Life Hacks - Part 2: Know Yourself

Picking up on my “Life Hacks” presentation from a couple of weeks ago, the second tip is about knowing yourself. You know yourself better than anyone else does. If this isn’t true for you today, change it!

One of the things I wish I would have figured out a bit earlier in life is the importance of learning to know myself. The more you know yourself, I’d argue, the more equipped you are to deal with the challenges and the joys in life. The more you know yourself, the more confident you are in standing up for yourself or others. The more you know yourself, the more you can stand against what you don’t believe in.


Part of knowing yourself is knowing how you handle conflict. When you encounter a disagreement, what’s your response? Do you avoid it? Do you use an indirect approach or maybe put off dealing with? Or maybe you address it immediately?


Here’s a real-life scenario for you to consider. In April your neighbour bought a dog. Over the next two months, both after work and on a couple of evenings, the dog’s barking has annoyed you. You like quiet and yet you understand that the dog is still young and that it takes a while to sort these things out. You have intentionally been patient.


In June there is a week-long stretch with temperatures above 30 degrees. It is hot and muggy and the windows are open (if you have an air conditioner, it has broken down). You have an important meeting first thing in the morning so you go to bed at 10:00 so you can get up early to review your presentation and be at your best. At 10:30 your neighbour’s dog starts barking and sounds like it is going to go on for some time. At first all the neighbours try to ignore the sound but the barking continues with increasing intensity. There are three neighbours – all wake up and all are annoyed.


Consider these neighbours and which one most closely resembles what you would do:


Neighbour A’s response is to get up, close the window and puts a pillow over their head in an attempt to sleep.


Neighbour B’s response is to plot a response in bed, close the window and puts a pillow over their head in an attempt to sleep.  Another day, B runs into the neighbour on a walk. They have a five-minute conversation about the weather and politics and then asks if the dog is okay because they seemed really upset the other night.


Neighbour C’s response is get out of bed, put on shorts and a t-shirt and go to the neighbour’s door, ring the bell and calmly and clearly say: “Your dog is keeping the neighbourhood awake, could you please deal with it?”


Who are you most like in this scenario? Are you an A, B or C? Be real here – not what you THINK would be the best response.


What are the strengths of your approach? What are your thoughts about the other neighbours – how would you describe them?

So you tell me, is one of these responses right? Or are any of these wrong?


Which style is the hardest for you to respond to? Which style is the hardest for you to use?


Generally, people say the most positive things about their own style and the most negative things about other’s styles.


We usually deal with others the way we want others to deal with us. – Remember the Golden Rule (do unto others as you would have them do to you) – In certain situations we need to do to others as they would have us do to them.


Despite our good intentions, when we use our preferred style with someone who has a different style than ours, we are at risk of being misunderstood.


No style is right or wrong!