Are you leveraging the insight of your inner circle?
Have you ever encountered a situation where one of your friends was worrying about the results of an exam he just took while you were sure he would pass it? Have you ever experienced meeting your friend’s girlfriend/boyfriend and knowing instantly it wasn’t going to work between them?
We are surprisingly accurate at assessing whether our friends are making the right choice in their career, whether their partner is a good match, or how successful they are likely to be in 10 years from now.
However, when it comes to our own life we are prone to countless biases. We are often too optimistic, underestimating the time required or the amount of work needed to accomplish a project as well as all the challenges we might encounter on our journey towards our goal. Or we are too pessimistic believing we are going to fail because we are not good enough to achieve our goals.
In addition to that, we are controlled by our emotions and are often unable to realize that the guy or girl we fell in love with, is obviously not a good match for us. Or maybe we choose the wrong career because the pay is good or for the prestige while it does not fit our personality.
The reality is that we have countless of blind spots and our friends, in many situations, know ourselves better than we do. For that reason, they can offer us a great opportunity to improve ourselves by pointing out things we are not aware of. And awareness is always a prerequisite before any change.
However, it is surprising to see that we don’t really leverage the knowledge than our friends have of ourselves in order to better our life. They possess valuable insight that even intense personal development work and high-self awareness is unlikely to match. Have you ever asked your best friends or members of our family to describe how they perceive you? Have you ever ask your close friends to tell you what they think your strengths and your weaknesses are? Have you ever ask them the following question: “What can I do to improve myself? How can I become a better friend?
Asking those questions require a lot of courage. Why? Because we don’t want people we truly care about to talk about our weaknesses. Being said the truth by someone we barely know might not really hurt us, but being said the truth by our best friend or our partner might be very painful. It is far easier to stay ignorant. We might have a pretty good idea of our possible weaknesses but we certainly don’t want others to point at them, making them a reality we will then have to face.
What your inner circle know that you don’t
There are certain areas where your best friends or family members probably know about you than you do yourself. Below are some examples:
- How your voice sounds: I think that I had a rather weak voice but I’m not necessarily aware of it.
- How fast or slow you talk. I often talk very fast and I’m aware of that fact. However, it is only by recording me talking that I truly realize how fast I was actually talking.
- Your body language: Does your body language show confidence or not?
- Your strengths/weaknesses
- We are often unaware of our strengths. Have you ever been in situations where things look so easy to you that you sincerely don’t understand why other people can’t do it? That could be a strength that you are simply unaware of. Your friends could help you spot those kinds of strengths.
- The kind of men/women that might be good for you
- Ask your friends to give you their honest opinion about your current girlfriend or boyfriend. You might learn interesting things.
- The kind of career that might suit you.
- Whether you will achieve your goal or not. For instance, if the vision they have of you in 10 years is totally different from how you envision yourself it means that, either you are seriously going to have to change something, or that your friends are not aware of the step you are taking towards your goal. Which one is it?
Why you want to leverage your inner circle’s insight
Ultimately, whether you want to ask your friends to give you feedback or not is your own decision. However, if you are serious about becoming a better friend, a better husband/wife and more generally a better person, it is in your interest and in the interest of the persons in your inner circle that you look for ways to improve yourself.
You might deny your blind spots but they are how you appear to your friends and more generally to the society. While most people hate hearing their own voice, seeing videos of themselves, or being said the truth by people they really care about, learning to accept the reality of who you are is the best way to change that reality and to cultivate self-acceptance.
If you think about past events that had a huge impact on your life, you might recall cases where you family or your friends told you something that truly hurt you. You might have felt resentful, but after a while you then realized that there was at least a part of truth in what they said to you and ended up being thankful.
Your friends and your family want you to shine, so don’t hesitate to ask them to share their valuable insights and help you become a better person.
If you want to be a great friend, tell your friends how they can improve their life in the most honest way possible, and assist them in reaching the highest level of fulfillment possible.
A good friend tells you what you want to hear; a great friend tells you what you don’t want to hear. A good friend wants to be with you because it feels good; a great friend’s main concern is your happiness.
What about you? What kind of feedback would you like to ask to your family members or to your friends? What kind of honest feedback can you give to people around you to help them better themselves?
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The 5 Commandments of Personal Development