I often think about personality types and why they matter. I think about the ways in which we differ and the ways in which we are similar. I also wonder why I wonder about these things. I like to understand people. I try to understand them and I try to make their lives better with that understanding. I think it’s because the more we understand the way that something works, the better we can use that something to our advantage. By that, I don’t mean I try to spend time learning how to manipulate people, in fact it's quite the opposite. Most of my time is spent trying to understand myself so that I can enjoy life more and then trying to help others understand themselves and others so that everyone can get more out of life. I think that the more I understand the way that I work, the better I can work with my own natural instincts. I will give you an example.
I am not a naturally organised person. In fact I am almost consistently leaving things behind. Every single time I go down to visit my family I come home missing something. I do my very best to keep my stuff in one spot and to check everything I need when I leave and nevertheless I still manage to find once I get home that I don’t have everything. It’s a real pain in the ass. I go to a shop and they say, “Do you have a loyalty card?” and I think to myself, “Well, I remember signing up for one, but I can’t remember where I put it”. What good is that?! Again, I’m a pain in my own ass.
That’s one thing I know about me. I forget where stuff is. I forget where I put stuff. I don’t remember things. I remember feelings. I remember music and lyrics and words. But things are just not on my radar. Unless I’m using them right at the moment, they disappear from my consciousness.
From the outset, that can appear absent minded. But far from being stupid or absent minded, I’m actually busy. I’m busy in my head processing things that I have prioritised. Whether consciously or not, I choose to think about things that I find more important than physical objects. I think about people. I think about thinking. I think about people thinking and ways to do that better so we are more happy. Because ultimately, things don’t make people happy. THINKING makes people happy. You can be poor and have next to nothing and still be happy or you can be rich and have all the possessions in the world and still be miserable. But the way that you think about what you have and what you don’t have will be the deciding factor.
Why does any of this matter? Well, in understanding how my brain works, I realise something. I am not stupid. I am not absent minded. I am not actually that disorganised. I can then actually think of something that can overcome my issue of forgetting things. I can use the brains that I do have to come up with a way that someone like me can not forget absolutely everything everyday.
I bought a new handbag. It’s big enough to hold everything I need (including my iPad). It’s sturdy and structured enough to have compartments instead of one big pile of crap in the middle. Now, I worked with the other part of me that I know exists – the disciplined part. I know that if I put my mind to something and decide to do it – whatever it is, I am capable of it, as long as I’m committed to it and I believe in the reason behind it.
Now I literally take my iPad everywhere (and in it my calendar), my iPhone, my wallet (with all my different cards organised into the right sections so I don’t leave anything behind), my sunglasses in a case, (you get the gist). Every single thing I take everywhere has it’s own spot and I am 100% committed to putting things back in their spot every time I use them and I do.
Now I literally never lose my sunglasses. Or my glasses. Or my keys. Or my phone.
This is almost miraculous. Do you know how much time I save by not having to search my house for everything? How much frustration I have just saved myself?
This to an organised person is probably ludicrous. Of course if you do this, this will happen. But to someone who was raised in chaos and had no one to teach them these sorts of methods – this is actually a big deal. I didn’t know that I could be this organised. I was told as a kid that I was disorganised by my teacher in year 5 so I thought it was just the way I was. Like a disease I’d never get rid of. I didn’t know organisation was a learned thing.
But how many other things does this apply to? How many habits do you have that don’t serve you well? How would you even know without thinking about the way that you do things?
This is where my strength lies. I think about these things. So when people talk to me about issues that they’re having or “Why can’t I ever manage to go to the gym?” or “Why can’t I lose weight?” I can ask them a few questions, and I can usually figure out exactly what is in their way. What they are doing, unintentionally, to themselves that is sabotaging their success or actually making their life frustrating. I can usually also find a way around it. Something that uses their own strengths to overcome their own weaknesses and improve the quality of their life.
Not all of them as simple as getting the right handbag and committing to putting things in it. Some as complicated as how to stop drinking or how to recognise an abusive relationship.
Some as complicated as changing their own inner dialogue to stop hating themselves or hating their life.
I guess that’s where my interest in psychology comes in. I am so passionate about improving the lives of people. Or rather, empowering them to improve their own lives.
What would you want to change about yourself or your life if you knew how?