Sunday, January 13, 2019

Know Thyself

Knowing others is intelligence; knowing yourself is true wisdom. Mastering others is strength; Mastering yourself is true power.” - Lao Tzu

Do you know who you are?  In one sense most of us respond with a resounding yes.  However, deep down many of us, including myself, are always questioning our purpose.  By the way, this is indeed ok.  Throughout our lives, we are continually discovering and reassessing who we are. Experiences, feedback, and the environment in which we live and work shape this process in a way that ultimately helps us to realize our strengths and weaknesses.  Taking all of this into account helps us come to the realization of why we are the way we are.  It is at this point that we must continually consider changes that can be made to better ourselves and those around us.  

Quote from Andrew Murphy/image credit

Herein lies my point.  How open to change are we really? The key, in my opinion, comes down to knowing thyself. So why is this so important?  Take this view from Annalisa Coliva:
Presumably, it means to know, first and foremost, one’s character and it is crucial because only by understanding one’s character can one be aware of one’s limitations and avoid likening oneself to the gods. But, more simply, it is only by knowing one’s character that one can try and improve from a moral point of view, or make the right decisions in one’s life.
In a world where people are seemingly always trying to figure out what makes others tick it might be prudent to reflect on the very nature of why we do what we do (or what we don’t).  Understanding our own drive and resistance to change goes a long way in helping others to embrace new and different ideas with the goal of improving practice.  Your ability to define who you are and how you will make decisions can help catapult you to a level of professional practice that will continually be grounded by your sense purpose. It is your prior experiences, roles, and the people that influence your work that will help to develop enough awareness to determine and define what truly matters.  Having a greater purpose than oneself becomes a catalyst for initiating needed change. 

Let the past inform your present.  We can learn a great deal by taking a critical lens to past mistakes and failures. These can teach us to make better choices now and in the future.

Dig deep to unearth your core values. Knowing what you stand for and why you believe in certain things will provide fantastic insight as to why you make the decisions you do.

Seek out, listen to, and gain perspective from the works of other educators, leaders, and authors. Hang out with people you know have developed a strong sense of self-awareness.

Don’t’ discount your fears. These manifest themselves in many ways and ultimately dictate your actions, which in turn impact everyone with whom you come in contact. By tackling your fears head on you will be more prone to make empowered choices.

Have an open mind when it comes to change as it is a constant.  Over time you will accumulate an array of experiences, which will color your perspective. Move beyond your comfort zone, take calculated risks, and expand your outlook.

Developing a better understanding of yourself is a never-ending journey, which will help you to better understand your strengths, weaknesses, fears, and aspirations.  If you want to help others either overcome or address these areas, then it makes perfect sense to do so ourselves. Only then will the stage be set to initiating meaningful change that sticks

Take some time to get to know yourself better. 

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