Tuesday, December 25, 2007

To me, you are perfect.

Thoughts that came during the holidays...

I don't like to watch movies over and over. I own maybe two DVDs, and they are of great movies that I truly adore and would decide to watch every couple of years. Then there are the three movies that I can think of at the moment that I could sit down and watch anytime, even if I just saw it the previous week. Before Sunset, Clueless, and Love Actually. Love Actually had me at hello, from the first frames that played across the screen in the theater four years ago. Few things have touched me in a movie like those scenes of the airport reunions, which were filmed from real life I've since discovered. And I think often of what you hear Hugh Grant say over those first few scenes...

"Whenever I get gloomy with the state of the world, I think about the arrivals gate at Heathrow Airport. General opinion's starting to make out that we live in a world of hatred and greed, but I don't see that. It seems to me that love is everywhere. Often it's not particularly dignified or newsworthy, but it's always there - fathers and sons, mothers and daughters, husbands and wives, boyfriends, girlfriends, old friends. When the planes hit the Twin Towers, as far as I know none of the phone calls from the people on board were messages of hate or revenge - they were all messages of love. If you look for it, I've got a sneaking suspicion love actually is all around."

Maybe these words sounds unoriginal or cheesy, but I think it's easy to forget the message, that there is more love than not in the world. Civilization is not drowning in a sea of celebrity obsession and war and political turmoil. Spending too much time watching the news or surfing Perez Hilton will have you thinking otherwise. But don't be fooled.

Another thought that came over Christmastime...

I might have finally gathered the words, from my and others' observations this year, to explain why 'tis better to give than to receive. Receiving is definitely a joy, but it is passive. It hardly requires any work on our part. Giving, for me and for many, asks that you think of someone else, put yourself in their shoes, and try to discern their needs, wants, taste, style, etc. It can take a little vulnerability, if you are someone who cares that the receiver likes their gift. In giving, you reflect who you are as well; you may be reflecting your own tastes and also how well you know the receiver. So, the process of thinking outside yourself, aiming to please, and working to make the receiver feel known all make up the feeling of fulfillment in giving a gift. In my small group we did a Secret Santa gift exchange. Everyone got the neatest presents. But it was clear that the process of selecting and then giving had done more to bond us than the actual opening of the presents themselves.

Tuesday, November 27, 2007

They grow up so fast...

The other day Mary's daughter Sable, who is 9, was hanging out in the office for a little while before I came in. Mary was on the phone and Sable wrote this up on the whiteboard.

We weren't sure what prompted Sable to write out her idea of the process of selling real estate, but we loved this little list and have left it up on the board for the past couple weeks. Sable soaks up a lot of information, being the only kid left in her parents' house. I especially love #8, "Shake hands." She also has somehow picked up in #10 that if you sell your primary residence after living in it for two years that you can take away a big portion of the sale tax-free. Hilarious.
As much as she already apparently knows about real estate, this girl is not going to be a realtor, she informed her mom. Even though her initials are S.E.L., as she pointed out, she does not want to "sell" homes! This little ES?J (or so I guess) wants to be a veterinarian. Cute.

Wednesday, November 14, 2007

Treating Plants Like Friends

I was lovin' the warm Santa Ana winds blowing through SB last week. There are few things I enjoy more than a warm night, where you can sit outside after dark in a tank top and not feel the slightest chill. I love our backyard; I feel so peaceful when I can sit out there (or look out from my bedroom window) and take in the city lights.

So its been really cold this week, but since last week was warmer than usual that meant that plants were needing more water. Every week I visit our listings to make sure they are still looking nice and clean and that the properties are at their maximum marketing potential. That includes watering all the plants that we use for staging. I made my weekly visit a little earlier to check on them because of the heat. Now I've always known that taking care of plants was not a strength of mine. Maybe that's putting it mildly. When I was an R.A. at Westmont the student life director gave all of the R.A.s plants in pots to keep in our rooms and take care of at the beginning of the year, to symbolize to us how we needed to nurture our residents and help them grow. Well, mine lasted about two weeks. I made sure nobody in my section figured out the symbolism behind the dried brown leaves on my poor little plant.

A few years later and I'm having trouble keeping plants under my care alive again. Sometimes a couple of the plants I water wilt or get brown leaves, and I can't understand what's wrong, since I'm watering them regularly! So I've been blaming it on the plants, not myself. Which is wrong, of course. And it has recently occurred to me that what I don't naturally do with plants (or other "things", for that matter), is what I focus on doing with people. Individualization.

Anna J. was recently talking about how she took the StrengthsFinder test and that Individualization came up as one of her top five strengths. She said this strength was the ability/desire to look for each person's unique traits and study the differences between people and how they interact based on those differences. I realized that this concept of "approaching people differently" is something I've always strived to do. I can't stand to be unoriginal in/unaware of my approach to others, whether it's how I talk to them or how I seek to understand them. It pained me back in the day to see others write in yearbooks, "You're soooo sweet! Have a nice summer!". Really pained me. Life is too short to be generic. Zero in on who a person is and what your relation to them is. Did they make you laugh in history class? Say so! Did they encourage others during soccer practice? Tell 'em. Whether I was close with someone or not, that was my yearbook-signing philosophy. To narrow in, to get specific with someone, I think that makes people feel known. I love feeling known, and I try to pass on that feeling. Base your responses and understanding of who you interact with on how they are an Individual. I think it's a key factor in making new friends, deepening old friendships, being a good parent to each of your different kids, winning over your boss, being a good teacher or R.A., etc. There are other key factors, but this is one gets less publicity.

So getting back to the plants, they, sorry to say, must not feel known. The ivies, the orchids, the potted trees, and all the other ones I don't know the names of... they aren't being treated like they are a unique type of plant. Do they need sun or not? Watering twice a week or every other? Heck if I know. But I'm going to get better at individualizing those Things in life that I generalize, like plants, laundry, and dishware. Both people and things flourish when you zero in on what makes them different from one another, and act accordingly.

Tuesday, November 6, 2007

What comes naturally

I walked into the office this morning during the weekly agent meeting for Prudential, and to my delight, our broker was asking all the agents to check their email and follow the link she sent us to take a personality test! Of course I did just that as soon as I was able. This particular evaluation is called the Core Capacities Index. I'd never heard of it, and it might have been developed specifically for Prudential by corporate, from what it looked like on the website. Anyway, this diagram illustrated

my results. Seems like the CCI is based on four basic personality types, a common system found in personality typing. The Core Capacities and what they are supposed to represent are:
Builder: Power
Merchant: Inspiration
Innovator: Wisdom
Banker: Knowledge

So apparently I have Merchant/Innovator tendencies. My result printout tells me that The Merchant works by the "cornerstone" of Inspiration and works best when they are able to motivate others with their vision and are at harmony with others. The Innovator's cornerstone is Wisdom, with understanding and compassion being central to my life strategy.
It wasn't the most original assessment I've taken, and it was a bit frilly. But I'm a fan of whatever any business is doing to help people understand themselves better.

I recently read that the Gallup Organization found that more than 70% of people “languish” in their jobs and never reach peak performance because they are stuck in a business environment that is at odds with their natural talents. How disappointing. I know that many people can't start out in their working life in exactly what suits them best, and that sometimes the stage they are at in life will call for them to do something else for a time that doesn't exactly speak to their strengths, but I think if I met a genie and had three wishes the first might be that everyone I know would find a job where they can thrive and use their natural talents. Either that or I would wish for the ability to disapparate.

My friend Anna and I had lunch the other day and got to talking about what sorts of things we gravitated towards and received praise for when we were kids. She said that she always felt drawn to sales. You know that type of kid, they're 9 and running the school bake sale and making a killing. That was her. She would make hats and her dad would help her sell them to the ladies at church. I laughed thinking about that.

I was, to say the least, quite different. I had a hard time selling Girl Scout cookies, and those sell themselves! Even though I know the CCI term Merchant didn't mean that you necessarily are good at selling things, I still thought it was kinda funny that I landed that title on the test. As Anna and I talked I realized that when I was grade-school age, I gravitated towards and received praise for creative expression. That mostly took the forms of writing and performing (musically and in plays). Both of those things came naturally and I wouldn't have thought not to do them. Anna and I discussed how what came naturally to you as a child can be a leading indicator of what areas you might be successful in later in life. She is very successful in her job in pharmaceutical sales. And although I have had zero desire to perform in any plays since I've been an adult, I know that when I can use creativity in my work, I flourish. I still love writing, and whenever I can apply my skills in that way, I feel fulfilled.

Think back about what you did well as a child and see how much of it is appearing in your life today, and if you happen to need more direction as far as job choice, take a hint from your elementary-aged self. To some this might seem like an obvious idea, but look deeper than at what was obvious. It definitely took me a few minutes to figure out. Lots of kids are good at and praised for general things, like grades, sports, clean rooms, etc. Only a few kids can be the troop leader in Girl Scout Cookie sales.

Let me know what you figure out!

Monday, October 22, 2007

Quarter Life

Almost four years ago I was sitting on a shuttle going through the Munich airport, having a conversation with John Mayer. We talked about a few different things, but the topic I remember most was age. He'd asked how old I was, I said I was 21, and he said, "Hm. I'm 26. But I feel like I'm still 21, just with a few years more experience. Nothing much has changed except the number. I look at my dad, who's 76, and inside, he's just a twenty-something who now lives in an older man's body. Seems like it's probably that way for most people."

Once in awhile I think about that idea, usually around my birthday. There definitely came a point, around mid-college, that my leaps and bounds of growing up and discovering who I was slowed down and I more or less became who I am now. That's not to say I've reached the pinnacle of my personal lifelong growth process, as I'm a true believer in continuing to learn and grow as long as one is alive. But my personality, knowledge of strengths and weaknesses, and methods of behavior and decision-making became more fixed than impressionable. Many friends recall a similar point in their lives. I certainly hope to be a more mature, patient, loving, and educated version of myself in 10, 20, and 50 years. But, in reference to what John said, who "Corinne" is is mostly a done deal. Age from now on is really just a number.

I will admit that it was somewhat surreal and thrilling to sit and have a mellow chat with John Mayer. We were about to fly to L.A. from Germany, and I was traveling with a bunch of students just finishing a 3 1/2 month tour of Europe, during which John's second album came out and had been my soundtrack to our explorations of so many countries. We spotted him in the airport and all stood around talking to him, getting CDs signed, with no one else clamoring for his attention. As we went through security, I was held back for having fingernail clippers, and fell behind my whole group and John and his band. I was bummed, and boarded the next shuttle to our terminal, and somehow he walked on after I did and sat down right next to me. I'd been a huge fan since his coffee shop gig days. Still am. It was crazy I tell you.

So I turn 25; reaching the middle of my twenties, the quarter life mark. The "mid-twenties" have been the most joyful times yet. This is partly due to that fact that somehow I was born with the innate belief that each year is supposed to be better than the last. That conviction has led to some confusion and disappointment in the couple times that it didn't necessarily prove true, which I'm guessing will happen again, but mostly, it will serve me well as life goes on. Believing this is what pushes me through when things are difficult, as I refuse to accept that life is anything less than an upward process of increasing maturity, achievement, and gratefulness.
I've been thinking a lot about the direction I want to go in a few different areas of my life lately. John described this time well in his song "Why Georgia"...

"Might be a quarter life crisis
or just a stirring in my soul
either way, I wonder sometimes about the outcome
of a still verdictless life.
Am I living it right?"

My wonderings are really more a quarter life "stirring" than a crisis.

Finally, for fun, here is some visual documentation of my quarter life birthday celebrationing...

Fire and wine with friends.

Zac and I off to dinner and the pub.

Monday, October 8, 2007

The moments and the story.

"We do not remember days, we remember moments."
~Cesare Pavese, Italian novelist

On Saturday I was walking down the Huntington Beach pier, and I happened to look over the railing down at the beach and witnessed a man propose to his girlfriend. It was really remarkable and moving, and I could hardly tear myself away from my overhead view. A young, but not that young, man and woman were with two pre-teen girls and they all had white shirts on with jeans. It looked like they had a professional photographer taking photos of them. They looked really happy, and then the man and woman hugged, and as she tilted her head up towards the sky, she clapped her hand to her mouth. She pointed up, so I looked up. An airplane was flying by with a banner reading, "Alisha, Will You Marry Me? -Dave" The four of them began hugging and crying and laughing and hugging some more. They continued for quite some time, and as they did, I made up what I thought their story was... that the man, Dave, was the dad of the two little girls (kinda seemed more like he was their parent) and that Alisha was his serious girlfriend whom the girls had grown to love and they were out here and the pretense to Alisha was that they were taking a holiday photo out on the beach to send out for the holidays. You could tell all four of them were ecstatic and just loved each other. The two girls had big smiles and kept wiping away tears as they went back for more hugs from both the man and woman. I wondered what the history was...second chance at true love? finally a mom for the girls...? I actually wiped away a tear or two myself. Now my made-up story is probably not accurate, but even so, it was evident that this moment was going to be really huge in its influence over the rest of each of their lives. None of them will probably ever forget that moment, or how it shaped them in the years to come.

I was thinking today about the two main ways that we remember our lives and pass on what we remember. Our personal histories are revealed in the specific moments that made an impression on us, and in the stories that we design to explain how and why we arrived at where we are now. Moments & stories...like photos & journals, show & tell. It's interesting to share with someone about the moments of joy, sorrow, surprise, fun, and learning in my life, or to hear theirs. It's necessary to develop a healthy way of recounting your history so that you understand yourself and what has made you You.

After some reflection once I got back from a month and a half in Thailand five years ago, I realized that nothing I'd ever done taught me so much about my strengths. I've done plenty of things that taught me how I am weak, but this trip I got to know myself intimately and learn what I was capable of when tested and constantly in the unfamiliar. That is the story that developed from the experiences and memory of that trip. As for the moments that remain vividly in my mind's eye; splashing through the rainforest for hours with a couple friends, the first time I strung together a sentence in Thai to try to connect with some of the kids at the center we worked at, riding on top of a van past rice paddies and trying to comprehend just how big the sky was in that place...they will always be a source of pleasure for me and remind me of who I am almost as much as the story does.

This stuff is on my mind partly because tomorrow morning in this new amazing womens' small group I'm in I am supposed to tell a brief 10-15 minute version of my life story. Gotta condense the most influential moments and stories of my life down into the most bare bones and telling format. Should be fun.

Friday, September 21, 2007

Getting it out of my system...

I'm going to work on posting more often, and posting on any good and coherent idea that comes to mind; not necessarily on Myers-Briggs. Kinda been difficult to do any posting at all lately, my home computer's been down and I was studying to take my real estate test all of September! I passed it, by the way. ;)
This post is on MB though, and it's on the basics, because I find myself struggling sometimes to explain what the letters mean in a straightforward and simplified way. Some friends have asked me the best way to explain it to others, but even after all I read about it I have trouble giving a consistent answer. So here's my best shot at summarizing each of the four aspects, with words that characterize them and short sentences as well. Each letter of your type reflects your preference, when you could use either of the two, but choose one more often than the other...

Whether you're an E or an I depends on where you get your energy and most like to direct your attention towards. We are Extraverting when we deal with the world outside of ourselves. We are Introverting when we are inside our own minds.

E- Extraverted

External Events
Multiple relationships

*Minds are outwardly directed, mostly on immediate environment.
*Often verbalize as they observe and make decisions or react to the world around them.
*Very comfortable around people and things.
*Energized by discussion, conversation.
*Are people of action and practical achievement.
*Do not usually need to be alone to recharge.
*Relaxed and confident attitude, plunge readily into new and untried experiences.

I- Introverted

Internal reactions

*Usually keep observations and decisions inside.
*Energized by thoughts and ideas but drained by too much discussion.
*Find it necessary to be alone to recharge.
*Attitude is more reserved and questioning, pause to truly observe before trying new things.
*People of ideas and abstract invention.
*Intense and passionate

The second letter, either S or N, refers to how you take in information, how we perceive things...



*Sees the trees more than the forest.
*Practical about life, hands-on, involved in here and now aspects of a situation.
*Whatever comes through their own experiences and five senses is more trustworthy than what comes from others through the spoken or written word.
*Less patience for theory or the abstract, focus on "what is", not "what can be".
*Intensely aware of external environment, observant at the expense of imagination.
*Love life as it is, usually pretty content, by nature pleasure lovers and consumers.

N- Intuitive


*Sees the forest more than the trees.
*Grasp information quickly, intuiting the conclusion from minimal known information.
*Engaged with the possibilities, are original and enterprising, impatient with details.
*Intensely aware of internal consciousness, imaginative at the expense of observation.
*Small capacity for living in and enjoying the present, are often restless.

The third letter, T or F, is about how you make decisions; how you judge. Both are reasonable and internally consistent for each person. Do not mistake it with whether one is thoughtful and intelligent or emotional and sensitive, it is based on how one ultimately decides on something.


Tactful over Truthful

*Decision-making process driven by interpersonal involvement, focus of impact upon people.
*Naturally more friendly, find it hard to be brief and business-like.
*Likely to agree with people around them, or appear to.
*Contribute to welfare of society by loyal support of good works in communities, and their personal service.


Truthful over Tactful

*Tend not to get personally involved and prefer that the consequences of an action be the driving force of a decision.
*Strive for justice and clarity, being firm-minded.
*Likely to question conclusions of others.
*Naturally more brief and business-like, enjoy getting to the point tend to not "take it personal"
*Contribute to welfare of society by the exposure of wrongs, solution to problems, and support of science and research.

The fourth letter, J or P, relates to how you move about the outside (extraverted) world...whether you use your information gathering function (N or S)and "Perceive" your way through the world or your decision making function (T or F) and "Judge" your way through the world.


Aim to miss nothing

*Prefer environments in work and leisure that allow them to be flexible, responsive, and experience the new.
*Live according to situation of the moment, prefer grey area.
*Tendency to keep collecting new information and put off drawing conclusions on any subject, plan, or person.
*Enjoy alternatives and new directions, expect that what is unknown will be interesting.
*Share their perceptions as opposed to their judgments.
*More curious than decisive.


Follow through
Aim to be right

*Prefer environments in work and leisure that allow them to be purposeful, controlled, and productive.
*Live according to plans, standards, and customs that the moment should conform to, prefer black and white.
*Tendency towards settling matters quickly, liking to be prepared against the
unexpected and unknown.
*Enjoy continuity and routine, and once they decide to do something, they do it.
*Share their judgments as opposed to their perceptions.
*More decisive than curious.

Tuesday, September 11, 2007

What Happened There Didn't Stay There...

This past weekend I went to Vegas with Zac to see his family and celebrate his birthday. He grew up there. Whenever I'm there I always make a point to go see the Bellagio water show. There are few things I've seen in my lifetime that leave my mouth agape and eyes wide like this does. If you have never seen this performance of water, music, and light, you must. Here's a little something to help take you there, although as we've all experienced with great things we try to record with photos or video, it doesn't do the subject justice...

I know that to be so impressed by something that cost $50 million dollars and 3 years from concept to debut does not make me especially unique or discerning. However, much less has been accomplished with more (think blockbuster movies that bomb). I also happen to particularly love music, water, and light maybe a little more than the average person, so the water show could hardly fail me!
Check this out for the inside scoop, I find it pretty interesting...

Part of this article outlines all the different types of professions involved in creating and maintaining such a thing. They are all experts, or at least extremely capable, in their field; these lighting technicians, designers, water engineers, and pipe maintenance teams. The person who decided they wanted a spectacular thing to separate the Bellagio hotel from the street of the Strip sought out the professionals who would not fail to let them down. In my Rhetoric class at Westmont we spent a day discussing the bricklayer who described his job not as "I'm laying bricks" or "I'm working on a building" but as "I'm building a cathedral." A lot of what's gonna get you places is your perspective, and your commitment to it.
I believe that the most successful people, those that get asked to work on a world-class design concept, those that are hired to build cathedrals, or do the most in whatever their business is, are the ones who combine a positive vision of their ultimate goal, along with the discipline to become very competent in their field. These thoughts all did indeed come from my half an hour in front of the Bellagio lake. And I have been inspired by them lately.

Some people go to the beach or read a book to find inspiration. And some go to Vegas and find it there.

Wednesday, August 22, 2007

Green but with some Pink as well...

I was talking to my roommate Laura a couple weeks ago about personality typing and her hesitations about the concept. She was telling me that sometime in the middle of high school several classes had students take this personality test that classified people as different colors. Blue, Green, Purple, Yellow... there were just a handful of possible "personalities" you could be. She ended up being Green or something. She said that for the next couple years of high school her friends would still sometimes refer to each other as the color that they had been classified as, like, "Hey, Red!" To have herself and her friends put into categories felt limiting to her, and she didn't like how it seemed to give reason to be divided, even though it was such a simple thing. Laura realized she wasn't the only one who'd felt this way when a friend asked her later on if she'd ever felt like she could have been a different color, that more than just one personality type and "color" could have worked for them. I told Laura that I really understood what she was saying. Sounds like a common response to those basic personality typing tests. Maybe you were Green, but Pink felt like you too, especially in certain situations or with certain people.

Laura was basically saying that it seemed like figuring out your personality type had the potential to separate you from other people who might have different letters (or colors), limit you from maybe sometimes being another type, and can create boxes in your head and in others predicting how a person of a certain type will act.

I agree with her! It does have that potential. Sometimes, even though I try to avoid it, I start assuming certain things about people with the F or T preference, or thinking automatically that someone prefers N from one single comment or action. I try on this blog to refrain (though I'm sure I'll slip up) from calling someone an E, or an S, or a P, and I say that their letter is their "preference", in order to prevent the feeling of being totally classified.

I told Laura that Myers-Briggs was invented in order to help people realize their strengths. Isabel Briggs Myers developed the system around the time of World War 2 when women were having to work in place of the men who were gone to war. Isabel wanted a system that would help you understand how you function to assist people in figuring out where they would fit in best in the workplace, since many women had never been in it before. MB is now used widely for assisting in career counseling, business development, relationships with family, friends, and significant others, and for general self-exploration. Knowing the four letters of your preference, and then those of your spouse, roommate, or boss should not be an excuse to differentiate yourself from them, but to understand them better. And from there, love them better as well.

Lately I've been pondering an idea related to the "we are more than one color" thought. I've been considering just how different people I know that are the same type are from each other. My friend Becca is an INTP, but so is my friend Josh. My roommate Andrea is an ESFP, but so are several others that I know, including my friends Johnny, Josiah, and my brother Ian. I see how this is made evident in the similarities between these people, and it's fascinating to me. But just how different they are from each other is incredible as well. I've been asked before why that is. One reason for that is this; that two people with the same four letter type can have different strengths of their preferences. One might be an ESFP with a very strong E and F, and another, have a stronger S preference that makes them act differently. But mostly I think it is our humanity that makes us each so unique. And that is obviously not a new idea. We are individuals, and our various backgrounds, parents, college experiences, friends, habits, and surroundings contribute to our whole just as much as a preference for Introversion or Extraversion does.

My favorite chapter in the bible is Psalm 139. To read of how God has searched me and knows me, and is "familiar with all my ways" is so comforting. The verses describing how we cannot flee from him, "even if I settle on the far side of the sea"; they are haunting and beautiful. We are told that we are "wonderfully made." And then we read that His thoughts, toward us, are so vast, so many, that they "outnumber the grains of sand." How utterly amazing. God has more thoughts about me, and about my future, than grains of sand I can put my towel down on at Butterfly Beach. And it's that way for everyone who has ever or has yet to live.
We are so similar to each other in our humanity, yet so different in it too. With God over each of us, with more thoughts towards us than we can comprehend, we will always be more than four letters. Or the color green.

Sunday, August 5, 2007

Taking It All In

What were you more likely to do with this tree if it had been in your backyard as a kid?

I think that both your answer to this question and also what thoughts pop into your head as you're coming to that answer are strong evidence as to whether you have a preference for S (Sensing) or for N (iNtuition).

Let me first briefly describe what these preferences mean, as they can be the hardest of all the preferences to truly understand. In the four letter Myers-Briggs Type Indicator, I personally find the difference between the two possible second letters to be the most influential and fascinating.
Essentially, the second letter tells how you most naturally take in information; how you perceive the world around you. "Sensing" is becoming aware of things through your five senses, what you can actually see, touch, hear. Those who prefer sensing are acutely aware of the here and now, the present moment. They absorb data in a literal, concrete fashion. We also take information in through "Intuition", our indirect perception of things unseen, the conceptualization of ideas and patterns and possibilities. People with the N preference prefer to focus on the underlying meaning and symbolism in the information they take in.
Check one of these out to see it laid out clearly and concisely:

We all take in information both by sensing and our intuition, but your letter preference comes from which one you rely on and use the most.
This letter can be difficult to decipher for many people, for we aren't always conscious of how we are taking in information. But I have found that whether you prefer S or N greatly determines so many other things in your life, almost more than any other letter. What you find humorous, how you describe yourself or others, what you do in your free time, what jobs you are drawn to, and so much else. I will touch upon those things another time, but I mostly wanted to bring up how your preference for S or N likely affected your playtime when you were a kid.

One of my preferred and most accurate ways of figuring out if a friend prefers S or N is to ask what they did for fun when they were little. What games they played, and if they played pretend, what did they pretend. I've found that Sensors liked to "do". They would build forts, make swords from sticks, set up house and enjoy imitating whatever Mom or Dad did. When they play pretend, they often are an actual character, such as a ninja, or a mommy or a cook. It relates to how they like to focus on what they can see and touch, to "do" is to be. Doing is fun. Here's where the tree comes in. If you prefer S, you might have seen that picture above, and when asked what you would have done with that tree, you might have thought, "Duh! I would climb it!" My stepdad and brother are both Ss, and they would have been hanging from the highest branches, scaring their moms, or practicing their swordplay against the trunk. It would have served as another sort of playmate for them.

If you prefer N, your thoughts might have been different, as mine were when I saw that photo. I saw it and thought, "Oh the possibilities!" If I had been a kid around that tree, more important to me than the tree physically being there, was the meaning behind it, and how it would contribute to my pretend games. This is in tune with the N preference for focusing on underlying meaning. That big and inviting tree would serve as the backdrop to my and my N sister's elaborate pretend games, where we didn't focus so much on doing as we did on the "imagining". Therein lies the N difference. "That tree is our palace and we are princesses who..." or "The tree is our forest and we are elves and we are trying to..."
To imagine is to be, for an N.

I'd like to add on, that if it's not climbing or exploring that they are doing, that a child preferring S might more often be found kicking a ball around beneath that tree, while an N child would more often be reading beneath it. Again, these activities relate to the preference for either the here and now and love for action, or for symbols and the abstract and what is not of the present.

And again, like I do, I'll give a disclaimer... my S brother played a mean game of pretend with my sister and me. He made an excellent elf. And my sister can definitely climb a tree (she loves hanging from things). Your S or N preference is not an absolute, it is just your relied-upon way of taking things in and how it affects what you are drawn to do.

And now I'll stop "imagining" how great it will be to run to the beach and actually do it.

Monday, July 30, 2007

where to begin...

To start is the hardest part. So here we go...

Found this picture online, and it was titled:

"this is what i was put on earth to do"

First of all, I like stick figure drawings, but more seriously, I just like the sweet simplicity of this picture, and what it symbolizes to me. I think the artist used throwing confetti just as a neutral, joyful substitute for whatever it is we start doing and discover that we were "meant to do it".

Throwing confetti for me is talking to people about who they are and how that shapes their choices, relationships, direction, and even what they put on their blog or facebook or whatnot. I love these two things about the study of people... 1) it is subjective and irregular, and... 2) despite that, human behavior can be somewhat patterned and predicted.

If you know me, you know I love the Myers-Briggs personality type theory. That's an understatement, I know. ;) Simply said, with plenty of professional opinion backing me up, it is the most complete personality-typing instrument out there. I'm all about using it as a tool, and not as a box. The letters of your MB (Myers-Briggs from now on, ya heard?) type don't define you for me, or me for myself. But for awhile now I've wanted to write about observations and anecdotes and general fun things that I notice about life that have to do with the "type preferences" of people I know and myself, without geeking out too much on explaining Myers-Briggs, so that I don't get too boring. Here's a link to a page that I think makes it somewhat easy to figure out your type and explains it simply:

Because she already said I could mention her in my posts, tonight's note is about the difference between my friend Meg and I, a difference that pretty much works in her favor. For the record, her letters are ESTJ ( http://www.personalitypage.com/ESTJ.html) and mine are INFP (http://www.personalitypage.com/INFP.html).

I give her full credit for me finally starting this blog. Essentially, she said, "Just do it." Just pick a name, stop looking for the most perfect title for it. Just write your first entry. Just do it. I needed to have that push! The letter that is the biggest source of this difference is the fourth letter, our "action orientation" towards the world around us. With her J preference, Meg tends to be decisive and results oriented. If you want something done, it's simple. Decide what you need to do and do it. Preferring the P preference, along with the rest of my letters, I am an idealist, sometimes to a fault. I delight in the possibilities, want things to work out just right, closure can wait. I can hardly "just do" something that I care about if it's not going to be perfect. As I type this my eyes wander over towards my still only 3/4 finished Europe Semester photo album. 3 1/2 years later, and still slowly working towards that elusive perfection.

This doesn't mean that I can't get things done, or that Meg never puts things off for tomorrow. Preferring P has its benefits, and I like my type. But generally, I look to my friends with the J preference for the inspiration to not only start the race, but to finish it in good time.

I should probably get going. I need to pick up all this confetti on the floor and get to bed.