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Is Self-Awareness The Secret To Success?

July 4, 2018

If you were to ask your friends to rate themselves on traits like intelligence, kindness, and attractiveness, chances are they’d all rate themselves as above average in most of these categories.

Psychologists call this phenomenon the better-than-average effect. Put simply, we humans have a bias to think we’re just a bit more charming, better-looking, and smarter than the average Joe.

Of course, by definition, we can’t all be correct in believing we’re on the right side of the personality bell curve. Thinking we’re better than average at most things is a comforting thought – but it isn’t true.

We don’t just think we’re smarter and better-looking than average, we also think we’re less susceptible to biases. Psychologists call this the bias blind spot, meaning we can tell how biased other people are, but we rarely notice our own biases. Just like we all secretly think we’re the one person who will never die, we also think we’re the one truly logical person in the world.

The first step to greater self-awareness is accepting the possibility that you aren’t particularly self-aware. Socrates said it well, “The more I know, the more I realize I know nothing.”

Admitting that many of your beliefs about the world, human nature, and most importantly, yourself, may be wrong is . . . uncomfortable. Feeling like we understand ourselves has its benefits, even if that feeling is unwarranted. This begs the question: why read a book that is designed to make us question the beliefs we’ve used to navigate through life?

Because carrying around beliefs about yourself that are faulty can have severe consequences. For example:

  • What if you believed you had to work a 9-5 job to make ends meet because you didn’t know that in the 21st century, anyone can make a living doing what they love (if they know the right strategy)?
  • What if you believed you were fundamentally unattractive to the opposite sex, but it was actually your lack of self-confidence, not your appearance that has prevented you from having the romantic life you want?
  • What if you thought you didn’t have enough willpower to follow through on your diet and exercise plan to lose weight, but in reality, you could easily transform your body with an effective goal setting strategy?

What if you learned that the key to living a satisfying life is turned by accepting the possibility that many of your beliefs are wrong?

The above examples of how false beliefs can hold us back are all from my own life.

I used to work full-time as a cellphone salesmen to pay my bills. I didn’t think I could do anything more meaningful without a college degree. But I was wrong. Reading business books taught me that anyone can make a living doing what they love – if they’re dedicated and have a good strategy.

It took months of hard work, but I was able to quit my sales job and make a living online by writing about the subjects I’m most passionate about.

When I was 19, I was so insecure about my attractiveness to the opposite sex, that I still hadn’t even kissed a girl. I truly believed I wasn’t appealing to women, and that to ask a girl out would only end in humiliation.

Two years later, I met a guy who frequently went out to bars and clubs to meet women. He encouraged me to join him. I thought it was a stupid idea, but I started to put myself out there, and – although I did get rejected many times – I slowly became more confident in myself, and was able to change from someone who couldn’t kiss a girl, to someone with a satisfying dating life.

After going to the gym nearly every day for 3 months, I decided to give up on weightlifting. Working out was too stressful for me, I had to accept being 20 pounds overweight. I just didn’t have the willpower necessary to transform my body.

I didn’t realize that it was my poorly designed goals – not my lack of willpower – that was holding me back. Working out for over an hour a day, 5 days a week, wasn’t realistic for someone who was used to a sedentary lifestyle.

About a year later, I designed a workout plan that started slow, but built up over time. Following this plan, I only went to the gym twice a week for the first month. The second month, I went to the gym three times. And so on. This plan helped me lose more than 30 pounds in 6 months.

In all the above examples, an increase in self-awareness allowed me to break free from negative patterns that were holding me back. But not until I accepted the possibility that some of my deeply held beliefs might be wrong.

Self-awareness is the great catalyst for personal transformation. We all have blind spots (areas in which our lack of self-awareness prevents us from reaching our goals). Fortunately, becoming aware of these blind spots allows us to finally break free of them, so we can make real changes in our life:

  • If you want to get better at following through and achieving your long-term goals, self-awareness is the key.
  • If you want to find a sense of peace and contentment in your life, self-awareness is the key.
  • If you want to be a better friend, lover, or leader, self-awareness is the key.
  • If you want to break free of bad habits or self-destructive behavior patterns, self-awareness is the key.

Self-awareness isn’t some panacea that will fix all your problems. It’s more like a key that unlocks the door to personal transformation. You’ll still have to walk through that door yourself. But without the key, change is impossible. The first step to a better life is increased self-awareness.

That wraps up part one of the four part self-awareness series. In part 2, you’re going to learn a practical strategy for bringing more self-awareness into your life.

If you want to do a deep dive into the topic of self-awareness, you can get my new book, The Power of Self-Awareness, on Amazon.

TheRedArchive is an archive of Red Pill content, including various subreddits and blogs. This post has been archived from the blog Red Pill Theory.

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