Practice Becoming Self-Aware to Drastically Improve Your Life

Tim Denning

Knowing how you act gives you a chance to change and be humble.

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We all act like jerks sometimes. Taking a step back and having a look at yourself will take you far in life.

I acted like a jerk for years. I would throw adult tantrums and actors playing the role of mommy were supposed to come and save me. They never did.

If I’d taken five minutes to watch a video of my behavior I probably would have seen it. What did I lack? Self-awareness.

A lack of self-awareness can lead to odd results. Take a look at Michael Jordan in the documentary “The Last Dance.” He has zero self-awareness. He can’t see how bitter he has become over petty matters that happened decades ago. All of his problems could be solved by forgiveness. But he can’t see it. Perhaps if he was forced to watch the documentary from start to finish he might.

Watch Robert Kiyosaki of “Rich Dad” fame. He spends hour-long interviews scolding the audience and calling them poor. Having the rich label has clearly taken over his life. He sees the world the same way his famous book title “Rich Dad, Poor Dad” describes it: rich or poor. You are either rich or stupid. There is no in-between. He can’t see how he’s acting, because he lacks self-awareness.

All you need is a mirror to see how you act. Or a cheap iPhone to film it.

This is a huge secret: I became self-aware by accident. I started writing on the internet which created an online timeline of my life.

I’d accidentally go back once in a while and see something I wrote years ago. The flaws of my character and thinking were crystal clear to see. I couldn’t read myself and not be embarrassed by myself. Seeing how you act is a powerful reminder of who you are.

Many people recommend journals to become self-aware. I’m different. I prepare a radical shift in self-awareness through public self-awareness. Practicing self-awareness in public gives you more accountability.

Take personal responsibility.

People lack self-awareness because they’re not accountable to themselves. They let themselves get away with murder.

To become self-aware is to intentionally notice your actions and behavior and be accountable for the times when you screw up. (Oh, and you will screw up a lot. We’re all professional screw-ups at least 5% of the time. If not more.)

If you expect flaws in your character, you’ll learn to deal with and be responsible for them. You may even fall in love with your flaws and poke fun of them (the ultimate act of self-awareness).

Just don’t blame your flaws on others. You created a mess and you can clean it up with self-awareness. See what went wrong, be responsible, and enable forgiveness for everybody involved if you need to — including, forgiving yourself.

Notice how you see the world.

Self-awareness can be revealed by describing how you see the world.

I used to see the world as something I had to rape and pillage from in order to get the money goals I had set for myself. If I spent the time to notice how I saw the world then I would have seen how often luxury cars and fancy holidays dominated my thoughts.

That’s why I practice, regularly, describing the world in a blog post. Think about these nuances to your world view:

  • Is the world mostly good or evil?
  • Is the world screwed?
  • Does the world inspire you right now?
  • Is the world going through chaos or transformation?

These questions shape your worldview. These questions help you notice how you see the world. Write down your worldview and share it on your favorite social media platform. Look back on it in the future. Rewrite your worldview annually to see what has changed. Notice the changes and smile.

Use humility to increase your self-awareness

Humble people change the world.

The reason people can’t see their true selves is because they are not humble enough to do so. They think of themselves as high and mighty and don’t dare want to bust or harm that perfect vision of themselves.

When I got over myself, everything changed.

Too much ego stops you from seeing the real you. If your ego is raging, it’s hard to be self-aware. Self-awareness and ego don’t play nicely together in the playpen.

When you’re not-so-important, you can enable your learning brain to take over. It looks like this: “I have a lot to learn.”

When you believe you need to learn, you are okay to spot your flaws. You see your life as a work in progress rather than a finished masterpiece on display next to Michal Angelo’s statue of David.

Self-aware people are humble as f*ck.

Your life is not for everyone

I’ve worked with many people over the years who worship the corporate life. They falsely believe that if you don’t work yourself to the bone and get the next job title then you’re a loser.

Self-awareness is cultivated when you realize your life is not for everyone.

You see that your life is made for you, but not for everyone else. So, you stop talking down to people and pretending they are stupid for not signing up to your way of life and your gorgeous lifestyle. My life is certainly not for everyone. I used to think it was until I became self-aware. I’d shout at people and tell them when to wake up. I’d use the word “must” rather than “choose.”

People can learn from pieces of your life but they can’t make a carbon copy.

Lifestyle design is an individual art.

Find out how others see you.

Don’t trust yourself. Get a second opinion.

I’d like to think I’m self-aware. The truth is I’m not always. Some days I drink my own kool-aid and metaphorically worship my own bum.

Self-aware people ask for feedback. They see the patterns in people’s comments and make the difficult decision to improve, not settle.

If you’re not sure what you look like then ask ten people who know you. Ask them these questions:

  • Where do I need to improve? And be ruthless.
  • What lies do you reckon I tell myself? Slap me over the face with it.
  • What good and bad patterns of behavior do you see from me? I need a 4 AM cold shower so don’t hold back.

Take the feedback and think about it in a quiet room. Now how do you see yourself, honestly? It’s okay if the answer is “not good.”

You can always fix toxic behavior and rewrite negative thought patterns with radical self-awareness.

Get in the battle arena

Once you are self-aware, you can duel with your delusions.

You can take a long hard look at yourself and then challenge yourself to change. Don’t be afraid of your flaws or shortcomings. Embrace those suckers.

A hard conversation with yourself is worth a thousand trips to a “change your life” event.

You know how you are now. You’re not hiding anymore. You’re self-aware. You’re prepared to face your problems and use them to eventually help others. You’re inspired by how little you know. You know how small you are compared to the billions of people you occupy the Earth with. You don’t need a Lambo to stand out or a Calvin Klein suit to make a point.

It’s no longer significance you crave; it’s improvement. You want to be slightly better than the person you were yesterday. You practice self-awareness. You tweak your thoughts to change your life. You see yourself as an alpha version tomorrow. A beta version in a year. And a version 1.65 in 5 years.

That’s what the battle arena of self-awareness looks like. Take a long hard look at yourself and be bloody impressed with who you’re going to become. You have permanent defects and they’re bloody beautiful. That’s what self-awareness looks like.

Use self-awareness to get real with yourself and level up your growth.

Take a jar of self-awareness and sprinkle it all through your life. Your potential is unlocked with self-awareness when you use it.

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Aussie Blogger with 100M+ views — Writer for CNBC & Business Insider. Inspiring the world through Personal Development and Entrepreneurship www.timdenning.com

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