Individual insight

What is there to know about a person?

Aristotle said "Knowing yourself is the beginning of all wisdom". But he forgot to mention what exactly there is to know about a person. So what makes an individual different from another, in a way which benefits from special explanation and consideration?

This is not a fixed article, but rather an evolving document attempting to describe and organize the various types of insights that collectively make up the understanding of a person.

The list should be relevant for anyone interested in understanding how any individual human works, be it themselves or a loved one. Think of this as understanding human identity anatomy (as opposed to ordinary human anatomy, which is focused on the body).

The contents can be used as an index when constructing an individual user manual.

The main sections are:


What is important to me.

  • Values
  • Virtues
  • Principles

Life perspective

How I think about and approach life.

  • What I measure myself on
  • What I optimize for
  • What I consider success to be
  • What I believe about life
  • What I believe about love
  • What I believe about happiness

Life direction

Where I want my life to go.

  • Passion
  • Purpose
  • Mission
  • Life's task
  • Life strategy (the code I live by)
  • Hopes/dreams/desires
  • Goals and ambitions
  • My ideal self (who I want to be in the future)
  • How I want to be perceived/remembered


What impacts my well-being.

  • Needs
  • Happiness (what makes me happy)
    • What am I passionate about
    • Who do I like spending time with
  • Energy (what energizes and depleats me of energy)
    • Energizers (what builds my energy level)
    • Depleators (what drains my energy level)
  • Meaning (what do I find meaningful)
  • Mood
    • What has a positive impact on my mood
    • What has a negative impact on my mood


What sets me apart from others.

  • Strengths
  • Weaknesses
  • Quirks (challenges/annoyances in...)
    • Communicating
    • Collaborating
    • Cohabiting
    • Patience
    • Punctuality
  • Traits


The ways in which my behaviour is impacted positively and negatively.

  • Motivators (what drives me to action/keeps me going)
    • How ambitious I am
    • How I like to help
    • Where I have a sense of mastery and confidence
    • Where on the problematic scale I like to contribute (relieve pains vs produce gains)
    • What I need to remain motivated
      • At work
      • In a relationship
      • In life
  • Inhibitors (what holds me back/sends me running)
    • Fears
    • Insecurities
    • Phobia
    • Emotions I find difficult
    • Triggers
    • Risk aversion
    • Negative thoughts
    • Disorders
    • Cravings
    • Expectations
    • Mindset
  • Inclinations/tendencies
    • Approach to problem solving (planner vs doer/method vs intuition)
    • Thinking patterns (divergent vs convergent/strategic vs operational)
  • Habits
  • Blind spots
  • Stress response
    • Conflict aversion
    • Procrastination

Support needs

The ways in which I prefer, appreciate and need support.

  • Emotional support
  • Intellectual support
  • Recognition
  • Praise
  • Comfort
  • Favors
  • Pushing vs soothing
  • Cheering
  • Care
  • Consideration
  • Listening
  • Physical contact
  • Social


The ways in which I perceive, understand, feel about and treat myself long term.

  • Cognitive
    • Self-concept (perception of beliefs, values, personality traits and abilities)
    • Self-esteem (perception of self-worth and value as influcend by achievements, relationships, and personal experiences)
    • Self-efficacy (belief in ability to succeed in specific tasks or situations as influenced by achievements, relationships, and personal experiences)
  • Emotional
    • Self-regulation (ability to control and manage your own thoughts, emotions, and behaviors in order to achieve specific goals)
  • Social
    • Self-presentation (efforts to present yourself in a particular way to others, often based on social norms and expectations)
    • Self-transcendence (ability to connect with something beyond yourself, such as a larger community, a higher purpose, or a sense of spirituality)
    • Self-awareness (ability to recognize and understand your own thoughts, emotions, and behaviors, and how they may be perceived by others)
  • Relational
    • Self-love (deep and unconditional regard for oneself)
    • Self-worth (sense of worthiness based on one's inherent value as a human being)
    • Self-acceptance (ability to accept yourself and your quirks as you are, without judgment or criticism)
    • Self-respect (honoring your own beliefs and desires and not compromising your well-being for the sake of others)
    • Self-compassion (ability to be kind and understanding towards oneself in the face of difficulties, mistakes, or failures)


Who I am.

  • Personality type/traits
  • Temperament
  • Attachment style
  • Love language
  • Demeanour
  • Awareness
  • Presence


How my body works.

  • Sensitivity
  • Intimacy zone
  • Biorhythm
  • Immune system
  • Illnesses and medical conditions
  • Diagnoses
  • Libido


How I think.

  • Attitudes/mindsets
  • Beliefs
  • Biases
  • Things I oppose
  • Things I don’t understand
  • Memory

Developmental blockers

What's keeping me from growing and reaching my full potential.

  • Emotional
    • Triggers
    • Uncertainties
    • Values
    • Identity
    • Life strategy
    • Religion
  • Cognitive
    • Mindset
    • Self-perception
    • Cognitive bias
    • Limiting beliefs
    • Blind spots
    • Thinking bugs
    • Incorrect assumptions
    • Skewed perspectives/opinions

Preferences (likes/dislikes)

What I enjoy.

  • Relationships
  • Environments
  • Food/drink (taste)
  • Music
  • Entertainment
  • Situations
  • Emotions
  • Sexual
  • Clothes
  • Beauty
  • Funny
  • Experiences
  • Boredom
  • Disgust
  • Attention
  • Hobbies/interests
  • Traits and values in others