It’s always fun to read biographies about other people and learn from their experiences and mistakes. But what about your story? There may be important lessons and insights in the stories we tell about ourselves, and there’s one easy way to find out: write them.
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Knowing your life story can help you look at yourself from a different perspective and that can be powerful. It can help you distance yourself from your situation to understand it better. Aliza Licht is the author of Leave Your Mark: Land Your Dream Job. Kill It in Your Career. Rock Social Media.
In her book, Licht suggests writing a biography about yourself to get a better idea of your story. She says this story can help look at personal situations objectively, giving you a better idea of where you stand. She tells Business Insider:
“It’s such a great lesson in self-reflection, and I think it can really help a person get outside of themselves for a minute.” In the book, she describes it as an “out of body experience,” key to taking stock of where you’ve been, what you’ve done, and where you might be going.
Research supports this. One study published in the American Psychological Association found that when people reflected on embarrassing moments from a third-person perspective, they had a more positive attitude about those memories and could bounce back from them better. According to the study:
The present studies show that it is not only general theories that matter, but also the way one visualizes the past self. When describing issues for which subjective factors strongly influence one’s stance, people sometimes say, “it depends on how you look at it.” Our research suggests that there is literal truth in this statement when it comes to assessments of personal change.
Not to worry, Licht isn’t suggesting you write a memoir or anything. Go about the exercise like a journalist writing a profile on someone. She offers a few tips to get started:
- Write in third person: It might seem silly, but that’s the whole point of the exercise: to see yourself from a third-person perspective. (It’s also why this isn’t quite an autobiography).
- Be thorough: Write about your education, hobbies, talents, passions, personality, and family, to name a few. Licht says the idea is to get an “aerial view” of your life.
- Read it to yourself: This is an exercise in self-awareness. You might be able to pick up on areas of improvement, or notice strengths that can be made stronger.
It’s an interesting exercise, and one that seems to have a few benefits. You can learn how others perceive you, and this could come in handy with potential employers, for example. Also, you may be able to glean more from past mistakes when you don’t feel so attached to them. And if you’re trying to change something about yourself, separating your past self from the present can help make that change easier. To learn more, head to Business Insider’s link, below.
Writing your own biography might be critical to your success [Business Insider]