THOUGHT 4 THE WEEK
Personality is how the world sees you. It is your distinctive behaviour. It is how you are ‘wired’ with one of the four primary personalities you adopted in early childhood from your principle exemplars ~ the people you spent most of your formative years with.
As already explored in past BLOGs, two primary traits determine personality:
1) you learned to display or hide your feeling ~ EMOTIVENESS and,
2) you learned to get your own way by controlling or submitting to other people and situations ~ ASSERTIVENESS.
When laid vertically and horizontally bisecting each other, these two dimensions reveal four separate quadrants of primary personality which we call: COOL/TELLER; WARM/TELLER; COOL/ASKER; WARM/ASKER.
Your predominant behaviour is revealed by one of these four personalities. Though you can learn to adapt your behaviour to other personalities, your primary personality tends to remain with you throughout your life.
Character, also learned, is your social awareness and moral compass. It is your sense of rightness and wrongness. It influences your choices and may be defined as, “the mental and moral qualities distinctive to an individual”. This is your character, which may change as you desire to become 'better' or 'worse'.
Character combines two traits: honesty meaning, freedom from deceit or fraud, and integrity meaning, adherence to moral and ethical principles.
Can you be honest without possessing integrity? Yes, as you do not need a moral and ethical code to simply tell the truth.
Can you possess integrity without honesty? No, as to adhere to moral and ethical principles by necessity requires honesty.
Here are two examples:
1) you fail to mention to the checkout operator that you were given too much change, which demonstrates you lack honesty
2) you accept an invitation to a dubious venue, which demonstrates you lack integrity, which inevitably leads to having to keep your dubious ‘choice’ a secret from someone, which demonstrates you also lack honesty.
6 positive outcomes of Good Character:
- Trustworthiness ~ telling the truth even if you are disadvantaged
- Respect ~ remaining aware of another’s feelings, time and possessions
- Responsibility ~ doing what you agreed to do
- Fairness ~ striving for a win/win outcome
- Caring ~ paying attention to the physical and emotional needs of others
- Citizenship ~ striving to live by the laws of the land by maintaining social awareness
Does this sound Utopian?
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In Part 2, we shall explore more tell-tale signs of character.
So, what do you do when you are faced with intrusive thoughts you can’t shake off? Those unhelpful, unkind, unhealthy, or just plain distracting thoughts?
In a recent BLOG we discussed that thinking leads to actions, repeated actions produce habits, unchanged habits direct character and character determines how we adapt ~ or don’t adapt ~ to other personalities.
Here are four ideas that may help you throw out destructive thinking.
Substitute Thinking ~ Our conscious mind has to think about something, right? After all, an empty mind is an empty room! No sane person, however, wants to entertain self-destructive thoughts but sometimes we struggle so hard to suppress them we just can’t stop thinking negatively!
Instead of dwelling on the rubbish, substitute that thought with a better one! The human mind is programmed to think about ‘stuff’ all the time, so you get to choose what you want to think about most of the time ~ think about it!
A Life In Every Breath ~ When we dwell on the past too much, we can become depressed. When we obsess over the future too much, we can become anxious. Depression and Anxiety are two of the leading causes of mental breakdown today ~ so, stop it!
The next breath you take tells you that you are alive. Enjoying that moment, irrespective of any negative influences around you, is the key to peace within yourself.
Try this for a few moments:
- Close your eyes
- Take three consecutive deep breaths and release each as slow as you can
- Now describe softly to yourself what you see in your minds-eye [record yourself if you want to and play it back in a few days’ time to see how you are changing].
- Express gratitude for those who love you and for the large or small achievements within the past 48-hours
- Accept the things that were beyond your control and learn by them
- Focus on your ‘dream’ ~ and if you don’t have one, create one now
Triggers ~ Many things around us exert influence in our lives. Recognizing what triggers your negative thinking means you take control and can choose a different path to avoid them.
Triggers include toxic relationships, certain Internet, movie and TV programmes. They include certain magazines, or books. Anything that denigrates men or women should be rejected without a second thought. Throw out anything that is mentally or physically unhealthy ~ and start right now!
Never Alone ~ The dark is hard to overcome without light. But, no-one ever need feel alone! If you have never prayed, do so tonight before you get into bed and again in the morning. If you do pray, keep-on doing it.
In either case talk with God, whatever you conceive Him to be, as if He were beside you. Share your ups as well as your downs. Share your private thoughts. Thank Him for everything good in your life and seek courage to change, remembering to pause to listen for the good thoughts that will pop into your head tonight, tomorrow, or at some other time. Act on those impressions as soon as you can. (see James 1:5-7)
Few people respond well to what someone else wants them to do simply because they want them to do it or because of a pep-talk.
Speeches in the heat of a moment rarely 'motivate' and if they do, it usually promotes fear of loss rather than favour of positive gain.
Recognising and accommodating ‘how’ someone else naturally behaves allows you to appropriately modify your own behaviour to encourage a more productive work-ethic for longer-term mutual benefit. The result, your business keeps more of your productive people, securing greater overall team-minded productivity.
A good producer perpetually struggles with agreement. She talks too much and doesn’t listen well. She habitually arrives late for meetings. Even some clients are telephoning to find out where she is. Though her personal productivity is in the top quartile, she is causing increasing team unrest as she invariably asks for more time to secure agreed goals and assignments.
Your Response 'A'
You confront her about perpetually wasting everyone’s time and money. You tell her you could have use your time better if only she’d had the courtesy of letting you know she was running late, again! You tell her that clients are calling the office which is not good for the business reputation. You tell her, for the sake of team morale, it might be better if she found another situation.
Your Response 'B'
You identify you are dealing with a WARM/TELLER ~ someone who is highly emotive and highly assertive ~ who represents about 30% of the tested population. You arrange to meet her at a nearby popular coffee-bar asking her to bring along her ideas about having more time to pursue her interests. At your meeting, you ask what working practices could be adopted in support of her dreams, as well as allowing her to have more fun along the way. You ask what rewards and incentives would particularly motivate her to secure agreed goals, on time.
Do you feel response 'A' or 'B' will improve overall team productivity?
Each Primary Personality is ‘wired’ with perceived positive and negative behaviour traits. Each respective group represents 10, 20, 30 or 40 people out of every 100 tested ~ which is now in the tens of millions worldwide. This means there is a 60% to 90% chance you will mis-handled someone's Primary Personality unless you rapidly identify and accommodate it!
To recruit, train and manage effective working practices, of course, demand the disciplines and skills of any given trade or profession. But to retain your people requires every man-manager adapt to the *individual personality of those they work with.
This is the aim of our Inter-personal Skills Awareness Workshop.
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*talks/group presentations require accommodating all four primary personalities in a sequence that captures their attention and maintains interest, which is beyond the scope of this article.
QUESTION OF THE WEEK: What’s the difference between nervous and excitement?
When highly successful people are asked the question, "Were you nervous before ... (whatever)?", they invariably reply, "No, but I was excited!"
When comparing the bio-physical signs of nervousness with excitement, we find they are remarkably similar.
The next time you feel nervous about something, take your pulse and feel your heart rate as it climbs. Then, notice how your muscles tense, your mouth dries, and your hands feel clammy in anticipation of what’s coming. Then, the next time you feel excited about something, check your vitals again and you’ll notice the very same bio-physical responses in your body.
Both outcomes are your bodies response to the anxiety of a future significant event.
When you are nervous, you feel agitated or alarmed with negative expectations! And, when you are excited, you feel eager and enthusiastic with positive expectations [see http://www.uetp2016.co.uk/430056072/6809386/posting/what-we-think-is-what-we-get]
Consistent performers in every kind of endeavour learn to interpret such natural stimulus as only positive: totally required for the sustained drive towards excellence ~ which is an object lesson to learn for everyone who wants to become the best they can become.
Think of it like this, training your tummy-butterflies to fly in formation towards a worthy objective must inevitably improve performance. You do this by telling yourself again and again and again that what you are feeling
is eagerness and enthusiasm for what lay before you! In a word, excitement.
It is this remarkable benefit, as you prepare yourself physically and mentally for all future events by interpreting what your body is experiencing as excitement rather than nerves. It makes you want to rush forward rather than pull back, and yet it’s the very same bio-physical response.
Only you will decide how to interpret it!
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Without warning a torrent of rage is suddenly pouring down on your head.
Someone is in front of you berating you and spoiling for a fight. You would like to ignore them, but this person is important in your life.
Maybe it’s your boss because you messed up. Or, your spouse who is fed up with what you did or didn’t do. Or, your dad accusing you of embarrassing him with your failures. Or, your coach blaming you for losing the game.
What’s your strategy? Try this:
Step One: “A soft answer turneth away wrath” (see Proverbs 15:1)
When anyone feels threatened, their subconscious brain dispenses hormones to flood every gland, organ and muscle to cause a re-action. All this happens before their conscious brain has a chance to reply sensibly with considered action. Neuroscience calls this “amygdala hijack.”
In simple terms, when we do not think ~ we RE-ACT: when we think ~ we ACT.
When we re-act, our fight or flight response kicks-in. Our blood pressure rises as our heart pumps harder in anticipation of the fight or to enable us to run away. If our instinct is to fight, our subconscious mind recalls every trick and insult it has stored away just for this kind of a occasion: “How dare you talk to me like that! Wait till you hear what I have to say about you!”
But such response never placates a hostile situation because when everyone’s not thinking, no-one is thinking!
Instead, wait for a pause in the chastisement. I promise it will come. Don't respond at all until it does. Then, choose some soft questions to lighten the moment. Something that acknowledges the other person’s emotions; something to make it clear you’re not going to fight ~ or run away. Something unexpected!
Always remember, when you are the object of someone’s thought-less re-action(s), bringing calm to the situation is more about what you do not say than what you do say. You can deflect antagonism by replacing contentious comebacks with:
“Thanks for telling me how you feel”
“I truly had no idea you felt that way”
“Can we talk it through?”
But what if your antagonist won’t let it go? When faced with a difficult set of circumstances, Sir Arthur Conan Doyle’s fictional character Sherlock Holmes used his ‘Thought Palace’. When similarly faced with difficult situations we too have a thought palace! What?
Just imagine you are in your very special place; somewhere that makes you feel peaceful inside; somewhere away from distraction. A place you can contemplate any problem, any obstacle, which could be a Caribbean beach or a country riverside walk, even a public library. Anywhere that allows you to find quiet peace of mind. Breath slow and deep whilst maintaining eye contact with your antagonist. A slight tilt of the head suggests non-aggression, too.
This may take a little practice, but it can truly calm down even the most intense situation. The point is, if someone is spoiling for a fight and you won’t fight back, they have zero satisfaction to continue and their re-action will pass-by more quickly because you have not fuelled their negative emotions.
What if they won’t let it go?
Step Two: “A broken spirit drieth the bones” (see Proverbs 17:22)
So, the shouting has subsided, but they are still in your face. So, how do you sap the remains of their anger and get them back to talking with you, not at you?
The answer is to make yourself less significant than them, which sounds counter-intuitive.
For example, the difference between a Diplomat and a Politician is diplomacy! If you’ve ever watched televised British Parliament or the Americaln Senate in action, there is a marked absence of diplomacy as one poitician attacks another. I guess this behaviour is supposed to convince voters they picked the right party? Weird!
Diplomacy works more often than it does not. Seeking first to understand before stating your position quietly and without emotion acknowledges the other person’s right to ‘feel’ the way they feel, without demeaning yourself or making you feel at fault when you are not.
Say something like:
“Have I done/said something to upset you?”
“I really need to understand your position”
“I apologise for not always being at the top of my game, and I do want to get better”
Step two helps deflate the situation further, but if they are still not willing to talk things through, you’ll need more than the absence of anger. You’ll need some sort of affinity.
Step Three: “As in water face answereth to face, so the heart of man to man” (see Proverbs 27:19)
Founded upon the people who raise us, everyone's primary personality is established by our 5th birthday. Research reveals 4-in-10 of the tested population tend to square up when threatened and 6-in-10 back-off! Whilst, either response may be appropriate in a life-threatening situation neither is conducive to a mutually beneficial outcome most of the time! It may sound trite but sincerely smiling at step three more often than not encourages our antagonist to do the same (mirroring).
Of course, it can be hard to offer that first smile. There has to be some mutually beneficial outcome you can visualise to encourage the other person to imagine it, too. Remember, even the most difficult person has redeeming qualities. So, seek out those qualities, focus on them and forget all the other stuff.
As soon as you awaken good-thinking about this person, they will begin to co-respond. This is a natural human response and especially true when you display good-feelings through your words and your body language.
Perfect Practice Makes Perfect
When you maintain your dignity, especially when another is losing theirs, you dramatically lessen the time required to heal the situation for a mutually beneficial outcome. When you step forward with genuine resolution in your heart, the other person must co-respond. It’s as simple as that!
So, the next time someone wants to pick a fight, don’t be a ‘Politician’, be a ‘Diplomat’. Maintain your self-respect returning flowers, not fists. Remain genuinely concerned about the other persons concern(s). Focus on what you like about this person. Use gentle questioning (see above) and sincerely smile.
Rehearse this with a few trusted friends. Ask them what they think. Then email firstname.lastname@example.org to tell us how it worked for you.