Socrates gave the most apt and simplest answer for the secret of success.
The key to success was revealed by Yale University philosophy and psychology professor Tamar Gendler. And it's not the riches or the acceptance from those around you, but the self-awareness.
At work, self-awareness can lead to more effective communication, stronger relationships, and increased creativity and productivity.
Gendler, who studies how the secrets of ancient Greek philosophers can solve modern problems, believes that the building the characteristic of self-awareness, involves getting everyone in touch with the “Socrates that hides within.''
“Socrates was willing to question everything,” Gendler said.
The Greek philosopher, born around 470 BC, was a skeptic. His method involved answering questions with questions, rather than direct answers, to help people better understand their beliefs and capabilities.
“This is the kind of understanding that people need to become more successful and happier,” Gendler explained.
Find the 'Socrates in you'
“You just have to think about what Socrates himself would say,” advises Gendler.
The philosopher often acted like a persistent toddler, asking 'why' in response to every statement or question.
Small realizations can have a big impact
If one cannot visualize Socrates easily, one can have the same conversation with one of his real friends, or one can try mindfulness.
Meditation is essentially the nonverbal equivalent of asking yourself 'why' over and over again, Gendler said, helping you ignore distractions and see what's really going on.
“No method is perfect solution, because complete self-awareness is almost impossible: we will always have some blind spots. But asking yourself why you think and feel the way you do can go a long way toward shedding beliefs that don't serve you,” the psychologist emphasized.
As Gendler herself says when she asks herself why she feels frustrated, she often finds that it is because she is late for something. Asking herself why she is procrastinating can then help her uncover her reasons for doing so.
These small realizations are capable of helping someone take a step forward.
“I never try to get straight to the answer,” Gendler said. “But Socrates' method can help me understand in which direction I should go, to take the next step”.