Being Self Aware Is the Key to Success: How to Boost Self Awareness PART I
My intent for this discussion is to build on an article I published called How to Upgrade Your Critical Thinking Skills for a Sharper Mind. The focus here will be on self-awareness, critical thinking and a new idea I am developing called “Swarming the Brain”.
I will use methods and frameworks from Systems Thinking V2.0, the Red Team Handbook from the Center for Applied Creative and Critical Thinking, and Colonel John Boyd’s OODA Loop. I will then demonstrate tools and techniques from these frameworks to show how you can improve your critical thinking abilities, as well as self-awareness.
4 Simple rules for self-awareness
Similar to how I introduced How to Upgrade Your Critical Thinking Skills for a Sharper Mind, here I will introduce another version of it leading to greater self-awareness. In this version, there are four simple rules for self-awareness. These simple rules will move us from information to understanding.
Simple rules moving us from information to understanding:
1. Observe. Sense information (think of nodes within a network).
2. Orient. This is the process of making sense of the information (think of the process of connecting nodes within a network).
3. Decide. Thinking is introduced to connect the nodes (the connection of nodes within a network is the creation of knowledge).
4. Act. When we connect knowledge we attain understanding or wisdom (think of the emergence of a network or the edges of a network).
For each simple rule, I will provide both a question and a set of tools or frameworks to use.
The question should trigger the rule, where the tool or framework will lead to an emerging network. I use simple questions with simple rules because there is power in simple.
Sometimes the best way to get at the heart of the matter (especially in a complex world) is to ask a simple question:
Rule #1 — Observe: The Unexamined Life
Observe (Awareness or Awakening)
- Question: What lens do I see reality through?
The process of improving self-awareness through introspection takes discipline to look inward to examine our own thoughts, feelings and motives. Self-awareness is the capacity for introspection, as well as the ability to be more enabled as a critical thinker and more aware of your own biases. It is through this understanding of the individual that an expanded world view opens.
By reflecting on our world view, we are essentially trying to understand our mental models. The Cabrera’s inform us,
“Mental models shape our understanding of everything around us. The goal of systems thinking is the continuous improvement and refinement of our mental models such that they more closely reflect the real world. The closer the mental model to reality, the more useful it is to us.”
Who Am I? This exercise requires reflection and introspection of your personal narratives and dynamics, culture, religion, education, and critical watershed moments that shape your worldview and values.
Let’s briefly examine the method for this exercise.
- Step 1. You must first recall seminal life changing events and moments that shape who you are. To do this you must conduct a disciplined self-reflection study of your life.
- Step 2. Share your Who Am I? in a group setting or with another individual. The people or person listening should not speak or interrupt you in any way. So find someone who is good at active listening and explain to them specifically what you need prior to beginning the exercise.
This is also a great team building exercise. You will find that you truly get to know each other on a deep level by simply conducting this exercise.
With that said, let’s a couple powerful tools offered by the Cabrera’s in Systems Thinking v2 Thinkquiry and Plectica.
Thinkquiry is the term the Cabrera’s use for thinking differently about how we ask questions from a systems thinking approach. Traditional question logic is born of Socratic Logic (which is bivalent logic) and typically employs such rubrics as the 5Ws (Who, What, Where, When, Why).
DSRP Logic expands on this bivalent Logic which means that these kinds of questions can still be asked, but we are encouraged to penetrate deeper into our topic and ask deeper questions.
GO TO MAIN REFERENCE FOR THE QUESTIONS
It is a visual systems mapping software based on Systems Thinking v2.0. It is a free software one can use daily to visualize, analyze and synthesize concepts to gain a greater understanding of ideas or concepts in their entirety.
By thinking meta-cognitively (thinking about thinking) we are able reshape connections in our brain and reshape our mental models.
Rule #2 — Orient: Hang a question mark on things
Rule #2: Orient
- Question: What would have to exist for something to be true? Or why must something be true?
In Flock Not Clock, the Cabrera’s provide an example of using simple rules leading to emergent behavior in an organization. This is a powerful technique and is the foundation for this entire article (as this article is essentially simple rule for an emergent behavior). Let’s see how this works.
Step 1: Identify your future state
Step 2: Identify simple rules
- Rule #1: Observe
- Rule #2: Orient
- Rule #3: Decide
- Rule #4: Act
Step 3: Emergent behavior (What can we actually see)
We learn to observe the real world via a new mental model, orient to reality, make good decisions, and most importantly… to act (while receiving and reflecting on continuous feedback).
The String of Pearls technique can be found in the Red Team Handbook. It is a way to ensure teams consider unintended consequences. It is a tool to help prevent “wishing” or “assuming away the problem” and to identify weaknesses in thinking or a plan.
Moreover, similar to the domains within Bloom’s Taxonomy, this technique uses domains. Bloom’s Taxonomy provides three domains: cognitive domain (reflects knowledge); affective domain (reflects emotion); physical domain (reflects the body).
Let’s further examine these three domains:
- The Cognitive Domain: Reflects knowledge — the mind completes levels of understanding of a concept; building to the next higher level of understanding. To me, this is like visualizing the Rubik’s Cube as a brain.
- The Affective Domain: Reflects emotion — our attitude and awareness. We feel levels of emotion about recognizing and synthesizing information.
- The Physical Domain. Reflects the body — we connect mind (Cognitive Domain) to body events in a way that generates muscle memory for an action.
Events (also known as actions) are called 1st order effects and occur in the Physical Domain. 2nd order effects represent how we feel about the event (Affective Domain). 3rd order effects represent thoughts about the event (Cognitive Domain).
Furthermore, cascading effects follow a chain of actual causality (If-Then) as they occur in the Physical Domain — where one event precipitates the next. Events subsequent to 2nd and 3rd order effects which precede them are unintended consequences of the first event. However, they are not caused by the original event. By identifying unintended consequences, we can minimize the likelihood of overlooking something.
The following three questions are key to the String of Pearls technique:
1. Will your plan or actions produce a cascade of other events? If so, what could they be?
2. What message or information is being conveyed by the plan or action and to whom is it being conveyed?
3. How will the message be interpreted by others?
CONTINUES IN PART II
Dr. Jamie Schwandt
FOR THE FULL ARTICLE WITH SKETCHES AND REFERENCES GO TO https://www.lifehack.org/768440/self-aware