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Sentence Completion Example for Self-knowledge

Recently I’ve been reading the Six Pillars of Self-Esteem by Nathaniel Branden.

This Branden’s most popular, and arguably most profound work.

Inside, he writes about a remarkably useful and practical exercise called “sentence completion”. The exercise starts with the beginning of a thought (a “sentence stem”) and your task is to write as many ends to that sentence as possible for 2-3 minutes without self-censoring or thinking.


We start with the sentence stem:

If I brought 5% more awareness to my activities today…

We continue with 6-10 spontaneous answers:

I’d watch less YouTube and read more books or articles to entertain myself.I’d be fearful of my anxiety returningI’d be bored and anxiousI’d have to stop trying to distract myself from my emotions more oftenI’d be more present in conversation with others.I’d have a healthier amount of self-respect for living out my values.I’d be indifferent to the things I used to use to distract myself.

You can see how with time and repetition, this exercise would reveal quite a lot of you to yourself. Some enlightening and uplifting, and some dark and uncomfortable. Both are necessary to bring to our awareness if we are to grow into healthier self-actualized versions of ourselves.

Nathaniel Branden’s website has a comprehensive list here.

Here’s a small sample:

Week 1If I bring more awareness to my life today…If I take more responsibility for my choices and actions today…If pay more attention to how I deal with people today…If I boost my energy level by 5 percent today…Week 2If I bring 5 percent more awareness to my important relationships…If I bring 5 percent more awareness to my insecurities…If I bring 5 percent more awareness to my deepest needs and wants…If I bring 5 percent more awareness to my emotions…

As I do more, and see more change in my life, I’ll continue to write on this useful tool.

Presently, I do them every evening and morning.