INTRAPERSONAL SKILLS

The term intrapersonal (‘intra’ meaning inside) has been taken into use by Dr Helena Lass to separate our inner functions and processes from the physiological functions of the body. Intrapersonal skills are the foundation of any successful career. These can be seen as basic skills that open up other skills; much like learning to read does: when one learns to read, many other skills and competencies can be developed as a result. 

According to Ingvar Villido (Master teacher on awareness, founder of The Art of Conscious Change), there are three main types of internal functions (the meta-functions) that every person needs to direct every day, but has not been educated to do so in school:

  • awareness and intellect-related;
  • mental and cognition-related;
  • feelings and emotions.

 

INTRAPERSONAL SKILLS HELP PEOPLE TO DIRECT VARIOUS INTERNAL ACTIVITIES IN A DELIBERATE WAY:

  1. Gaining new knowledge;
  2. Attention;
  3. Thinking, analysis & problem-solving;
  4. Cognitive-mental activities, planning;
  5. Use of memory;
  6. Mindset and belief systems;
  7. Emotions and behavior;
  8. Adjustment to change;
  1. Prioritizing and discerning;
  2. Listening and observing attentively;
  3. Gaining insights, inspiration and intuition;
  4. Creativity and spontaneity;
  5. Executive functions and decision making;
  6. Noticing the needs of the body;
  7. Taking personal responsibility;
  8. etc

WHAT IS AWARENESS?

Awareness (dynamic use of ‘consciousness’) in itself is not mental knowledge, emotions nor the body. Awareness is an ability to register what is going on, in present tense. Awareness can be described as a connector between you and any chosen object (external object, like a pencil or an object on your computer screen; an internal object such as your thoughts or feelings). It is namely awareness that you sustain in a certain position when you want to focus on something. 


Illustration information is shared with the kind permission by awareness teacher Ingvar Villido.

Being beyond the mind, awareness is the very thing we use to investigate the mind itself, among other things. As a universal agent for discovery, it forms the base for all intrapersonal skills. All of us intuitively relay on awareness during unexpected situations, but slip back to automatic default mode (so called ‘autopilot’) for the rest of the time. This is waste of human potential. Prioritizing awareness means to wake up from the autopilot of thoughts and reactions – everything in life becomes more colorful, more real, acquiring sharper lines and aliveness.

HOW AWARENESS DIFFERS FROM MINDFULNESS?

Mindfulness is a term that refers to certain awareness practices that have been modernized from buddhism and are passive in nature (witnessing, observing). In mindfulness awareness is used to discover and monitor. The awareness practices that are today known under mindfulness highlight just one of the five modalities to use awareness. Most of the practices where awareness is applied in active, dynamic form remain to be discovered by modern societies. The use of awareness practices in their in active format will rise as an elder brother or second pillar alongside the first pillar of the already well-known mindfulness. 

Once discovered, use of awareness in it's active form will empower people with ability to initiate change. The first major change will take place in actively disengaging the autopilot – the inner automatic reactions. The second change is concerned with replacing the foundations of how one handles data. In essence, upgrading your brain's operation system from mental train of thoughts to having instant insights. Enabling innovation, like it happened to Newton when he was sitting under the apple tree and gained a revolutionary insight after being hit by the falling apple. 

THE CONNECTION BETWEEN AWARENESS AND CONSCIOUSNESS

When you become aware of your awareness  you have discovered your consciousness. Consciousness being itself static, is not of use in practical work/life situations. It is your awareness that is its active form and builds the connection between yourself (subject) and an endless amount of objects in your inner world (‘mind’) and the world around you. 

Lets bring some practical examples – it is your awareness that enables you to:

  • Notice the feeling of growing pressure;
  • Focus on task at hand (in open office situation);
  • Observe where the ball is so that you can catch it during the ball came;
  • Notice the possibility to change lane on motorway without disturbing traffic flow;
  • Notice your insights, intuition and creativity if it is trained so;
  • Become conscious and aware of yourself. 

AWARENESS AS A KEY TO MENTAL WELLNESS

Learning how to use your awareness forms the cornerstone of intrapersonal skills. This will enable you to overcome the limitations of passive mindfulness and mediation practices. Active awareness practices highlight the application of awareness that you already possess, just in a much more deliberate and skillful way. There is no need to do sitting practices or take extra time to apply awareness – you will learn to use it during a presentation, a conference, behind the desk, while solving a conflict or shopping.

Life is dynamic – always changing. Learning how to deal with changes within the mind and around us in the physical world leads to good mental wellness. However, awareness is the first step that enables one to discover, become aware of what is the cause of the problem in the first place. Awareness and intrapersonal skills enable you to switch off the otherwise dominating autopilot mode and take full command over your own life and work. 

When you observe successful people, you will find that they have one thing in common – they are very attentive in their area of expertise, use awareness more extensively then others. That's why intrapersonal skills based on awareness lay a solid foundation for your professional excellence and business success.