Who knows you best?

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Who, would you say, knows you best? Yourself, your family, your significant other, friends, colleagues?

We are all social animals and we love interacting: I’m curious and I love meeting new people. Since 2010, I’ve been lucky to travel extensively via Couchsurfing, an online community connecting millions of travelers meeting and hosting each other (for free).

Couchsurfing has a built-in system of recommendations where hosts and fellow travelers will leave a note about you, as a person. I find it truly fascinating to see how someone that you have never met before might have perceived you in the few hours or days you have spent together.

I began to wonder to thing about the correlation between how you think about yourself vs how people think about you.

So I went online and found Heidi Grant Halvorson, a popular motivational psychologist, she wrote great HBR articles such as Nine Things Successful People do Differently.

Her article “You Are (Probably) Wrong About Yourself” argues that most of what we do “is happening below our conscious awareness”. Her point is that most of the questioning we do on ourselves is doomed to fail because we fall short of identifying root causes of what we do, hence the important of feedback and external questioning. Here’s another interesting finding

“Your own ratings of your personality traits — for instance, how open-minded, conscientious, or impulsive you are — correlate with the impressions of other people (who know you well) at around .40. In other words, how you see yourself and how other people see you are only very modestly correlated.”

The gap that exists between how we see ourselves and how others see us amazes me. Over the past few years I took the MBTI, True Colors and more recently StrenghtsFinder 2.0. Those tests ask you series of questions to match you with strengths or categories that (supposedly) defines you.

That gay is truly huge, so I began to wonder: How about a test based on what others think of you? That should be interesting too.

Since, Heidi published a book, more article, and a great online conference The Science of Thriving.

-Rodolphe (initially published on dutel.fr)

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