Well Done

Bill Abbate

How do you see yourself? Have you given it much thought? Do you realize how you look at yourself affects everything in your life? Because your self-perception dramatically impacts the outcome of your days, weeks, and years, perhaps it is time to give it some thought if you haven’t.

How accurate do you believe your self-perception is? How about the perception of others about you? Do you think they see you accurately?

Let’s explore these questions and more.


What does your level of self-perception say about you? If you have little understanding of yourself, you will be at a real disadvantage in your relationships and career. You could even say someone with a poor understanding of who they are and how they behave will have many struggles in life.

At the opposite end of the spectrum, some are very self-aware and have a realistic perception of themselves. These people will find far more success in their relationships and career.

Self-perception begins with your attitude and mindset and ends with your actions and behaviors.

Attitude and Mindset

What is your attitude about life in general? Are you the optimistic sort who sees life as fun and exciting or the pessimistic type who considers the world fraught with peril?

If you are optimistic, you tend to see more of the good and likely enjoy your life. If you are pessimistic, you see more of the bad and are less likely to find as much joy.

What do you believe about yourself and your abilities? Do you have a positive, can-do, will-do, get it done at all costs, the world will move out of my way and make room for me to get it done type of attitude? This is known as a growth mindset. Can you understand where seeing this way will lead you in life? Imagine the accomplishments that can occur from possessing such a mindset.

Or do you see life as gloomy, with the world against you? You often stop trying because you believe good seldom comes of it, and you don’t want to fail, so you hold back and do nothing. Can you see where this mindset will take you in life? This is known as a fixed mindset. Imagine the heartache and stress caused by living this way.

Ask yourself the following question, using a scale of 1 to 10, where one is very low, and ten is very high:

  • How do I rate my attitude about life? Pessimistic (lower) or optimistic (higher)?

If you choose a number lower on the scale, there is a strong likelihood you have a fixed mindset. Selecting a higher number on the scale indicates you likely have a growth mindset.

If you find yourself leaning toward a fixed mindset, you can begin changing where you sit on the scale by working on yourself. Read articles and books, watch YouTube and Ted videos, speak with friends and colleagues, or seek a professional coach to help you. The higher you are on the scale, the more likely you will find better opportunities and more of them in your world. Who doesn’t want that?

If you are working on yourself, rate yourself at least once a month and record it on your calendar to check your progress.

To learn more about the subject of mindset, check out this short article: A New Frame of Mind

How do you perceive others?

Why does how you see others matter? How you see other people says a lot about how you see yourself. When you make a judgment about someone, it may or may not be true.

You judge others because of how you think, not because of who they are.

Are you often critical of other people? Look inward to uncover what makes you this way. Understanding yourself won’t be easy until you understand what drives how you see others.

How much of what you do is in response to how you believe others see you? Are you merely reacting based on a feeling with no basis of knowledge and truth?

The simple solution for understanding how you perceive others is to discuss it with them! You may want to start with someone close that you can trust before putting it on the line. See what being truthful can bring to light. You will be surprised by the results and will have the opportunity to enhance your understanding of yourself considerably!

“What amazes me is how far some people will go to justify their behavior to themselves, just to preserve that self-perception.” Christopher Golden (1967-present)

How do others perceive you?

Do you know for certain, or only suspect how others see you? Most of us believe we know, yet few do. Why is this? Because we’ve never asked them! We only assume we know.

I will often work with a team and have each member say something they admire about another member. It rarely fails that more than one person is surprised and says, “I had no idea anyone saw me that way,” or something similar. It is one of the best team-building exercises you can do, even if the team is only you and your spouse. Try it and be amazed at what you learn.

If you are brave, you can take this simple concept one step further and ask someone for their advice on one thing you could improve. It takes a great deal of trust and honesty for this to work, but the reward will be worth it. Of course, this only works if you ask for their input with an open mind and heart to hear the truth.

Few of us know how others perceive us because we are either afraid to ask or afraid of what they may say. If you want to become the best you possible, overcome this fear ASAP! Doing so will raise your self-perception considerably.

“Don’t try to change the world. First, change yourself or your self-perception, and you find the world automatically corresponding to the level of your understanding.” Mooji (1954-present)

Why does self-perception matter?

Ultimately, the better you understand yourself, the better your behaviors and actions become. You can learn to understand yourself better by examining your current behaviors and actions and going to work on them.

A few behaviors and actions you can quickly look at include:

  • Are you critical?
  • Do you pay full attention when others are speaking?
  • Do you show any disrespect?
  • Do you gossip?
  • Do you tear down other people?

Make a list that accurately describes some of your behaviors and evaluate them. For example, what does it say about you if you are not critical? On the other hand, what does it tell you about yourself if you are critical? Either of these behaviors can speak volumes to help you better learn who you are.

Realize what you do is a result of who you are.

Another example of using behaviors to learn more about yourself is if you leave minimal tips at restaurants, you are likely money conscious and could be a bit stingy. How might it show up in other areas of your life if you are this frugal? It could show up in excessive shopping for the best deals or always waiting until the price of something matches your expectations. It may show up in the type of car you buy, the kind of home you own, and numerous other ways.

Your self-perception affects many areas of your life. It can dictate your job and career, lifestyle, where you live, what you drive, what you own or don’t own, and so forth.

Something worth studying if you find this subject interesting is Self-Perception Theory. This theory takes self-perception deeper, helping you understand uncertainty in your life, your attitude, how what you think you are and are not is important, and how to overcome negative self-perception, amongst other things.

Self-perception largely dictates who you are, your attitude and mindset in life, how you behave, the actions you take, and who you are becoming. Sounds important to your future, don’t you think?

“Our self-perception determines our behavior. If we think we’re small, limited, inadequate creatures, then we tend to behave that way, and the energy we radiate reflects those thoughts no matter what we do. If we think we’re magnificent creatures with an infinite abundance of love and power to give, then we tend to behave that way.” Marianne Williamson (1952-present)

Final thoughts

A simple explanation of self-perception is — it is about you! It results from your attitude and mindset and manifests through your behaviors and actions.

Everyone has positive and negative self-perceptions. One of the best ways to overcome negative self-perceptions is by accepting the reality of who you are. If you are like me and follically challenged, accept you are bald. Don’t look at things that you can’t change. Look at your traits, characteristics, and areas where you can do something.

Realize who you are — a frail human being filled with unlimited possibilities! Why not go to work on yourself to develop a better understanding of who you are and begin tapping into more of that potential?

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Semi-Retired-Leadership/Executive Coach -Personal & Career Growth Expert -Editor and Leadership Writer at Illumination -Author

Richmond, VA

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