The human spirit – the missing link when scientists analyse and categorise the personality types of man [HUMANITY]

Child Of Our Time

Child Of Our Time and TV programs like it will often show us interesting ways to analyse our psyche. Coming up with tests and questionnaires which will then show us that we are ‘Extravert’ or ‘Agreeable’ or that women get more stressed than men or some other categorisation of our personality.

This is fine to get our brain cogs thinking but for me is nowhere near enough!  In fact because these sort of programs generalise too much and also leave one important fact out, they could be more destructive than helpful.

Generalisation is not the answer

For me, labelling someone ‘Extravert‘, or ‘Agreeable‘ or ‘Neurotic‘ simply doesn’t cut it.  After, years and years of study, we end up with labelling a child as ‘Conscientious‘? or ‘Open‘?  I’d like to think we that we all have some elements of all the above.

Scientific explanations are clearly (to me) not enough

There was a part of a program that documented identical twins.  These identical twins obviously have the same genes and therefore you would think have the same basic characters and persona’s.  The program then focussed on why the two became different or that the differences in their personalities became noticeable as they grew older.

One thing especially made me wonder if the project had totally missed the mark.  It tried to then explain that much of the differences were likely to do with one twin have a slightly more effeminate chin than the other.  Apparently, our brains will make super fast decisions and conclusions in the space of a couple of hundred microseconds and it is theses conclusions that our brain makes which affects how we deal with people.

It (apparently) is this, that meant the twins were treated differently in their growing up, which in turn has created their different characters and personalities.  The program also mentioned things like one child (of triplets) waking up during the night, the child was then brought in to sleep with the mother which has led to this child’s neuroticiscm.

Something massive has been missed

The inherent problem with this sort of analysis is that it does not include something so massive, so huge that it makes a mockery of our attempts to group man and woman into describable types.

I personally do not agree (completely) that our personalities are created from our environment.  Programs like this will tell us that we are what we are because of the way we have lived and been treated especially during our early years growing up.

For me though, there is enough evidence to suggest that there is something else that has been missed which would explain why we (the individual not the human race as a whole) are like we are.

The human spirit or soul

The human spirit is not easy to scientifically box up and put on a rack and then label it under ‘S’.  I believe that is our spirit or soul that makes us who we are way more than our upbringing or our environment.

I think the human spirit is far more complex than simply saying he or she is an ‘agreeable’ personality type or that someone has become what they have become due to their environment.

I would go so far as to say that it is the human soul that makes identical twins different more than a minute difference in their chin structure!

Personality types

Now it might seem strange that I now talk about personality types.  Remember though that this springs from our human soul more so than our environment.

It is nice to be able to look inside and know ourselves, so in this respect finding out that you are more ‘extravert’ than ‘neurotic’ might be a good thing. We need to broaden our labels though and start to discuss how our soul or spirit has made us what we are rather than scientifically putting each of us in a box.

If you are interested in analysing your character, then personality tests like the BBC Personality test are a good place to start.  But they are just that – a start!  you should go further otherwise you might incorrectly call yourself an extravert for the rest of your life when really you are a mixture of extravert and neurotic (for instance).

Broadly speaking we all have the same abilities inside of us which we use to react in certain ways to certain situations.  It is the way we react that makes us ‘agreeable’ or ‘conscientious’.

Carl Jung was one of the first psychologists to define these abilities or functions I think he called them.

These functions are called Sensation, Thinking, Feeling and Intuition and he believed that it is the way we use these that defines us as a certain ‘type’ or personality.  Further, he explained that our personality type depends on whether our emphasis on how we do things is outside us (extraversion) or inside (introversion).

Check out Myers-Briggs Type Indicator for more information on how it works.

But don’t forget that our soul, our human spirit is what makes us who we are!

Changes in personality over the years

This was a confusing one for me.  I have seen first hand that people change over the years, especially over the growing up years, which seems to enforce the idea that our environment and upbringing make us who we are!

So, does our soul really exist and is all this talk I’ve made about our human spirit a load of rubbish?

No, I don’t think so!

Our soul allows us to develop and learn about ourselves, to change the way we react to things over time – or at least over our early years.  As we grow up and mature, the way our personalities develop and the fact that we can make one decision one day and another decision another proves to me that we are far more complex beings than some might have us think.

Finally

Don’t get me wrong, I do think we have certain inherent traits or ways of dealing with and looking at things and it is these traits that make scientists categorise us.

Why have I written all this today? I want to maintain my individuality thanks!

Secretly, I want to find out more about my character though – which is why I’m reading Carl Jung and Myers-Briggs and of course watching programs like ‘Child Or Our Time’.

Comment and “Suggest to friends!”

Thanks!

Jonathan

Future thinking in action – no arms, no legs! [HUMANITY]

Nick Vujicic

Nick is a young man born without arms or legs and yet his story shows how even with this disability you can have a positive outlook in life, you can ‘future think’ by considering others, by, and I quote:  ’not comparing suffering’, unquote.

In previous short articles, I’ve discussed the need to release control of our lives so that we can receive the benefit – that of happiness and peace.

Nick shows that in this short video (see link below).  Watch and weep.

Bye for now

Jonathan

Short video of Nick Vujicic

Letting our lives play out like a movie [HUMANITY]

I’ll start this short article by quoting someone far more knowledgeable than I.  I’m reading a book by Susan Jeffers called Embracing Uncertainty (link).

“You’ve entered the cinema and are very excited about seeing this great movie that has been touted by the media for months and months.  You are happy that none of your friends nor the media have revealed the ending.  In fact, at dinner last night, you stopped someone from blurting it out as you put your hands over your ears and started singing loudly.  It got a laugh and your friend got the point…he didn’t reveal the ending.  You wanted to experience the story yourself.  You didn’t want the movie spoiled.  Think about that. It would spoil the move if you knew the ending.

Wouldn’t it be wonderful if we could think of the story of our lives in that way?”

If you think about it, that quote above is Future Thinking at it’s best.  What it means is that you relinquish control and by relinquishing control, you can start to enjoy your life, to enjoy the thrill of all the exciting things that happen, rather than getting stressed that ones situation isn’t quite how you would like it to be.  You know the feeling? Where you think too much and get stressed too much about things such as trying to earn a few hundred pounds (dollars if you are in the US!) per month.  You work harder, you borrow more and too much of your waking thoughts are spent wondering and working towards getting that extra money so you can afford that better model car or a slightly nicer home to live in.

I’m perhaps twisting Susan Jeffers’ quote a little but to release control of our lives is a little like not knowing the ending of a film.  She’s right when she says that if you knew the ending to a film (or even the beginning and middle too!), then the film wouldn’t carry as much excitement.  Many films of course rely on the uncertainty of what’s going to happen more than others, but what about our lives?  Why don’t we just let things happen a little? Why don’t we forget about trying to see round the next bend and spend more time on how we are going to grow and learn from ‘what’s round the next bend’ instead?

Here’s another example: Perhaps you are single and wouldn’t mind meeting someone who you can be with.  Maybe you are see someone you like the look of at a dinner, a coffee shop, at the leisure centre and so on.  Don’t stress about how you can meet that person and get to know them! They might be with someone for starters! You should relax a little, by all means go and chat or strike up a conversation, but it shouldn’t be about how you can turn that person from a stranger to a close friend.

I personally have been told on many occasions “If it’s going to happen, it will happen”.  This is partly true but there also needs to be some intervention on our parts too.  That cute looking girl or hot looking bloke isn’t going to become a friend if you sit around doing nothing!  What Future Thinking says is that you should be chilled and relaxed about what comes your way, don’t try to ‘make things happen’, don’t try to work out what the end of the film is going to be like.  In the case of relationships, if you went from seeing someone you like the look of to falling in love and getting a home together in the space of a cup of coffee, then life wouldn’t hold any excitement would it?

Trying to control (too much) our lives and the ‘end result’, leads to frustration.  Frustration leads to stress.  Stress, leads to depression.  Depression leads nowhere useful.

Still, as I write this, I can’t help noticing the very cute lady sipping coffee a couple of tables away from me :-)

That’s all for now, chill a little, relinquish control and you will have peace and happiness.

Jonathan

Listening to you inner self, otherwise known as your intuition [HUMANITY]

I’m one of those people who ‘knows’ that I should listen to the ‘inner voice’ or as we often call it, our intuition.  But (you knew there was a ‘but’ didn’t you?), my thoughts and the decisions I make are often clouded by the emotional side of me.

I recently had a fabulous instance of listening to my intuition, to listening to that inner voice nagging at the edge of my consciousness.  I won’t bore you with the details but suffice to say that one part of me was keen (the heart/emotional side of me) and the other was a little voice deep down saying ‘hmmm, I’m not so sure, you should think about it’. I decided to go with my intuition and it just so happened to be the right choice!

This brings me to an interesting point.  The two sides of us speak to us in totally different ways.  The one side speaks to us in images, images of excitement and possibilities perhaps, or images of sadness, negativity and deflation.  The other side speaks to us in thoughts and words and pragmatic comments and I think these thoughts and words are our subconscious brain speaking to us from its wealth of experiences. Experiences of a lifetime.

The emotional/heart side of us is very colourful and understandably takes a large percentage of our current thought processes.  The other side is quietly thinking away, analysing and noting things away in it’s memory.

Both sides to our cognitive behaviour are relevant to how we live our lives,  They are what makes us ‘me’.  They are what makes me ‘Jonathan Burrows’, they are what makes you ‘you’.  Simple!

The importance of the small inner voice, our intuition, comes when we need to problem solve, to make the right decisions in our lives.  This is especially important when it comes to our careers, relationship choices and major life decisions.

There needs to be a balance between the excitable side of us, the part of us that says “Yes, that job sounds fantastic!”, or “Wow she’s cute, I’d like her to be my girlfriend” and so on.  Without this emotional and excitable side of us, we would not be complete human beings and it has a valid place in how we work.  However! Decisions (in my opinion) should not be completely based on this side of our being (or at least, not this side alone).

To make correct decisions we need to use the Future Thinking side of us to enable us to get the best outcomes.  Best outcomes? Those that make us happy, that put smiles on our faces long term not just short term emotional happiness.

Future thinking and listening to our intuition can reap rewards that make us think more highly of ourselves and in our capabilities.  Try and think now of a time when you listened to your inner voice and how you felt about the decision you made when you realised that it was the right decision!  You might want to imagine times when you have listened solely to your heart and then regretted the decisions later.

Finally, I’d like to hear your comments.  I’m not an expert but someone who has thoughts like these and is trying to work out who I am and what I am capable of.  Please respond with your ideas and thoughts to if you have them :-)

Kind regards

Jonathan

Future Thinking – Helps to heal sadness, break out of restricted thinking and put a smile on our face! [HUMANITY]

A brief meaning of ‘Future Thinking’

Future thinking is about thinking outside of our ‘box’.  It’s about thinking wider than we currently are, of taking off the blinkers and looking at other options.

Future thinking asks open questions like ‘what if..’ as opposed to ‘I can’t…’

Future thinking is about the near future (changing present thoughts to change present circumstances) and also about the mid and long term future (doing things now that will impact on how our lives unfold in the long term).

Read this section again! :-)  I’m sure you can put your own sentiments into what I’ve just said ;-)

Heal sadness

I’m no doctor of psychology or an expert in mental health but I can’t help but think that if, when we are down or suffering from depression, we were to ‘future think’, then our lives would suddenly take a turn for the better :-)

I say this from personal experience.  I’ve suffered from depression in the past and sometimes feel that it could strike me any time!

I think depression is a little like alcoholism because I think it is in some people a ‘potential’ thing that could happen in an individuals life.

Having said that, from my experience, when I’m future thinking, things are ‘looking good’ or when I have options in my life; suddenly there is a smile on my face and I’m feeling confident about my future and about my life in general again.

Future thinking forces us to think away from our current ‘sad’ thoughts and on to other more positive thoughts.  It doesn’t guarantee that things are going to change for the better, but it does do something to lift ones spirit.

It’s difficult to do on your own though! Seek the companionship of a positive, understanding  friend.

Break out of restricted thinking

When we are down or things are going badly for us (for whatever reason), our thoughts tend to be focussed on the here and now and the immediate ‘narrow’ future.

Now, before you have a go at me, there are obviously times and places in our lives when for periods of time, we cannot help but be in this sad narrow place.  For instance, bereavement, sickness, separation and so on.

However, there are times when we feel down or are restricted in our thinking for no good reason. We tell ourselves that things are bad for us because ‘our car keeps breaking down’ or ‘I can’t find a partner’ or ‘nothing seems to go right for me’.

In these times, we should break out of this restricted thinking by ‘Future Thinking’.  When we future think, we break out of the restricted zone we were in and start to see possibilities in our lives.  When we see possibilities in our lives, then things start to look good again and we start to take action to make those good things happen!

What can you do to future think? Start by asking yourself open questions like ‘”How can I…” as opposed to closed statements like “I can’t…” or “My life is so bad…”

Puts a smile on our faces

Future thinking puts smiles on people’s faces! Can you imagine this situation for instance:

Ok, so you are feeling sorry for yourself because you don’t have the money to afford a car.  You are pretty fed up with this because all your friends do and are always going on about how they are off at the weekend with their boyfriend or seeing relatives who live miles away.  You can’t do this – how sad!

Well, start future thinking for a moment. Remember, future thinking is not necessarily about the future but about ‘other options’ or thinking wider and outside our little space we find our selves in.

So, you don’t have a car! Walking (or even taking public transport everywhere) does several things for you.  It gives you time to think.  When you are walking to work or to friends or relatives, next time use that time to think about possibilities, follow those possibilities down lines of what could happen if you made a little change in your life now.

It’s at these times when you can start to realise that maybe your situation isn’t so bad after all.  It’s at these times when you perhaps think that you only wanted a car because your friends do!

I find this works really well if you take a long walk (say an hour or more).

Finally

Once again, I’ll say I’m not an expert, these are just my personal ramblings which I ‘believe’ to be true.  Feel free to message me with your own thoughts and experiences on this subject.

Start future thinking now!