95% Think They Are Self-Aware, But Only 10% Are

There are key reasons why humans are generally not very self aware… but some of them may surprise you! Are you one of the 10%? Or are you – like most of us – traveling around under a false premise? And how would you go about changing? JJ and Melissa had a little fun after finding this statistic – join in to hear more about it.

February 22, 2022
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Melissa Albers  0:01  
Hey everyone. Welcome to the self awareness Journey podcast. I'm Melissa Albers.

JJ Parker  0:06  
And I'm JJ Parker. This podcast is for seekers, seekers of happiness and joy seekers of a centered approach to success in life. Seekers of their true authentic selves.

Melissa Albers  0:17  
Get ready for some real talk on everything from anxiety, emotions and habits to love, compassion and forgiveness. We know you'll be challenged and enlightened by this conversation. We're so glad you're here. Let's dive in. Okay, so JJ, you know, we've been trying to be better about marketing. Right? With with fairly limited success, but we're getting a little better. We're getting a little better. Okay, so I came across a really, really good article, I think, like, and I'm anxious to talk with you about it today.

JJ Parker  0:52  
Oh, that's the article we posted a few weeks back, like on social media. Oh, we

Melissa Albers  0:57  
did. Oh, no, I

JJ Parker  0:58  
didn't. Oh,

Melissa Albers  1:00  
I didn't remember we did that. No, we totally did. Yes, we did. We did. We did. Yes. Well, we didn't post the whole article. What we actually did is we did a LinkedIn survey snippet.

JJ Parker  1:09  
Oh, yes. Yeah. So what was that survey? Yeah. So I remember I filled it out.

Melissa Albers  1:16  
Right. I don't remember. Do you remember?

JJ Parker  1:19  
The survey was something like, do you think you are self aware?

Melissa Albers  1:24  
Yeah, that's right. That's right. That's right. Yep. Yes. And the findings that came from the search, while not just a survey, or super scientific survey, right, right, right. The form art Forbes article was contributed to by a woman who was an organization, organizational psychologist. And the whole premise of her article was 95% of people think they are self aware. And only 10 to 15% actually are.

JJ Parker  1:57  
So that's a really interesting statistic. So that's what spurred our LinkedIn, right question. questionnaire, right. I think our data probably followed. Close. Right. Yeah. And they are actually self aware. But yeah, most people did think they were self

Melissa Albers  2:13  
aware. Yeah, yes, almost exclusively people did. And I think maybe just a handful of people said that they weren't. So I think that's really interesting. And you know, it's really also very fun about this is that in all of our work with the self awareness journey, we've never looked for data. Right. But yes, we have in one article, so much data, it's overwhelming. Right. And so

JJ Parker  2:38  
let's talk about that. Yeah, first, like, I think it's really fascinating that there is such a gap between what people think and what they actually write are. Right. Right. So what what is happening there? Yeah, but that's creating such a difference of kind of like, opinion? Well,

Melissa Albers  2:59  
it's funny, you should ask because that was actually the first part of the article, okay, is why does this happen? Why are we in this spot? And she actually cites that there are three reasons why people are not as self aware as they think they are. And one of them is, everyone has a natural blind spot. You want to see yourself better. You want to naturally see yourself in a different light. Because it makes you feel better.

JJ Parker  3:28  
Okay. So just as Yeah, as a matter of, you know, your you want your view of yourself to be positive.

Melissa Albers  3:37  
Right. Yeah. Because it's easier to live with yourself, right.

JJ Parker  3:41  
I think I live with myself every day.

Melissa Albers  3:44  
Yeah, and don't you just rather get better

JJ Parker  3:48  
at delivering on this grumpy person, no matter

Melissa Albers  3:50  
where I go? There I am. Yeah, exactly.

JJ Parker  3:54  
Well, it makes sense. Right? Like, yeah, sense that, that your, you know, the way you think of yourself. Yeah, would just want generally to be positive.

Melissa Albers  4:03  
Right. Right. Right. And I think most of us do that. I mean, sometimes we get down on ourselves. But generally speaking, I think we all want to think that we're good people, and that we know how to how to be with others, you know, and how to be a good person. Yeah. The second reason that she gave was that we are actually unaware of how we are behaving.

JJ Parker  4:24  
Like externally.

Melissa Albers  4:25  
Yeah. Yeah. That took me by surprise

JJ Parker  4:30  
a little bit. So like, let's talk about what that actually yeah. We're unaware of how we're behaving. That means like, when I interact with you, and I go interact, yeah, my colleagues, my family, like what I'm, I'm not, how am I not aware of how, yeah, how I'm behaving?

Melissa Albers  4:49  
Well, you know, in your interactions with people like I'll answer with another question. Have you not been in the room when you've seen someone sort of behaving in a way that's not going along? With the rest of the room or they're behaving in a way that makes them not look good, and they don't even notice.

JJ Parker  5:06  
Yeah, okay, that instance, right before we were recording this podcast, you're like, Dude, you're super squirrely today. Like, no, not what are you talking about? I don't even think we're gonna be able to record a podcast today. Okay, well, you're right. You're right. I was I was actually. I mean, honestly, I am honestly telling you that I didn't think I was being that squirrely this morning. I am unaware of my own behavior.

Melissa Albers  5:36  
Okay. I'm just gonna call you out on this now, because it is kind of funny. So in the three minutes before we hit record, I said here, I'm going to send you this article so that you have it. And you're like, look at how they formatted this article. It's ridiculous. There's so many ads, and I said, I know they're getting so bad with that. And then you and then I said, Okay, so did you look at the article and you said, No, but so far, I've applied for American Express guard where I get miles. It's like, okay, get out of that. Get out of that. And then you said, Well, this article is referencing a book. Wait, I think I have this book. I said, Are you sure? Oh, yeah, I really am. Well, it doesn't really okay. Anyway, just look at the article. Well, you just a minute. So then there you were in my library in your library, and pretty soon we were down a rabbit hole for five titles.

JJ Parker  6:26  
So to Shay, I'm not. Okay,

Melissa Albers  6:32  
so I guess she's right. I mean, who, you know, just because she's an organist, organizational psychologist, she thinks she has all these? Well, clearly she does. Okay. Then the third reason why she thinks that we're in this situation where so many think they're self aware, but they're not. Is she said that she's calling it the cult of self? And that has a very dark tone

JJ Parker  6:51  
to it? Well, it's kind of like a powerful statement.

Melissa Albers  6:54  
It really is. Right? Yeah. Yeah. And the cult of self, the way that she described it is we've just generally become more self aware or self absorbed as a people. And she said itself, social media is an example.

JJ Parker  7:07  
So that makes me think like, like you are narcissistic by nature. Right. Yeah. It's kind of what she's saying. They're like, and,

Melissa Albers  7:19  
and that's amping up. Oh, so it's amping like

JJ Parker  7:23  
as us as a society are part of our culture. That's becoming more amplified.

Melissa Albers  7:29  
Yeah, you know, what I just got as a visual in my mind, as we said that certain thinking, you know, like, if you're on Instagram, or in your in face, Facebook, first of all, every phone is mapping every single word you say. And all of a sudden, all the ads start showing up on the right hand side of your social media. And it's columns and columns of ads that are specific to and whatever you start looking at, for articles, whatever you start looking at, for products, they they are curating all of those articles, all of those products, everything specific to you. So you just get more of what you want more of what you see more of you. And your whole social media platforms become that.

JJ Parker  8:07  
Yeah, it's like that. It's like the information echo chamber.

Melissa Albers  8:10  
Yeah, but Oh, yeah. So

JJ Parker  8:15  
but the idea that we have a lot of tools and we engage in a lot of products, yeah, that create more self referential thinking is a really interesting idea. I had actually not even thought that thought about through like the effects of social media, right. Lots of different ways.

Melissa Albers  8:37  
Yeah, yeah. Yeah. Yeah. Like numbing ourselves out. And all the things we've got the idea that

JJ Parker  8:41  
it makes you more narcissistic. I hadn't, it's pretty obvious, but But I hadn't thought about that very, very deeply. Right?

Melissa Albers  8:50  
Yeah. We should probably do a podcast on that that's a really good topic to delve into some Yeah. And

JJ Parker  8:56  
so part of part of that self referential thinking is kind of survival I feel like you know, there's there's a line where where I do need to think about myself I do need to you know, feed myself protect myself.

Melissa Albers  9:13  
Like, yeah, Maslow's hierarchy of

JJ Parker  9:17  
needs, but then it goes to that next level where it's like I need way more attention Yep. You know, or craving way more attention than I may actually need? Yeah, you're getting into the cycle and things like social media Well really, yeah. So her her thesis there is the more you get into like that self referential thinking the less self aware you actually become. Yeah.

Melissa Albers  9:44  
And and I can see how like these three reasons like all actually work together, they can start to feed off of each other because the first one all again, yeah, so one was, again, we all have natural blind spots about where our our deficiencies are. And then The second one is that we're really, we're Oh, and I actually didn't say this. But in the blindspots portion, she said, we're wired to operate as human beings. We're wired to operate on autopilot. And then, and then the second part to that was unaware of how we are behaving. And then the third part was that cult of self. So you can see how as your world starts to get a little more curated and small, like an egg around you, how it can just one thing can feed off the next Yeah,

JJ Parker  10:30  
yeah, especially that autopilot thinking. Yeah. You know, I, I was, I was talking to my kids, like, last week, about how my theory of like, your brain is fundamentally lazy, really fat, you know, like, your, your brain is lazy. It's trying to try to do like the least amount of ever possible. So all that stuff where, right, you just get in those thinking patterns, they become habit. You stop thinking about them, you just start doing them. Yeah,

Melissa Albers  10:59  
you don't even think twice about it. It's just what you always do. So it must be right.

JJ Parker  11:02  
Yeah. Hmm. Interesting. Yeah. Okay. So those things are causing us to be less self aware.

Melissa Albers  11:10  
Exactly. Right. Yeah. So what do we do about it? Yeah. So So and then actually, right. Before we do that, what I'd also like to say is, she did spend a lot of time at the beginning of the article talking about what being more self aware gives to people. And because she's a into organizations, she was referring to it from a business perspective. But you know, we're, we've made countless videos, and we've done lots of conversations about the benefit of being more self aware. Yeah. And we've been doing it from we always termed our hippie dippie. Self, right. But in this article, she's talking specifically about, you know, citing all these numbers and percentages about being more self aware, as a people allows you to perform better at work. That was the number one thing she said, the people that are more self aware, also get more promotions. And they are more effective leaders as individuals, but then she even went out a little ways and said that companies that have more self aware people in them perform stronger financially.

JJ Parker  12:16  
Yeah, I would. I would anecdotally, tell her that up. Yeah. Like I can, you can see that when when we engage in other companies. When, you know, when I talk to my other business owner, buddies, right, and they talk about their organizations. You can you can see it.

Melissa Albers  12:33  
I know my way. I know. Yeah.

JJ Parker  12:37  
And with you and your coaching practice, right, you got an inside track. Yeah. Especially at that more emotional level. Now, I bet you see it all the time.

Melissa Albers  12:48  
Oh, man. Yeah, it it, it is profound the difference. It's profound, like to a point where now because you and I have worked on this for so long, when I'm even engaging with organizations, if I can sense that even from the front door, I can feel myself walking backwards out the door, like I don't want to engage with

JJ Parker  13:06  
you or work with a company that know that the people aren't trying to like, right, become more self aware,

Melissa Albers  13:13  
or being more open learn have a have a perspective of learning have a perspective of openness. And I think those are the things that lead to being more self aware. But what question you asked, you said, how do we get better with that? And she had a couple of really interesting things that I'm still kind of like, I'm still sort of unpacking as they say, right? She said, Really, there's two primary ways to get better are two primary perspectives, not ways I guess. One is from an internal, and one is from an external. And she said, so to talk about the internal one first, and I think that's the one that you and I really have created, like all of our training course and everything else like that. That's from the internal perspective.

JJ Parker  13:58  
We spend a lot of time there. Yeah, we do.

Melissa Albers  14:01  
However, we also have talked about from the outward but it's interesting. So helpful. Yeah. Yeah.

JJ Parker  14:09  
Sounds like my own contemplation. Yeah, like me thinking about my own thoughts and feel. Yeah.

Melissa Albers  14:16  
And she actually labeled them slightly different. She said, that you truly understand your values, your passions, and your aspirations. So that does take self reflection, you know, like, you can't guess. Right? And I think a lot of people do think they can just fall through life and that, you know, they can set a goal for five o'clock tonight or whatever. But I think a lot of people kind of give up on thinking themselves through and understanding themselves more, because it's sort of just their own voice that they're listening to. I think they get tired of that sometimes. Yeah, check out of that hole. Because it's work. Come because

JJ Parker  14:57  
it's work because your brain is lazy. Yeah.

Melissa Albers  14:59  
cuz your brain is lazy. Um,

JJ Parker  15:01  
well, we've done plenty of fives on core values and, and goal setting and Yes, like that. Yeah. I agree like that. I mean that, to me that stuff is pretty foundational. Right? But it's really hard work, right? And when you don't have some of those values and goals, guiding you, you can really feel lost. Right, right.

Melissa Albers  15:29  
Yeah, we don't we do a podcast on our own personal values. And we have like a deck of cards and everything right. I love that. I love that card deck. But it's really funny because I've been in a room with 600 people facilitating a conversation and I'll I'll ask people to raise their hand in the beginning in the morning. What are your personal goals? Do know, what are your values? What do you know what your values are? Raise your hand. And honestly, there can be 500 people in the room and less than 5% will raise their hand every single time. Yeah, less than 5%. Yeah. And it's funny, because, you know, the great thought leaders around this will say, if you don't actually recognize what your values are, you're missing a big part of you, because you're already behaving in a way towards those values.

JJ Parker  16:13  
Yeah, right. We talked about we you have values if you don't know what they are, they're still there. Yeah. And you're still behaving that way. But it's just way easier when you know,

Melissa Albers  16:23  
yeah, yeah. So I really am on board with her on this whole idea of the in Word part. But the thing I was curious about, though, she said the other way to get better, having more self awareness is to know how others see you.

JJ Parker  16:38  
So like, we didn't start a whole company based on that. Right. So one of the things we tried to do with cardiology was to get your feedback, right. Yeah. And actually like our hearts to base that off, right. Our thesis in cardiology actually kind of changed a little bit over time, right, as we're helping people go through that. Yeah, like, self awareness moment of learning about themselves. But we started with the idea that if we can collect feedback from our peers at work, yep. And it'll help us understand how, how we're how we are showing others how we're showing up to others, right? Because there, we probably all have a story about how maybe we thought we were showing up. Yeah, one way and it was like completely to someone else. It was completely different.

Melissa Albers  17:37  
Yeah, their perspective was completely different than yours.

JJ Parker  17:39  
Just like before the pod. I've been to guys all that squirrel.

Melissa Albers  17:44  
Did you honestly not think you were for real z's?

JJ Parker  17:46  
But I love it. Right. And yeah. And no one's really a customer like giving you that feedback. Yeah, I mean, you're a customer giving me that. And you meet. Or we have a special relationship. But no one walks around. Like, oh, hey, Andy, by the way,

Melissa Albers  18:11  
yeah, I know, yeah, exactly. Right. And we don't feel comfortable. Even if we see something and recognize that thing. We as people don't usually feel comfortable coming alongside of someone and offering unsolicited feedback. You know, that's like a that's like a thing, especially here in the Midwest. It's even more of a thing. No,

JJ Parker  18:31  
no, then. No, I mean, even I use, like an extreme example, but there's lots of little opportunities for feedback of more subtle, yeah, behaviors and interactions. Right, you can be a little more gentle in the way you Yeah, you know, like, right. Right. gave that, you know, like, presentation, you could have, you know, but we're not accustomed to giving people that kind of feedback, right.

Melissa Albers  18:55  
We don't really know how, yeah, I agree. I don't think we know how I mean, if anything, I think this is a great opportunity with the self awareness journey. It's such a good opportunity for people to be in that. So conversation.

JJ Parker  19:08  
We shifted our, our idea with cardiology to this to the idea that we should collect, we should collect like, perspective of what other people think of us. Yeah. Then we kind of pivoted that to say, hey, let's figure out what we actually think of ourselves. Right.

Melissa Albers  19:26  
Right. Right. The jelly beans,

JJ Parker  19:29  
the jelly beans. Yeah. So so we, we actually changed how we were doing that for people. And so it's interesting that you should

Melissa Albers  19:41  
explain it just a little bit for the visual because I just throw the term

JJ Parker  19:44  
though and the jellybeans

Melissa Albers  19:47  
Well, actually it wasn't so we created a visual that would give an A shape of something about how people saw someone, and then the person how they saw themselves was overlaid. And then we had a quadrant system. So you can easily see where you are in alignment with how people thought of you. And then where you were really different. And it created this big gap, this color gap became a very visual obvious way to see where the perspectives didn't match.

JJ Parker  20:14  
Yeah. Yeah. So for example, if I thought I was a really assertive person, yeah. But my colleagues were like, now it's all sort of all right, and push over. There would be the gap. And that would be my opportunity.

Melissa Albers  20:31  
Right? That was so cool. Show up different. Yeah. So I mean, gosh, even way back then we were doing exactly what her research shows is that it's there, there are two ways to get better. And one is the internal approach. And one is the external approach. And And the last piece I'll say about what she wrote, which I thought was kind of interesting, and I'm trying to think this through a little bit, she said, the research shows that there is no relationship between the internal and the external approach. There's no relationship. It's like,

JJ Parker  21:02  
so what do you think that mean?

Melissa Albers  21:04  
I don't know. The does she mean? Does she mean that your work has to be separate, depending on which focus it is? Or does she mean that if you only do one, you won't fully be manifesting a more aware perspective? It's interesting to think about

JJ Parker  21:20  
that. I don't know. That sounds like a cliffhanger, because I'll see, because the author of that article, yes. Was Tasha your edge? Okay. Thank you. He you are ich and the book was in sight. Yes. That was released in 2017.

Melissa Albers  21:40  
Yeah, yeah. Okay. So if anybody's really interested in doing a deeper dive, they can read the book, or they can just keep following along with us.

JJ Parker  21:49  
That's true. But it this is a super interesting conversation. Because yeah, I like you said I like the data. Yeah, heard of it. You and I talked about are talking about all the time, we can flip back and forth between like, there's a lot of personal benefits to being more self aware. There are so many work benefits huge. Yeah, it's like, without being too blunt about it. It says like, you can do better in your career, you can outperform your colleagues and ultimately, get more money and money. Be happier, be more effective if you work on being more self aware.

Melissa Albers  22:25  
Yeah. Straight up.

JJ Parker  22:28  
Did you enjoy this episode? Please go to your favorite podcast platform to subscribe rate and leave a review so others can discover it as well.

Melissa Albers  22:37  
Growing self awareness is a lifelong journey, and there's always further to go. And it's better when we're all in it together. Please think of someone you know who could benefit from hearing today's conversation and share this episode with them. We can't thank you enough for listening. Until next time, happy exploring seekers.

Transcribed by https://otter.ai

Discussed in this episode

Let's get real

Meet your guides

JJ Parker

JJ Parker is a serial entrepreneur passionate about building creative strategy, efficient operations, and unique marketing perspectives. Parker got his start as a student at The Minneapolis Institute of Art, and soon after launched his first company Tightrope Media Systems (TRMS) with a high school buddy in 1997.

Melissa Albers

Melissa is passionate about developing people’s self-awareness and ability to positively interact with others. She focuses on the importance of building influence, and highlights the most important relationship we have is with self first. Ms. Albers speaks on leadership and self-awareness, and has shared the stage with John Maxwell (Leadership Author and Speaker), Lee Cockerell (Exec VP of Disney) and Les Brown (Motivational Speaker) to name a few.

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