Simply put, self-awareness is the understanding of who we are and how we are similar to or different from others. Today, less than 30% of people are self-aware, meaning that the majority of individuals mistakenly believe that they possess certain personal characteristics that objective measurements indicate they do not.
Society’s widespread self-awareness deficiency wreaks havoc on professional careers. According to a recent study conducted by Cornell University, self-awareness served as the strongest predictor of overall success. In other words, neither brains nor brawn can as accurately determine your success like understanding the extent of your brains or brawn (or lack thereof). Peter Guber, co-owner of the NBA team the Golden State Warriors and the MLB team the Los Angeles Dodgers framed the importance of self-awareness like this:
In my four decades of experience as a leader and entrepreneur in diverse industries from entertainment to sports to new media to education, in the hierarchy of factors most important to career success, I would rank self-awareness as #1. I wish I knew this at age 22.
Guber explains that self-awareness is critical to professional success because “regardless of your profession or industry, your career success rides on your ability to lead, manage, and get along with your colleagues…Self-awareness it the essential building block to develop this critical competency.”
Conventional wisdom’s neglect of self-awareness means that incoming college students face a significant disadvantage relative to those classmates who are self-aware. In other words, the student who is self-aware will blow the self-unaware college student out of the competitive college arena. Don’t spend hundreds of thousands of dollars on a college education and allow this to happen to you.
Fortunately for those self-unaware students, the number of self-aware students is rather small. Most importantly, the widespread self-awareness deficiency means that students who invest the time to become self-aware automatically position themselves to significantly outperform the majority of self-unaware classmates. Yes, perhaps the biggest hack to enjoying oversized college success boils down cultivating an acute sense of self-awareness. In one aspect, helping college students become more self-aware is what this book is all about.