The French philosopher, Marcel Proust, said that
the true journey of discovery does not consist of searching for new landscapes, but in having new eyes
I loved that quote and agree with him. We have all heard that saying when you change the way you look at things, things look different; and I often reference the African American poet Maya Angelou who suggested that we cannot change the world around us, but we can change the way we respond to the world around us. At TomorrowToday we talk about having to unlearn and relearn what we have learned.
But how? How do we unlearn, react differently, see thing with new eyes? I think the answer lies in self-discovery. To unveil our blind spots and become alive to our habitual patterns of behaviour. That does not necessarily mean that we have to radically overhaul ourselves or change our values or lose ourselves. All it means is that because we have the ability to self-observe we can make conscious choices in our behaviour, which will make us much more discerning people.
If I had to ask you what you think your top five most important character strengths are, what do you think they might be? The top five things that have got you to where you are and that have helped and do help you with the success you have had and continue to have in your life. Can you name them? Have you ever reflected on this? I am not talking about the qualities you have been told you have by others, or the assessment outcomes that you have reached satisfactorily during appraisal or review time, but have you ever taken to time to self-observe yourself?
Some of you might be wondering exactly what I mean by self-observation. It is to do with self-awareness, which is to do with personal growth, self-mastery, growing ones emotional intelligence and realising who you are. Self-awareness is about helping you become aware or conscious of how you think or feel. Self-observation is about actually observing what you think, feel and do so that you can almost review what’s working and what is not, objectively. Why would we do this some of you might be asking? Well, because if we can observe ourselves objectively, we might be able to self-assess as to whether or not what we are thinking, feeling and doing is going to get us what we want in terms of outcomes.
Self-observation (and self-awareness) are absolutely necessary starting points if we wish to create any kind of change, or make new discoveries, and indeed see things with new eyes.