Episode 2: 3 Reasons to Not Hate Your Personality
“Why Can’t I Be More Like Them?”
How often do you feel guilty about your downsides?
I’m sure you know that voice.
‘I wish I was more like <insert name>.’
Or ‘I should really work on being more <insert desired trait>.’
Or ‘Why am I so <insert one of your traits>?’
These go through my head constantly — and I hadn’t realised how debilitating it is.
You can finally stop guilt-tripping yourself about your ‘bad’ sides.
3 Reasons to Stop Feeling Bad
Here’s 3 reasons why you can stop feeling bad about yourself:
- You’re not as bad as you think you are.
- Focusing on your shortfalls is just detracting from nurturing your strengths.
- Other people’s strengths can complement yours — but first you need to be clear on what your strengths are.
Let’s go through these one by one. But first…
The Five Voices
Here’s a quick into to the 5 personality ‘voices’ I’ll be discussing throughout this post:
I really recommend you make a free account at www.giant.tv to find out more about each one and discover which your predominant voice is.
(I genuinely recommend it. I’m usually very skeptical of personality tests but this one has been surprisingly helpful.)
OK, let’s get back to the reasons not to hate your personality.
1. You’re not that bad
Looking at your personality traits is like looking at those black and white ink blots old-school psychotherapists would use to gauge your outlook on life.
Some people only see ‘bad’ or ‘weird’ stuff. And once you’ve seen something it’s really difficult to see anything else.
But there’s nothing intrinsically negative there. It’s just what you’re focusing on.
All you have to do is change your focus.
Let me give you an example.
I don’t give me emotions away very often. I prefer to keep things under wraps. If I show my emotions that makes me vulnerable to ‘attack’ or manipulation.
My friends like to call me ‘cold-hearted’ or ‘on the spectrum’ or ‘rational’.
So obviously I see this trait of mine as inherently bad. I should be more open about my feelings.
But my personality test results claimed something different.
Apparently my ‘capacity to remain cool under pressure and control external communication’ means I am a ‘natural poker player and skilled negotiator’.
Well, that sounds pretty good actually. I’ll take that perspective!
And suddenly everything changes.
Instead of feeling bad about being in control of display of emotions I can see this trait as a positive — and start playing this card as one of my strengths.
2. Focusing on your shortfalls is just detracting from nurturing your strengths
You have natural strengths. We all do.
They’re the things you’re good at without trying — also called your ‘unconscious competences’.
My biggest personality is the ‘pioneer’. I’m pretty good at being rational, structured, motivated, focused and driven by big visions.
The ‘nurturer’ and the ‘guardian’ are my downfalls. Empathy, openness, emotional connection… Yeah. If you know me, you know that’s not my natural habitat.
These are behaviours I have to learn. They’re my ‘conscious incompetences’.
Of course I’ll never be a natural — but I can choose to dedicate some time towards learning how to consciously instill them as habits.
But how much time?
The golden rule is 70:30
Focus 70% of your time on what you’re naturally good at. Refine your natural skills. Utilise them. And you’ll feel energised, productive and good about yourself.
But if you focused on what you’re good at 100% you would never grow or learn.
So dedicate some time to areas we don’t find so easy — that’s when we learn new skills.
Hence the other 30% of your time should be spent nurturing your other voices — for me the guardian and nurturer.
When you live most of the time according to your natural strengths you’ll feel energised.
When you dedicate a bit of time to nurture your weaknesses you’ll grow.
3. Other people’s strengths can complement yours
Now I know my strengths and weaknesses I can finally understand and work with others much more efficiently! (Us pioneers love efficiency.)
Connectors, guardians and nurturers are people I really need in my life and work to balance me out — so we can be stronger and achieve great things together.
I value the connectors in my life. The inspirational storytellers and social butterflies who always know someone or something which can help with every issue that arises. My brother is one example of this voice.
I also value the guardians — those who value truth and logic, committed and highly conscientious, who protect us from taking big risks without considering all the outcomes, asking the difficult questions I usually breeze over.
And of course the nurturers — the one I’m least good at.
These are the ones who care, the natural empathisers, who understand us most, who prioritise building relationships and harmony over all else, and who always genuinely celebrate the achievements of others. My mother is a prime example.
Sometimes I don’t understand these characters. Sometimes I find them difficult to manage.
But that’s because somehow we expect everyone else to be like ourselves.
And in the age of social media we can easily reside in our echo chambers of those who think and act like us.
But you don’t need more people like you. Actually we need to connect with those who aren’t like us.
That’s when we’re stronger together.
And that’s when great things happen.
If you want to help me get my toothpaste in order…
Here’s what I apparently need to focus on to play to my strengths:
- Build and maintain friendships with people outside of your immediate task world.
- Take opportunities to practically care for others.
- Establish healthy rhythms that prevent work taking over — planning time for rest, exercise, friends, family, and recreation.
Feel free to call me out when it looks like I’m not managing these things very well ;)