Know Thyself – Simple Ways to Practice Self-Awareness

They say practice makes perfect, and yet we’re well aware that perfection is unattainable. Having said that, we like to practice because we know it does help get us to the next level. Because I believe in following Socrates’ advice to know thyself, I’ve compiled a list of simple ways to practice self-awareness.

This is the third in a 3-post series about self-awareness. The first consisted of some signs that you may not be self-aware. The second – tools you can use to become self-aware. This one is a short list of simple ways to practice self-awareness on a regular basis. Let’s jump right in.

know thyself - practice self awareness

Know Thyself – Simple Ways to Practice Self-Awareness

Acknowledge Your Emotions

Learn to recognize your emotions and acknowledge them for what they are. Allow yourself to experience them, but understand what it is that you feel and why. If you feel sad, don’t cover it up and try to play strong. If you feel angry, acknowledge it, and cope. Learn to express how you feel, not just for the sake of being in tune with your feelings, but also because it’s good practice for your self-awareness efforts.

Be Objective

This is an important tool because it requires that you step outside of yourself, become a third party in your own scenario. It only takes a bit of concentrated effort. In reality, all you’re doing is looking at the situation from a different angle.

The idea is that you consider things based on facts, with an unbiased mind, with emotions aside. I’m not saying that you shouldn’t feel (see item above). I’m suggesting that you learn to see and process things from another perspective than what comes naturally to you.

Pay Attention to the Way Your Friends Refer to You

So in learning self-awareness, I see the following tip often; ask trusted friends to describe you. I agree to a certain level. In fact, I added a similar tip to my list on ways to practice being yourself, I think it’s helpful to ask your friends specific questions, but I think it’s also important to observe and hear how your friends refer to you. What are they saying? How do you feel about their comments about you? What do they tease you about? Are they comfortable around you?

Take Personality Tests

You may not believe—or appreciate—those long pesky quizzes that determine your personality, but you may be surprised to learn something new about yourself. Huffpost journalist Lindsay Holmes lists five reasons to take a personality test, one being the benefit of knowing yourself. The key with these of course, is that you answer honestly; based on fact, not based on what you WISH the answers were. My only warning is that you don’t become so personality type obsessed that you leave no room for growth in your life. The idea is to learn a little more about

 Use the 5-Why Method

In root cause analysis, one of the strategies used is the 5 Why method. The idea is that it will take five whys (give or take) to get to the root cause of a problem. Experiment with this: think of a persisting problem in your life and begin to ask why the problem exists. For each reason, ask again why that reason exists. You know when you’ve found the root cause when you can switch the problem on and off, as explained by my Lean Six Sigma instructor.


Remember, it’s easy to lose yourself in the busyness of life. Practice self-awareness. Check out the first and second part of this self-awareness series:

Self-Awareness – Signs You’re Not Self-Aware 

Know Thyself – Ways to Become Self-Aware

“Know Thyself”

~Socrates

What is something you do to practice self-awareness?

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