Raise your awareness, raise your confidence

If you raise your awareness in the critical areas of your life, you clear the path for growth and confidence.In the world of self-development you often hear people like Tony Robbins and Bob Proctor advising you to how to raise your awareness, and talking about how to do it. But why are we so seemingly obsessed with raising our respective awarenesses?

There’s a quote by C.G. Jung that says, “Until you make the unconscious conscious, it will direct your life and you will call it fate.” And I think this holds the key to understanding the purpose.

See, a lot of people — far too many if you ask me — get stuck in life because they tend to focus on the uncontrollable negative circumstances that happened “to” them, rather than becoming aware of what they can do themselves to change those circumstances.

And by the way, I put the word “to” in quotation marks because uncontrollable things don’t happen “to” us. Because there’s nothing inherently personal about accidents and tragedies. Shit happens. It’s simply that kind of planet. If we wanna move on, we just have to deal with it.

And if you’ve decided that you wanna deal with those circumstances instead of letting them get to you, this is where you gotta make the unconscious conscious. This is where you gotta raise your awareness.

If your dream is to make it as a singer, but you sing outta key, you gotta be aware of the pitch of your voice. Unless you wanna end up the next Florence Foster Jenkins — at best.

If you’re unaware of what technical qualifications it takes to get your specific dream job, you’d have to be extremely lucky to somehow acquire those skills AND nail the job interview.

And if you don’t raise your awareness around how you affect other people, chances are you’re not gonna make very many friends.

If you want friends, you better raise your awareness about how you affect other people.
Apart, maybe, from imaginary ones.

I could keep making examples, but you get the point.

If you don’t raise your awareness in those key areas, you’ll get more and more frustrated about stuff happening “to” you, eventually ending up like one of those “excuse-makers”.

You know, the people who will spend more energy letting you know about why they allegedly “can’t” do Y. — Instead of figuring out, for example, how to approach Y by doing X or Z instead.

The sad reality is, though, that if your barrier isn’t within your frame of consciousness you literally can’t overcome said barrier. If you’re not aware of something you’ll be lucky to change it by a fluke, if at all.

If I asked you to give me a quick recap of Ulysses, you’d pretty much need to have actually read Ulysses at some point. Or at least somehow gotten a recap yourself.

And if I asked you to name me the one biggest reason why you’re not working on your dream right now, you’d have to at least give it some thought before answering. You’d have to consult your personal experience to gather mental data.

In other words, you’d have to raise your awareness around it.

Okay, but how does confidence follow from heightened awareness?

Well, I’m not saying that confidence will necessarily follow as a natural consequence thereof. Certain sensitive people might become self-aware about certain unfortunate personal traits and then initially feel embarrassed about them.

When you raise your awareness, you might discover something embarrassing. Don't be discouraged!
Aaaaaawwwwwww…

But the more you’re aware of yourself, the more you have the potential to make lasting change. And you can’t grow into the person who’ll live your dreams if you don’t become aware of what’s holding you back.

And furthermore, higher awareness isn’t necessarily a means to an end; it’s an end in itself.

Like knowledge. Like experience. Hell, like laughter.

So by all means, raise your awareness in those critical areas of your life where you need to change. And, indeed, become aware of where you need to change.

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What if being yourself is not enough?

If being yourself is not enough to go where you wanna go in life, what do you do about it?It’s funny how the entire world of self-help and self-development continually echoes with ideas of just “being yourself”, and how “you’re perfect the way you are”, and “if they don’t like it, that’s just their problem”. Not only because these ideas seem to downright contradict the entire concept of developing oneself. But what if, genuinely, being yourself is not enough to go where you wanna go in life?

“Be yourself” is probably one of the biggest mantras in this post-modern society of ours. We’re more concerned with personal purpose and self-determination than ever.

And sure, if you ask me, I wouldn’t want it any other way, either. Why would I spend half my waking life slaving in a cubicle for some Armani-wearing dipshit who doesn’t know my name and couldn’t care less if it was me or someone else punching in those numbers, right?

But the problem is, in all our praise of individuality, we forget that our personalities aren’t fixed. You might be familiar with psychology professor Carol Dweck’s theories about how having a ‘fixed’ mindset — as opposed to a ‘growth’ mindset — is detrimental to our growth as human beings.

See, unlike other species, we can intentionally improve ourselves. And in some areas of our lives, it’s crucial that we do it.

Take me, for example. To become a successful entrepreneur, I’ve had to change from someone who slept ’till past 9 A.M.  most mornings, partied at least twice every weekend and just plain dicked around with no direction… To someone who wakes up at 6 P.M. every day, exercises every other day, detoxes for weeks on end and works from morning ’till evening.

Had I kept listening to whoever was parroting “just be yourself”, I would’ve settled.

If you don’t act a little out of character, how will you ever expand your comfort zone? If you’re shy and introvert, but you genuinely wanna be able to confidently interact with other people, are you gonna settle for simply “being yourself”?

I hope not.

No matter how this sounds, we need to acknowledge that in by far most cases, being yourself is not enough if we need to evolve ourselves to reach our goals.

(And really, name me one worthwhile goal for which one would not need to evolve oneself just a little.)

And yes, of course, we should all feel confident and love ourselves. But I’m sure every insensitive, narcissistic megalomaniac out there feels confident and loves themselves, too. And in the case of one such person, I’m sure the rest of us can agree that simply being yourself is not enough if you want the rest of the world to remember you positively.

(Picture is totally unrelated.)

And here’s another thing:

People change.

Not necessarily by intention. Not necessarily even by themselves. But over time, things tend to change. We grow up. We get tired of certain things, and we start feeling like trying other things. New people enter our lives; others leave. Some by simply dying; others by growing apart from us. Oh, and our bodies change.

Indeed, everything changes. And this affects us. What we want today might not be what we want tomorrow. And that’s okay.

Essentially, “being yourself” is an illusion. It is estimated that 40-60% of our personalities can be ascribed to biology. This means a hugely significant portion of who we are is not only subject to change, but also within our means of changing.

In the words of best-selling author and professor of management and psychology Adam Grant, “unless you’re Oprah, ‘be yourself’ is terrible advice”.

Let’s evolve!

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