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Become more self-aware in order to improve

Improving Systems and Habits

Scott Miker is the author of several books that describe how to use systems and habits to improve.  This free blog provides articles that to help understand the principles related to building systems.  

Become more self-aware in order to improve

Scott Miker

Most people want success.  They want money, accolades, rewards, recognition etc. for a job well done.  They can easily point to things that they have done to deserve those things.  But they also seem to gloss over the areas where they didn’t really work towards the right areas, or they didn’t work hard enough, or they weren’t willing to sacrifice what was truly necessary in order to reach their goal.

Some people say it is a problem with motivation.  They assume we just need to better motivate our teams or ourselves and we will succeed.  But I tend to see motivation as a very small part of it. 

In many instances I have found that what we really need is more self-awareness.  We need to better understand who we are and what we are doing.  There is a natural tendency, it seems, to easily find fault in others but not in us. 

I have given many speeches over the years and I see a pattern that reflects this.  After I give a speech on how to improve, people come up to me and say, “that was great, my brother/nephew/cousin/boss/staff etc. needs to hear this message.”

They go on to say why everyone else needs to hear this important message…everyone except them of course.  But this is the exact problem.  We don’t internalize these things to find out what we can use from it to improve.  We simply look for justification that we don’t need to change anything. 

I have witnessed a lot of people struggle in their career due to this.  It seems that most people around them know why they are stuck in the job that they are in but if you come close to trying to tell them they will have a bunch of excuses why they are the way they are and why it isn’t their fault.

The problem is that the net result is that they don’t improve.  They don’t change anything in order to get better.  The same things keep holding them back because they won’t go outside their comfort zone to seek new ways to do things.

I am not immune to this way of thinking.  In fact, I could have been the poster boy for this at various times in my life.  But if I stayed with that mindset I wouldn’t have been able to do most of the things that I am proud of in life and would have continued to blame others for my faults. 

The key was to finally start to admit when I was wrong.  I started to address failures with a mindset of how to improve.  It wasn’t some overnight quick fix but it started to give me confidence that negative feedback might hurt in the moment but it could also prompt me to change and grow.  Without that I would just keep doing what I was doing, the good and the bad.

It is extremely difficult to change this mindset in us.  It is even more difficult to change it in others.  But the easiest part is for us to look at others and find their faults.   

So if you are thinking right now that this describes someone else, take a moment to internalize the information to see if there is a slight possibility that there is an area of your life that needs to improve that you aren’t seeing.  This might open up a new way to grow and get better and might lead you towards more of the things in life that you want.