Saturday, January 31, 2009

I hate being "classified"

I work with a sales coach who is big on understanding personality types. While I agree with the principle of tailoring your communications to the characteristics of an audience, I think it's difficult to concretely classify people as a . . . "fill in the blank". I think that different facets of personalities shine in different lights.

I don't know if this is true for everyone. Really, I don't even care much if it is or isn't. Maybe everyone else really IS easily classifiable into one or another personality type, and that's fine. But as for me-- I don't believe I am. Instead, I believe I utilize different characteristics of a diverse personality in different situations. For example, I'll spend 35 minutes evaluating a new shirt (or selection of shirts) before coming to a decision to buy. I'll carefully consider myriad factors that will affect my decision. Similarly, I can ponder the depth of a philosophical premise--or a strategy for solving a problem--for hours, and still wish I had more time to think through the problems of the universe. I think these behaviors would reveal me to be a very analytical person.

On the other hand, there are times when I'll exhibit a distinct lack of patience or make very hasty decisions. Also, I have a tendency to be very direct with many of my communications--occasionally coming across as lacking tact. All of these are characteristics of a Driver personality type.

I could go on explaining situation after situation where I care a great deal about the approval of others-- amiable/accommodating personality type. Also, I am easily distracted, appreciate the opportunity to express myself, and have an easy time experiencing and dealing with emotional matters--all characteristics of the expressive/emotive personality type.

My point is this: I behave according to the demands of any given situation. I hate being classified as a person who is "always" (or even "mostly") going to act a certain way. Why am I offended by this type of classification system? Because it undervalues the aspects of ME that it doesn't take into account.

On the other hand, cultural classifications don't seem to offend me: i.e. white people are "up tight"; Americans "always think they're right"; Mormons can be "annoyingly happy". . . for some reason, I can accept these types of statements--even as a White American Mormon. I accept that I fit in with the group on these.

Perhaps it’s the personal nature of some classifications that bugs me. It's the idea that these classifications just ARE who I am. The idea that people can't/don't change offends me. I think one of the morals to glean from the TV show, House, is "If life were really as purposeless as Dr. House sees it, most of us would be as depressed as him". My point is this-- no matter what my personal behavioral traits are now, I am constantly growing and becoming something more than I am now. Telling me "I AM" some personality or another seems to tell me I am NOT a bunch of other things I think I really am. . . or at least am becoming.

Why does this all come up? I started reading Men are from Mars and Women are from Venus. I'm just into the 2nd or 3rd chapter, but already I disagree with most of what I'm hearing (not to mention being completely annoyed with the relentless application of the childish analogy of "Martians" and "Venusians"). By and large the author says that since I'm a man, I prefer to resolve issues alone "in my cave" without the help of my wife, and that ultimately, I prefer LESS communication to MORE. Both statements are absolutely false about me. I'm perfectly comfortable, and LONG for the opportunity to talk with my wife about my problems. While I agree with the idea that, as a man, I DO enjoy knowing that I am accomplishing something, I wouldn't say that feeling drives me more than my concern for relationships.

In a nutshell--my "cave" (as per the book) is a dark and lonely place, and I DON'T want to be there. What's more--I REALLY don't want to be there alone. Wife--if you ever see me in my "cave", and you can't help me come out of it, at LEAST come join me in there and empathize with me for a minute.

Friday, January 02, 2009

How to "Beat the Funk"

Here's what I NEED to learn:

- how to "beat the funk"--what to do to change my mood from lazy to productive; sad to happy; stressed to peaceful; or any other shift that could be useful.

I've noticed that I can get some amazing stuff done when in a productive "mood". But all too often, I'm just not IN that mood, and can't seem to motivate myself to get into it. Same thing w/ other moods: productive, funny, creative, etc. What can I do to "get into it" . . . whatever "it" is.

I'm looking for an effective system or process to get motivated to DO the things I don't feel like doing. Let me know your thoughts, please. I welcome ALL perspectives, so no matter how you came to read this today, please leave a comment.