• Steve Martin

Know Yourself

“He who knows others is wise. He who knows himself is enlightened.” - Lao Tzu

I like wisdom, but I LOVE enlightenment (or at least the idea of it – since I don’t have it yet). Let’s go for enlightenment.


To live fully – you must know yourself and seek constant self-improvement.


“Nosce Te Ipsum” is an ancient Greek aphorism meaning "Know Thyself" – which serves as a reminder that each individual has an own true self.

To truly know yourself is to master life and discover purpose and meaning in life itself.

Is it truly possible to know one’s self; to fully grasp the intricacies of your own soul; to truly navigate and master life from within?


We all need meaning and purpose in our lives. It is one of the things that separates us from other animals. Purpose activates us and motivates us. It moves us to get up in the morning, sustains us when times get tough, and serves as a guiding star when we stray off course.


Tunde Abati wrote: “Know your strengths, your weaknesses, your limits, your excesses, your emotions, your desires, your yearnings, your abilities, your triggers, your thoughts, your dreams, your hopes, your aspirations, your victories, your defeats; know not little, know all.”


A good life requires that you truly understand yourself – who you are, what is important to you, and what your values are. Who are you at your core?


One way to figure this out is to really understand your values. When you define your personal values, you discover what is truly important to you.


Here are some questions to help you do this:

  • Look back on your life. Identify when you felt really good and recognizably confident that you were making good choices.

  • Identify the times when you were the happiest. What were you doing? Who were you with? Were there other factors contributing to your happiness?

  • Identify the times when you were most proud. Why were you proud? Did others share your pride? Were there other factors that contributed to these feelings of pride?

  • Identify the times you felt most fulfilled and satisfied. What need or desire was met? How and why did the experience give your life meaning? What other factors contributed to your feelings of fulfillment?

  • What are the themes that show up most often in your life? How are they related? What do they mean to you?

It is only possible to leverage your strengths if you know them.

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