Using technology to increase self-awareness

Increase self-awareness

Who are you and how are you seen by the world?

If you are able to answer these two questions then you are said to be self-aware. However, even though 95% of people believe to be self-aware, a 5-year research study by Dr. Tasha Eurich, Industrial Psychologist and Author of Insight: The Power of Self-Awareness in a Self-Deluded World, show that only 10–15% really are! Now, I don’t know about you, but you do not need to have a knack for statistics to realise that the chances of being part of the 10–15% is exceptionally small. One primary reason for this is because our brains function on a set of principles called cognitive biases.

One such bias is our self-serving bias, where we only attend to, and take in, information that aligns with our sense of self or our view of ourselves. Another example of a common cognitive bias is the halo effect, which occurs when our positive impressions of people, brands, and products in one area positively influence our feelings in another area. An example of the halo effect is when we assume that an attractive person is also a good person, smarter, and more successful. This is obviously an error of judgment or a faulty thinking pattern. Unfortunately, our hidden cognitive biases will fuel, and continue to fuel, or thinking patterns if they remain hidden from our conscious minds (i.e., our awareness).

Even though we know more about how to increase self-awareness today that we did ever before, we are getting worse at it. Why? Two words: mindless technology.

Mindless Technology: Fuelling Unawareness

I specifically refer to mindless technology because when used mindfully, technology has the ability to increase self-awareness. In fact, this was evidenced in recent research (12) where technology was used to increase students’ self-awareness. Mindless technology, on the other hand, refers to using technology without paying attention to the duration, frequency, or intent of its use. This mindless use of technology results in us becoming more self-absorbed and less self-aware as we burrow ourselves into our phones, laptops, and tv screens, and the scary part is that no one is immune!

When we are mindlessly scrolling through Instagram or Facebook, we get a restricted view of reality and are not able to view things objectively. In fact, the algorithms underlying our favourite social media platforms are designed to show us comments and adverts that match our existing thoughts, ideas and biases. Making it harder for us to be objective about our own thoughts, feelings, and behaviours. These mindless behaviours do not provide us with any useful or objective information about ourselves. It actually does the opposite­–providing you with selective information, or self-serving information, which just fuels existing flawed self-beliefs.

Self-awareness is a skill, and like any other skill, it needs to be learnedand practiced before it can be perfected. When we lack self-awareness it impacts every sphere of your life–personally, occupationally, and socially. Additionally, a lack of self-awareness also hampers your ability to exert self-control over your thoughts, feelings, and behaviours, which is a key component in emotional intelligence.

So, how can we leverage our use of technology in a really meaningful way? Use it mindfully.

Mindful Technology: Fuelling Awareness

Given that the use of technology is becoming increasingly woven into our daily lives, it will be futile to try and eliminate its use entirely. The best way to reap the benefits that technology has to offer is to actively and mindfully seek out those technological advancements that will actually improve your life, whilst limiting those that will hamper it. For example, using educational videos and online tools to help your children develop better social skills, or taking an online course in how to develop your emotional intelligence, or using a meditative app to help guide you into meditative state.

When it comes to increasing your self-awareness, one truly invaluable wayin which technology can benefit you is through standardised online psychometric assessments. I am placing emphasis on standardised! Not just some willy-nilly assessment with no scientific grounding.

At a personal level, psychological assessments can be an essential tool in providing you with valuable information on getting to know who you are, how you function in the world, how you see yourself, how others see you, how you make decisions and process information, how you communicate, as well as your level of emotional intelligence, leadership skills, strengths, values, and interests.

At an organisational level, psychometric assessments can allow you to gain unique people data that will provide a more objective view of your workforce and help you break any existing self-absorbed bubbles. Additionally, using people analytics to spot trends and patterns will allow you to better understand your own workforce and identify existing skills as well as ones that you may be lacking. In turn, this can inform future training opportunities for business development, boost team motivation, and modify your business culture.

So, even though our brains are wired to process things automatically (i.e., unconsciously), we can learn to become more self-aware and, in turn, help us see ourselves and others more clearly.

If you want a more practical and immediate way to develop your self-awareness, why not download my FREE e-guide: Increase Your Self-Awareness, which is filled with detailed activities that you can implement today! Simply go to https://esmarildadankaert.com/product/e-guide-increase-your-self-awareness/ and download the free guide.

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