SAFETY DOC PODCAST 60: The 4 Self Awareness Archetypes – Introspection’s Fatal Flaw

PODCAST-To better understand the primary quadrants of self-awareness, Dr. Perrodin examines an exemplary article written by Tasha Eurich, PhD, of Harvard Business Review.  She wrote “Self-awareness seems to have become the latest management buzzword — and for good reason. Research suggests that when we see ourselves clearly, we are more confident and more creative. We make sounder decisions, build stronger relationships, and communicate more effectively. We’re less likely to lie, cheat, and steal. We are better workers who get more promotions. And we’re more-effective leaders with more-satisfied employees and more-profitable companies (Eurich, 2018). 


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David applauds the study of self-awareness for spanning 10 separate investigations with nearly 5,000 participants.  Surveys and interviews contributed to the development of multi-rater reliability.  The study surfaced the constructs of job satisfaction, empathy, happiness and stress.


Across the studies researcher Eurich examined, two broad categories emerged: (1) internal self-awareness which represents how clearly we see our own values, passions and aspirations; and (2) external self-awareness, which means understanding how other people view us. Dr. Perrodin notes that external awareness is challenging to navigate due to the human tendency to seek external validation from social media.  A person “hooked” on Facebook Likes will have a clouded external awareness.


Dr. Eurich identified the self-awareness quadrant as: Seekers, Pleasers, Introspectors and Aware.  Even though most people believe they are self-aware, only 10-15% of people studies actually fit the criteria. David explains the characteristics of each archetype and explains the lack of member checks as the inherent flaw to Introspectors. 


Dr. Perrodin shares the fascinating account of “The 4 Vagabonds” of Harvey Firestone, Henry Ford, Thomas Edison and John Burroughs.  From 1915-1924, these industrial moguls (Burroughs was a naturalist, however) made several “treks” to the country to “rough it” and debate career and life around the campfire.


David concluded that the study noted that “why” is a surprisingly ineffective self-awareness question.  Research has shown that we simply do not have access to many of the unconscious thoughts, feelings, and motives we’re searching for. The better question to ask is “what” as it will help one to examine and understand process as why tends to focus on outcomes and assigning blame.


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Dr. Perrodin’s “Safety Doc Podcast” negotiates school and community safety. To be informed about industrial safety, please contact Appalachian State University Professor Dr. Timothy Ludwig, PhD, at

Resources cited:

What Self-Awareness Really is (and How to Cultivate It) by Tasha Eurich (2018). Harvard Business Review. Retrieved from


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