We have all heard of interpersonal skills, those skills we feel obliged to include on our resumes; good communication skills, having ‘can do’ attitude, and of course, not forgetting being a ‘team player’. But what of intrapersonal skills?
Intrapersonal skills are based on knowledge and understanding about what goes on inside of us, ‘intra’ meaning inside. Intrapersonal skills are needed for leading our three subsystems in an optimal manner: emotions, thoughts, and awareness. To create a meaningful life, enhance productivity and nurture happiness, these three subsystems need to work in seamless cooperation together along with the physical body.
How intrapersonal skills improve your life and work?
Self-awareness forms the basis of all intra-personal skills. If we can purposely lead our internal world so that our inner processes support our outer actions everything becomes easier. Learning of intrapersonal skills has a potential to open up other skills; much like learning to read does; when we learn to read, many other skills and competencies can be developed and new avenues open up. When we can lead our inner activities with ease, it gives us peace of mind to deal with every kind of outer processes with much greater ease.
Let’s look at why we fail to do that in our everyday life, for example at work? Our internal functions run mostly under the command of our subconscious level. We are on ‘autopilot mode’ where we consider automatic thinking and automatic emotional reactions that are caused by outer activities very normal. This leaves us in a ‘victim mode’. We feel like we are powerless to change situations and others are to blame for how we think and feel. But is there really someone else who is thinking for you or feeling something for you? If it would be so, then how come same outer action can cause misery to one persona and joy to another one? A simple thank you watch form boss may cause joy as the good work was noticed or inner turmoil as this person desired huge salary rise instead.
What is the base of all intrapersonal skills?
Intrapersonal skills draw on awareness, the primary tool or instrument we can use to regulate and maintain optimum performance of our internal functions. Awareness based intrapersonal skills allow us to notice all our internal processes as they happen, in real-time. Using intrapersonal skills, we can help us to replace our subconscious automatic reactions with more conscious decision making, choosing how we respond adequately. It enables us to see in the bud where our impulsive reactivity would take us and thus change the processes so that they would support us instead of harming us.
Being able to notice our thoughts and feelings before they develop to the point where they cause a cascade of problematic consequences in the external world would be highly beneficial to all of us. By becoming more aware of our own inner construct and learning and practicing intrapersonal skills can prevent problems before they arise and lead us to better overall mental wellness.
Here are 5 examples of how intrapersonal skills can revolutionize the way we live our lives and approach everything we do…
1. Sustained ability to maintain focus and attention
Imagine having the ability to zero in and hold our focus for as long as we need. Training our awareness enables us to maintain our focus 100% on whatever we need, whenever we need it and as long as we need it. By leading our awareness at will we are able to focus on the task at hand without being constantly interrupted by internal and external distractions. Imagine the situation where the noise in the open office does not disturb you at all, what would happen to your productivity and stress level?
2. Better access to creativity and instant insights
Innovation is in essence doing something completely new or in a way that hasn’t been done before. Even in very simplistic cases, like reinventing the axe? A very basic tool used for millennia? Finland’s Heikki Kärnä not only reinvented the axe, but also improved it. Do you think he used creative thinking? No, instead he used noticing, observation and insight. You might be surprised to learn that there is no such thing as creative thinking. There is thinking and there is creativity, the two are separate. Intrapersonal skills can enable access to instant insights and creativity. Once we know how to access creativity and have insights, we are able to be creative and innovate.
3. No matter what happens in life, you have it covered
Those who understand their inner domain and who have learned intrapersonal skills are able to respond to changes adequately according to the actual situation in real-time. No more thinking and fearing the worse, intrapersonal skills give us ultimate control of all our responses. We are able to assess what needs to be done and put it into action with a calm mind.
4. Our own personal competitive advantage
Two candidates are vying for the same job. Both have stated they have interpersonal skills, but as such skills are often now being seen as mandatory, how do we stay one step ahead and stand out? Yes, you guessed it, intrapersonal skills. Someone who takes initiative and is self-motivated and self-aware and thus is able to adjust to change, with balanced emotions and adequate behavior, is for sure going to be infinitely more attractive than a person without such ability.
Intrapersonal skills make for more versatile individuals and such skills are therefore highly sought after by employers.
5. Increased productivity and less downtime
Excellent mental wellness is the foundation for working well with our heads. Being in good shape both physically and mentally means less risk of getting sick, so we can stay more productive over a longer period. Excellent intrapersonal skills significantly reduce the risk of stress, burnout, and depression, for happier, healthy lives as we spot the signs of inner turmoil and then nip it in the bud. Proactive learning and practicing of awareness based intrapersonal skills prevent problems before they arise, this effectively puts an end to a cascade of mental health problems that would take place when we would lose our inner calmness.
Sustain good health and productivity at the same time – no more compromising
Using intrapersonal skills we can discern what is important from what is not and focus our energy and time accordingly.
Only by implementing and practicing intrapersonal skills every day will ensure sustained mental wellness and good mental health. Being able to discern what is truly important is the first step in finding more balance and personal fulfillment in our lives, our work and most importantly within ourselves.
Intrapersonal education and practical intrapersonal skills are taught in the world’s first fully digital mental wellness gym that I founded a few years ago with the aim to come up with proactive mental wellness approach that is easy and effective in modern workplaces.