It is said that if you know your enemies and yourself, you can win a hundred battles without a single loss. If you only know yourself but not your opponent, you may win or may lose. If you know neither yourself nor your enemy, you will always endanger yourself. I came across this statement about two years ago and tucked it away somewhere and recently stumbled upon it when going through my archives.
A couple of days ago, I took a personality test which I had taken same about 6 months ago and realized my personality type had changed. Even though it was not so far from the first, as it had underlying values, I was taken aback a little. I did not know I could morph into another personality type in 6 months. I took the first with the help a friend who was assisting me to draw a career plan. I had seen some personality tests and did not take them seriously until 6 months ago. Not only did the test help me draw a great and aligned plan but also gave me the opportunity to do a lot of introspection, identify some key interests, work on polishing them, as well as identifying some weakness (which I knew already) and working on them.
NB: I’m not saying I did not know myself well before taking the personality test but it was after the test results that I decided to be intentional about knowing myself and my environment while aligning my choices and decisions to them.
I read around self-awareness and environment awareness so I will share a few things I have gathered. I’d touch on these main areas; knowing oneself and being aware of your surroundings and opportunities, then finally talk about the importance of time in the aforementioned areas.
‘If you don’t know yourself very well, it’s difficult to choose a life path that makes you feel happy and fulfilled’. After working with this friend for some time, I can’t stress enough how he is very passionate about self-awareness and environment awareness especially when choosing a career and i realised that, not only does it help you make informed decisions but also realistic projections about yourself and choices in all areas of life.
Humans as we are, we are full of emotions. And being emotionally intelligent is a very great prowess as we tend to deal with all kinds of people daily. Being self-aware increases your emotional intelligence or at worst, make you identify your emotional strengths and weaknesses and gives you a kick-start to work on them. When you’re more emotionally intelligent, you’re better able to identify and manage your feelings as they come up, neither repressing them nor being lost in them
‘Emotionally intelligent people are also more at peace with who they are, focusing more on meeting their standards than the standards set by others.’ As you improve on your relationships, or working to excel in your job, or you just want to feel more at peace, you have a lot to gain from working on self-awareness.
Being aware of your environment/surroundings
‘If you want to attract butterflies to your garden, you have to choose plants suited to your surroundings and the species you are apt to see in your area’
Often, we pay attention to ourselves and not enough to knowing our environment. You can know yourself very well but if you are not aware of your environment, decisions taken may not yield the best result. And this also cuts to all sectors of our lives. Different environments provide different opportunities and options as well as risks. Knowing where you are and what’s available is a very necessary step in decision making and making headway in life as a whole. It’s at least one of the ways we express the importance of having all the information we need to reach a goal.
The best way to be aware of your surroundings is to be observant . Being observant means to :
- Take it easy
- Be quick to understand before applying a response
- Look for the new
- Follow patterns
“Since the earliest times, humans have needed to be sensitive to their surroundings to survive, which means that we have an innate awareness of our environment and seek out environments with certain qualities.”
The Time Factor
It is noteworthy that, society and humans are ever-evolving. Getting to know oneself and the environment is a continuous process and not a one-time activity or event. Who you were yesterday isn’t who you are today. We constantly feed our minds with ever-changing information and this goes on to shape us on a day to day basis. This means that, who you were five years ago may not be who you are today. Ideologies, desire, choices, opinions change when presented with fresh information.
As mentioned earlier, within a space of 6 months I had morphed into another personality and this was evident in my interactions with a couple of friends who realized I had become more patient in recent times.
It is important to observe the time factor when making decisions especially ones that affect the future. Opportunities and resources we do not have in the present day may be available in the near future. And as it happened to me, one may become a whole new personality in a matter of years or months and choices will eventually vary.
Time is a very important factor in self-awareness and knowing our environment. It is OK to hold a different view of something in a couple of months especially when presented with fresh and more accurate and time-relevant information. Consequently, our values and choices will change with time and that is also OK especially when we are becoming better versions of ourselves.
In conclusion, I'd make a little reference to my opening paragraph; the enemy here is time,environment and even ourselves. If we have a firm grasp of who we are and, where we are and the times we are in, we will be very formidable in this thing called life.