Know Thyself

Posted by Mike Kaaks

28 January 2013

γνῶθι σεαυτόν is Greek for Know Thyself, a cornerstone of many of my coaching engagements, and my own highest ranked value. I am also attracted to the latin te nosce ipsum - there is something about a latin phrase which elevates its subject. Perhaps that is because so many motto's are written in latin, perhaps it is because so many latin phrases carry meaning well beyond the limited number of words they contain.
Coming down from this lofty height, the topic also reminds me of Jim Trott (the old guy in Vicar of Dibley). In one episode the writers make a beautiful play on his habit of responding to questions with his stuttering "no, no, no, no," leading into a "yes". In the episode in question he starts a response with his "no, no, no…." and just as we are expecting to hear him say "yes " he breaks into the title of that Abba song "Knowing me . Knowing you". I laughed a great belly laugh when I first saw that and still do when I see a repeat. Now I hear the Abba Song in my mind when I hear the words Knowing Me.
Those who know me will attest to this habit playing out on a wider stage. When I hear someone use a string of words which also appear in a song, I start singing that song in my mind, and occasionally outside it as well (to the surprise of many over the years - there are some places and groups in which people just do't expect you to sing). I'm sure there's a name for this condition because I'm sure I'm not the only one who does it. I do know however that its a part of me. It ties together a number of my values. It influences my behaviour. Knowing these things helps me understand my being.
This is but one aspect of Knowing Me, there are so many more. Psychometric testing, the words of our family and friends and loved ones. Feedback processes at work. Whatever the source, having this knowledge, and being comfortable with it provides a great anchor for thinking about our being, and what we want to do next.