Man; know thyself

Self-knowledge plays a key role in performance. We have seen from the work of theorist like Maslow that high performance comes from being more of what one already is.


“Self-actualization is the intrinsic growth of what is already in the organism, or more accurately, of what the organism is”. (Psychological Review, 1949)

“A musician must make music, an artist must paint, and a poet must write, if he is to be ultimately at peace with himself. What a man can be, he must be.” (Motivation and Personality, 1954.)


When there is a lack of self-knowledge, one is likely to engage from a weak position. Many other theorists agree to this idea. Man from time immemorial has continuously made many attempts at categorizing people in the hope of explaining their capabilities. Every culture, religion and worldview recognizes that no two people are the same and as such have made attempts at identifying the strengths in people in order to ascertain which aspect of life they are meant to function in. For the individuals this knowledge can have a rather profound influence on the power of their engagement. For we are or have all been faced at some point with the question of what we must do with our lives.




Whiles this may not be such a difficult question to answer on the surface, it becomes more complex when we are looking for the vehicle that will allow us to not only engage but also be the best that is possible for us to be. This of course must determine the occupation and when we get it right, all things work out for the best; then we are on a roller-coaster ride to peak performance. We have seen of course that a quality output in our daily engagement must result in a high output in our larger lives. But the knowledge of what we are made of gives us more than an idea of what we must do or be. It is also a primary source of confidence and the highly valuable self-esteem. It engenders self-belief and we must remember that high performers start with a belief in their ability and its correlation with the task at hand. Those who have self-knowledge therefore have extremely valuable information that sets the foundation for peak performance.

Self-knowledge was so important to Plato, he is said to have made famous the expression, “know thyself”. He had it inscribed at the very entrance of his academy and ensured that all neophytes resolved the matter before learning anything else. He developed his own categorization system for people; a topic which I shall address as part of the self-knowledge section of this blog. Hopefully I shall find a way to remove all the seeds of eugenics therein.

For the forgone reasons, self-knowledge is an important part of the SPiD-UP® workshops. We use various test systems to help participants identify their strengths and weaknesses and help them align them correctly for optimum output. It is after this that they can move on to the career component of the project.

About Markus Kennedy Katey

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