How to develop self-awareness – A quick guide

Headphpones showing that give yourself some time for self-awareness

Self-awareness is not a new buzzword, it has gained more popularity recently but it always was there. However many of us are aware that, some of us are trying to do it but very less can achieve it. Research published in this HBR article says that around 10% – 15% of the people they studied were fit for the category of being self-aware. Being self-aware is vital and foundational for personal development. You can read about all the important parts of personal development here

Multiple jigsaw puzzles scattered showing that we need to put them together just like being self-aware

So it means that we need to have the right tools and techniques to practice self-awareness. I have mentioned the top things we need to do to be self-aware below. While there are umpteen of them I am trying to list down only the ones which I think are practical for the mortals.

High level activities to be self aware

  • Daily reflection and journaling: set some time aside, There are 24 hours in a day and you might want to just take out 10 minutes out of them and reflect on your day. What actions did you take, what emotions you went through, etc., It is a proven technique, sages have done it always and recommended it. It is you talking to yourself and telling the truth to yourself without any judgment. You can read about the techniques here to start your journey to journal
Image showing the journal and a pen where we can write about the day which is important for self-awareness
  • Practicing mindfulness: It is about actively monitoring your emotions and actions and the ones around you without any judgment. It is one of the difficult ones but once practiced, it gives power to accept and be proactive in the environment you are working in. It is very natural that the mind wanders when things are quiet but it is key that you keep your focus in place.
A long empty road showing importance of practicing mindfulness as a tool for self-awareness
  • Practicing Active listening: Now this is a difficult one, you must have been told about this a lot of times but is difficult to practice. It is not about hearing what the other person is saying but it is more about absorbing the matter of the talk. This takes some patience and active efforts to do but once done you will get to know how powerful this is.
Two ears for showing importance of taking active listening for self-awareness
  • Seeking feedback: The journey of self-discovery involves asking questions to people with whom you spend time or who know you. These questions have to be open-ended but need to be specific about what is the area you want to seek feedback on, whether is it leadership or communication etc.
Open doors showing importance of taking open to feedback for self-awareness
  • Psychological assessments: Now there are people who have already done a lot of research, spent their life getting to the bottom of this. So why not use their wisdom and take some honest tests designed by them which are available on plethora of websites.


Self awareness is a start to lead a happy life. There are active efforts to be taken to embark on this journey. In our subsequent discussion we will work on the scientific methods available to practice above points.