According to People First Productivity Solutions, self-awareness is an important component of emotional intelligence, which proves to be useful in many domains of our lives because it is difficult to understand and relate with others if you don’t first understand yourself. When we don’t understand ourselves, we may fail to form intimate relationships or to feel “at peace” with ourselves. Developing insight into one’s own self provides opportunities for being able to understand one’s own motivations, preferences and perspectives.
The ways you gain insights into yourself are numerous. Being able to reflect on what has worked for you, on how you have felt in various situations, and on what truly motivates you is a good place to start. The real objective of gaining deep level self-awareness is to be able to then discover how you fit into the world around you and are able to complement and bring the most out of others, too.
Once you have developed insight you will be able to also develop outsight. Outsight means being able to see beyond oneself, beyond one’s normal frame of reference — out further than you’ve ever seen before. With outsight, you will be able to understand others better and more easily. You can think about what the future may hold, and you can understand cultural differences without judging. Without outsight, we are unable to fully appreciate the differences around us. We miss out on so much because of a self-limiting perspective.
Developing outsight requires deliberate focus. It requires setting aside the preconceived notions and judgments you may make when you see something that is different from your “norm’s” or difficult to understand. Outsight starts with curiosity so more you open yourself up, the more you will find that outsight is growing for you.
Insight and outsight can develop simultaneously. In order for this to happen, you must have equal measures of self-confidence and humility. When you are both confident enough and yet also humble enough to acknowledge that you can continually learn and grow by understanding others, you will be able to multiply your outsight exponentially. Here are some questions you can ask yourself in various situations. Asking these with an open mind will help you to develop both insight and outsight:
1) What am I feeling about this event and why? How are my feelings different from others and why?
2) What matters most of all to me? What matters most of all to people around me? What matters most of all to the people who are most different from me?
3) How am I interpreting this event? What past experiences have caused me to choose this interpretation? What are some other ways that people could interpret this very same event?
You begin with reflecting on your own emotions, thoughts and experiences. Then, it is about going beyond yourself to understand alternative ways of looking at the situation. With conscious attention to development of insight and outsight, you will find over time that you are able to understand things in ways you never thought possible. Others will also notice that you have a generosity of spirit and an empathy that is unique.
This post was originally published here on PeopleFirstPS.com in May 2013. TheYoungProfessionalGroup.com takes no credit for the work of the author.