On connecting thoughts to actions and creating the opportunity to live with more intention.
I’ve always admired people with a powerful sense of self-awareness. I still have a long way to go myself, but this framework has helped me align the thoughts in my head with the actions I take.
If you have any tips, prompts, or frameworks related to self-awareness, send them my way!
The first principle is that you must not fool yourself—and you are the easiest person to fool.
- Richard Feynman
I often say self-awareness is a superpower. Intuitively understanding your thoughts, actions, and the connection between them is crucial to doing anything well.
There are two layers to our individual experience that I liken to programming, our thoughts, and our actions. Our thoughts and feelings are like back-end code. They stay behind the scenes but influence our actions. Our actions are like the front-end interface. It’s the only thing other people see when they are interacting with us.
Self-awareness is the ability to recognize in real-time when there are mismatches between our code and our front-end interface. The more these two layers of experience can be understood, the better we can communicate with others and attend to our own needs.
If you’ve ever been cranky and said something rude to your significant other, only to realize later you were just hungry, you’ve seen a glimpse of how these systems can be misaligned.
Often, our actions don’t match how we really feel. Confounding factors or subconscious thoughts create “bugs” in our system and lead to actions we may regret.
Peeling back the surface layer to identify these bugs requires self-reflection. The same way athletes watch film of their past performances to gain a better perspective on their actions, we can use tools like journaling or meditation to reflect on the past and better inform our actions in the future.
Building the muscle of self-reflection takes lots of repetition, but over time the lessons learned begin to surface in real time. At this point, it’s easier to identify misguided inputs and pause to adjust our actions to align with our true feelings.
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What forms of self-reflection work best for me? How can I practice these regularly?
What patterns of thinking or behavior do I repeat unconsciously?
When was the last time I said something I didn’t mean? What was the real reason I said it?
Awareness is a Super Power - Rich Roll Podcast
A podcast diving into the depths and nuance of awareness.
As I was thinking about self-awareness, I put some ideas on Twitter as well.
Thanks for reading! I’ll see you next Sunday.