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My Secret Self-Awareness Weapon

Self-awareness is vital to success and accomplishment. Until you have self-awareness, you can’t improve yourself at all. We all know people who think they are something they’re not; who talk a big game but don’t produce any results; who think they are good at something when they’re actually terrible. A person in that mind-set […]


Self-awareness is vital to success and accomplishment.  Until you have self-awareness, you can’t improve yourself at all.  We all know people who think they are something they’re not; who talk a big game but don’t produce any results; who think they are good at something when they’re actually terrible.  A person in that mind-set can hardly be helped; this is a sad circumstance.  Today I’m revealing my secret self-awareness weapon.  This has been a great help to me personally, and has helped my wife and me in our marriage.

Myers-Briggs is a free personality test available online.  You can pay to take a very nice one, but there are plenty of free ones, also.  Upon completion of the test, your personality will be labeled by four letters which indicate one of sixteen possible personality types you are.  The first letter is either “I” or “E”, depending on whether you are an introvert or extrovert.  (I am an “I N T P,” which is the absent-minded professor type.)  After receiving your four-letter label, enter those into a search engine.  Then you can find several websites which will describe you in detail.  You will learn how you think, what motivates and demotivates you, and many other interesting revelations.  Although most people are a mixture of personality types and won’t match descriptions 100%, this test is extremely insightful.  I think my description was probably 97% accurate; I am a true “I N T P.”

I highly encourage everyone to take this test.  Also, ask others in your life such as spouse, older children, employees, etc. to take the test.  Then agree to swap tests.  Doing this will open many new and helpful insights.  Often in relationships we totally misjudge motives of those with whom we daily interact.  Whereas we may feel that someone is trying to ruin our life or make us miserable, there may be a fundamental character trait involved which makes that person who he/she is.  In not accepting that person or misjudging motives, we become involved in the hopeless effort to change who the person IS.  When my wife, Christina, and I first took the test, there was a specific trait which I felt didn’t describe me at all.  However, Christina looked at me knowingly and replied, “Are you kidding?  That is totally you; that’s exactly what you do!”  So, read the full description about yourself.  Allow yourself to be open-minded enough to believe what you’re reading.

Consider this example of helpful insight.  Imagine you hire a new employee to work in your construction company.  As you watch the new hire, he/she is usually rather slouched, walking slower than others, and not accomplishing as much as others.  This is the case repeatedly for two or three weeks, so you determine to fire the lazy bum.  However, before you take action, the employee shares a medical report and apologizes for accepting a position which was beyond physical limitations.  The employee has been in too much pain to work well and must seek a different type of job.  The greater insight would certainly change your perception of that person!  Instead of a lazy bum, that employee may have been the hardest worker even though unable to complete the tasks.

This same type of situation happens in relationships all the time.  Trying to build a business and cultivate a good marriage at the same time is very challenging, as my wife and I can attest.  Understanding the motivation behind actions can be extremely helpful in all relationships.  Here is an example which you will enjoy.  I recently made a trip to Chicago where I used valet parking.  One fundamental weakness of my personality is an inability to care about details.  My friend and employee, Tahir, was with me when I received the valet parking ticket.  Rather than obeying my first inclination to pass that ticket to Tahir, I decided to be responsible and put the ticket in my pocket where I wouldn’t lose it.  Throughout the day I added other items to the pocket until it was cumbersome.  In a moment of disgust, I grabbed all the junk out of the pocket and deposited it in a trash can.  Two hours later I was retracing my steps to that trash can in hopes of finding the valet parking ticket!  If Tahir didn’t know me so well, he would’ve been very frustrated.  Just as the construction company new hire couldn’t accomplish his job, I can’t give proper attention to details.  Therefore, I’m NOT the person to handle details!

Hopefully you will take the Myers-Briggs personality test and encourage others with whom you interact closely to swap results with you.  Do some research on yourself and others in order to strengthen relationships and be more productive in your work.  This will be an eye-opening experience!

My name is James Shepherd.  Thanks for reading!


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