Sunday, May 11, 2014

Know Thyself, and Seek Self Improvement



Lately I have been on a bit of a pseudo- para- popular psychology kick, as evidenced by posts about Graphology, my Tarot Reading, Astrology (Capricorn), Numerology (Destiny Code 4), and Jungian Personality Types / Meyers-Briggs Type Indicator-ology (ENTP). There is plenty more where these came from! Future posts may well include results from any or all of the following:

  • ACT / SAT / GRE Scores
  • ITBS / Mensa / IQ Scores
  • Play to Your Strengths / StrengthsFinder Profile 
  • Johnson O'Connor Research Foundation 
  • many, many more

One thing I have not done is explain why I am taking such tests in the first place. Neither have I yet shared my motives for posting such personal information here on PhilosFX. Honestly, I am not exactly sure why I am doing this. I don't know the answer. Part of this exercise in openness makes no sense! Therefore, in true Extrovert fashion, allow me to write about these questions so that I may learn the answers for myself and at the same time, share the answers with others.

Is that what "living out loud" is really all about? Asking and sharing in the open? Writing into the answers together? I mean, we could either be hermits and read old books, or we could ask our own questions and seek our own answers and leave books for others to read.

Or perhaps, a bit of both...

IN THE BEGINNING, I used to draw a lot of self-portraits. I learned about basic proportions. As I got more observant and more skilled at recording my observations with a pencil, I notices subtle muscle movements that define an entire mood. In turn, this made me much more observant about the proportions of other people's faces, and more aware of subtle changes in mood conveyed by muscles around the mouth, nose and eyes.

The inward-looking insights translated to outward-looking insights with proportional intensity, The better I knew myself, the more clearly I saw similarities and differences between myself and others.

I have learned a lot about myself from taking many personality (MBTI) and proficiency (ACT / SAT / GRE) tests. As I learn more about my strengths and weaknesses, I begin to appreciate more the similarities and differences I have with others and others have with each other. I have found that the things that attract me to or repel me from other people can often be traced back to my own preferences.  I might dislike something someone does because I see the same thing in myself and I don't like it. I may see something in you that I lack, and so yearn to he more like you in that regard. I might seek peace by increasing diversity, or in another situation I might crave similarity for the same reason.

Plato said, "We are all born whole, but we need each other to be complete."

We are already whole, sufficient, and enough. But we need the challenges and rewards of interaction to prove our uniqueness and true worth, Therefore, it is helpful and good to be awake and self aware. Give me more personality tests! I'll take 'em! And I'll share the results! Moreover, I would encourage everyone to do the same--knowing in advance that many people will be disinclined to do so and accepting that as just fine.

Why share this information? Well, let me flip the question: why not share it? What good is a bit of knowledge if its never used? I have benefited from a great deal of introspection, and in my opinion, the world would be a much safer, saner place of more (if not all) people did the same! This post and similar posts are not offered because I truly believe anyone else in the Universe gives a crap about my scores. Rather, I believe that knowing oneself and seeking self improvement is an important part of a life well-lived.

I think everyone should operate with the humility that comes from realizing that there may be more than one right way to do things, that we are all in this game called life together, that some differences are normal, that tolerance of differences is the aim and evidence of education. I am willing to lead by example.

Leading by example is a principle of Army leadership. As I learned in the Army, the first principle of leadership: Know thyself, and seek self-improvement! Leading by setting the example is #5.


The PhilosFX tagline is, "If your life were a movie, would anyone watch?" By the way, don't worry overmuch about this rhetorical question. Remember: people watch Duck Dynasty, Honey Boo Boo, and My Big Redneck Wedding. The bar is not all that high. Your personal "Reality TV" script does not have to be elaborately produced or expertly choreographed to be interesting. If you are grateful to be alive, act like it, and people will tune in.

"Real life can be almost as good as TV, if you let it."

Let's go!