The meaningfulness of self-knowledge

filella web 142x150 The meaningfulness of self knowledgeWho am I? How do I express myself? How do I communicate? Being able to answer these three questions with confidence is at the core of a meaningful life. This reflection comes from a book we recently presented at ESADE, which collects the thoughts of and pays tribute to Jaume Filella, former Director General of ESADE from 1986-1992.

Jaume Filella is what I call a visionary; as the book title suggests, a thinker who makes you think. Anyone interested in self-knowledge and understanding the complexity of human beings should read this book. It teaches valuable life lessons.

The central theme of the book is the exploration of the three levels of consciousness that we, as human beings, should master if we are to live life – rather than life living us.

The first level, ‘Who am I’, is about connecting with your inner self to understand that you are valuable, and that you have to be compassionate with yourself and understand your abilities, your qualities and your needs. If you achieve this level of compassion, then everything flows, and defects become only ill-used virtues, as Filella puts it in his book. Sometimes, what we consider a negative trait in ourselves turns out to be what other people appreciate most. Life is not black or white.

The second level, ‘How do I express myself’, is about understanding that every moment of our lives is an opportunity to show who we are and to give the best of ourselves. When we are in harmony with ourselves and the people around us, we live in a state of plenitude in which we flow and which provides us with wellbeing and happiness.

The third level of consciousness is ‘How do I communicate’. Communication is not simply an exchange of information; it goes beyond contact between people. It challenges you in that it questions you about what you feel or think. Good communication, as Filella calls it, is the transmission of knowledge with a sense of questioning.

Jaume Filella’s reflections on internal self-awareness are also part of our educational model at ESADE, which stresses that good business leadership requires the development of four dimensions: the professional; the ethical; the personal; the internal.

Self-knowledge is a very important skill for leadership. How can we lead teams of people if we don’t know ourselves? Cultivating our inner dimension leads to clarity of thought, self-knowledge and good management.

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