As a naturally introspective person, I’m continually drawn to personality indicators, and anything that will help me gain more insight into the way I’m wired.
The Myers-Brigs Type Indicator was literally a lifesaver. I didn’t discover I was an introvert until my early thirties. Knowing I wasn’t crazy, just an introvert in a world pushing me to be an extrovert explained my exhaustion from being around people.
For example, one weekend after a particularly long week at work, the last thing I wanted to do was attend a party my parents were hosting. I dragged myself there then took my food into their TV room and sat in the dark enjoying some down time. My mom happened to walk by and exclaimed, “What are you doing in here? We have guests!!” To her, sitting in dark and eating alone is about as lonely as it gets. To me, it was bliss.
Knowing what drains my energy helps me plan my time and energy so I can actually enjoy being around people. I’m not anti-social and I do love people, I just don’t feed off that energy.
I’ve recently begun exploring the Enneagram. A couple of months ago, I attended a workshop and discovered that I am a 4, the Individualist. Essentially, this means that I tend to live in my head. This explains why I’ve always had a vivid imagination and love storytelling. It also helps explain why I’m never content. I can always create a better world in my head. To find balance, I need to stop living in my head and experience the real world.
To gain more awareness about my type, I receive a daily email with thoughts on areas of weakness and suggestions for improvement. Today’s email hit home – Ponder this universal truth: For real change to occur, awareness, dedication, and perseverance are always needed. How much are you really interested in these things and how far are you willing to go to attain them?
It’s all right there – three steps:
- Awareness: what we want or are called to do
- Dedication: commitment, saying yes
- Perseverance: continually making the choice
It sounds easy, but it isn’t. That’s a true 4 speaking!
Am I going to sit around dreaming about the book I know God called me to write, or am I actually going to put fingers to keyboard and start typing? In my head, the words are so eloquent. They flow and sound beautiful, but something changes on the path from the brain through the arms and out the fingers. They sound halting and stiff. They required rearranging and editing. Sometimes a lot. It’s a choice. It’s hard work.
Am I going to imagine how good I feel when I’m in better shape, or am I going to put my feet on the elliptical and spin them around and around? Of course I would rather walk outside, but until it’s warm enough will I just do nothing and melt into the couch? It’s a choice. It’s hard work.
Last year, I had a student on the football team. He got up every morning at 5:00am to workout. He got a tutor. He came to class every day and always did his homework. He never complained. One day in a conference I told him that I admired how hard he was working. He replied, “You gotta want it.”
You gotta want it.
How much are you really interested? How far are you willing to go?