Saturday, September 30, 2017

Our 'True Colors' Lie

Personality tests...

We've all taken them. From "which Star Wars character am I," to more dignified ones like the Meyer's Briggs test.

Recently, I had to take, in a group setting, a personality test called, "True Colors." If anyone has taken this test, you know that there are 4 colors. Gold, Green, Blue, and Orange make up the outcome of this test. I enjoyed the workshop, the person who was doing the training was knowledgeable, fair, and had a good sense of humor.

However, as I was sitting in my tiny group of 2 other people who scored the same on the test as I did, I couldn't help but notice how easy it is to feel separate from everyone else in the room.  This separation is a reality, but I think that it is a very sketchy road that often leads to ego.

It's no secret that I have always felt different from most of society. It has been a real struggle at times to try and understand why people do what they do. I have had a terrible time trying to respect traditions that most people hold dear. Weddings, funerals, baptisms, girls night, college fraternities, groups of any kind, patriotism, sports team loyalties... it's all sort of lost on me.

The paradox is that I know we are all 'One' with each other. We are all sharing a planet, air, we all die, we were all born, and yet, we have been trained to be competitive instead of cooperative, individuals instead of brothers, and we find solace in our own ego's need to separate itself and we label it "self confidence." It is an attribute instead of a handicap to be self-confident. It is a notable quality to be self-reliant instead of cooperative. It is sought after to be a king instead of serving the people. We love autonomy and despise collective co-ops.

We see the news and feel empathy for English speaking countries and view anyone who we can't understand as numbers and say, "Oh isn't that a tragedy what's happening over in 'name a country with non-english speaking people' wow, thousands of people died in that earthquake yesterday, so sad...." Yet it's all on the surface, our words are like paint on a brick wall. We still know it's a brick wall, the material we have covered in paint is still the same texture and still segmented bricks held together with concrete mortar.

This is the truth. As hard as it is to admit it, we all know that this is how we are.  On a micro level, we continue this distortion of our true Selves by seeking to "know thyself" by taking various personality tests.  The objective of the particular test I took at work the other day, True Colors, was to see how to relate to others and how to navigate a better sense of communication with our work culture in its various personalities that make up the company and it's implementation of ideals.

However, for the days following this True Colors workshop, I overheard so many people claiming their color as an excuse for being demanding, rude, or stupidly neurotic over things.

"The way you said such and such really hurt my feelings, and as you know, I'm a Blue, so I feel more than you do."

My knee jerk reaction, which I didn't react with but wanted to was, "Well, I'm a Green and I don't care about holding your hand through this project... so walk it out."

I didn't say that. I wanted to. Badly. However, I realized that both of our ego's were searching for ways to communicate and falling short of our goal, or worse- we didn't even understand what the goal was in the first place.

Knowing and understanding what I learned about the various personalities of my department at work, I am definitely the minority. So... it is up to me to meet half way no matter how unimportant or trivial I feel their emotional status is with a project being done. I'm out done, out voted, and because I want the project to run smoothly, I must check my individuality at the door and rely solely on my strengths in the execution of what I'm bringing to the project. Nothing more, nothing less.

Objectivity has always been my super hero power. Compartmentalization is my sidekick. When I lose either one of those superhero powers, I'm working out of ego, anger, and confusion.

A long time ago I read a book by Thich Nhat Hanh, called, "Living Buddha, Living Christ." I urge anyone of any faith to read this book because it's not about religion as much as it is about Understanding.  There's a chapter in the book that speaks to the issue of the Somalian pirates that wreak havoc and destroy lives, rape, kill, and steal the resources of their raided areas. The writer, a Buddhist monk, states that it is easy to hate them and feel empathy for the victims.  However, this is not the way of the Christ nor the Buddha. He then goes on to say how the people get so low that they are basically forced into being a pirate because if they don't, their entire family will be killed, or starve, or their small village will suffer just because of their decision to NOT participate in the pirate's raiding.  None of them want to be in that position, but generation after generation, it becomes, "the way it is," and they have learned to embrace this life style as the only means for survival. Not their own survival but their entire village, their parents, children, grandparents, etc...

The victims of their raid were those areas that held out or where helped with International aid and after the nice white people left, the pirates show up and the fragile security of resources they have managed to gain is lost within months of the missionaries or foreign aid services leaving the area. They may be located only 30 miles from the village that raised the pirate that is now slaughtering them for their goods, but because the area that the raiders live is "beyond fixing," the missionaries never showed up, the foreign aid never came. Then the ones who are left over in the now-raided city try to receive help from the foreign aid personnel that spent a year there.  The aid never comes back. The help never returns. So it's one of two options available at this point... join the pirate raiders or die.  
And on and on it goes until there's nothing left to raid except more developed societies further away. So they go there, and that is the end of them. What was it all for? To survive another day, to ensure the survival of their family or village one more dreadful day until it's over.  So... some of the victims become the raiders, some of the raiders become the victims, and all of them in the end are lost and forgotten.   This sort of objectivity of seemingly black and white circumstances is essential for understanding the larger issue that was caustic of all of it on both sides.  Separation.

"WE are this way, YOU are that way. There is one of you, ten of us and we win. We have this, you don't, we don't care because you are not us." We all die in the end, we all need each other in the interim so that we can die without being alone, hopeless, and broken in spirit. The cycle of "that's just the way I am," must stop if we ever want to live in a world without violence, terrorist groups, elite fascism, corruption, gangs, rape, starvation, suicide, senseless death caused by a lack of a common medication.  You must understand those that you don't understand if you want to change your world because you are just as vulnerable to the status of the people you resist understanding.

Lastly, how this relates to my introspective view of the personality test I had to take at work was profoundly important and yet, so, so, so simple.

The function of the whole was impossible without the four groups of specific personality types. If one of those four groups of people were missing from any level of that organization, the organization would cease to function. If there were only Green people (like me), you'd have a bunch of people analysing everything in their own head, and building an empire that nobody would appreciate when it was completed other than fellow Green people who would merely nod their head in approval and say, "Very clever. I like it. If you'll notice though, in my design I've incorporated what you've done and also added this or that...I'll call you in 6 weeks when it's finished and we can review our inventions and also I have a theory about why light seems to travel through the longitude regions of space on a vector curve..."  

If it were only Blue types, it would be, "I just feel like eating ice cream today and watching movies. Anyone with me? Oh I just love romantic stories.. true love, ahhh, what a wonderful thing. Tell me about your first love.... we can work on this project too, but I really want to just talk to someone today... give me a hug.... Are you okay? Are you mad at me for interrupting? Are you sure? I sense that you are? Are we still close? I'm sorry if I've ever offended you, come on' let's hug it out... "

If there were only Gold types... "I can't find the policy book or instruction manual to this project. Who is in charge here? I say that we just find the policy and procedures book and go from there. I will not factor in anything other than what has been canonized in the rules and regulations. Don't be late tomorrow or we will have to skip lunch and I have low blood sugar so it is imperative that we get the food ordered for the month just to be sure that if someone is late for some reason, then we can still eat while we work. We will wait for our orders from the boss and follow it to the letter no matter if it works or doesn't work, because that is how we do things here."

If there were only Orange types... "I will bet you that I will finish this project before you. Let's race! Who wants to drink on the job? Screw it, let's do it, nobody will know. Even if they do find out, who cares. They will get over it. Oh look, Game of Thrones is on tv. Let's start after the show. Pass me the key to the vending machine. What?! They didn't leave us food and I'm not paying for anything out of my own pocket. They left the key for the machine and there's a KitKat in there with my freakin' name on it. This job is stupid. Ugh. I'm so bored already."

If all of these groups were together, working in unison, the project would be well thought out, inventive, marketed and packaged to the correct client base, and it would be fun to see how fast it could be done and how effective it would be at solving the overarching need/lack.

Each one of these on their own are borderline psychotic at worst and at best a "hot mess."

We must understand that we ARE our "brother's keepers." We are not an island. There are always at minimum, two sides to each argument but at maximum there are infinite sides which all equal "Us."

Go within to know thyself. Uncover what you have been taught by teachers, religion, media, social peer groups, the education system and ask the small voice within to speak louder. What are your guiding ideals as a person? Is it Love, Truth, Knowledge, Unity, Service....? What drives you to be better? Who do you admire as the ultimate expression of what you hold dear? What is it about that person that you value more than other people? Start there. Find that principle. Do the work to understand how that principle works in a real life, day to day navigation through your life.

Then find out what stops you from living that ideal. What principle is "in the way" of that awe inspiring principle you hold so dear? Find the relationship between those two seemingly "conflicting" ideals and then ask yourself how you can resolve that. Maybe you need to redefine the principle for yourself. Maybe you need to understand one more than the other so you know where and why you have it in your mind. Whatever and however you understand yourself better, your life and therefore your world will be better for it. There is nothing more productive that you can do than to understand what drives you on a very deep subconscious level. It will be the key that unlocks your transformation in becoming the soul you were born to be. If we all do this, we change the world into something consciously directed instead of secretly manipulated by the ego of mankind.

Look up, Look in, and don't be stupid.

Written by,
Melodee L. Lenz

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