Awareness and Being

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Assess those patterns in light of what is important to you, what drives you, and who you want to be. Be honest in assessing competing priorities.

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The best outcome of self-awareness is to figure out what makes you great and be more of it. Continually add to that list, refine it, and build on it. Conversely, seek to be less of what negatively impacts you, those around you, and your desired outcomes.

What is 'Natural Awareness'?

Our inclinations, fueled by our culture, backgrounds, and experiences, influence who we are, but we are responsible for who we continually become. New circumstances can also create new triggers or lead to different reactions. She was born in Nigeria and is passionate about inspiring immigrant women leaders. She shares leadership insights for immigrant women at chinweeesimai.

Does Self-Awareness Matter?

Together, we InvestInWomen. Here are some tips on how to be more self-aware:. Do you observe patterns in your behaviors? Ellevate Network is a community of professional women committed to helping each other succeed. We use the power of community to help you take the next step in your caree This is a BETA experience.

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You may opt-out by clicking here. It is so much a part of being human that we often fail to notice it. Yet self-awareness is one of the biggest mysteries of the mind.

Awareness - Wikipedia

How did it arise and what is it for? Looking at other animals suggests we are not alone in being able to recognise ourselves in a mirror.

Awareness Meditation for being present - Guided Quiet mind hypnosis for overthinking and sleep

Self-awareness may have evolved in only the brightest animals with the biggest brains. If so, it represents the peak of mental complexity — the highest form of consciousness. However, some people have started to question this idea. Now, an extraordinary finding lends weight to their scepticism: one monkey species that was previously deemed unable to recognise itself in a mirror can easily learn to do so. The discovery suggests we need to fundamentally rethink our ideas about mirrors and minds. The hunt for self-awareness among non-humans has been going on for decades.

The underlying premise is that those with a firm sense of self can acknowledge their reflection and attempt to scrub off the dye. Most of the animals that have passed this test are considered to be intelligent. They include chimps, bonobos, orangutans, Asian elephants and Eurasian magpies a member of the notoriously clever corvid family.

This apparent correlation with smarts means that self-awareness has become a sort of proxy for mental complexity. But there are some puzzling evolutionary gaps.

Benefits of self-awareness

Gorillas, for instance, usually fail the test — with the notable exception of the recently deceased Koko — yet our more distant primate relatives, the orangutans, pass it. Also, the self-aware elite contains some bizarre anomalies such as pigeons, manta rays , ants and even a robot. Some of these findings — particularly with ants and pigeons — are contested.

Researchers have tried to explain away others, arguing, for example, that gorillas have mentally regressed since their split from the other ape lineages because they face fewer pressures in their environment. But the recent discovery in monkeys is harder to dismiss. Last year, Liangtang Chang and colleagues at the Shanghai Institutes for Biological Sciences, China, released video footage of a small group of rhesus macaques interacting with a mirror. It shows the monkeys contorting their bodies, tugging at their facial hair, inspecting their fingertips and making flashy displays of their genitals, all the while keeping their eyes on their reflections.

They are captivated, leaving little doubt they recognise themselves.

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Yet, rhesus macaques have consistently failed the mirror test. What changed? In fact, there is anecdotal evidence of macaques in the lab showing a sudden interest in mirrors after being fitted with bulky neural recording devices that protrude from their heads. To test this, they taught the monkeys to link vision and movement by giving them a food reward for touching a projected laser dot. At first, the researchers shone the laser where the monkeys could easily see it, then gradually worked up to shining it in places only visible in the mirror. Fast-forward a few weeks of practice, and they passed the face-mark test with flying colours.

That, in turn, raises the possibility that self-awareness is much more widespread than we think. So, what do we know about the evolution of this prized trait? Many psychologists and anthropologists hold that there is a hierarchy of consciousness that corresponds with increasing brain complexity. At its base is the minimal consciousness attributed to animals with simple nervous systems. These minds are thought to be permanently adrift in a sea of raw sensory experiences, tossed around between perceptions such as colour, hunger, warmth and fear, with little awareness of their meaning.

Few minds are sophisticated enough to experience the world differently — through an introspective lens. Even then, they may have a limited sense of self. What is the evidence for this hierarchy?

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After all, mental complexity is a slippery concept and, besides, none of us has insight into even the mind of another human, let alone a bat or a beetle. This disparity is mainly the result of the differing evolutionary demands that animals must meet to survive. For example, the nervous system of a sedentary, filter-feeding oyster consists of just two cell clusters. These allow it to do exactly what an oyster needs to do — control its digestion, and transmit signals from light-sensing tentacles to the muscle that snaps it shut when a predator looms. Meanwhile, at the other end of the spectrum, there is one particular demand that seems to have led to the evolution of complex brains and could also have created the conditions for a sense of self to arise.

That challenge is dealing with the minds of others — be they prey, competitors or other members of your social group. To achieve this, brains needed to evolve from being simply things that experience sensations and thoughts to becoming their observer. To do this, they needed to build a model of a mind, according to neuroscientist Michael Graziano at Princeton University.

A model — be it for mind reading, weather forecasting or whatever — usually starts with some assumptions about the factors that contribute to the system in question and their relative importance. It then runs a simulation and, depending on how much the result diverges from physical observations, modifies the assumptions.

The model thus acquires an accurate representation of the forces at work, allowing it to make reasonable predictions about the future.