Summary of The Power of Understanding Yourself

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  • Applicable
  • Engaging
  • Well Structured


Dave Mitchell, a dynamic speaker and the author of The Power of Understanding People, turns his focus inward to help you understand yourself. Mitchell explains that if you tap into “metacognition” – the process of “thinking about thinking” – you can go beyond self-awareness to discover why you develop certain behaviors and to realize your full potential. He launches you on this journey of self-discovery and improvement with an “interactive style” assessment, hands-on worksheets and enlightening exercises. Mitchell’s humorous, comforting revelations about himself align with his philosophy of charitable self-analysis. His easy-to-follow guidelines for self-improvement are encouraging without being preachy or didactic. While some of the chapters rehash material from Mitchell’s previous book, anyone seeking personal growth will enjoy his refreshing, readable and innovative approach.

In this summary, you will learn

  • How metacognition reveals why you developed certain behaviors;
  • How to identify your “core ideology” and “interactive style”; and
  • How understanding yourself better leads to a richer life.

About the Author

Dave Mitchell is a sommelier, international speaker, trainer, consultant, writer and entrepreneur who founded The Leadership Difference in 1995 to promote his “laugh and learn” philosophy. He also wrote Live and Learn or Die Stupid! and The Power of Understanding People.



Your Essence

Even a fine-tuned sense of self-awareness about your patterns of behavior may not enable you to understand why you behave certain ways, but metacognition can help. This is the process of analyzing the reasons for your behaviors – a way of “thinking about thinking.” It’s a deep dive into the experiences that inform your actions to explain how they boost or hinder you in reaching your full potential. Engaging in metacognition enables you to develop a deeper understanding of what makes you different and special and of what holds you back. For an analogy, think of wine. In addition to studying a wine’s hue, aroma and taste, connoisseurs study its terroir – the extent to which the vineyard environment of the grapes influences the wine.

Like wine, your environment shapes your development. When you are an infant, your mind is a blank slate. What you see, hear, learn and do in your formative years molds your “cognitive schemas” – the “policies and procedures” that rule your thinking. Metacognition shows you what makes you unique by helping you understand the “essence...

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