Insight Summary

1-Sentence-Summary: Insight will help you understand what self-awareness is, why it’s vital if you want to become your best self, and how to overcome the obstacles in the way of having more of it.

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Insight Summary

“Know thyself” is a wise aphorism to follow. Socrates taught that “the unexamined life is not worth living.” The human race is unique from all other creatures on earth because of our ability to recognize our own thoughts and emotions. Improving this skill of self-awareness is vital to our individual and group success. But how do we truly come to know ourselves?

While some may think that finding yourself requires a long journey to the top of a mountain, or learning from great spiritual leaders, it doesn’t have to be that complex. Noticing your own damaging thinking and behavioral patterns can be as simple as following a few simple tips. This is what Dr. Tasha Eurich’s book Insight: Why We’re Not as Self-Aware as We Think, and How Seeing Ourselves Clearly Helps Us Succeed at Work and in Life is all about. 

With a Ph.D. in industrial-organizational psychology, published work in peer-reviewed journals, and being named a Top 100 Thought Leader, Dr. Tasha Eurich is well-versed in the science of self-awareness. She has also written for The Huffington Post, Entrepreneur, and CNBC.com, and a 2014 TEDxMileHigh talk of hers has more than one million views. 

These are my 3 top lessons from this book:

  1. Follow seven insights to grow your self-awareness, or the capacity of knowing who you are and what other people think about you.
  2. Although it may seem useful, introspection must be carefully done to improve your insight.
  3. How you react to feedback is crucial to becoming genuinely insightful.

Ready to gain some insights on how to become self-aware? Let’s get started!

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Lesson 1: Self-awareness, or the power to know who you are and what others think of you, comes by following seven insights.

Self-awareness comes in two parts.

The first is understanding our own behavior, or internal self-awareness.

The second is known as external self-awareness, or having a sense of how others see us.

It is beneficial to develop your self-awareness because research shows that the better you are at it, the happier you will be. Knowing yourself also helps you make wiser decisions, have deeper relationships, and be more creative.

So now that you know why you need it, how do you get more self-awareness? There are seven forms of insight, all of which must be developed to become wholly self-aware:

  • Values are the fundamentals we use to choose how to live.
  • Passions, or identifying what we enjoy doing. 
  • Aspirations, which are defined by our goals.
  • Fit is how happy our surroundings make us.
  • Patterns are the habits we constantly follow that make up our personality.
  • Reactions, or our emotional and physical responses to the events in our lives.
  • Impact, which is knowing the effect of our behavior on others.

Lesson 2: Developing self-awareness comes from being introspective, but do it correctly, or it may backfire.

Looking closely at yourself to examine your actions and feelings is important, but going about it the wrong way will harm you. Self-analyzers have a worse view of themselves, more negative relationships, and more anxiety.

The issue here is that although we can easily understand our insights from self-analyzing, we usually fail to question their legitimacy. The solution is to instead be more flexible in your mindset when examining yourself. Let your mind drift between ideas and perspectives, without needing a definite answer.

Another problem with self-analyzing is that we may ask why we are a certain way. Unfortunately, our carless brains automatically divert to the easiest answer, instead of carefully searching for the truth.

Instead, it’s best to ask what or who we are, and what we think, feel, and do in each circumstance. This helps us name our emotions, including the negative ones, which allows us to recognize better and adequately cope with them.

On the complete opposite spectrum of introspection is rumination, or a preoccupation with our weaknesses, anxieties, and insecurities. This pattern of thinking leads to depression and inhibits our ability to grow from real self-awareness.

Lesson 3: If you want to be the best you can at self-understanding, learn how to react well to feedback.

A team I once worked on taught me that the greatest people don’t just take correction; they seek it. I’ve found this to be true as I’ve tried it myself.

Every time I ask someone how I can improve, I gain a new perspective on where I’m really at and what I need to do to be my best. There are three methods to using feedback to your advantage to grow your self-awareness.

The first is to receive feedback well, which starts with making sure that you understand it accurately. If you don’t know what someone means, always be willing to ask them to clarify, with examples if they can.

Next comes reflection, which happens when we consider three key questions:

  • Do I feel that the feedback applies to me?
  • What are the long-term effects of this criticism on my happiness and progress?
  • Should I do something about this information from others?

The third and final way to receive feedback well is to monitor how you respond to it. If you’d like to change yourself, you may want to ask additional people and examine that against that which you’ve already received.

Insight Review

Wow, this book is really insightful! I suppose I always felt that I was fairly self-aware, but Insight fills a lot of gaps in my understanding of how I see myself. Knowing yourself is really important to happiness and success, which is something that I never really thought of before reading this. This is an interesting and helpful book that I would highly recommend!

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Who would I recommend the Insight summary to?

The 31-year-old with a boss who is oblivious to their own shortcomings, the 52-year-old executive who desires a successful team, and anyone who wants to grow their self-awareness.