I absolutely love the A-team. No, it wasn’t very good television (how can NOBODY get shot when machine guns are going off?). But I love the idea of the A-Team. I love the idea that you had a Mastermind, a Charmer, a Strongman Tinkerer, and an Impulsive Genius, tolerating each other, and using their strengths for the common good. I was reminded of this recently.
you see, Ginger posted a rant that really spoke to me. Recently, starting the day before 9/11/2007, there were preemptive mockings of what has become the “routine” for many of us on anniversaries of 9/11/01. I won’t repeat her arguments here, it’s such a good read, it stands on its own.
But it reminded me of a truth I have discovered. We humans have a really hard time comprehending people whose thinking/feeling process is different from our own. Not the thoughts themselves, but the process to get there. I am convinced that at least 70% of the worlds wars, crimes, abuses and subjugations come from our predisposition to say to The Different From Us: “Stop being like that! Be like ME!”
Have you ever taken one of those quadrant personality tests? You know Myers/Briggs, that sort of thing? If you’ll remember, there are 8 “preferences”:
There are sixteen possible combinations of these.
Full disclosure (as if you didn’t already know): I am off the charts in the Sensing and Feeling functions. In the Kiersey Temperments, I am a “Teacher” (Extroverted, Intuitive, Feeling, Judging) .
One thing these tests tell us, especially when taken in a group setting, is that we all have trouble “getting” someone in an opposite quadrant. We have a tendency to invalidate other ways of thinking/feeling. For instance, we emoters sometimes will accuse those who lean more towards INTJ (“Mastermind”) as unfeeling cynics. Conversely, those who are INTP (“Architect”), have a tendency to mock emoters like me as unthinking and immature or impulsive. Most importantly, we have a tendency to look at an opposite personality and call it “wrong”.
This is what happened last week, IMHO.
Something they teach you in corporate management classes is something along these lines:
There are only three ways to change the human personality: surgery, deep psychotherapy, and religious conversion. Therefore, the personality you bring with you is the one and only one you have. You are what you are. This goes for your employees. Therefore, do NOT judge/rate them on personality traits, but on specific behavior.
In other words, when writing performance reviews, never say “Karen is too grouchy”; instead list specific occasions when Karen sewed dissension in the ranks. You can’t do anything about Karen’s grouchiness. She is what she is. All you can control as a manager are specific actions.
Now, management classes can teach this concept, and that goes a long way. But I am convinced that this concept of “letting people be themselves” does not really set in until one has a second child. Not that parents of one child, or those who are childless don’t understand the concept. But it isn’t until you have a second child, totally different from the “baseline” you thought you had figured out for child behavior, and you discover over the years that the second child is not going to change magically into the other one, that you not only understand the concept, you feel it in its full force.
But, I understand the temptation to try to force the world into our own personlity quadrant. Take Aunt B, for example. Sometimes she drives me crazy. Not in being a liberal, or a feminist, or all those other things “left” of my own position. I can understand how someone could inject their own education and life experience into analyzing life, and come away a political liberal. Yet, sometmes, I want to grab her by her virtual shoulders, give her a little shake, and yell, “Stop overanlayzing EVERYTHING!!!! You could overthink a ham sandwich!”. As a backdrop, you must know that I try to forge through life without thinking too much. This has served me well, because, like Forrest Gump, I jump into endeavors that scare other people to death because I just don’t it much thought.
Yet, upon reflection I know it is that overthinking that makes Aunt B unique and wonderful. She looks at issues and life in general from angles that never would have occured to me. And although I might not come out of the analysis agreeing with her, am I not I better off for having the opportunity to think about something in an entirely new way?
I know that many get irritated with me. Many of my fellow emoters have no idea how on earth I could be a Republican. Many more logical market-economy conservatives don’t quite know what to do with those of us of the “bleeding heart” variety. I know I irritate many because, when looking at an issue, I’ll filter it through the prism of my own life. I say “I” and “me” far too often for some. I analyze things on how they make me “feel”.
I do this when I look at things. Including 9/11 .
And it may be different from how you view things, but I don’t see how you could call it “wrong”.
I only go into this in such depth, and I know I took an uncharacteristic scholarly tone (and not a very good one at that), for a reason. I can see great things ahead for us all, if we could only look at others as the gifts they are. Together, we could make an incredible team, supplementing each other’s strengths with our own. Different ways of looking at the world within a team are strengths, not weaknesses.
There is so much we could learn from th A-Team