“Do you think that Self Awareness, at least some level of it, is the beginning behind Personal Improvement? And do you find there are certain temperaments or people who are most inclined towards that kind of improvement? What about those who are oblivious?”
How important is “self awareness” in personal development and getting motivated? First let me start off by saying that I believe “self awareness” is somewhat subjective in definition. From a philosophical definition it is along the lines of “I think, therefore I am.” In a psychological perspective it is ones awareness of their own level of knowledge, skills, attitudes, opinions – basically knowing what makes you tick and your abilities.
As it relates to Personal Development; How To Get Motivated I am addressing from the psychological perspective. Self awareness is a critical component in success. Self evaluation of your flaws is the process that starts improvement.
Continual improvement is essential for long term success and viability. If you look at the companies that made up the Dow Jones Industrial average in 1911 only one is still on the list, General Electric. Even if you go back 50 years to 1951 only 7 of the current 30 where on the list.
The Pennsylvania Railroad (PRR) was, at one time, the largest publicly traded company in the world. The PRR still holds the record for the longest continuous paying dividend (it paid out dividends to its shareholders for more than 100 years in a row). At its peak the PRR had a larger budget than the U.S. government (try pulling that off today).
The PRR was a corporate behemoth like no other the world had seen and it seemed invulnerable. However, in the seventies PRR merged with New York Central in an attempt to save the two companies and eventually they filed for bankruptcy protection in the mid seventies and the viable pieces were stripped off and sold. And now the PRR is little more than a space on a Monopoly board. Of course this was all before the U.S. government came up with the notion of “too big to fail”.
Much like the Packard Automobile Company (referred to in Personal Development; How To Get Motivated Part III) we see example after example of incredibly successful corporations that have no self awareness of their vulnerability and subsequently lose their motivation to continually improve.
And specifically to April’s question as how key is self awareness to the start of personal development and motivation; it is a critical factor. The opposite of self awareness would be self obliviousness. If you are oblivious of your strengths and weaknesses you are not capable of objectively analyzing and methodically choosing areas to improve. Without improvement you can not grow and if you are not growing you are decaying.
There is no neutral in life or business. You are either moving forward or you are regressing as others advance past you. The desire to improve is the spark of motivation. Whether it is to improve your own circumstances or the circumstances of others there is no motivation without the desire to improve.
As to April’s last question, “What about those who are oblivious?” I do not hold out much hope for those who are oblivious except that they may be the benefactors of other’s generosity. With the advent of the Internet and a global commerce the market place is becoming a more and more competitive place. But not only is it competitive among business but it is becoming more competitive for employees to maintain employment.
As we know from history, becoming self-aware, and evolving is a critical factor in success and survival – even when you are on top.