Socrates created the phrase 'know thyself', which was the start of western philosophy as we know it. It is even written on the forecourt of the Temple of Apollo at Delphi. Not a bad legacy. Yet it was The Matrix (and other pop culture movies) that really made my generation think about our lives in context of reality. Morpheus was all about 'being the one' rather than just knowing Neo was the one, which got me thinking what is more important, knowing thyself or being thyself?
Each generation will find their own ways to examine this age old question of self identity and their version of reality. For me it was the funky clothes and kung fu style of The Matrix that questioned reality.
'But what is reality?' If you measure it by what you feel, touch or smell. Well that's just electrical impulses interpreted by your brain'... Well that's what Morpheus would say before he offered you a choice of blue or red pills. (Take the red one if you want my advice way more fun).
Although it's fun to see who is cooler, Morpheus or Socrates, the real question is - does knowing thyself improve one's life?
Many people spend endless hours and many thousands of dollars to get to know themselves better. They climb mountains, run marathons, take drugs, meditate and do courses. I know, I'm right there with them! There are are specific tests you can take to identify your personality and strengths which I use too. But how does this knowledge assist us in improving our situation and lives?
In my experience the answer lies in not just knowing who we are but in taking action to be more who we are. That's the hard part.
In my consulting practice I use five key tests to help clients know themselves better. We do this in order to do one key thing. Set an Intention. That is, clarify what they actually want. This shouldn't be confused with what most people think they want, what society expects or what others want for them. What I am talking about is the congruent realisation of their values, personality, resources, life stage and goals.
It is vital to be crystal clear on what the individual truly wants for their life in order to attract it. It is only then that they can set their clear Intention and take action to Build a path to that life.
What a shame that many of us are living the lives others want. We operate as if we 'have' to do things and please others when in reality, it is only us that we have to please.
I encourage you now to go ahead and honestly evaluate how congruent your life is with where you would like it to be. If you started out with a clean sheet of paper and designed the life you would like, would it look like it does? Then set an intent to better understand yourself, clarify your Intentions in your own mind and then pay attention to what starts to happen. You might just surprise yourself.
Like Neo, Socrates and all the greats, the did it their way.
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