Following is the full transcript of psychologist and author Tasha Eurich’s TEDx Talk titled “Increase Your Self-Awareness With One Simple Fix” at TEDxMileHigh conference.
Listen to the MP3 audio while reading the transcript: Increase your self-awareness with one simple fix by Tasha Eurich @TEDxMileHigh
Tasha Eurich – Psychologist and author
Tennessee Williams once told us, “There comes a time when you look into the mirror and you realize that what you see is all you’ll ever be, and then you accept it or you kill yourself, or you stop looking in mirrors.”
And speaking of mirrors, someone else once said, “If we spend too much time scrutinizing what’s in our rearview mirror, we’re certain to crash into a light post.”
I’ve spent the last four years of my life studying people who look in mirrors, rearview and otherwise in their search for self-awareness. I wanted to know what self-awareness really is, where it comes from, why we need it, and how to get more of it.
My research team surveyed quantitatively thousands of people. We analyzed nearly 800 scientific studies. And we conducted dozens of in-depth interviews with people who made dramatic improvements in their self-awareness.
Now, initially, we were actually so worried that we wouldn’t find any of these people that we called them self-awareness unicorns. True.
But thank goodness, we did find them. Because what these unicorns taught me would create a ground-breaking revelation for how all of us can find genuine self-awareness. And that’s what I want to share with you.
Today, I want you to reflect on how you’re reflecting. I know that’s a mouthful. And to get there, we’re going to need to shatter one of the most widely held beliefs about finding self-awareness. But first things first.
What is this thing we call self-awareness anyway?
It’s the ability to see ourselves clearly, to understand who we are, how others see us and how we fit into the world. Self-awareness gives us power.
We might not always like what we see, but there’s a comfort in knowing ourselves. And there’s actually a ton of research showing that people who are self-aware are more fulfilled. They have stronger relationships. They’re more creative. They’re more confident and better communicators.
They are less likely to lie, cheat, and steal. They perform better at work and are more promotable. And they’re more effective leaders with more profitable companies.
In the world of self-awareness, there are two types of people: those who think they’re self-aware, and those who actually are. It’s true.
My team has found that 95% of people think they’re self-aware, but the real number is closer to 10% to 15%. You know what this means, don’t you?
It means that on a good day – on a good day – 80% of us are lying to ourselves about whether we’re lying to ourselves. Pretty scary, right?
So you can imagine the challenge we had in figuring out who was truly self-aware. What do you think would’ve happened if I had said, “Hey! How self-aware are you?” Exactly.
So to be part of our research, our unicorns had to clear four hurdles. They had to believe they were self-aware as measured by an assessment my team developed and validated. Using that same assessment, someone who knew them well had to agree. They had to believe that they’d increased their self-awareness in their life, and the person rating them had to agree.