Dear High Achiever:

KNOW THYSELF. Yea right, what a paradoxical aphorism that is.

I’ll save you the time and trouble looking up “paradoxical” and “aphorism” in your thesaurus.

Paradoxical means self-contradictory. (I’ve been there before).

Aphorism is a statement expressing an opinion or general truth.

I’m going to assume you are a student of self growth and personal development since you subscribed to this double opt-in newsletter on your own accord and not under duress.

And I’d bet you are on a personal journey toward self-actualization or becoming the very best you, you can possibly be.

There are about a half dozen folks credited with saying Know Thyself (or, as we’re more likely to hear these days in Jersey-speak, Know Yourself). Personally, it doesn’t matter much to me who said it first or how, as long as –

I say it to myself on a daily basis.

Here’s why: Have you ever caught yourself spending an inordinate amount of time thinking about another person’s reason or motivation for doing what they are doing? And not just “thinking” really, but sort-of frustrated; turning the situation over and over and over in your mind?

Or worse: You actually compound the problem by engaging other people in energy-expending, time-consuming conversations about the same person you’re spending so much (too much!) time with in self-contemplation?

Here’s a suggestion: STOP!

I know this; you should know it, too: The first person I need to invest time and contemplation in and on is ME! The first person I need to know better than anyone else is ME. The first person’s habits, rituals, thought processes, motivations, morals and temperament I need to come to know are MINE!

My biggest obstacle for reaching my next goal is not the economy, my competition, the president, my mother, my prospects, my wife or the weather.

It’s ME!

In my corporate and public seminars I usually close with a poem titled The Guy in the Glass written in 1934 by Peter “Dale” Winbrow Sr. I first heard it at a seminar I produced featuring my good friend and memory training expert Ron White. I was so emotionally moved and inspired by the words in the poem that I decided to close my talks with it as well.

The poem is so powerful that often times I start to get choked up when I’m delivering it even after saying it over 250 times. Its here:

I reference the poem today because it clearly compliments the title of this FYI. To Know Thyself is to first be truthful about your strengths, weaknesses and short comings. The Guy in the Glass is about looking in the mirror everyday and being honest with the most important person in the world, YOU!

I’m human, just like you. I have challenges every day staying aligned with my goals, just like you. I have to focus and think about self-discipline and exercising control over my emotions, just like you.

When it’s 20 degrees outside, dark and snowing, it takes some serious self-talk to get out of bed and head to the gym. When I’m at a corporate or social function and the only breakfast option are bagels, muffins and orange juice, resembling a carbohydrate factory, I’m offered the same choices you are.

Think there are some issues with other people? We all have them. I’m a father, husband, entrepreneur, sales leader, salesperson, marketing and customer director, speaker and have an ex-wife. I get your challenges.Hello!

But I can’t get caught up in all of the drama of someone else’s life, like I’m a “guest” on the Jerry Springer show. I need to know about the inner-workings of my life as intimately as I possible can. And this takes some serious reflection, massive introspection and –

Some truth serum. Unlike Jack Nicholson in A Few Good Men, I think you CAN handle the truth. And it’s simply this:

We all know what to do. If you are reading this and need to lose 10 pounds … you know what to do. Eat less and move more. If you are having relationship or business issues … you probably know what to do.

The challenge is Doing What You Know. And if you honestly do not know what to do, welcome to the 21st Century. Just type your question in Google and whamo – you’ve got your answer! Just kidding – sort of.

I’m calling Know Thyself a “paradoxical aphorism” because knowing yourself is a General Truth. But just like you, I see and hear people wasting valuable time and energy trying to figure everybody else out.

I did that too, once upon a time.

But now I’m in recovery. Sometimes the darkest moments of our life can bring us to the brightest light our eyes have every seen. My mentor Jim Rohn calls those dark times, Winter. Sometimes they last longer than the 4 months we experience here in New Jersey. Not so long ago, I went through a Winter that lasted seven years. In those seven years I experienced some of the lowest lows of my life. But I came out smarter and stronger than ever.

I came to Know Myself in those seven years of winter and took a long hard look at The Guy in the Glass every day. It was painful at times. I even did some really stupid things to exacerbate the challenges I was already facing. But I’m happy to say –

It’s Spring again. And I’m planting the seeds that will reap huge rewards come Harvest Time.

As you plant the seeds to have Your Best Year Ever! I want to encourage you to Know Thyself.

FYI ACTION IDEA: Read the poem The Guy in the Glass.

FYI IDEA IN ACTION: If you didn’t click through before, you don’t even have to back up in today’s message to do it. Here it is again:

One more thing I know about myself: I hope this FYI and the poem inspire you to Go Forward! My most sincere wish is that it has the same positive impact on your life as it has on mine.

Go Out and Make This Your Best Year Ever!

Author's Bio: 

Eric Taylor is the Chief Inspiration Officer of and founder of New Jersey based Empowerment Group International. He delivers more than 100 energized and interactive keynotes, workshops and seminars each year to corporations, associations and tradeshows. He is the author of the Energy Passport, Co-creator of the Best Year Ever! Success System and Co-author of The Complete Sales Training Encyclopedia. To get complete details about Eric’s background, his products and services, visit Eric Taylor’s Blog and review Eric Taylor’s Profile.