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“Stay calm, Daniel.”

Updated: Oct 15, 2022

If you spent a week with me, you might be tempted to offer me that advice. I can be intense. I’m competitive. I track my performance. I love to tackle big challenges.

Those examples are primarily positive, but not all my behaviors fit that description. I get uncomfortable if my ride to the supermarket takes 32 seconds longer than it should. I work too late into the night, and then my sleep suffers.

To make matters worse, sometimes the people around me can misinterpret my opinions as orders. One of my favorite expressions is “I have strong opinions loosely held.” It’s okay if you disagree with me, but at times my intensity may cause people to refrain from challenging me publicly.

Why am I telling you this? Because self-awareness is a habit, not an innate skill. You either work at being self-aware or you fail at it.

I am certainly just as much a flawed human being as any among us, but I do work hard to maintain an accurate perception of how others perceive me. Self-awareness pays dividends and ultimately leads to better decisions.


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