Becoming data-informed is the next level in your personal development
Updated: Aug 2, 2022
Do you want to reach the next level in your personal development? Find your North by following the Data!
So here we go. You already read a lot of life coaching content but started feeling that they all ended up telling you the same lesson. And you believe you already know and have mastered the basics about yourself. However, sometimes you end up in challenging situations because you forgot, lacked clarity, made mistakes, and took decisions at odds with your true self.
What is next, then? Become data literate and be empowered in your self-knowledge. Because when you remember who you are, then you can focus on what to do to reach your potential and where to go to fulfil your purpose.
We live in an Information era, and this era is also bringing a revolution in our personal development. Data means information, yet, that term has been used so much within the context of Tech, Science and business spheres that the data analytics area can feel like navigating into foreign territories of geeks and techies. But that should not be the case for two reasons.
The first one is because personal data is not just our email address, name, identification numbers, and all information included in Data Privacy Laws. I also consider as my personal data my personality traits, values, passions, purpose, life goals, personal achievements, strengths and weaknesses, soft skills and talents and so on. Those types of information are valuable to me. In fact, that data is gold. They are critical self-knowledge types of information that I want to remember and analyze to make better data-informed decisions in my life. And to progress in this world while staying aligned with my authenticity.
The second reason is that data analytics empower businesses and institutions to exploit information to see the bigger picture, detect patterns and trends, make better business decisions and reduce risks. But those motives can also apply to our human experience. From the data collection to the insights and decisions, here is how we can use data analytics on our journey of self-knowledge and growth.
Throughout our life, we consciously and unconsciously gather a large volume of information about ourselves. As soon as we are born, our internal information process never stops, and our brain will stock them more or less deeply into our consciousness. Yet, we unconsciously tap into that information when we use our intuition, for example. There are plenty of ways to collect information for self-knowledge, such as personality tests and self-assessment. Journaling and storytelling are also powerful ways to recall facets of who we are through our lived experiences. Amongst the sentences, critical keywords will emerge and be ready to be extracted for data cleansing and analysis.
We are the first source of truthful information about ourselves. Information about ourselves can never be fake news! When we do personality tests, we know when the result is accurate or not, even if we do not like it. We can even feel body reactions when information misses the point about who we are because it feels upsetting! No one can know us better than ourselves because we own all the data we should know about ourselves, and we know our truth. We even know when we lie or stay true to ourselves. We are also creatures ever-evolving, and we know in real-time when some information is not relevant anymore or has changed in intensity and priority. Therefore, we know when it is time for us to upgrade.
Data analysis and visualization
There is endless information about ourselves, and we need to be able to make them speak and make sense of them. Yet, our mental processing may have to deal with disruptive thoughts and feelings. And overall, it can be an exhausting exercise for our mental health already over-solicited. The point of extracting information from our mind and visualizing it on an external plane is to become a detached observer in a neutral space. And we alleviate our mental health by dividing the job: our sense of sight approaches the information, and our mind focuses on understanding it. With data analytic tools, we can cross-reference information, give values to qualitative data, see patterns and the bigger picture, use different graphs and get countless perspectives. When thinking about our lives, we can finally move away from the level of “remembering” who we are to progress to the next level of understanding who we are.
Insights and decisions
Understanding who we are goes beyond seeing keywords and graphs. A visualization of our personal information follows our own logic and is intuitive. Whatever the graphics may display, our own interpretations are the closest to the truth because it is our data. We know all the context, metadata and complementary information to make sense of them. And there is order in Chaos. Behind some forms and patterns, we may decipher some symbolism and meaning shared by the collective unconscious. Yet, all this process is rational because our intuition adds but does not substitute our critical thinking. Since data analytics and visualization support us in making better data-informed decisions, we can become strategists in our personal journey. It remains a possibility and not a certainty because even though we have all the data, we also have free will to use them or not.