All through our education we are taught that the reason we are being ‘educated’ is so that we can get a good job at the end of it. In fact, that is what the education system was designed for: to take care of children while their parents went to work, and to prepare children for the world of work.
It has served industrial economies well and made them prosperous but this model had one major failing. Because of its focus on finding a job, we are educated to understand the world around us, but not ourselves or how our minds work. In the race to find a job, we have neglected to understand our inner spaces and this has resulted in the mental health crisis we currently face. 1 in 5 of of us will contemplate suicide at some point in our lives and 1 in 4 will experience a mental health problem every year.
How does this impact the process of finding a job?
Before we even get to the interview stage will have to cope with many letters of rejection, and the disappointment that follows. If we are lucky enough to have the right skills that are needed at the time we are looking for a job, we may find one easily. But there are many factors that are beyond our control, like the state of the economy or artificial intelligence and robots which are displacing many of the old jobs we may have trained for.
Self-awareness will allow us to remain mentally stable throughout this process, through an understanding of the nature of desire, and our expectations.
If we do get invited to a job interview most people will experience anxiety to varying degrees, based on their personality. Despite a realisation that it is bad for our general health we seem unable to do anything about it. It is linked to fear and the prospect of failure. We have many self-images that we need to project and protect, that we are ‘successful’ or ‘cool’ for example. We do not realise that having these images make us more prone to anxiety and the ache of disappointment. The anxiety we experience going into an interview reduces our performance and is plain for the interviewer to see. Nobody wants to hire an anxious person because they may worry how they will cope with the pressures of the job. Self-awareness helps us to understand the nature of anxiety and live a life where we can cope with life’s ups and downs with equanimity.
Understanding ourselves and how our minds work helps us to understand others, because deep down our minds work in similar ways. This allows us to read people better and respond with intelligence to them. According to research 70-80% of all communication is non-verbal. Much of the impression we make in interviews is based on the non-verbal signals we give out. Understanding these in ourselves and others, through self-awareness, makes us nimble and better able to respond to others during the interview. If we can come across as relaxed, assured and sensitive to the needs of the interviewer we have a better chance of getting the job.
If we don’t get the job, self-awareness would allow us to not be crushed by disappointment, remain mentally stable, learn from the mistakes we made and ask how we could do better next time.
Understanding ourselves and how our minds work brings intelligence and wisdom and the benefits of that spread into our life in many ways, not just in finding a job. It is a journey of life-long learning which can result in successful relationships, a sense of inner peace and leave us better able to respond to life’s challenges.
The book Understanding Me Understanding You is part of the non-profit Human Enquiry Project. It provides a road-map for everyone to undertake this journey of self-enquiry and understanding and reap its many benefits. Visit humanenquiry.com to browse the book, for videos, blogs, mind-maps and more. Join us to help make the world a better place.