While I was putting my thoughts on paper for past few days to write this post on a frightening (at least for me) topic, I happened to scroll through my phone notes where I’ve kept a list of ‘books to read’, and I stumbled upon a book – “Insight” by Tasha Eurich. I prioritized to read it immediately and got some good notes for my purpose today. This made my job easier and therefore I will express my views (coming from personal experience) mixed with what I learnt from the book.
How many of us think that our ‘views’ about ourselves are absolutely correct? In my opinion, they may be delusional for some of us (others have perfected and do not need to read this any further). Another question – Why do we not perceive each day fresh? And why do we live along with our already perceived images about people or concepts or just anything we experience? What does it take to open the lens of fresh perception each day? I am learning this skill and trying to share what I know with you!
Ability to see ourselves as others see us is no less than gold. It introduces us with truth and gives us the power to remove obstacles from our way, save good experiences (that would be otherwise bad if we don’t have insight) and live a much more fulfilled life or at the least ‘get ready to lead a life of our choice’. Each one of you who has read this writing so far is seriously interested in learning the skill ‘how to see yourself as others see you’ and I am sure you do not want to wait for random painful wake up calls, as those could be first devastating before bearing fruits (please read my first writing to know how I experienced that randomness – believe me its so earth shaking)! The good news is that its possible to have the insight without solely relying on those random wake up calls. Yes that’s true – we can work towards seeing ourselves as others see us. Or if you like to call it – how others perceive us because that’s equally important. Before that, let’s quickly look at possible roadblock(s) to this continuing journey.
- Knowledge, emotional and behavior blindness: We often suffer more because we think we have absolute knowledge about our capability to make right decisions to drive our life. We may think we’re good at math, and try a career at astronomy whereas in reality our mathematical skills may not be as good as its need to be a successful astronomer. Likewise, our ignorance of the emotions, that bring us to those decisions, hit us hard. And lastly, (our theme of discussion) behavioral blindness can keep us from achieving great heights of success at professional as well as personal front. Because we are in the delusion that we’re at the best.
- People often prefer to keep quiet rather than delivering upfront feedback.
- We close our eyes from reality and live in delusion because its soothing and makes us feel better. (Our target is being better, not just feeling better). This reminds me of a saying, ‘In order to have, you must do, In order to do, you must be‘. I’ll add my experience to it:- ‘And In order to be, you must feel’. Feeling great is first step towards achievement, but caution – its not the end!!
Feedback is a gift!
Sorry for taking this long to get to the point. Its seemingly easy to know how others see us and then slowly practice to see ourselves through their lens, in routine! Begin with seeking feedback from those people who you know are going to tell the truth. Tell them that you’re only going to love them more for their brutal honesty. Don’t make the conversation sadly serious or sound like you’re going through hard times understanding yourself. Provoke true answers by telling them a couple of facts about their personality that you believe no one has told them. Under this mild friendly provocation, people are going to tell you what they really feel about you. Do this exercise with a bunch of people and consider only that piece of feedback that is coming from majority. Do not forget to put a filter to dishonest or misguiding feedback! That’s critically important.. Seek feedback from all sorts of people in your professional and personal life. Elder or younger, senior or junior, male or female, wise or not-so-wise, etc etc.
If you find difficulty in imagining what has been narrated to you about you, tell them to mimic you in a serious way trying to get as close as possible to your body language, gestures, facial expressions, non- verbal cues, etc. Tell them not to make it a laughter session (as mimicry usually is), rather try to give you exact picture – only that is helpful, everything else will be a funny exercise. Be patient throughout and understand they are not pro at delivering brutal feedback. They may adopt harsh ways and expressions unknowingly and you have to be just thankful to them for all their help. Videotaping yourself while speaking in routine or telling people to shoot your videos secretly (and share with you afterwards) will be a bonus point.
This process will take time and you will uncover unpleasant realities about yourself. Being truthful to yourself will only bring more peace and fulfillment (ask me if you want to know how that is possible). If you are going through hard times in your life, pause this process and resume it later on.
Your thoughts are most welcome!