Socrates summed up the secret to a meaningful life in two simple words ó "Know thyself." Self-awareness means knowing your needs and values, your strengths and limitations, your passions and your idiosyncratic quirks. It means having a deep appreciation of what makes you a unique specimen on this planet. On a deeper level, self-awareness means knowing how you react in different situations and accepting full responsibility for your feelings and actions.
Having a better understanding of oneself is the first step to having a better relationship with others. This is because self-awareness provides a window to expand our understanding about other points of view and perspectives. While the importance of self-awareness is readily understood by most people, achieving it is easier said than done. Even Benjamin Franklin acknowledged this when he wrote in his Poor Richard's Almanac, "There are three things extremely hard: steel, diamonds, and to know one's self."
The reason self-awareness is so difficult to achieve is that it involves an ongoing assessment of our assumptions, beliefs, values, and mental models that shape our behavior and guide our actions both at work and in our personal lives. The goal of this kind of reflection is not merely ...
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