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How Self-Awareness Propels Radiologists to Success

Revise Radiology

August 2nd, 2022

(An article based on the Revise Radiology Achievers Web-meets Session held on 29th September 2021 on the topic:

How Self-Awareness Boosts your Effectiveness at Work and Exam Preparations).

For most people, saying ‘I am self-aware’ is a bit like saying ‘I know water is H2O’. But if you look closer at the story of water, it spans the stories of sailors on the high seas, the tale of life on earth and the survival of civilisations. In the same way, there is a phenomenal story below the iceberg of self-awareness. How you perceive yourself matters.

In this article, we’re going to look at a thin slice of this topic, specifically centered around exam preparation for the FRCR.

Henry Ford, the legendary founder of Ford motors, says:

Whether you think you can, or you think you can’t - you're right.

So, whether you think you can pass an exam, or you can't pass an exam, you're right. Whether you prepare or not, revise or not, do it well or not, live well or not, depends on this base of whether you think you can or can’t.

Does self-belief really matter?

Koshy Jacob, the Director of Revise Radiology, passed the exam with flying colours. Here’s what he had to say about his first attempt,

When I sat the FRCR exams the first time, I actually didn't think I could do Part I. However, I was ready to pass. Mentally, I just gave it the kind of positive attitude that I would try anyway. That made a massive difference

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The way we view the challenge before us is the single factor determining whether we succeed. You may be a capable person but if you are constantly telling yourself that you can't, you can't. Failure will follow.

Make self-fulfilling prophecies about yourself regarding success. Then take the responsibility to act on them radically.

Use tools of visualisation

Visualising tools can help us turn this abstract concept into an actionable reality. For instance, how does one go about revising for an important exam like the FRCR? Where are we on this simple graph shown below?

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Avoid the traps of saying that

a.    ‘Others or my circumstances are conspiring against me’ or

b.     ‘They’ are better and know more, and I’m no good, I’m bad at managing my time, and I lack self-discipline,’

For instance, while revising, we can follow the first track of not having “good” self-awareness building techniques, or be on the second track, in the illustration given below, and make it work!

We are icebergs

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The belief must be that ‘I can’. The value is that ‘I am ready to work hard for it to achieve my full potential’.

 So, the process goes like this: see the thought that tries to say you can’t. Do not let it go to the second level and bring up feelings that will bog you down. Ask why that thought comes. It usually comes from a wrong premise which can be changed by conscious choice and leadership. This quote by Goethe, who is arguably considered the greatest German writer ever, is relevant about commitment to the task at hand.

“At the moment of commitment, the entire universe conspires to assist you”

When the Vikings came to invade Scotland, they burnt their boats, which is to say, they burnt their bridges.

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Self-belief is a commitment

After making a commitment, one does not look back to the feelings that don’t help, or its root that says, ‘I can’t’. One looks forward to the battle which one must win, as one has no way to return home otherwise.

You can either think that ‘it is nice to have an FRCR and I will just do a little practice in the hope I will get it’ or think that IT IS ESSENTIAL. ‘Like the Vikings, I have no other choice now as I have made a commitment by burning my boats/bridges.’

It is that mindset of burning your boats and going for it, whatever it is, whether it's exams or whether it's work, that changes your path to a successful one.

One of the examinees who was writing the exam, bought a frame for the FRCR certificate, in hope. If you want, you could plan a celebration party, in advance. What is the worst that can happen?

You can also make use of the JOHARI WINDOW at a more advanced stage of self-awareness.

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Be curious, open to possibilities, and ask for help, if need be, so that you are on the left extreme of the line in the first graph.

Adapted from a webinar by David Savage by Dr. A. V. Koshy