Is Self Knowledge the Key to Happiness and Success?

The ancient Greek philosopher Socrates was known for admonishing his students to "know thyself". He taught that understanding your own strengths, weaknesses and behaviors was the key to living a successful life. All these years later his teachings still hold true. Having a good knowledge of who you are can be the key to making the best choices in your education, career and relationships. So, how do you gain a greater understanding of yourself and then use that information to build a successful life? This can be a lifetime's work, but here are a few ideas to get you started.

Take Assessments

Of course, nothing teaches a person about who they are better than life experience, but there are tools to speed that process up a bit. Taking quality assessments can give you valuable insights into your own inner workings that you can then apply to your decision-making process when making important life choices.

There are several highly regarded aptitude and personality assessments that give you a lot of information about how to understand your own tendencies and preferences. For those in leadership roles, they can assist in helping you to understand the different types of leadership styles and identify what might work best for you. Some of these tests such as the Holland Code Test will focus on finding you the career that best matches who you are. Others such as the Myers Brigg Personality Assessment hones in on a deeper understanding of your innate traits. Other popular assessments are the Enneagram Test and the Big Five Personality Test. Taking assessments such as these can help you begin to put together a kind of user's guide for your own psyche.

Make Informed Choices

The insights gained through a great aptitude and personality test can be instrumental in key life decisions such as what you may want to major in at college, what career you might want to set your sights on and even the relationships you want to invest your time and energy into.

If you are planning a career in politics and discover that you are a true introvert, that insight can help you decide to focus your career goals on areas of policy development rather than a more public-facing role such as becoming an elected official. Understanding your own essential values can inform your dating life as well. Although opposites certainly do attract, a relationship with someone who holds opposing values or ideals can be disastrous. Knowing yourself can help you in choosing a good partner.

Make Adjustments

Although completely re-routing your life plan to suit your new insights is an option, it isn't always necessary. A great personality assessment can help you identify ways to gain more happiness and fulfillment within the career you've already established.

Finding out you are a sensitive introvert doesn't mean that you need to quit your job as a corporate trainer, but it can clue you in to the fact that since your job requires frequent face-to-face interaction, you need to incorporate more alone time into your day to recharge and recover. The lone researcher who discovers that he is in fact an extrovert doesn't have to change careers, but he may need to put some focus on increasing social interaction in other areas of his life to fulfill his need for human contact. Gaining an understanding of yourself can be the key to increasing your happiness quotient without making massive changes in your career or relationships.

A deep understanding of who you are, what motivates you and what you are passionate about is the key to high levels of happiness and satisfaction in your personal life and in your career. One of the easiest ways to increase that comprehension is through taking one or more aptitude and personality assessments. These tests can help young people just setting out in life to plan their future for the greatest possibility of happiness. They can also help established professionals curate their experiences and make the changes necessary to maximize the careers they have.

Related: 6 Tips for Improving Your Self-Esteem