My wife, Karen, and I have been reading The Road Back to You to learn about the Enneagram, a personality-type system that can lead to self-discovery and greater understanding. Doing so has generated a lot of conversation. From these chats, I have a thought to share that I’ll set up with a key passage from the QBQ! book.
Excerpted from Ch. 37 titled, “We Buy Too Many Books” —
We attend too many seminars. We take too many classes. We buy too many books. We listen to too many podcasts. We engage in too much training.
Yes, it’s all a waste! A waste, that is, if we’re unclear on what learning really is. Learning is not attending, listening, or reading. Nor is it merely gaining knowledge. Learning is really about translating knowing what to do into doing what we know. In other words, it’s about changing.
Never forget: Learning equals change. If we haven’t changed we haven’t learned.
Now that thought …
Personality Tools I’ve Used Over Time
The Millers have been exposed to many “personality testing” tools over the past three decades. Do you know any of these?
Wilson Learning, “Social Styles”: Driver, Amiable, Analytical, Expressive.
Tim LaHaye, “Spirit-Controlled Temperaments”: Choleric, Sanguine, Melancholy, Phlegmatic.
Gary Smalley, “Personality Types”: Lion, Beaver, Otter, Golden Retriever.
DISC: Dominance, Influence, Steadiness, Conscientiousness.
Myers-Briggs: Too many letter combos to mention! Though I do favor—and resemble—the ESTJ. 😉
Gretchen Rubin, “Four Tendencies”: Upholders, Questioners, Obligers, and Rebels
Enneagram: Reformer (#1), Helper (#2), Achiever #3), Individualist (#4), Investigator (#5), Loyalist (#6), Enthusiast (#7), Challenger (#8), Peacemaker (#9)
So, in summary, John Miller is a Dominant Driver Choleric Lion Rebel Challenger #8 ESTJ!
So profound. So insightful! And … so meaningless.
Unless I change.
The Problem: Knowing Versus Doing
To just know what I am (personality wise) without changing how I relate to people and problems is like seeing a $100 bill in a street dumpster but being unwilling to do the work of digging through the muck to get to it. That paper money in my hand is worth one-hundred smackers!
If I don’t grab it, though, it’s … worthless.
Just like all these personality defining tools can be — and often are, sadly.
Don’t get me wrong, this kind of material is fun, interesting, and challenging. It makes for terrific conversations in families and workgroups.
Yet, to know but not apply is of no value. In fact, it would be a waste of our time and energy. Sort of like a corporation implementing a training program that tells customer service people to “take care of the customer” but doesn’t teach them why or how.
In and of itself, head knowledge is of little value. Training, learning, and self-discovery only become meaningful when I — wait for it — change.
Change how I think, how I feel, and how I act.
Or, as we state in QBQ! — “We must translate knowing what to do into doing what we know.”
If You Can’t Do The Time …
You’ve probably heard the line, “Don’t do the crime if you can’t do the time.” Well, here’s some blunt counsel:
Don’t do any personality-type exploration if you’re not going to do the work — the work of changing.
If you are currently utilizing a personality profiling tool, the question that matters is this: Am I changing? Because only when I change do I (and the people around me) reap rewards.
My challenge to all of us — and the topic for discussion here — is in these questions:
What personality tool do you like most?
Which one has helped you learn more about you?
How have you changed?
Jump in and comment! 😎