Tuesday, July 03, 2012

You Can't Be Truly Successful Without Self-Awareness

To be truly successful (e.g. not just professionally, but personally, and as part of the community), a person must know themself.

Happiness comes when your self-perception and the outside world line up.

When a person who has a high self-opinion is seen by the outside world as a failure, the result is anger and resentment.

When a person who has a low self-opinion is seen by the outside world as a success, the result is uneasiness and a fear of being unmasked.

As long as you fail to know yourself, your secret insecurities will sabotage your happiness, no matter how "successful" the world thinks you to be.

* This post was sparked by a comment on PandaWhale
** This thought was sparked by a conversation with Kevin Miller from the Unreasonable Institute
*** The original insight behind this comes from Lois McMaster Bujold's excellent novel, Barrayar, though many others have explored the distinction between reputation and character.

4 comments:

Moah said...

Chris,

I am wondering if it's self-acceptance rather than self-awareness. I think you are truly happy only when you can entirely accept without exception who you are and what your standing is in the world. I agree if your view of who you are is in conflict with what others see in you, that's lack of self-awareness.

I agree self-awareness is essential but I think it's only the first step. Many people probably don't even get to self-awareness.

Even with self-awareness, you can still be unhappy (or in your words, unsuccessful in life). Especially very smart people tend to have self-awareness but some of them still don't accept the version that they are aware of. So they are still discontent and unhappy trying to be different or trying to cover up or trying to reject it. At least that's how I see it.

Chris said...

Moah,

Great point. Self-awareness is necessary, but not sufficient. If you're self-aware, but you hate yourself, you're still going to struggle.

Once you are self-aware, you need to take steps to remedy whatever you don't like about yourself.

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Anonymous said...

This little post has really struck a cord with me. Thank you very much for posting this.