Most of us have met at least one person whose self-image bears very little resemblance to reality. They’ll tell you all kinds of things about themselves: “I’m a very honest person,” “I’m very thorough,” “I’m very organized,” “I have an excellent memory,” – but you know from experience that these statements don’t really hold up to close scrutiny. The truth is, we’re all guilty of this to some extent. We all have frailties we don’t recognize, and we all think we have strengths that just aren’t there. One of the fundamentals in achieving success in both our business and personal lives is to have as clear as possible an understanding of who you are and what your strengths and weaknesses are. The better a grasp you have on this, the better you can build on them to more effectively attain your goals. Conversely, the more we’re willing to delude ourselves, the more we hinder our journey to success.

To avoid this, it’s helpful to have a little part of your brain allocated to play the role of ‘Devil’s Advocate.’ A part of you that will challenge your own assertions. So the next time you say something like, “I’m a very organized person,” the little voice pops into your head that says, ‘Oh yeah? What about the time that you…” It’s quite enlightening when you have the courage to let this thought process take place. You begin to get a clearer picture of your relationship with the world around you and where your opportunities and challenges really are.

We don’t just delude ourselves about our weaknesses, of course. Most of us are equally guilty at not being able to acknowledge some of our core strengths. How many times have you heard people say things like: “I’m not very creative,” “I’m not good with numbers,” “I’m not very attractive,” when you know they’re just not true. Not recognizing your true strengths is just as devastating as not seeing your weaknesses, and plays havoc with your self confidence.

In short, don’t be afraid to continually challenge your self-image, both good and bad. Either way, you end up better off.

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