January 11, 2017

A few years ago I read Gretchen Rubin’s book The Happiness Project.

I enjoyed it immensely and still go back and re-read sections when I need a reminder on how to handle certain situations in life. It is truly the only “self help” book I have ever finished.

Today I found myself back on her web page and taking her quiz to determine what type of person I am when it comes to handling inner and external expectations. Things like work deadlines, New Years resolutions, life altering decisions.

Try it yourself here.

The four categories, or types, are Upholder, Questioner, Rebel and Obliger. She has developed a quick quiz to help you determine which category you fall into. It was quite interesting. The questions seemed a bit random but the results were bang on for me.

I am a questioner. I have a tendency to question everything before I will move ahead with a project or decision.

The fact that I even took the quiz proves that I needed to know what type I was before I could move on with my day.

Do You Have a Personality?

personalities

It’s been about eighteen months since I started the search for my “thing”.  Some days I think I’ve found it in this blog and other days I am even more lost than before.  One thing is for sure, I am in awe of my passionate and talented friends and their ability to balance their lives with kids, exercise and whatever career/hobby/love they have taken on in their daily routine.

So as I continue to ponder what I am going to do when I grow up, I have been wondering if some of these online personality tests might be helpful.  Corporations sometimes use them to test potential employees to see if they are a good fit.  My son took one in grade twelve to help him figure out what courses he should take in university.  I did my very first personality test during the church counseling my ex-husband and I did before we got married.  Ya, that worked out great didn’t it.

But yet, I am still intrigued.  Am I the person I think I am?  Will this help me realize my potential?  If I do it, will the computer spit out the perfect job for me?  Please don’t tell me I should have been a nurse. I hate hospitals.

So I get comfy in front of the laptop and start my search for enlightenment.

I quickly realize that the mack daddy of all personality tests is the Myers-Briggs test.  The test is based on four preferences, that when combined show a personality type.  The four traits are introvert/extrovert, sensitive/intuitive, feeling/thinking, and judging/perceiving.  Through answering a number of seemingly random questions you arrive at a type.  Not even really a type.  You get a four letter designation that is supposed to tell the world (and you) what makes you tick.

Four letters.

Can you imagine introducing yourself at a party?

“Hi, I’m an ESFJ.”

MyersBriggsTypes

I took the test on a number of different web sites as they all seemed a bit different from one another.  Some of the questions were just worded differently but you could tell they were asking the same thing.  For example, on the first test the question was a yes or nor question.

You don’t usually initiate conversations. Yes or no?

On the second test you had to choose between

Likes to perform in front of people or avoids public speaking.

Clearly they are asking if are you an extrovert or an introvert.

Anyway, I tried to answer as honestly as I could without over thinking the questions and thus pre-determining the outcome.  That alone says something about me.  I’m not sure what, but I’m sure I will find out in 12-15 minutes.

The results of the first test said I was an extrovert but the second and third ones said I was an introvert.  I totally get that.  I do love to be social and am outgoing and comfortable speaking in front of groups of people.  On the other hand, I love, no crave, my alone time.  I guess it comes downs to how you ask me the question. So really this tells me nothing.  Next.

I am definitely a sensing person rather than an intuitive person.  That was clear in all the tests. I learn faster when I can be hands on.  I tend to not believe things until I have experienced them myself.  Again.  Nothing surprising about that.

I figured I would be a J. J is for judgement right?  No?  No. Judging suggests a preference for a structured lifestyle.  Given that I am an organizational junkie, this also comes as no surprise.  Although I think I can be pretty intuitive as well.  I like to think that I see the big picture when it comes to complex issues.

So that brings us to feeling versus thinking.  And really this is why I am here in the first place. There is too much overlap between my brain and my heart.  I can’t separate what I want to do and what I think I should do.  I tried not to answer too many of these questions with a neutral answer but I guess the tests picked up on that.  This is when my creative side battles with my pragmatic side and the results reflected that.

Right, so I have spent the better part of the morning reaffirming what I already knew.  Great. The Best Thing in Life is knowing your own personality .  The Worst Thing in Life is not knowing what to do with it.  My search continues.

PS.  Apparently I should have been a nurse….or an army general.

Life Lessons

bag lady

My daughter and three of her friends had an opportunity to be involved in an event at BC Place this past week. Four excited six year olds and I piled into my truck and headed downtown from North Vancouver. They sang songs, played clapping games and talked about meeting their favorite soccer players. As we approached the East Side, my daughter asked if we were getting close to the homeless people. We had driven this route before and had had some discussions about people living on the streets. For some reason it was a source of fascination and tonight was no different as the four of them had some interesting questions.

I’ve never been bothered by East Hastings St. Yes, you need to keep your head down and avoid eye contact but really these people are, for the most part, harmless. I’m not a big person but I’ve never felt threatened on the odd occasion I’ve had to walk through the Main and Hastings area. There are parts of Surrey that scare me more. During the Olympics in 2010, everyone was concerned about how it would look to the rest of the world but honestly, it’s just another part of what makes this city what it is. No, it’s not as pretty as Stanley Park or Grouse Mountain. It’s not an area you might want to take people to on a city tour. But, it’s a part of Vancouver that has always been there and will probably never change.

So as we stop at every red light between Clarke and Carrall my six year old tells me that one of her friends has never seen a homeless person and could I please explain it to her. At this point I am bombarded with questions from all four of them. Why are they homeless? Where do they sleep? Why are they selling stuff on the street? If they don’t have any stuff why are they selling what they have? What do they need money for? What do they eat? Why is that man waving his hands in the air like he’s swatting a bee? That man doesn’t have a shirt on. Can’t he afford clothes? Are they ALL homeless? I did my best to answer them and I would like to apologize to their parents if they now have a few new words in their vocabulary.

I know they are young, but it does reminded me that we live in a bubble out here in Deep Cove. It’s a lovely bubble, but it is just that. We drop off our unwanted clothes at the charity box near Safeway and many of the girls collect money for charity at their birthdays parties instead of gifts, but the reality is that they have no idea why somebody would even need our charity. They all have comfortable homes, clothes and never miss a meal (or a snack for that matter). It’s a hard thing for them to understand at this point in their lives and just driving through the East Side once or twice doesn’t go far enough in explaining it.

So as we turn the corner at Hastings and Carrall Street and the scenery changes, the questions come to an end and the topic turns to what they will eat at the soccer game. Can we have a hot dog and popcorn? Do they have ice cream at the stadium? These questions I can answer. The girls may have moved on, but their questions, and my realization of how little they know of the world outside of our neighborhood, have me thinking. Is there more that I could be doing to educate my young daughter? I’m doing my best to show her The Best Things in Life, but should I be doing more to show her the other side of life?