Fooling Ourselves

“A degree of self-awareness is extremely valuable… I hope I have that going forward.”

Nick McDonell

It’s refreshing to have at least one person around you tell it like it is. When everyone around you agrees or compliments what you are doing, you start to believe your own hype (aka BS).

This is a dangerous position to be in, because you don’t know if what you doing is working in your favor or against you.

Ideally we would be self-aware enough to watch assess ourselves and “pick up what we’re putting down” as they say, and call ourselves out when we notice ourselves cutting corners or making bad choices. But as the American physicist and brilliant thinker Richard Feynman once said, “The first principle is that you must not fool yourself and you are the easiest person to fool.”

Self-awareness is all the rage nowadays. But if you strip away the woo-woo and boil the idea down to its essence, self-awareness essential means knowing yourself. Knowing what you like, dislike. Knowing your goals and desires. And more importantly, knowing where your blindspots are, what your bad habits are, and where you tend to get upset (and how you cope with those emotions).

It might sound silly to say, but it’s difficult to know what you don’t know. That doesn’t mean it’s impossible. If we have a rough idea where our blindspots are, we can try to prepare for them in advance or avoid the triggers that lead to them so we can completely go around them.

Having a friend that’s honest and realistic, but is doing so because they want to see you be better and succeed is a great way to avoid unforeseen problems.

It can’t just be any person that can be our smart decision thermometer. Respect is essential to that kind of relationship. If there’s isn’t mutual appreciation or if you don’t look up to the person who is giving you honest feedback, then you’ll never actually listen to them and take their advice for truth. Without mutual respect and appreciation, they are the equivalent to the random Youtube comment troll who’s only goal is to criticize and take you down. Authority is also essential. If your friend is giving you advice on things they don’t do themselves (or never have done) then the advice will fall flat. If your words don’t align with your actions or experience, no amount of brutal honesty will convince you to change course.

These types of friendships are hard to come by, so when you do find one, do your best to cultivate the relationship and keep it strong.

Seek out groups of likeminded individuals or create a group yourself. Look for people who are lifelong learners and who are always doing new things and trying to be the best version of themselves.

STAY BOLD, Keep Pursuing,
— Josh Waggoner | Daily Blog #855

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