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Everyone has different imbalances in their lives, but sometimes we’re only partially aware of them because they’re inconvenient, awkward, or too painful. We know they exist, but we don’t know the reason why.
The unexamined areas of your life are where you’ll be feeling stuck. Before you go out and buy another book on how to fix the parts that aren’t working, pause for a moment to get a glimpse of the big picture. Once you understand things better, you can take the most effective action.
Benefits of Awareness
If you are more self-aware, you’ll experience many benefits. Here are few examples:
- You’ll understand how you relate to others and how to adjust your behavior to get along better with people.
- You’ll understand what upsets you and how to restore your good mood.
- You’ll understand your strengths and how to build on them.
- You’ll understand your weaknesses and how to manage them.
The cumulative result of understanding yourself better is being able to take constructive action and fix the areas of your life where you feel stuck.
Four Tools to Expand your Awareness
Unfortunately, awareness isn’t always simple. Others can easily recognize where you need to improve, but it’s difficult to have the same level of clarity about yourself. To help you out, here are four useful tools to expand your awareness:
1. Take Personality Tests
Psychologists have created a unique set of tools called psychometric tests to measure character traits against a typology. These tools basically give you a rough idea of the difference between you and other people. The two most popular tests with a reasonable amount of accuracy are the Big Five and the Myers Brigg.
The Big Five
The Big Five test is also called the OCEAN model. It measures five personality characteristics:
Myers-Briggs Type Indicator
Here is a brief description of the test from the official Myers-Briggs website:
- Favorite world: Do you prefer to focus on the outer world or on your own inner world? This is called Extraversion (E) or Introversion (I).
- Information: Do you prefer to focus on the basic information you take in or do you prefer to interpret and add meaning? This is called Sensing (S) or Intuition (N).
- Decisions: When making decisions, do you prefer to first look at logic and consistency or first look at the people and special circumstances? This is called Thinking (T) or Feeling (F).
- Structure: In dealing with the outside world, do you prefer to get things decided or do you prefer to stay open to new information and options? This is called Judging (J) or Perceiving (P).
- Your Personality Type: When you decide on your preference in each category, you have your own personality type, which can be expressed as a code with four letters.
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2. Sample More Experiences
Another way to learn more about yourself is to do things that you’ve never done before. Take classes in things you have no knowledge about. You can visit websites like the Khan Academy, Coursera, Degreed and fee university courses from MIT, Berkeley, and Harvard. Try outdoor experiences you’ve never done before. Go to places on your vacations where you are entirely unfamiliar with the culture.
New experiences will surprise and delight you. You will be amazed at how much bolder, fun-loving, and more creative you become.
3. Record your life story
Describe your life, covering the major life events. You can record your experience on video, audio, or even paper. You’ll start to see patterns you didn’t notice before.
Can a daily journal change your life? According to Your Life Your Voice, here are some reasons why you should write a daily journal:
Why write a journal?
“A journal can be a record of your daily thoughts, feelings, an exercise or diet diary, a dream journal, a place where you jot down your goals or to-do lists . . . pretty much any record that you’d like to keep in a book or notebook.”
What are the benefits?
“A big benefit for keeping a journal is that it gets out feelings that are inside of you. You can express your feelings as often as you want, and it is your choice to keep the journal as private and confidential as you like.”
What is Awareness?
Awareness increases your intrapersonal intelligence. If you’re feeling stuck, it’s because you’re not aware of why things aren’t working out for you. Raising your awareness through one or more of these four tools will dissolve the glue.
In fact, you’ll even be able to achieve more goals because you’ll understand how to motivate yourself through the difficult stretches.