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Wiley Wandering

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April 5, 2009

Blog #76 Personality Types, This Blog, and You!

I am mischievously curious as to what you think about the concept of only 35 personality types? Yes, somewhere once I read/heard/subconsciously plagiarized the concept of their being about 35 personality types. Because I am too busy/lazy at present to research any similar concepts/theories, let’s just flow with the fact that there actually are about 35 (or 25, or 45) personality types. If so, the theory suggests that if you “know” these so-called personality types, you can recognize them as they approach you. You can anticipate their thoughts and actions from similar personality types you have previously encountered. In other words, if you are an anthropologist of sorts, a student of people (someone who can get into watching people) who actually somewhat analyzes, albeit veiled or subtle, everyone you meet that you have a moment to focus on, then you have mastered or are well on the road to mastering aspects of human interaction. After all, if you have encountered five people who have reminded you of one another, who all looked somewhat similar, with similar characteristics, similar mannerisms, similar intellects, and you encountered a sixth look-a-like of theirs, wouldn’t you be foolish not to assume certain things? And yes, I know this is an argument for stereotyping/profiling, so where do we go from here?

Well, the difference is stereotyping someone around cultural assumptions or negatively doing it around cultural stereotypes is problematic, especially if we aren’t quite sophisticated about those that we are stereotyping. Even when we think we are sophisticated about it, we really aren’t as sophisticated about them as we think we are. Why? Because of the fact that what we don’t know about ourselves prevents us from knowing what we don’t know in others. This much we should know. However, reading someone's personality and personality traits begs the question that you at least took the time to respond to their energy, towards you and others, instead of the infamous "assume." And if you don't know what assuming does, to you and me, then ask someone to break that down for you.

If that didn’t confuse you, now consider this. I’m out and about and witness, with a smile I might add, this beautiful brunette approaching me, with hair strategically tossed and parted oh-so right, a glide in her stride, a dip in her hip, future checks that will reflect and match her intellect. She laughs with ease, articulates passionately, confidently, intriguingly, yet can turn introspectively shy in any given moment. Add distinct mannerisms, similar backgrounds, likes and dislikes, and the question for me, and you is, is it true that you can anticipate certain reactions and responses from a look-a-like? Come one now, we all “know” the George Costanza type, also the Jessica Simpson type. While I am not trying to knock these types, how many of us haven’t seen these “types” over and over again. Well, if you know those types from watching them and their distinctness over and over on television and within our society, just ruminate over the possibility that if you had consistent access to a large number of people during your life, it is possible you could continue to see the categories of personalities.

These types, this Costanza, Simpson, or whomever the type you have locked in your mind as you read this, that look-a-like is an individual, no doubt, but to what extent? Is the potential to truly be an individual gone in our society? Has the media (yes, the media again) become the eraser of individual identity? Is it possible that the media has become us and we have become the media? Digital cameras, cell phones, the internet, texting with picture messages, Skype, MySpace, FaceBook, Twitter, blogs… Have we all overtly published again and again that limited number of personalities, so that those of us who take time to recognize them can see them coming. Are we also the “them” (a personality type) that others see coming?

The intriguing aspect of this theory is the “knowing.” How well do any of us “know” someone, or even ourselves? How much time do we take to ask ourselves truly probing questions about our psyches?

For example, right now, give yourself one minute away from your computer to ask yourself...

"What are the things that others might consider "obnoxious" about you... and what could you do to change!"

Chill for a moment, seriously. Give yourself one minute to reflect on the obnoxiousness you may bring into other's lives.

Okay, so, as I mentioned earlier, if we don’t “know” ourselves can we even begin to “know others” when the responses within those relationships are predicated upon what people actually think they know about each other in any given minute? Are we receptive to the fact that one of the ways we get to know others is through exploring the differences that exist between us? As we explore those differences those of us who know how to introspect may discover our reactions to those differences, better helping us discover ourselves. Many of us never tap into this dimension of ourselves because while we center ourselves in most things we do, we still don’t look at ourselves in that center. How can we? We are dysfunctionally preoccupied with how others are looking at us. This “way of seeing” is so reinforced, everywhere, that when someone does succumb to it, and even occasionally introspect, she/he are viewed as bizarre. How bizarre!

Do we focus on the fact that even that type of thought or the time it took me to write this blog requires a dimension of privilege that we can easily take for granted. I’m quite thankful for the time I find to write this blog, and the time you take to respond to it!!! I am the 32nd personality, the considerate, introspective educator type with a hint of anxiety and understated self-doubt, who benefits from the courage he luckily continues to find to correct what he sees wrong in himself. What personality type are you?