May 9, 2016 Knowledge is power

Sometimes people are rude. It’s a little odd how much one person’s semi-rude comment can affect me. It sits in my mind, being repeated continuously. I listen to it from different perspectives, trying to understand why they would say that. Did they just think it was no big deal? Were they trying to be funny? Did they think I was rude to them first?

People tell me to just quit – You gotta quit thinking about it! Just let it go! But that makes me feel a little guilty – like I’m not being normal. Like I’m worried too much about things that no one else even gives a second thought too. Not thinking about these things would feel unnatural. A little like a betrayal of myself. This rethinking, rearranging –  it’s a part of my core self. My personality.

It serves me well in a lot of areas. I kind of love it. It’s how I find patterns & meaning in things that matter to me. It’s what makes me so good at organizing. It’s what makes it possible for me to fit everything that needs to be done in the time allowed.  It helps me figure out the best possible approach to problems, helps me understand people better, helps me recognize things that aren’t working early in the process and re-arrange for a better outcome.

It has a name in StrengthsFinder – Arranger. It’s not one of my top 5, but it’s definitely in my top 10. There are a lot of parts of it that I love and value. And there are some parts that it’d be nice to change a bit.

That’s the thing about Strengths – they need to be developed. The don’t start as strengths – they start as talents. Areas of huge potential. If you want them to be strengths, you have to put some work into them. Develop them, educate yourself, get some skills, experiences, etc. If you don’t, you either lose out on your potential or worse you get acquainted with the dark side of strengths.

Your talents can manifest negatively – especially when you have little understanding to no about them. When you don’t realize that you are doing something, or what it is that you’re doing, you can’t do it intentionally.  And you can’t control it because you don’t even know what it is. You might recognize that you tend to do this one thing a lot, but you see it in the rearview mirror and only if you happen to be in a reflective mood. You certainly don’t recognize it as you’re doing it, and you absolutely would never be able to decided this is a time to pull out this one thing I tend to do. It becomes very difficult to get the behavior to serve you, because you don’t even know what it is.

Before you realize you’re an Arranger, for instance, you might obsess over a little conversation that went oddly, or downright badly, for a ridiculously long time. You replay what they said, what you said, wonder what you did wrong, try out different responses in your mind, try to reimagine the conversation in a way that works for you. You may lose sleep over it. You can’t leave it behind.

But once you know, once you can recognize “Ah! I’m totally arranging this.” you suddenly have freedom. I don’t know why knowing what it is that you’re doing changes the entire dynamic of it, but it does. Knowing and recognizing a behavior makes it something you can do something about. You have freedom:  you can stop, or you can continue, you can decide this is lame and you’re done with it. You can choose what you want to do. You can choose if what you’re doing actually serves your best interest or not.
Knowledge is power – especially when it comes to your own behaviors.

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