Monday, January 14, 2013

"you may say I'm a dreamer...."

“Words and thoughts concerning compassionate action that are not put into practice are like beautiful flowers that are colorful but have no fragrance.” ― Thich Nhat Hanh
     Over the span of a decade I have taken and retaken the Myers-Briggs Type Indicator® Assessment or variation of the assessment more than twenty times. It took twenty attempts to determine if I actually had talent or skill. I'm joking. My lack of proficiency in math has always been horrendous but my fourth grade elementary school teacher, Mrs. Taano recognized that I wrote English goodly and occasionally strung sentences together that almost made sense. Not bad for an overly sensitive ten year old whose favorite activity was staring out the window daydreaming. Fondly, Mrs. Taano was the first teacher to praise me for being a good creative writer.
      One morning after a writing assignment she even asked our principal to come to the classroom and hear me recite my essay. The only time we ever saw our principal was when he was dragging a kid down the hall to be lectured or paddled. Yeah, they used to paddle kids. That makes me laugh now. My story unfolded in a beautiful, enchanted wonderland where we lived in harmony romping in fields of daisies, building tree houses or something and the animals spoke to us .... I really don't recall the entire essay because that was a long time ago, back when dinosaurs roamed the earth. Mrs. Taano whispered so sweetly to our principal, " Lisa's story is like a utopia."  
       Our principal smiled weakly and grumbled, " Well, I've got to get back to my office and do some important principal-ly stuff. Nice job, Liz."

        Anyway, you may recall having taken the "educated indicator" assessment yourself at one point in your life. Do the words introvert, extrovert, sensing, judging, thinking and perceiving sound familiar? The indicator is based on the combined research of psychologist Carl Jung and researchers Katherine Cook Briggs and Isabel Myers Briggs. The assessment is used by many colleges, universities and businesses to determine personality traits, suitable careers and how people interact in team building, leadership and conflict management situations within an organization. Certainly, you are not expected to believe you possess every trait in the results but it can be used as a guide to assist many of us who may have difficulty focusing on one meaningful career path. So I have taken this test one thousand times (exaggerated slightly) and every time is the same result:

 INFP An INFP is an Introverted Intuitive Feeling Perceiving personality type. Personally, the reason I've taken or been prescribed the test so many times is because my career choices haven't aligned with my true nature. Professors, career counselors and managers past and present have encouraged me to seriously analyze the description, take it to heart and use it to pursue my "dream" career. Considering an INFP is a "Dreamer-Idealist" I wasn't always sure how to translate the following personality traits into a successful career: "INFP's are introspective, private, creative and highly idealistic individuals that have a constant desire to be on a meaningful path. They are driven by their values and seek peace. Empathetic and compassionate, they want to help others and humanity as a whole. INFPs are imaginative, artistic and often have a talent for language and writing. They can also be described as easygoing, selfless, guarded, adaptable, patient and loyal."

       If you have taken the test, how well do you think the results of your assessment have helped you? Do you think you are in your ideal career? If you could choose any job in the world what would it be? One of my dream careers would be philosophical chocolate inventor/factory owner race car driving theater actor. And that counts as one ideal career by the way. Admittedly, there has always been a lot of "dreamer" in me. How else can I imagine a better world and then do whatever I can to make it reality?

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