Inscribed on the temple of Apollo, comes to us one of the most profound Greek philosophies- know thyself. It is a Delphic maxim according to Greek writer Pausanias. And in the city of Athens, about a hundred miles southeast of Delphi, Socrates once said, “I am not yet able, as the Delphic inscription has it, to know myself; so it seems to me ridiculous when I do not yet know that, to investigate irrelevant things”.
Knowledge begins within us. We are the language of the question posed and the answer is given. Unless we know how to understand it, all other knowledge would be meaningless. There are three steps to ‘know thyself’- the what, the why, and the how?
What Does It Mean To Know Thyself
If Achilles would have known about his heel then would he have shielded it better? That is the question. To know oneself properly one needs to have an objective and critical judgment of oneself. You must know your strengths to present them better. And you must know your weaknesses to shield them better.
The key to success is to align your strengths and interests. You need to focus on your goals and you can only do that by honing your skills. And to do so dedicatedly would require your continued interest in the matter.
Why Does One Need To Know Oneself
To know oneself would ultimately help a person understand others around them. Self-awareness is at the heart of all connections. To know thyself is to be more understanding, more empathetic and definitely more sympathetic. These are key elements for understanding others around us.
Once we know our strengths and weaknesses, we know how our associations with others would affect us. We can choose our teams and partners best accordingly.
How Does One Know Oneself
The first thing a person must do in practicing ‘know thyself’ is trying to look objectively at every criticism that others give. One must be immune to taking offense. Once we have admitted that we are not absolutely perfect, then it is very easy to accept that we are a bundle of strengths and weaknesses.
Listening to feedback from others is about being as objective as it can get. But run them through your mind once. Consider the situations with them as possibilities. If the negative feedbacks happen to be true, then we would have a much better chance of rectifying ourselves.
It is important to not to repeat being weak. We can only recognize our limits and push against them.