Practising self-awareness is an important life skill that everyone can benefit from. Being aware will help you achieve your study, career and life goals, and lead to a life of success and happiness. By Elias Zoghbi.
I’m Elias, and I’ve worked for MTC for around 8 months, as a Youth Trainer in the Transition to Work program. It’s my job to encourage and guide my young clients as they gain confidence and motivation, which hopefully results in them landing a great job!
Although the focus of Transition to Work (TTW) is to help participants find employment, it’s not the only thing I care about. I want everyone to leave the program happy, fulfilled and as mentally healthy as possible.
One topic that I talk to all my clients about is awareness, specifically, how being aware can help you overcome negative behaviour patterns. What’s a negative pattern of behaviour? Simply put, it’s a repetitive behaviour that’s unwanted or undesirable, such as acting aggressively, procrastinating or letting people take advantage of you.
Overcoming some of these behaviours is essential to achieving success at school or work. For example, overcoming your tendency to procrastinate is important if you want to study and get good results. When you’re older, learning to control your anger means a better chance of good relationships with managers and coworkers, and perhaps a promotion down the line.
How being aware has helped me
This is an important topic for me because I’ve experienced destructive patterns myself. For example, when I was growing up I had negative, judgemental views of certain people. As I practiced being aware, however, I realised that my negative judgements were usually inaccurate.
I came to see that when I had negative thoughts about someone in my head, I behaved a certain way towards them, and they’d react to my behaviour. Ultimately, I saw that being judgemental was taking me down an inferior path. Now when negative judgements come to mind I consciously choose not to listen to them.
How to practice awareness
Awareness is the state of being conscious of something – but what I’m talking about here is being aware of oneself: self-awareness. It’s a simple concept but it can be hard to describe, so I’ll explain it using an example most people can relate to.
Have you ever experienced rage or anger? When you get really angry your body and mind feel completely full of the emotion – it seems to take over. But there’s a way to deal with it:
- Next time you get angry, just observe the emotion. It’s that easy! Notice that you are feeling anger.
- Don’t judge yourself for feeling anger, don’t deny that you’re feeling it, or try to resist it. Just be aware of the emotion in your body and mind.
- After some time has passed, you will realise that you are the observer of the anger, and not the anger itself. The emotion might still be present but you are separate from it.
- At this point you’ll realise that you have choice. The anger no longer controls you, you have regained your power and can act according to your own choices.
When I tell this to my TTW students most of them understand instantly. Those who try practising awareness to offset anger report that they become aware of its toxicity afterwards. Some are able to change their behaviour almost instantly, while for others it may take more practise.
This process works for every emotion. Why not give it a go?
My tips for success
So how can you put the above into practise and lead a happy and successful life? Here are my top 3 tips for living your best life:
- Think about what kind of life you’d like to have. What do you want to do, what are your dreams and ambitions? What goals do you need to achieve? Always keep these top of mind.
- Identify and be aware of the negative behaviour patterns that are holding you back. Is insecurity stopping you from applying for jobs? Is jealousy causing you to treat coworkers unprofessionally?
- When a powerful emotion hits you, don’t react immediately. Take some time, observe the emotion and realise you have the ability to control your next move.
Being aware not only helps us overcome negative patterns of thinking and behaviour, it allows us to lead a life of choice. As your awareness increases, your ability to choose and decision-making power increases. Make good decisions, and choose to be happy.
About Transition to Work
Through the Transition to Work program, MTC Australia provides intensive and practical support to young people aged 15–21 who need help finding a job.
The program is free for eligible participants, and involves 25 hours of support per week – usually a mix of coaching, education or training, work experience and support from community services, depending on your personal needs and interests.
You’ll work one-on-one with your dedicated coach and attend group sessions when you feel ready. Outside of this, we’ll stay in close contact with you via email, phone, text message and social media. You’ll be well supported the entire time.