Your Greatest Failure Is Not Knowing Yourself

Self-ignorance guarantees emptiness

Thomas Oppong
4 min readMay 8


Photo: Editorial rights purchased via Freepik

How much do you really know about yourself?

It’s a question that may seem simple at first, but upon deeper reflection, it can be a daunting one.

The truth is, many of us go through life without truly understanding who we are, what we want, and what we stand for.

We may be so focused on achieving external success and meeting societal expectations that we neglect to explore our own values, passions, and strengths.

But here’s the bitter truth: ignorance of your values, beliefs, strengths, weaknesses, motivations and desires is your greatest failure in life.

Self-awareness is the foundation of wisdom, personal growth and success.

“Knowing others is intelligence, knowing yourself is true wisdom,” says Lao Tzu, an ancient Chinese Taoist philosopher.

Yet, despite its importance, many of us struggle with self-awareness, and we fail to recognise its impact on our lives.

This failure to know ourselves is our greatest failure. It’s the root cause of many of our personal and professional problems.

Without self-awareness, we risk getting lost along the way and losing sight of what we truly want in life.

This is why I firmly believe that our greatest failure is not knowing ourselves. Self-awareness is the foundation on which we build our lives.

It “gives you the capacity to learn from your mistakes as well as your successes.,” says author Lawrence Bossidy.

It is the process of understanding who we are, what we want, and how we fit into the world around us.

When we lack self-awareness, we may make choices that don’t align with our values or pursue goals that are not truly important to us.

Self-ignorance guarantees emptiness

“Until you make the unconscious conscious, it will direct your life and you will call it fate.” — Carl Jung



Thomas Oppong

Author | Habits, Philosophy & Psychology. As seen on Forbes, Inc. and Business Insider. For my popular essays, go here: