4.29.2012

Personality Types and Changing Winds

As a keen observer who misses very little, even while undergoing a depressive and introspective spell, I am forever fascinated by people and how they carry themselves.

Observing how others behave and deducing their inner impetus was probably a part of me that emerged during my childhood. Small, shortish, clueless I looked up at adults intently to see what was going on. It was probably then that I noticed a dissonance between what they do and what they think.

Now as a not-so-short and not-so-clueless adult, I still look at people and how they behave but to make deductions about motives for their actions and behaviors. Let me tell you, most people say one thing and think a completely different one. It's a little depressive to think how unreliable people's sincerity can be.

I've recently been struggling with a value judgement that emerged as a bitter side effect of negative interactions with individuals with MBAs. I am grasping with and meditating on the concept that individuals in MBA programs have an aggressive streak aimed at succeeding. These programs are so competitive to get into that it creates a self-preservation mentality or enhances the innate aggressiveness.

I would feel better if MBA programs would integrate required ethics and interpersonal relationship classes to really round out the program and curtail some of these really nasty personality traits.Tenacity is oftentimes exhibited as narcissism, antagonism, and aggressiveness in the marketplace. I almost made the mistake of blaming the MBA programs, but this is a tendency that's inherent in these types of personalities to begin with.

Why do older people not pick so many fights or are so much less self-centered when conversing than their younger counterparts? They just don't care about all that fluff anymore. And this may be security that's achieved through an entire lifetime of struggle resulting in a higher spot on the food chain. But what about the rest of us?

The crazier people behave with me, the less it seems to faze me. Externally. This is something I've always found a bit shocking about myself, but what comes off as thick skin has come in handy a number of times when interfacing with disrespectful, hysterical people.

This past week I watched the movie Melancholia, by Lars Von Trier, who developed the concept while undergoing therapy for his severe depression. His therapist was of the belief that depressed people have the uncanny ability to remain calm during the direst of situations and heavy pressure, because they already fear for the worst. It's true, I've been there.

During a party last night, discussion emerged around the reason why someone who seems friendly and non-confrontational can be "blessed" or "cursed" with the ability to be accosted by mentally unstable and/or aggressive individuals. Sometimes being preoccupied and introspective will alert people that you're an easy target. Sometimes having an open expression indicates a lack of boundaries and an easy mark. Are any of these statements truly a representation of what's inside of us? How do we make our inside match our outside? Do acting and assertiveness classes help?

What about people who can't stop self-promoting to a comi-tragic extreme? People keep being puzzled by the negative results from their repetitive behaviors. They're blind to the set of conditions they set up leading to those results. Why are we oblivious to these self-created patterns?

Why is individualism a bad thing all of a sudden. If balanced rather than aggressive, like I mentioned in the MBA statement above, individualism can work well. Someone can be a truly productive part of a community without losing self value and potential. We love duality when it comes to right and wrong, God and the Devil, but being able to be a boundaried, strong self while being a part of a larger group seems beyond the reach of many.

Like I said earlier, I'm undergoing a pretty severe depressive and introspective spell. Just when I think it's passing, I get this sort of numbness come over. It's almost like a spiritual disappointment. It makes it easier to see people as someone removed, to really see the facts and not be blinded by ties and emotion. Then again, that's not really being in the moment fully. It can be a good thing, because it's like asking someone else to edit your writing piece because you've been working on it for too long. They see the little bits that need fixing better than you can because they're applying fresh eyes to it.

The good thing is that I am still seeking forward momentum with several initiatives I am applying a lot of energy towards. I sense a lot of untapped possibility rumbling under the surface. I'm hopeful.We'll see what happens.