Future Thinking – What is it?

Future Thinking is a phrase I coined years ago. I came up with the phrase when I simply got fed up with people talking ‘positive’. I wanted something more meaningful than positive. ‘Being positive’ is often seen as a lame, limp and shallow phrase. I think this is because people who are positive in the ‘being positive’ sense of the word are often short term optimists, they are often positive for no apparent reason. They just come across as optimistic; positive without cause.

Don’t get me wrong, I’m what a lot of people call a positive person and I always try and look at the positive side to a given situation or problem. However, for me, ‘being positive‘ is something that happens ‘in the moment’ and not something that lasts. It’s not something that decisions affecting our futures are made of.

So, Future Thinking sprang from a desire to be more than just positive. I wanted to have a way of describing life choices with future consequences in mind and not just life choices that affect the moment. For me this meant that while I was ‘thinking’ about the future consequences of my actions, it didn’t necessarily mean that I was positive 100% all of the time. Sometimes looking at the negative aspect can provide you with insightful information to help make your ‘future thinking’ decisions!

How does Future Thinking work in practise? I use the following methods:

Look six months back

It probably seems a little weird to talk about Future Thinking by first talking about the past. However, there is a very good reason for this. I like to analyse decisions I’ve made by first looking to see if the desired affect has actually happened. In other words, I look six months into the past, remind myself of where I was (relating to a certain situation i.e. job) and see where I am now, also relating to the certain situation.

If things have improved to my liking, then I tell myself that the decision I made six months ago was a good one and that perhaps I should carry on doing what I’m doing for the next six months too!

Look six months forward

So, I know where I’ve come from. Now I ask myself where I would like to be in six months for a given situation (again, could be a job or something else) and I make decisions based on this thinking.  Now, you could say, I’m ‘Future Thinking’ at this stage and you would be right. The thing about Future Thinking and the difference between just being positive is that you can apply this ‘look six months’ forward style of thinking at any time and for, well, anything!

Future Thinking can apply to the single moments in our lives too

Every decision we make affects (or can do) our futures. Examples:

Example 1

You are a self employed property developer. You see the guy who owns the big property corporation in your city while at a party. Do you go talk to him? Just an introductory conversation at first?

If you do, maybe it will lead to more conversations in the future. Maybe (or maybe not) it will lead to working with his company in the future.

You wander over and just as you get near he turns with a smile on his face and you have a brief chat after which he takes your business card.

You feel satisfied that you did the right thing and months down the line you see him again and start to solidify the relationship and talk about upcoming projects.

Example 2

You are a teacher and love working with young children. However, right now you are working with teenagers and you find it tough and stressful.

You are at a teaching conference with some colleagues. They head to areas of the conference that interest them (teenage teaching) but you see a big sign saying:

"Primary school teaching, new exciting opportunity - coming to your area soon!"

You think about whether you should leave your friends for a while to find out what the sign is all about.

You don’t because peer pressure draws you away. For a long time afterwards you regret not investigating that sign.

Final thoughts

Being positive or optimistic will not bring towards you the things you want. You have to take action. You have to make decisions. Sometimes they are uncomfortable and fear stops you doing the right thing.

Looking six months forward takes you out of the moment and the necessity to be ‘positive’ and into something altogether different – Future Thinking.

Finding and holding onto your WHY

Earlier this week I had the privilege and pleasure of listening and then chatting with a young man called Matthew Ahmet. He’s 26 but with the attitude and sense of well being that you often don’t see in men and women until they are much older.

His story is fabulous and captivating but I couldn’t help thinking that he believes everyone can reach the same point he has. Like many writers and speakers and successful people I have met, they often tell you that they are nothing special, and that what they have achieved can be done by anyone.

I suppose I should explain a little about him before you all go off searching Google for him before you’ve finished reading! Matthew saw the Shaolin Monks performing in the Shaolin Wheel Of Life. He was 11. Shaolin seems to be the original founding place for all things Kung Fu and indeed martial arts in general (don’t quote me!).

Anyway, he decided right there and then that he wanted to go to China and go through the training to become a Shaolin monk. I won’t go into the details here but suffice to say he succeeded and now is a Shaolin warrior and teacher.

What came across as he spoke and as we chatted afterwards was the calm intensity (is that even possible?) of the man. He absolutely knew who he was, the path he was on and the goals he was moving towards. There was no doubt whatsoever in his mind. None.

Something that kept coming up was finding the WHY (your reason, your dream, your desire, your goals). The WHY that makes you put yourself through 4 very hard years of physical and mental hurt to become a Shaolin monk. Because that’s what he wanted down to the core of his being. There was no room for anything else. The decision was made back when he was 11. He had found his WHY. He wanted to be a Shaolin monk.

I suggested to him that one of the problems of modern life is distractions. He excitedly agreed and told me how he makes sure that distractions such as emails, texts and social media are not an ever present part of his life. Most of us today carry around a mobile smartphone, we have texts, Facebook, Twitter, emails coming through to our lives all day. We also have other distractions such as work and the way we organise our social life.

Why do I mention distractions? Distractions can be enough to side track you each day just a little bit from your WHY. Until at some point down the road you suddenly find that life seems harder than before, you don’t have quite the same excitement that you used to have for doing the things that help you reach your goals (your WHY).

Imagine a ship is setting course from the UK to New York and it’s 3,500 miles. The captain sets his course 1 degree out! Where will he end up? Now I’m not a naval person or even a pilot of an airplane but if every mile you travelled you were 100 feet off course that would amount to some way off your destination point (probably 50, 60, 70 miles!).

This is what distractions do to us. Assuming you have some sort of goals and WHY in the first place, distractions can be the little day to day things that mean you don’t attain what you wanted and start to feel deflated and down.

Back to Matthew Ahmet. He suggests that we need to:

1) Find and hold on to our WHY, and to

2) Avoid distractions in our lives.

How you do that is up to you of course. Each of us have different reasons for doing. Different goals we want to reach and different distractions as well.

One helpful hint Matthew recommended was to spend some time thinking and considering, and then write a list. He writes a list every day of his goals both long term and goals for that day. This I can see helps keep him focussed on the destination (his WHY) and keeps him exactly on course (not one degree off!).

What are you going to do about it? Whatever it is, do it now :-)





Don’t let your down times depict your life’s direction

When you’re down

When you’re down, that can be the hardest time to stop and consider your actions.  When you’re down, you are often emotionally susceptible too. When you’re down, your inclination towards decisions can be negative.  When you’re down, listening to advice and making positive steps to make things better can be almost alien.

In other words, Future Thinking is difficult to do!


Composure is a challenge to you when you are low or depressed. Perhaps you get stressed or highly nervous? Keeping your composure is essential to making correct long term (future thinking) decisions.  When you are down, try and remind yourself of just one thing:

Don't let your down times depict your life's direction

I know many people, many friends present and past who, when they are down, make life changing decisions. In response to situations where they fail, or they just hit a down day, they decide things like:

I'm not going to do that again!


Why should I bother? I'm just not going to try any more!

If only we could keep our composure when we are down, we wouldn’t make stupid decisions! I know, I know, it’s easier said than done!  But once again, try and think of:

Don't let your down times depict your life's direction

Perhaps, you should make up a little card (say post card sized) and leave it in a place where you will see it every day to remind yourself?

Don't let your down times depict your life's direction

Why bother?

Why should you bother going to the effort? Well, if only you knew the fantastic things that can come your way if you overcome your propensity towards bad decisions when you are emotionally down. Maybe you are asking something like “How do you know they are bad decisions?”. I’ve been there. Many times. That’s how I know! Believe me, making life changing decisions or in fact any decision that could be regarded as negative is bad for you, bad for your future.

The other side of the coin

I’ve seen the other side. I have seen the incredibly positive affects that not making life decisions when depressed can have.  So okay it’s tricky to make positive steps, or positive decisions when emotionally hurt. I admit that. But you have the power to not make poor decisions when you are feeling low. You do have it in you. And if you can do this much, then you are a big leap forward to making more of your life. Of reaching your goals.


When low, depressed or feeling down, just remind yourself of this topic, this very important edict (make it a law in your mind) to not make poor decisions during bad times. Never forget that everyone suffers with their low days, even the greats of our world. The great sportsmen and women, the highly intellectual minds who solve mysteries of the universe. And also the successful business men and women all have their bad moments.  I think that one trait these people have is not to make bad ‘Future Thinking‘ decisions for their lives. They keep going and keep going some more.

Try it and you’ll see the huge benefits!

Take care,


When 1,000 criticisms bounce off my skin but one man’s belief in me makes me cry

My inner belief

I’ve built up a core belief inside me over the years. Most of it over the last 12-18 months but nevertheless a belief that allows me to be strong despite any criticisms or ‘flaming arrows’.  It is this belief that helps me be strong in the face of adversity or strong when I don’t feel very strong at all!

When I was going through a ‘tough time’ in my life, I suffered from depression and really didn’t feel like even leaving the house! All that has changed thankfully.  Now I go out each day with this core thing inside me which just won’t go away – my belief that I’m on the right track and that I will become what I want to become.

One man’s belief in me makes me cry

However, someone I have known for years now, who has helped me in the past and who has guided me; made me cry and brought me low!

He seems in a low place himself right now and so when he wrote:

“I have only one thing left now and that is belief in you for all these years”

It made me cry….

So, how did I react?

After my little choking up episode, I went for a walk and that belief that has made me strong came flooding in. Now, I more and more want to succeed on my chosen path simply to show this person that their faith in me WAS worth it!

What an amazing and powerful thing ‘belief’ is.

Go get some yourself. I think they sell it at your local supermarket, pub, workplace, websites etc ad infinitum….

Take care and believe in yourself.

Everything’s gonna be alright

I start each day drinking coffee looking out over Plymouth’s historic Hoe – All weathers! I’m self-employed where most of my work comes from property management in the student market of Plymouth. I  still do quite a bit of work in the IT and web fields (building websites and doing IT work for businessmen involved in property) as well.

But my, how things change! As I write I’m sat in a a nice office in the centre of Plymouth which I share with the landlord. About 15 months ago I was an employee working more hours than I was paid for and if I’m honest, not much in the way of prospects. Then, along with a few others I was made redundant.

Sad times! Not really. I had a deep conviction that everything was going to be alright. I can’t explain why I felt that way. After all, when I was given the news I had no job to go to, no work as a self employed person to go to and no savings to rely upon to get me through. I also had no transport to get myself out and about but I just knew it was going to be okay.  Perhaps this is what ‘belief’ really is? I’ve read a lot of ‘positive thinking’ (I prefer ‘future thinking‘) books in my time and much of what is said in them comes down to that one word: belief. Without a conviction that ‘everything’s gonna be alright’, how can we even take one step towards our goals?

So anyway, I had this conviction and I guess it is this that enabled me to move on. I didn’t know where I was going but I knew it was for better things and a better life. So I went from being an IT & Web Analyst to a Property Manager! I won’t bore you with the details (message me on Facebook if you REALLY want to know!) but now things are very different. I’m happier than I have ever been. I have more freedom than I ever had. All because of that inner conviction that cannot be explained, only felt.

You’ve probably seen successful people on TV or perhaps you know one or two. I bet there is something about them that makes you ask:

“How on earth are they successful? They can’t even … <fill in your own thoughts here>!”.

Well, maybe it is belief that is the difference? They may not even know it but they all have this conviction inside. No self doubts about their goals or future exist for them.

That’s not to say there are no self doubts ‘at all’. There are. Every day they are faced with issues that challenge their belief but they carry on knowing that ‘everything’s gonna be alright’.

Why not try it yourself? Perhaps you can force or trick yourself into believing. Believing that things are going to be okay.

Just have a little faith that the Universe is a thing of growth. It is not a thing of decay. Start believing that despite what we hear in the media (and ‘expert’ friends!) that you have an opportunity to grow wherever you are right now. Stop believing that things are getting worse but in fact they are getting better! It seems to be working for me.

I’d be happy to chat about this topic if anyone wants to. I’m not claiming to be an expert but just a lot of thoughts and observations! Speak to you soon.

Leaning against my window – Chapter 1

Some time ago

I lean against my open bedroom window looking at the buildings, the lit street lights and parked cars. Nothing moves. All is still.

There are a few lights on in the houses, suggesting life of some sort. But no other signs. I question the unseen souls. Would you miss me if I left the world right now?

A moth flutters into my field of view disturbing my thoughts. Then a cat screeches at an unseen foe. A light flickers at a window, perhaps a TV being watched by its owners? Clothing waves on a washing line with the warm breeze.

Okay, so there is life out there, it is not all still. Now that I look carefully, I can see that I was wrong. I sigh to myself and, finally, after a terrible day, a small smile reaches my lips.

It’s not there for long because I recall what has befallen me. Befallen my soul. I want to make the decision I know I will regret. The anger boils up inside me and then quickly subsides, only to be replaced by a tearful sadness. A sadness I have not experienced before. Then the confusion takes over. Consternation takes over the ageing features of my middle-aged face.

I take another look out of my room, looking for answers somehow. None come. Not yet anyway.

I’m briefly reminded by a seagull call of where I live . Which in turn reminds me of the closeness of and greatness of the ocean, the vastness of the seas and then the unfathomable depths of the universe.

Can there really be a better way to live life I wonder? Right now, I wish it to end. I tell myself I cannot take any more. I squeeze strongly on the window sill as if to give my thoughts strength, credence and truth.

But it’s no good, a thought slips unseen, unwanted actually, into my troubled brain. A thought that could turn the tide of my emotions. But no, I’m full of negative emotions and will not let a positive thought take hold, especially not that one.

I remove my shirt to allow the warm, summer breezes to wash over my skin. I sigh and then breathe deeply. It hits me then that I’m starting to relax, but I push it away again, this time, deliberately allowing the sadness and tears to well up again inside me.

A bigger movement catches my eye. A youth with hood up over his head, rucksack on his back walks out into the cobbled lane a hundred feet away. His head is down but I stop breathing, not wishing for him to see me stood at my window. I think to myself that he’s probably up to no good but as he comes closer I can hear the sob of tears flowing, his emotions appearing to mirror my own.

The youth stops in the middle of the street, and looks up to the skies, anguish on his face and a mournful cry on his tongue.

“That’s my lot world,” he shouts, “that’s my life!”, he cries. With that, he falls to his knees, reaches inside his jacket and pulls out a gun. And with obvious intent places it against his head.

“Nooooooo!!!!”, I desperately call out, and before I can stop it, the thought that has been itching at the outskirts of my brain leaps into life, “Don’t make life changing decisions when you’re emotionally down or charged!”

I stopped and heard myself as if someone else had spoken. Shocked that I had spoken aloud the nagging idea inside me. My thoughts ran freely, running over each other with their desperate need to be heard. And then I stopped breathing as it dawned on me what a fool I had been.

I looked down at the youth who was staring at me aghast, his gun now lying on the floor forgotten, arms limp by his sides.

“W w what?”, the youth asked.

Then, as much to myself as the youth, I repeated, “Don’t make life changing decisions when you are emotionally down or charged.”

The end.



Related post:

(Don’t let your down times depict your life’s direction)


Free Anti-virus and Anti-malware programs and other stuff

Free Anti-virus and Anti-malware programs and other stuff

Just thought I’d post up here two or three links to some useful programs that will help keep your PC clear of virus related issues.

1. Make sure that your Windows firewall is active (I’m presuming you are using Windows here, apologies if you are not)

2. Make sure your router is properly password protected (see your manufacturers manual for details). The main thing here is to ensure that your routers’ wireless security is on and that the admin password is changed from the default.


There are a few but here are probably the most popular (my current favourite is Avast)

4. Avast Free Anti-virus is not too memory hungry or indeed processor hungry.  In other words it won’t slow your computer down too much!  You can get it here: Avast Free.

5. AVG Free Edition is an old favourite with a lot of people. My personal opinion is that while it still does the job it can be a bit ‘heavier’ (slows the computer down) than other programs such as Avast.  You can get AVG Free here.

It is my opinion that the paid for versions do not find more viruses than the free version.  Both will detect known viruses and deal with them.  The paid for version might however include an enhanced firewall to replace Windows firewall.


Many anti-virus programs don’t go quite far enough.  There are programs out there (called malware) which often aren’t seen as viruses.  So you need a program that can scout these out too.  Malwarebytes is one such program and it has got me and friends out of trouble quite a few times!  Download Malwarebytes here.

Any questions on this short post? Try asking me from the contact page.


There’s Power In What We Say

Real Power

There is real power in what we say.  What we say, has an astonishing and sometimes sad affect on our and others’ lives.  By the way, when I talk about the power of what we say, this also includes what we say in writing (such as in text messages, emails, comments and messages on social networking sites etc.). Here’s a couple of examples:

A Sad Example

Young people are more susceptible to the power of words than adults.  So susceptible that from time to time you hear of young people killing themselves through the stress of bullying.  Sometimes this bullying is just verbal and not physical!  You’ve heard it yourself in the news where young people commit suicide and you wonder why.  Then you read the article and find that the youngster had received abusive or threatening messages by text or through some sort of online social networking site.

There was one young girl recently who killed herself by jumping under a train.  I’m not going to relate the full story here, you can go to Google and find many such stories and all of them have the same underlying theme.

  1. There was a certain amount of torment from others in their lives – The Power In What We Say
  2. The decision to take their lives was ‘uncharacteristic’ – The young person’s emotions were affected enough to take drastic action

Changing Just A Little

I’ve mentioned this elsewhere but it is worth mentioning again: Change the words around in what you were about to say about yourself (or someone else) and the difference is amazing! You can easily turn a soul destroying, negative and hopeless comment into one that has possibilities, that can inspire someone (you?) to build up and inspire hope for the future.

As you know, much of what I write is about ‘Future Thinking‘.  Future Thinking is about thinking positive yes, but it goes further than that. I would also say that Future Thinking is a more realistic approach, a more practical (future thinking) approach to yours and others’ future.  Future Thinking asks you to be positive if you can, but also asks you to think about the affect on the future (of a given situation) in your actions and words.

So, back to changing the words you say and write to say something completely different with Future Thinking in mind.

This YouTube video illustrates not just the Power of Words but in the way we phrase them. It’s just over a minute long so watch it now:

Changing Our Lives Through The Power Of Words

Start considering what you say to yourself as well as to others. When you talk to yourself, you can hear it! It doesn’t have to be out loud for your subconscious to take on board what you are saying!  When you change what you are saying, it would be better to say it out loud as I believe there is more power in what you say than in what you say ‘in your head’.

I bet you’ve heard this sort of conversation loads of times:

Person 1 – “I’ll never get a second interview for that job”

Person 2 – “How come?”

Person 1 – “I reckon I’m too young” (or old, or something else)

Person 2 – “You’re probably right”

Well person 2 is probably right! If person 1 thinks and says that, then they probably are right!  If person 1 does get an interview, she/he will be surprised and will quite possibly the wrong mindset when going in to the interview.  One of (“What am I doing here, they will never choose me” etc..)

Why not think first and then say something like:

Person 1 “Hmm I wonder if I’ll get a second interview for that job?”

Person 2 “You have the skills”

Person 1 “Yeah, I’m young and full of energy” (or: “I’m experienced and have great composure”)

Person 2 “Then if the company want someone like you, you have a great chance”

Person 1 “Yeah, I do don’t I!”

Of course, the situation hasn’t changed (yet) but what if person 1 was asked back for another interview? Then person 1 is likely thinking “Ah they DO want someone young like me!”.  Immediately, they will have a positive attitude when going for that second interview and will no doubt be thinking how they can influence the interviewer to consider them for the job!  Consequently the situation is more likely to end up favourable than if they had in their minds that they were too young (or old)!

Person 2 in the above example also changed what they were saying.  If person 1 does get a second interview, then person 1 will have a much better attitude at the second interview and may even get the job because of it!

Here’s a challenge

Change what you say and think with Future Thinking in mind and see how you feel in a week or a months time.  Future Thinking like this will allow us to think realistically but positively too. It can seem hard though I understand that.  It seems that all to often our natural inclination is to be negative and you will find yourself catching what you say.  This is ok, If you notice what you say is wrong, then you are on the right track to permanently changing what you say with amazing results.


  1. Pause before speaking – Consider other things to say!
  2. Speak slower – give your mind a chance to catch up!
  3. Check out “Look 6 months back and 6 months forward [Future Thinking]” for a bigger picture of how you can think in this way
Thanks for reading and by all means contact me to ask a question or to contribute your own ideas.  Please ‘Like’ the Future Thinking Facebook Page also.
Take care,

The more I know, the less I seem to know! [FUTURE THINKING]

Huh?  Come on, think about it!

….I’m waiting….

Thought about it?  Here it is again:

“The more I know, the less I seem to know”

“Jonathan”, I hear you say, “what on earth on you on about?”

Well, as you know many of my blog posts are about self improvement, personalities, life, the universe and everything (sorry, couldn’t resist a little Hitchhikers Guide) and so the phrase above relates to this.  More specifically it relates to a topic I’ve discussed before ‘Future Thinking‘.

How does ‘The more I know, the less I seem to know’ help with ‘Future Thinking’?  Give me five minutes to explain.

I think it is fair to say that if you are an open minded individual, one who has a good attitude in life, one who is not obnoxious and full of self importance; then you will be a more rounded and happy person.  You will be someone who takes life as it comes and doesn’t get too upset when things don’t always go to plan.  Likewise, to be a ‘Future Thinker’ you need to be aware of surroundings, you need to be doing and thinking about things now so that your future is better (later).  With me so far?  Read that paragraph again if not.  Go on, do it!

“The more I know, the less I seem to know”

Brief history (early I.T. years)

I’m going to give you a brief  history of part of my life to help explain the sentence above. I coined this phrase many years ago just a few years after I had changed career from one that was predominantly retail to one in I.T. (computers and stuff).

Around 1993/1994 my uncle presented me with my first computer! You could not believe my joy when I saw the box sitting there on the table waiting for me to take it out and plug it in!  So, opening the box I was a little dismayed to see a lot of incomprehensible separate pieces of what I assumed at the time were ‘My computer’ (you like that joke? ‘My Computer’? Yeah? Ah, never mind).  Anyway, I turned to my uncle with a questioning look on my face.  The answer was that this was my computer but that I had to put it together first!

Well, after several hours of blood, sweat and tears (well, sweat and tears anyway) I managed with my uncle’s help to get a working Windows 3 PC up and running!  I was over the moon!  It was a glorious moment!

Side note

I have always felt that sometimes we learn best when we have to fix something.  And believe me, we had a lot to fix in that first computer!

Brief history (early I.T. years) continued

Anyway, I started to get good at computers and operating systems and software etc.  I did a course or two and after a while felt that I was probably one of the best around, and certainly one of the best in amongst the people I knew. A little bit of obnoxiousness had started to creep in.

Brief history (eye opening)

So I thought I was good enough now to get a job in computing and I did! But very soon I began to realise that there was more and more to learn in I.T. and computing than the stuff I knew about the ‘personal computer’.  I was now working in a large company and I was now supporting many customers with their business, mission critical computers, networks, databases and so on!  I was overawed by what I had to learn but felt I could do it.

Brief history (eye opening part two)

From that first job in I.T. I took another job and once again I had to go up another gear and it was about that time when I coined the phrase “The more I know, the less I seem to know”.

I now realised with embarrassed humility that I knew relatively little about my chosen profession and that’s how the expression came about.

Putting the expression to good use

Really, the more I know, the less I really do seem to know!  I have spent the last fifteen years learning various aspects of I.T. and computing and some might say I’m pretty good at it, but even now I still hold true to that phrase, that expression.  But what use is it?  Surely it could make you give up with an exclamation of ‘what is the point in carrying on?’.

No. If you have a positive attitude in life, then great, but this can lead to an obnoxious, I’m perfect, I can’t be beaten approach.  While I applaud those who have confidence and ability in life, I would like to warn everyone reading this that sometimes ‘pride comes before a fall‘.

To be a future thinker means that you can be confident in yourself, you can believe in your qualities and skills but that you are also aware that there is so much in life that we do not know. That there is so much in life to learn, so much in the universe, so much about us, about our personalities that we are unaware of.

To be a future thinker means that while you strive to be the best, to do well, to be the best person you can be (etc), you also have a sensible attitude of “the more I know, the less I seem to know”.

Keeping this in my mind over the last fifteen years or so has enabled me to think on many occasion ‘hmmm, I wonder if there is more about this that I don’t know?’ and thereby making me safer from my own stupid actions, embarrassing decisions and therefore contributing to a better future.

I am nowhere near perfect. But there are many many people out there who seem to be doing this so naturally that it drives me mad.  But I am trying. Everytime I mess something up, I have to remind myself that:

“The more I know, the less I seem to know”

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.


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’.

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