Psychology

Getting Along: Thinking Vs. Feeling

My picture name"What do you think of President Clinton’s affair with Monica Lewinsky?" I asked a woman this morning.

"I think he was a stupid pig," she replied. Harsh, but maybe that is one of the kindest things said about him by his detractors. They saw him as being a moral disaster, unfaithful, a potential home wrecker. I have never met him or expect to do so and for all I know they may be right. They saw him as not just having made a mistake in judgment, but as being a liar, a cheat, and unfit to be president.

Perhaps they are right. Maybe he is all of those things, but I think his affair may also be at least partially explained by his personality type.

Getting Along: Sensing vs Intuitive

My picture name"I have to buy some presents for a couple of people," I said to my wife just before Christmas.

"What are you planning to get?" she asked.

"I don’t know," I said. "I’ll just walk through the mall and see what jumps out at me." For me, this is very similar to the African hunter who stalks through the bush waiting expectantly for something to jump out at him. A big game hunter, that’s me, creeping along, threading the crowds, hoping to bag something for the pot, or the stocking, in this case. (What eventually jumped out was a small TV set, so after some intense bargaining and some manly chest-thumping, I took it home.)

However, when I had this conversation with my wife, she looked horrified. Most disappointingly, she doesn't seem to see me as a hunter.

The difference between us is that she is a practical sensing person and I am an intuitive. Dealing with intuitives can be hard work, and can be quite perplexing to people, especially in business. They tend to spend a lot of time in the jungle, waiting for things to pop out at them. Their sense of time is fluid, and although they have the best of intentions, they are often late for many things. Their office is often a mess because they have so many projects going on at the same time. Because they are dreaming of the future, they don’t notice the practical, down-to-earth facts of life. Sensing people are the opposite. They live in a detailed, vivid world of the present and value organization and practicality as ends in themselves.

Getting Along: Introversion vs Extroversion

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Some people, like Mr. Cruise here, seem to lose their cool every once in a while, but, while some people may seem crazy, most of us are fairly sane most of the time, yet we're all still so different. Why do some people at the office talk all the time? Why do others seem so distant or stuck up? Some say nothing at meetings and some hog the floor. Some people are always talking about something, either at the copier machine, on the phone, or gossiping with anyone who comes along, while others ghost around the office grunting at people. Why is there is so much difference between people who come from similar backgrounds and have the same training? Why do we get along easily with certain people, but others drive us nuts, even though we can't pin down anything they're really doing wrong?

Much of what happens in an office can be explained when we look at the personality types of ourselves and our co-workers, and especially the notion of introversion vs extroversion.

Moods

Keep track of what works for you and what doesn't when it comes to your moods, or help your significant other learn how to deal with you

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I've come to accept the fact that my boyfriend can't read my mind and that we'd both be better off if I help him learn how to deal with me. ;) I haven't actually given him a collection of these templates to help him keep track of what works and doesn't work when I'm in a particular mood, but I'm thinking about it. <grin> After all, he needs to know what to do when I'm depressed, happy, lonely, or excited.

This template is also for personal use. For example, I need to figure out what to do when I'm homesick, as I'll be spending next year away from family and friends. Keeping track of what works and what doesn't gives me ways to prevent, deal with, or recover from things like that.

How do you deal with your moods?

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Personality Type At The Office Christmas Party

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Christmas greetings to all. I was talking with my son about personality type (as many people do, of course) and we got talking about what happens at office Christmas parties. Steve said, "Hey, that would make a good post for D*I*Y Planner, Dad." I agreed, so here we are.

You'll recall a post I did a few weeks ago on the basics of personality type (you can find it here if you'd like to refresh yourself on what type you are). I’ve been talking about psychological type and how we can take advantage of it in our businesses, but much of the most interesting stuff that happens in business happens at the office Christmas party. Now, I'm currently self-employed and so my office parties are a little thin, but I have been to many of them and it seems to me that two things happen. Sometimes, people can be pretty well guaranteed to act out their type, just more so, and thus we know if these people are going to be super social, fairly reserved, or so on. Other times, people will become almost the opposite of who they normally are, as --usually under the influence of booze-- the neglected (or opposite) side of their personality comes through, sometimes with ugly results. We each have all aspects of type in us, but we're better at using some of them than others and Christmas parties are one of those times when those other parts of our personalities come out, causing interesting things to happen. This doesn't mean that people suddenly become pyromaniacs or a cannibals (usually), but it does mean that we may barely recognize the person we're talking to.

With that in mind, here are some of the things you're likely to see at parties this holiday season....

Pounding Square People Into Round Holes

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Personality type can be incredibly helpful at work. Personality type gives us helpful information about how we take in and process information, how we make decisions and tells us what we good at and, often more importantly, what we're bad at and why. It helps us work more efficiently, take more joy in what we do, helps us get along with other people and even helps make our personal lives easier and more enjoyable. So who could argue with that?

People often complain that they don’t want to use personality type because it pigeon holes people. It is important to understand their concern, as no one wants to feel like their squareness is being pounded into a round hole (don't try these metaphors at home, they can be fatal). In the case of personality tests, the question is: how legitimate is this complaint?

Understanding Personality Types, Part 1

My picture nameSome time ago I did a workshop on personality type with a government department. We had been working all morning and people were starting to get the idea of personality type when the boss arrived. He wanted to bring the group up to speed with the plans for the coming year. He spoke for about a half hour and then left quite cheerful, encouraging the group to learn all they could. He was a cheerful, positive, extroverted man who clearly liked his staff and was liked by them.

From the beginning of his talk, I realized it was not my field and I didn't know what he was talking about. In time, I began to wonder how much the others were getting. He was clearly enthusiastic, and intended to communicate his enthusiasm. After he left, out of curiosity I asked: "How many of you understood him and his message." Everyone burst out laughing. I turned to the foreman of the group, who had been taking frantic notes during the boss' talk, and asked him. He replied: "I didn’t understand him either, but I have my notes so, over time, I can ask him to explain certain things a bit more. Then I can go to the group and explain what he meant."

Dreams: Answers to Questions We Never Thought to Ask

My picture nameI dream I am being attacked by a robber who not only wants to rob me but beat me us as well. What should I do? One extreme solution some people have been known to adopt is to actually go out and buy a gun, to feel safer. But is that the best solution? Do we need to arm ourselves to the teeth? What if we sleep with the gun under our pillow, but have more dreams of being attacked? Do we have to go out and get a weapon or is there an intermediate step? There is. If you and I are to discover this intermediate step, we need to work with the images in the dream.

Dreams, Pen and Paper: Getting the Message

I first met our latest guest poster through his son Steve, who writes the Friday humour column here. Although they are both keen observers of human nature, Henry Sharam has approached his subject matter from a completely different direction: he is a Jungian psychotherapist with many years' experience nurturing personal and spiritual growth in environments as varied as relationship workshops, jails, nursing homes and mental hospitals. Dream analysis through journalling is a specialty of his. -DJ


My picture nameWhat a strange world we move in when we lie down to sleep. We use toilets with no door or for people of the opposite gender. We walk nude through our home towns, attend funerals partially clothed, are attacked, and seduced. Monsters of all kinds confront us. Nazis, drug lords and hoodlums threaten us. Old lovers entice us, long dead grandparents tyrannize us. Animals appear: starving or dangerous dogs, lions in the living room, and crocodiles in our swimming hole. Images of death abound, starving and neglected children emerge, beautiful women and great god-like men appear.

So the kaleidoscope turns. Each night brings a cast of beggars, thieves, kings and princesses. Is this all nonsense, some disturbance in the chemistry of our brain, or is it meaningful? Let's look at this important question. We now turn to a journey into this strange, confusing, and often frightening world of our dreams.