Previously, in Are you stereotyping yourself? we talked about how we might mistakenly think that we are our personality and limit ourself to it. Today we look at how this whole personality thing actually works
If you have practiced the guitar a lot, or know someone who does – you know that you develop calluses(a thick pad) of skin on your fingers.
If you are mostly practicing chords that involve your first 2 fingers, the calluses will be thickest there. They are designed to protect you from pain.
It desensitizes you from feeling those specific strings…you need to press harder to feel the same chords now. But that’s the price you pay for pain-free playing.
Because these chords are pain free, you end up playing them more…and becoming very good at them.
Remember that your excellence is not a function of intention or awareness or passion, but simply…coincidence.
But when you participate in an orchestra, you might have to play other chords. But they are painful!
Now you have two choices: Either go through the pain and discover the joy of playing new chords!
Or find an orchestra that demands the chords you are good at. You can call them more ‘compatible with you’, ‘accepting of who you are’. Forgetting that you are not your calluses!
You have 5 fingers, and infinite ways to make music – out of which you have limited and identified yourself with 2 fingers! That has become your ‘type’.
And after years of playing with the same old orchestras, we wonder ‘Why does my life feel so empty?’
Personality is the protective mechanism that has been built over years…unconsciously. It’s purpose is not to help us grow, but to protect.
Frankly, what we are good at is simply a function of what we were USED TO doing. And what we are used to doing, is just a function of what situations, conditioning we ended up EXPERIENCING.
Whatever solutions we have, depends on what got to see, imitate. Whatever solutions we don’t have is based on what we did NOT get a chance to see and imitate. So there is nothing to be proud or ashamed about.
Focusing only on personality is focusing on calluses. Like asking ‘What chords will my calluses allow me to play?’ Nothing bad. But possibly limited.
What would we want to give importance to? Comfort or music? Great comfort might give us less pain and big success in a very narrow area. Our life might be spent searching for the ‘right orchestra’ than playing.
Great music might grant us soul, wholeness, new possibilities. But it might also involve pain, looking silly, facing risk of not being accepted without blaming others. Engaging with life – at the risk of looking silly sometimes.
You are much more than your personality. What would you want to identify with? Comfort or wholeness? Success or life?
The question is not about playing to our strengths. It is about limiting ourselves to our strengths.
As Ian Cron said about the Enneagram Personality profiling: “Enneagram does not put you in a box. It shows you the box you are already in – and the way out!”