This is going to be more of a personal story than I usually do. Because this is more personal, I think I should tell you something about my personality.
I’m sure you have heard of the Myers-Briggs personality test. If not, the basic premise involves breaking a person’s personality into 4 points:
Introverted or Extroverted (I or E)
Observant or Intuitive (S or N)
Thinking or Feeling (T or F)
Judging or Prospecting/Perceiving (J or P)
The test uses your answers to different questions to match you up into these different categories. You then get a 4-letter combination for your personality profile.
(If you want a more in-depth look, check out 16 personalities.)
According to this test, I am classified as an INTJ.
A popular belief about this group is that we do not express emotion, but this is not true. Everyone reacts emotionally, the difference with INTJs is that we want to analyze our emotional response before it becomes rooted.
- Why am I responding this way?
- Is this response valid or useful?
- Can I learn anything from this response?
I tell you all this to explain about a person I met that I just couldn’t stand to be around.
On paper, this person was intelligent, interesting, and we had many interests in common. Sounds great, right?
The problem came when I actually spent time speaking to this person. I found them irritating and uninteresting. As informed as this person seemed to be, I didn’t take anything away from conversations we had. I left these conversations feeling drained, irritated, and sometimes even angry.
I was determined to figure out why I disliked this person so much, and why I was so angry after we spent time together, so I went through my checklist.
What I discovered was this person believed they knew everything about everything. There was no interest in discussion; He/she was right and that was all there was to it. If there was a discussion, their statements weren’t backed by facts, just a consistent insistence that I was wrong, on every topic, no matter how vague their own knowledge of the topic was.
You may think the story ends there. I had found, for me, very valid reasons to not like this person. That wasn’t enough for me though. I wanted to understand my response. In general, it does no good to respond in anger, so was there any usefulness to my anger?
For me, I discovered there was. The anger led me to realize my real reason for not liking this person. It was because I believed I was right on these topics. I was determined I had superior knowledge.
Which led me to the most important realization; I didn’t like this person because they were a mirror of myself.
In defense of myself, I would like to say, if I argue a point I’m usually
A) Sure of my knowledge, and have brought facts to back me up
B) Playing devil’s advocate, arguing a point just to see if it can stand up.
That being said, I realized how vexing it is to argue with someone who is so sure of themselves, they won’t listen to anyone else.
It is trying to speak with someone who thinks they know everything, and I am far too willing to fancy myself an expert on a wide range of topics.
I am willing to admit a flaw.
So, how does this story relate to you, my reader, or the focus of this blog?
Analyzing my dislike of this person led me to 3 important ideas to remember in daily life:
- No one can be an expert at everything. If you try to know everything, you may be able to be a novice at several topics, but you will never be an expert at anything.
- Just because you have expert knowledge about something, doesn’t mean there won’t be someone out there with even more knowledge than you.
- You can learn something new from any person or experience, even the most irritating ones.
Have you ever had an experience that taught you more about yourself? Let me know what you learned in the comments.