Increase your self-awareness with Johari’s Window Model

If your goal is to increase your level of self-awareness, I think that the Johari window is one of the most straightforward and useful tools out there. Being self-aware can greatly increase your chances of success in life and in any venture you choose. This is because you will be aware of your strengths and your weaknesses and other pertinent information.

Unfortunately, we will never be able to know ourselves 100% percent but going by the 80/20 principle, knowing the 20% most important things about yourself may impact 80% of your life positively or negatively depending on how you use this knowledge.

So, you may be wondering, what is the Johari’s window? Here is the diagram below.

Johari’s Window Model

There are four quadrants in this window. You can take the vertical axis (going up) to represent ideas/concepts that are known by you and the horizontal axis (going across) to represent the ideas/concepts that are known by others.

Here is a brief break down of each quadrant.

1st Quadrant

The first quadrant is the hidden self. It represents the things that you know about yourself that you keep hidden from other people. All your secrets (that you have not shared with other people) will fall here.

There are many reasons why someone would keep some things only to themselves. Sometimes, it’s a form of self-preservation. You are afraid of what people will say when they find out that you do/think something. Another reason may simply be that it’s none of anyone’s business but yours.

For this reason, the quadrant is aptly named as it represents the things about yourself that you would rather keep hidden or that just happen to be hidden.

2nd Quadrant

This quadrant is your open self. It represents the ‘you’ that you allow other people to see. In some cases, some people have several different versions of themselves that they present to different people. There are many reasons why people would do this but this article will not dive into them. Broadly speaking however, many people showcase the side of themselves that they think will be liked or accepted by their audience at the time.

Just like the 1st quadrant this quadrant is aptly named as this represents the you that you are open to showing to others. Some people also refer to this quadrant as the arena.

3rd Quadrant

This quadrant represents the things that other people know about you that you may not know about yourself. You may think that you know yourself pretty well but, sometimes, people give you feedback into your actions or behaviors that are completely unexpected.

Not all the information in this quadrant is necessarily bad or needs action. Sometimes, it’s just an observation. For example, some people are not aware that they have telltale ticks e.g. when they lie until someone points them out. You may therefore be blind to the ideas or concepts or behaviors in this quadrants but other people are aware of them.

4th Quadrant

This is the dark quadrant. You are not aware of the things in this quadrant and neither are other people. Many times, these are things that you may come to find out with time. For example, some people are not aware that they are allergic to some foods. This information is not known to them or by other people. When they find out this allergy, it moves into the 1st quadrant if they don’t want to tell anyone or to the 2nd quadrant if they don’t mind other people knowing.

You can use the concepts here to create better awareness of yourself. For example, you could print out a page size version of the window and try to fill it and have your friends, colleagues and acquaintances help you out. The end result will be a much deeper understanding of yourself. Remember, you will most probably never know everything about yourself. That’s totally okay. The way I see it, it’s just life’s way of keeping the mystery going.



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