Know Thyself

“Know Thyself” was written on stones of the Temple of Apollo at Delphi. The legend tells that the seven sages of ancient Greece met in Delphi to inscribe “know thyself” at the entry to its sacred oracle. Prior to going to war, the Greeks would consult at this place in the hopes of gaining insight for the battle to come. Today, the temple has fallen into antiquity but the maxim of “know thyself” has become a cornerstone on which Western civilization has been built. Modern thinkers like Daniel Goleman state that self-knowledge is “all-encompassing” and good self-awareness is essential to fulfill ones purpose in life, personally and professionally. If one’s ability to provide introspection is not developed, if one is not self-aware then no matter how gifted or intelligent that person is, the organization and/ or individual are doomed to fail. 2
           What is the purpose of self-awareness in professional military education? Maj. Gen. Tom James, the Director of the Mission Command Center of Excellence at Fort Leavenworth, said that the military trains “for certainty” and educates “for uncertainty.” He also said that the military education system “allows leaders to adapt” to the “complex environment” that the armed forces currently and will find themselves. He also said that being able to articulate this concept to the executive branch will enable the military to accomplish whatever mission it is tasked.3  At the base of this challenge is self-awareness.  Retired General Lawson Magruder states that if one is ignorant of one’s abilities, how can one prepare for future challenges? That is why the premier challenge for leaders is to develop self-awareness.1
"Knowing thyself" is a detailed comprehension of who and how one is. The notion of one's self is the collection of experience ones gains throughout life, both empirically and anecdotally, good and bad.7 Army graduate education contends that “training and developing leaders requires an investment in the long-term...