people tend to see it and label you with that specific trait.

It can be uncomfortable, but, if you want to know who you are, you need to look inside, but you also need to look to the world and discover the impact that you have in others.

Before we end here, I want to challenge you to a quick challenge that can lead you into this self know journey.

The challenge:

  1. Write down 5 words that you think that describe yourself. 5 things that you think that reflects yourself and that other recall those words when thinking about you.
  2. Find 5 people and ask them to send you 3 words that describe you.
  3. Compare the results and see if something that you don’t expect to emerge from their feedback. Sometimes we have bad surprises, but I prefer to know and do something than keep doing the same.

Go to your email and send a mail to 5 people that you trust them to give honest feedback. If you're looking to know yourself in a given context try to target people that are part of that given context. If you want to know “who am I as a leader?” reach out to your team and old team members. If you want to know “who am I as a friend?” reach out a group of friends important to you. If you want to know you in multiple contexts, just multiply the challenge.

If you learn something new about yourself, please share!

Next time you are in a one-on-one meeting, in an interview or in another context where you can have valuable feedback, don't forget to ask for feedback.