Thinking Tests

“A good plan violently executed now is better than a perfect plan executed next week.”  — General George S. Patton


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I saw a good friend, Michael, this week.  Some of the touchstone features about him are his wild eccentricities (he replies to most text messages in under five words and seems to always be traveling), how entrepreneurial he is (he had just one traditional job since college, everything else was at companies he founded), and his level of discipline — except when it comes to brownies!  A few times a year, I seem to meet up with him at whichever hotel he is staying in the Los Angeles area and we have excellent brainstorming sessions and conversations that pop.  Michael always makes me think faster than normal because he’s so sharp.  This visit, he interpreted my results from an insight tool that he likes.  I was super excited to answer the questions when he offered it.  I have a strange, hidden love for all types of personality tests from Myers-Briggs (I’m an INFP) to getting my astrological chart read (I’m Libra with Cancer moon).

This insightful tool was probably the best one I’ve used yet, which is probably why industry leading companies retain Michael’s firm to implement it with their C-level executives. Nothing I learned was a giant surprise but it was overwhelmingly accurate. I learned that my “outer persona (the image I project in situations where I am conscious of my role or position in relation to other people) will vary from being quite analytic and focused, with strong opinions and views, to being very open and willing to change directions. I am likely to emphasize the importance of thoroughness, quality, logic, but not at the expense of relationships with people. When conflicts arise, I most likely try to find ways to accommodate views that conflict with yours.” OMG!  How spot on!

I also learned that I value “change and movement. To feel as though my career (and personal life!) is working out well, I need relatively frequent changes in positions, assignments, tasks, and projects. Staying in one place, doing the same thing would be undesirable, as would concentrating on moving up an organizational ladder.” Wow!

When people first meet me, they are likely to see me as quite “focused and clear in my point of view. [I’m] likely to seem quite firm in my views once I have come to a decision. People who really get to know me well will come to see that I take a very broad view of any decision I make. They will find that I avoid ‘band­aid’ solutions in favor of solutions or strategies that deal not only with the immediate situation, but also the circumstances that surround it. The main difference that people are likely to notice as they become increasingly familiar with me is that I look at situations from many very different angles before deciding. And, they will come to see that I’m not satisfied until I have found a solution or strategy that serves many purposes, not just one.”

Wow again!  This is spot-on.  So I asked Michael how I could work on my shortcomings (like am I too analytic?) and he offered the most genuine, gentle response.  He said, “you don’t need to change. These insights, and frankly insights you can collect in a variety of ways, are meant to better communicate who you are to others.” I interpreted his message in such a kind way. And I decided this week to relax on the self-judgment and harsh criticism. I mean, why am I killing my spirit with this constant chatter of needing to “better” myself? Jeez, it’s so tiring. Michael also recognized (from the insight tool) that I’m quite high (to say the least) when it comes to my thoroughness in thinking through decisions. For my entire life, I’ve heard that I “think too much.” I’ve felt somewhat embarrassed about my (good) memory and my ability to synchronize and solve problems. It’s been a struggle to be normal and pretend like the things I think about really don’t matter. In effect, I’ve often tried to cover-up my logic, analysis, creative intuition, and knowledge to appear like other people. Actually, writing this post makes me really sad — that I felt my mind would not be accepted because it’s working and processing fast. Lots of teachers and mentors have made throw-away comments that I’m “overthinking it” but I haven’t been able to help it.  This experience has made me feel understood and accepting of my mind in ways that haven’t previously worked.

Last year, I went to a workshop on a great book called More Time to Think and met the author, Nancy Kline. Nancy’s approach is that we need to set aside blocks of time to think and process our thoughts with another person in a Thinking Environment, which can be described as a way of being in the world. As a Gestaltist, this struck a chord with me. The relational aspect of processing information with someone else is so huge! My ideas can be fleshed out when I’m talking with a trusted friend and I don’t feel judged. I’ve come to realize that when my thoughts are expressed fully, like most people, I can relax. So, in other words, this “overthinking” is actually a way for me to process information and feel seen. I just had the realization that I miss my Thinking Partner and the group in which this was promoted. I’ve decided that it’s important to recreate this in my life, so if anyone is open to learning this specific way of thinking and processing, please contact me.

This brings me to General Patton’s quote:”a good plan violently executed now is better than a perfect plan executed next week.” For me, this is about making clear decisions with my best mind in the present tense, not in the future. I’m working on my delegation skills and learning how to allow space to think big while not being so concerned about the minor details. Clearly, I like being thorough — hence these detailed blog posts.  Dear readers, now you know more about how I think. I like to consider many variables, but ultimately rely on my mind and my heart. I’ve also come to the realization that good enough is perfect in each moment. If nothing else, this insightful tool has given me extra permission to take pride in my mind and to value its wonderful process.

Nina is a Gestalt Life Coach in Private practice. Please visit her website at Coachingbyninarubin.com.

Image from dailygenius.com.

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4 thoughts on “Thinking Tests

  1. I have yet to meet a person who WASN’T accused of overthinking, or felt that they thought too much. It’s just a basic element of having a consciousness, I think (no pun intended).

    Like

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