What does self-knowledge really mean? How objectively can we answer the question "who am I?" Is it enough to know if you are more of an introvert or an extrovert? Do personality tests help in improving self-knowledge ? If you have ever asked yourself these questions, you have already started the path to self-knowledge.
In this article, we try to provide some answers to these fairly simple, but essentially deep questions.
What is self-knowledge?
Self-knowledge isn’t as easy a skill as it sounds.
And here we are not talking about self-knowledge from an emotional or physiological point of view, but rather about what concerns the psychological core, the interior of the self. Self-knowledge is therefore inherent in our personality. In psychology, self-knowledge is defined as “the real and authentic information that one has about oneself. “ It encompasses specific perceptions about our emotional state, personality traits, behaviors, beliefs, relationships, values, needs, preferences and social identity.
We are all complex human beings who have not yet reached their full potential. To develop a better understanding of ourselves we should first initiate a long process of introspection, self-assessment and self-acceptance.
Self-acceptance is a long journey, often complicated and controversial because we have to fight against ourselves, against our mindset, our fears, our ignorance, our doubts and even the illusion of knowing ourselves well. Because very often, our perceptions are erroneous, our reasoning biased, our ideas conditioned.
Self-knowledge is therefore a delicate process, because you have to question your ideas, take a step back from yourself, cultivate doubt, practice listening and humility and accept yourself as you are, with all your good and bad qualities.
Self-assessment or introspection is the first necessary step to initiate a positive change towards self-knowledge.
How can personality tests help?
Personality is traditionally defined as a set of behavioral, cognitive, emotional and motivational characteristics that are relatively stable over time and in situations.
We do not normally change our personalities, values, and needs based on what we learn about ourselves. A career change does not mean changing your personality, and neither does setting up a morning routine by taking care of yourself and strengthening your mindset. By adopting certain measures, acts and behaviors, we develop skills that can evolve as a result of our actions.
A good personality test will thus reveal stable personality traits that have an influence on our behavior and the skills to be developed.
The personality assessment is first and foremost a tool for self-awareness. This type of self-assessment provides objective insight into our natural preferences, strengths and weaknesses, emotional triggers, and patterns of which we have little or no awareness.
The information we learn about ourselves from the results of a personality test will be an eye opener and a first step towards better self-knowledge. A person who knows his strengths, his weak points, his personality style, will naturally be more adept at perceiving his motivations, identifying his values, understanding other people's behaviors and managing everyday situations.
What are the benefits of knowing your personality at work?
Knowing your personality and having a good self-knowledge is a superpower at work. They open the way to success and fulfillment.
On the contrary, a lack of self-knowledge exposes us to doubts, negative and inhibiting emotions generated by lack of self-confidence, and causes us to underestimate ourselves, limit ourselves and make wrong choices.
Armed with a good sense of self-knowledge, we are more likely to avoid mistakes in our relationships at work, gain a clearer insight into how others perceive us, and improve our interpersonal skills.
Let's consider a real life example: if you are an introvert, you are more likely to experience more stress in a management position than an extrovert. So, if you are strongly introverted, you have to learn some interpersonal skills to cope with the demands of such a position requiring extrovert type behavior patterns (like need for action or assertiveness), or else you might have to find a position more compatible with your personality.
The awareness of your personality traits thus helps you to analyze and make such a decision.
And precisely making the right decisions and acting right is the ultimate goal of self-knowledge and your personality.
Whether it is for a project at work, for a professional development or for a real estate purchase, being able to analyze situations, understand the reactions of others, anticipate the causes and make informed decisions is an essential quality that stems from self-knowledge.
A good decision is not taken on a whim, dictated by unconscious and haphazard impulses; a good decision is the result of thoughtful knowledge taking, of a clear and lucid vision. And this inevitably rests on a good self-knowledge and the self-confidence and in its strengths which results from it.
The benefits of good self-knowledge don't end there. It is both the starting point and the culmination to be reached in our personal and professional fulfillment.
To conclude, Socrates' revised motto “know thyself and you will know the universe and the gods” once again affirms that only introspection can lead to knowledge of superior things and fulfill one's wildest dreams.