Tuesday, July 17, 2012
Can You Teach an Old Dog New Tricks?
I'm a Myers Briggs type J, which stands for "judging" - not to be confused with "judgment" or "judgmental" (though it wouldn't be the first time I've been called that!) - this "J" preference type is about closure, order, structure - making a judgment, decision, and then moving forward. My preference for this seems pretty strong. I need a plan, I make decisions and don't second guess them. I make lists, as my young friend Annika has come to know, and at times has tried to emulate. My "preference clarity index" for this "J" preference is strong (that's a nice way of saying my heels are pretty well dug in on this topic!). Life often affords us the opportunity to learn new things, and I'm finding myself in the middle of one of those times. I'm being given the "opportunity" to take life one day at a time, to not have the answers to questions that won't let me rest, to not be able to plan a day or week at a time. It's a challenge with which I'm clearly not comfortable. The opposite of the Myers Briggs "J" is "P" - which stands for "perception." A "P" is the more "go with the flow" type of person. One who is comfortable with spontaneity, waiting til the last minute, being flexible and adaptable, not making decisions. A person who doesn't need all the answers and doesn't need to know what's going to happen later, or tomorrow, or next week. Living into this "P" type is like living in a brand new culture. I've seen it from a distance, but it's foreign and I don't quite fit in. I've grown to admire those for whom "P" is innate. I admire their ability to be flexible and easy going - it feels stress free from my typical vantage point. I've tried to be grateful for the opportunity to learn something new, but who am I kidding - this isn't like cracking open a book on a subject never before considered. This is challenging the core of who I am. In the end, I don't think I'll ever be able to claim being a "P." But I can be grateful for the opportunity to experience it, so that I'll know it when I see it in others, and hold them in admiration, understand them better, and continue to learn from them. And I hope I'm just a little bit better for the effort.