Personality: The 16 Types (Blog 5 of 5)

According to the Center for Applications of Psychological Type (CAPT), the USA population percentage breakdown of each type is as follows:
(I) = 47-55%    (E) = 45-53%
(S) = 66-74%   (N) = 26-34%
(T) = 40-50%   (F) = 50-60%
(J) = 54-60%    (P) = 40-46%*

*Depending on the statistical averages of other test providers, the numbers can be very specific, down to an exacting number, however, I believe in making room for variance. I find variance to better reflect averages when dealing with large scale population numbers, and the simple fact that people do sometimes change.*

And here we are, the 16 personality types of the MBTI.**
**Some of the following observations have been provided by Truity.**

ISTJ “The Inspector”
(11-14% of the US population)

Quiet and serious, ISTJs are practical, orderly, matter-of-fact, logical, realistic, and dependable. They are naturally inclined to take responsibility for everything they understand to have a stake in. ISTJs make up their own minds as to what should be accomplished and work towards that goal steadily, regardless of protests or distractions.

“Although they are Introverted, ISTJs are rarely isolated; typical ISTJs know just where they belong in life, and want to understand how they can participate in established organizations and systems. They concern themselves with maintaining the social order and making sure that standards are met.” – Truity

Popular ISTJ Careers

ISFJ “The Protector”
(9-14% of the US population)

Quiet, friendly, responsible and conscientious. ISFJs work devotedly to meet their obligations. ISFJs are known to lend stability to any group or project. They are thorough, painstaking, and accurate. ISFJs are loyal, considerate and very perceptive, even preoccupied with how others are feeling.

“They are steady and committed workers with a deep sense of responsibility to others. They focus on fulfilling their duties, particularly when they are taking care of the needs of other people. They want others to know that they are reliable and can be trusted to do what is expected of them. They are conscientious and methodical, and persist until the job is done.” – Truity

Popular ISFJ Careers

INFJ “The Counselor”
(1-3% of the US population)

INFJs succeed by perseverance, originality, and a desire to do whatever is needed or wanted. INFJs are respected for their firm principles. They are likely to be honored for their ideals, and followed for their clear visions of how to do the most good for the common good.

“INFJs are guided by a deeply considered set of personal values. They are intensely idealistic, and can clearly imagine a happier and more perfect future. They can become discouraged by the harsh realities of the present, but they are typically motivated and persistent in taking positive action nonetheless. The INFJ feels an intrinsic drive to do what they can to make the world a better place.” – Truity

Popular INFJ Careers

INTJ “The Mastermind”
(2-4% of the US population)

INTJs have original mindsets; they are driven and energized by their own ideas and purposes. They have long-range vision and find meaningful patterns in external happenings. INTJs are naturally skeptical, critical, independent, and determined. They have very high standards for competence and performance.

“Often intellectual, INTJs enjoy logical reasoning and complex problem-solving. They approach life by analyzing the theory behind what they see, and are typically focused inward, on their own thoughtful study of the world around them. INTJs are drawn to logical systems and are much less comfortable with the unpredictable nature of other people and their emotions. They are typically independent and selective about their relationships, preferring to associate with people who they find intellectually stimulating.” – Truity

Popular INTJ Careers

ISTP “The Craftsman”
(4-6% of the US population)

ISTPs could easily be described as cool onlookers; cool, reserved, observant, and analyze with a detached curiosity. They are also known for their unexpected flashes of odd and original humor. ISTPs are interested in cause and effect relationships, how and why mechanical things work, and have an appreciation for organizing facts. ISTPs excel at finding the core of a problem and finding a solution.

“Because of their astute sense of their environment, they are good at moving quickly and responding to emergencies. ISTPs are reserved, but not withdrawn: the ISTP enjoys taking action, and approaches the world with a keen appreciation for the physical and sensory experiences it has to offer.” – Truity

Popular ISTP Careers

ISFP “The Composer”
(5-9% of the US population)

ISFPs are friendly, sensitive, kind and modest about their abilities. They do not engage in disagreements, and do not force their opinions or values on others. ISFPs are not typically leaders but are often loyal followers. They are often relaxed about getting things done because they enjoy the moment do not want to spoil the moment by undue haste or exertion.

“ISFPs are gentle caretakers who live in the present moment and enjoy their surroundings with cheerful, low-key enthusiasm. They are flexible and spontaneous, and like to go with the flow to enjoy what life has to offer. ISFPs are quiet and unassuming, and may be hard to get to know. However, to those who know them well, the ISFP is warm and friendly, eager to share in life’s many experiences.” – Truity

Popular ISFP Careers

INFP “The Healer”
(4-5% of the US population)

INFPs are quiet observers, idealistic, and loyal. Their outer lives must be congruent with their inner values. INFPs are curious and quick to see possibilities, and often serve as a catalyst to implement ideas. They are adaptable, flexible, and accepting unless a personal value is threatened. INFPs want to understand people and ways to help others reach their potential. They hold little value with possessions or surroundings.

“They are often concerned with a search for meaning and truth within themselves. Following tradition holds little appeal for the INFP; they prefer to do their own exploration of values and ideas, and decide for themselves what seems right. INFPs are often offbeat and unconventional, but they feel no desire to conform. The INFP would rather be true to themselves than try to fit in with the crowd.” – Truity

Popular INFP Careers

INTP “The Architect”
(3-5% of the US population)

INTPs enjoy theoretical or scientific pursuits. They tend to be quiet and reserved. INTPs like solving problems using logic and analysis.  They are most interested in exploring ideas and problems as opposed to general discussion or “small talk.” INTPs tend to have narrowed or sharply defined interests. They need employment or involvement that allows them to pursue their interests professionally.

“INTPs are detached, analytical observers who can seem oblivious to the world around them because they are so deeply absorbed in thought. They spend much of their time focused internally: exploring concepts, making connections, and seeking understanding. To the Architect, life is an ongoing inquiry into the mysteries of the universe.” – Truity

Popular INTP Careers

ESTP “The Dynamo”
(4-5% of the US population)

ESTPs are excellent at on the spot problem solving. ESTPs like action and enjoy whatever comes up in the moment. They tend to like mechanical things, sports, and general goings-on with friends. They are adaptable, tolerant, pragmatic and results-driven. ESTPs dislike long explanations and like hands-on work or activities.

“ESTPs are often natural athletes; they easily navigate their physical environment and are typically highly coordinated. They like to use this physical aptitude in the pursuit of excitement and adventure, and they often enjoy putting their skills to the test in risky or even dangerous activities.” – Truity

Popular ESTP Careers

ESFP “The Performer”
(4-9% of the US population)

ESFPs are outgoing, accepting, and enjoy everything; an ESFP’s enjoyment is infectious and heightens the enjoyment of others. They like to take action and make things happen. ESFPs naturally catch on to situations or the group feeling. They join groups, and are accepted by groups, easily for this reason. ESFPs are best in situations and groups that require sound, common sense.

“Although they are characteristically fun-loving, ESFPs are also typically practical and down-to-earth. They are grounded in reality and are usually keenly aware of the facts and details in their environment, especially as they pertain to people. They are observant of others and their needs, and responsive in offering assistance. ESFPs enjoy helping other people, especially in practical, tangible ways.” – Truity

Popular ESFP Careers

ENFP “The Champion”
(6-8% of the US population)

Enthusiastic, high-spirited, ingenious and imaginative. Able to do almost anything that holds their interest. Quick with solutions to problems, ENFPs are also ready to help others with their solutions. ENFPs often rely on their ability to improvise as opposed to preparing in advance. Can usually supply compelling reasons to justify their pursuits or interests.

“ENFPs love to talk about people: not just the facts, but what motivates them, what inspires them, and what they envision achieving in life. They’ll often share their own aspirations freely, and want to hear others’ in return. The ENFP is unlikely to judge anyone’s dream, and will discuss the most imaginative and outlandish of fantasies with warm, enthusiastic intensity. They love to explore creative possibilities, and nothing deflates them faster than talking about dry facts or harsh reality.” – Truity

Popular ENFP Careers

ENTP “The Visionary”
(2-5% of the US population)

Ingenious and good at many things, ENTPs are stimulating company, alert and outspoken. ENTPs may argue for fun and tend to question what’s established. ENTPs are resourceful in solving new and challenging problems, but may neglect routine assignments. Apt to turn to one new interest after another. Skillful in finding logical arguments in order to achieve what they want.

“ENTPs enjoy playing with ideas and especially like to banter with others. They use their quick wit and command of language to keep the upper hand with other people, often cheerfully poking fun at their habits and eccentricities. While the ENTP enjoys challenging others, in the end they are usually happy to live and let live. They are rarely judgmental, but they may have little patience for people who can’t keep up.” – Truity

Popular ENTP Careers

ESTJ “The Supervisor”
(8-12% of the US population)

ESTJs are practical, realistic, matter of fact, and have a natural head for business and mechanics. ESTJs are not interested in abstract theories, and desire to learn those things that have a direct and immediate application. ESTJs like to organize and run activities. They often make good administrators; are decisive and quickly move on their decisions. ESTJs are good with overseeing routine details.

“They value evidence over conjecture, and trust their personal experience. ESTJs look for rules to follow and standards to meet, and often take a leadership role in helping other people meet expectations as well. They concern themselves with maintaining the social order and keeping others in line.” – Truity

Popular ESTJ Careers

ESFJ “The Provider”
(9-13% of the US population)

ESFJs are warm-hearted, talkative, and generally perceived as popular. They are conscientious, born cooperators, and active committee members. ESFJs thrive in harmony and will often strive to create that harmony. They often work with others in mind. ESFJs require personal encouragement and praise, or give what they tend to others. ESFJs are often preoccupied in those activities and professions that deal directly with the well-being of others.

“ESFJs act according to a strict moral code, and look for others to do the same. They often see things in terms of black and white, right and wrong, and they are typically not shy about sharing their evaluations of others’ behavior. ESFJs seek harmony and cooperation, and feel this is best accomplished when everyone follows the same set of rules. They have a sense of order in the way people relate to one another, and often take on roles that allow them to help enforce that social order.” – Truity

Popular ESFJ Careers

ENFJ “The Teacher”
(2-5% of the US population)

ENFJs are responsive and responsible. They feel real concern for what others think or want, and as a result an ENFJ will handle situations and decisions in deference to someone else thoughts or feelings. An ENFJ can lead a group with ease and tact. They are responsive to praise and criticism. ENFJs can comfortably facilitate others and enable people to achieve their potential.

“ENFJs are typically energetic and driven, and often have a lot on their plates. They are tuned into the needs of others and acutely aware of human suffering; however, they also tend to be optimistic and forward-thinking, intuitively seeing opportunity for improvement. The ENFJ is ambitious, but their ambition is not self-serving: rather, they feel personally responsible for making the world a better place.” – Truity

Popular ENFJ Careers

ENTJ “The Commander”
(2-5% of the US population)

ENTJs are frank, decisive, and are generally good leaders in activities and professions. They are naturally good at developing and implementing comprehensive systems to solve organizational problems. ENTJs are good at anything that requires reasoning and intelligent conversation. They are usually well-informed and enjoy adding to their knowledge base.

“ENTJs are analytical and objective, and like bringing order to the world around them. When there are flaws in a system, the ENTJ sees them, and enjoys the process of discovering and implementing a better way. ENTJs are assertive and enjoy taking charge; they see their role as that of leader and manager, organizing people and processes to achieve their goals.” – Truity

Popular ENTJ Careers


Care to share your 4-letter code? Do you have any examples of your personality at work that you’d like to share? Comment below.

Phew! Well, personality stuff is always fun but I look forward to getting back to writing topics. Oh boy, do I have a whopper to share regarding a very recent editing experience.

Austin, Texas

Personality: Judging & Perceiving (Blog 4 of 5)

In this fourth blog of determining Personality (using the MBTI standard) we discuss the next portion of personality, Judging and Perceiving. This round will determine the fourth and final letter of your 4-letter personality type.

To briefly recap, the MBTI measures across four categories (two possible personality factors per category) resulting in a four letter combination, or personality type, per person. There is a total of 16 personality types. The 16 personality types will be reviewed in the 5th Personality blog.

Category Four: Judging vs Perceiving*
(J) for Judging and (P) for Perceiving

*This last category for personality is very interesting as (J) and (P) are all about an individual’s preferred environment. Environment is not limited to an idea like “home” but rather how we prefer our day-to-day structure, within and without the home, work environment, task and leisure orientation, and even time awareness. (J) and (P) are quite substantial to the personality matrix.*

The name alone gives J’s a poor first impression. The name is a misnomer and does NOT allude to a “judgemental personality.” The name could do with a relabeling. Judging people like order, organization and tend to think sequentially. J’s like to have a plan in order and agreed upon. If there is room for doubt, a (J) will take time to address doubts and issues before moving forward in the decision-making process. This is part of a J’s planning process, to see potential hazards and pitfalls before taking an action.

– J’s prefer a predictable environment. The more predictable, the better the J’s experience. Efficiency in home or work can only be achieved in an optimal environment. How that environment is deemed “optimal” is strictly up to each (J) but once that level of efficiency is established, it is enacted nearly every time. (e.g. leaving your car keys in the bowl by the entryway each and every time you come home so you never lose your keys or have to dig for them)

– Because J’s set up predictable environments (home and work), J’s are known for making decisions easily. When your day is planned and you are a relatively organized person, making decisions easily as you are the one most familiar with your own systematization. You can easily see where the pieces can fit, and what can be maneuvered.

– J’s like to have things settled. Done and dusted as they say. Lingering decisions and plans will make a (J) uneasy. This is usually the case when more than one person is involved in the decision making process. If there is a lack of agreement, a (J) will want to figure out the problem in order to move on.

– Because of a J’s natural inclination towards a structured environment, a (J) will often be perceived as serious, conventional, punctual, prompt, a little up tight about the plan and its execution.

– Interestingly, J’s prefer to FINISH projects, not start them. The idea is that a solid project is easier to wind down seeing a predictable ending in sight whereas starting a project requires more upfront creativity and flexibility.

– Unsurprisingly, J’s have a work first, play later attitude.

– J’s see the need for rules, standards, and schedules. J’s would even say they take comfort in them.

– Because a (J) naturally prefers an organized environment, they are productive as a result. What can threaten productivity are last minute stresses. J’s like a solid schedule, an unexpected event or added inclusion can throw a (J) off their game as they are forced to stop and adjust.

– In the workplace, J’s are productive, punctual, and on-point with their work.

Another odd name but Perceiving is a little more accurately named than Judging. Perceiving is called as such for this personality type’s tendency to perceive via the senses (as we all do) but a (P) is much impressed by what they are experiencing. A (P) desires to experience the world and that means having an open environment, not a scheduled one. Make room for experiences. How can you make room for anything by scheduling your life by the hour? A (P) does not pretend to know what will happen a year from now, never mind tomorrow.

– If a (P) wants to experience as much of the world, and of theirs lives as possible, that means being flexible, open-minded, casual, and spontaneous. This is how P’s are often perceived by others. In this way, on the surface, a (P) may look like an (E) who also shares some of these values but they are not mutually exclusive. An (I) has as much potential to be a (P) as an (E) does.

– P’s are known to postpone decisions as they desire to leave their options open until the very last minute. (e.g. A (J) friend will decide to go to a movie and purchase tickets for the day, the time, down to the row and seat in the theater, the (P) friend will get the invite with all the necessary information. The (P) does not confirm. In fact, the (J) friend may not even know of the (P) friend is coming until 3 minutes after the movie starts. The (P) friend might just show up.)

– Because of a P’s unstructured nature, they come across as being playful and unconventional.

– Because of a P’s open-ended nature, they are much less aware of time. It is considered normal that a (P) runs late. These are the folks that are least likely to own a watch although they would most benefit from one. Time, for a (P), is flexible.

– Unlike J’s, P’s prefer to start projects where the most creativity and newness of an idea is needed. Finishing a project, for a (P), is tedious and predictable.

– P’s prefer to play first and work when they feel like it. For this reason, P’s prefer last minute interruptions and disruptions. The spontaneity is energizing.

– P’s are known to question the need for rules, and question traditions, or anything that’s established. Perhaps there is a newer and better way to tackle a problem, perhaps something problematic has been approached incorrectly all this time and no one bothered to question it. P’s are good at seeing things differently.

– In the workplace, P’s are flexible, adaptable, curious, and despise conformity. P’s will find their own way to do things.

I was surprised during my years as a counselor how often this category came up in conversation as being the most “split” for my students. But then again, my clients were, in fact, students. There is no other time in life than in college where you walk a precarious line between constant obligations and mayhem. A tightly regimented day followed by the call for spontaneity, because hey, you’re still young. I’m not so old that I can’t recall the weird, demanding, fun, hyperactivity that was my undergrad and graduate years.

Today, I am a moderate (J) but while I was a student, I was a high-level (J). Age, personal feelings, and circumstance can alter the strengths of your MBTI factors. When I left the insanity that is a college campus, the workplace was easy by comparison. A 40-hour a week schedule? Easy-freakin-peasy. And so my need for a crystal-clear, perfectly structured, work-a-day schedule became much more lax. I was able to incorporate more flexibility and not be immediately stressed out by unscheduled arrivals or occurrences.

When I gained professional (P) colleagues, I realized my new “relaxed” state was no where near comparable but then again, I didn’t want it to be either. My default state, as a (J), is knowing what I am doing in a given day as opposed to just going with the flow. And that’s just fine. A (P) wouldn’t be a (P) if they were in possession of a fully loaded, color-coordinated calendars. Hours and hours of their lives already accounted for.

Knowing I am a (J), you should be not at all surprised to find such a calendar in my desk, on my computer, on my bulletin board, on my wall…

You should now have your 4-letter MBTI code. For example, mine is ISTJ. For those letters you are unsure about, where you feel you might land somewhere in-between, mark those letters too. If you are confident you are an (E), (N), (T) but are unsure about (J) and (P), then note for yourself ENTJ-P and you can look up the 4-letter code for both in the fifth and final Personality blog.

See ya’ll soon.
Austin, Texas

A Letter to a Dispirited Writer Friend of Mine

I am coming to terms with some of these insights more and more by the day.

Andrew Joyce

You were one of first bloggers to let me promote my first book on your blog and I have never forgotten that. I’m sorry to hear that you think self publishing sucks. But if you have the time, I’m gonna tell you a few things. So here goes.

You say you queried twenty-five agents. Well, I queried 3,000! Ten hours a day, seven days a week it was go through the lists, get their emails, cut and paste my letter, and then send it out. One full year!!!

I was pushing my first book, a 164,000 word mess. It was a good story, but I had no concept of proper editing. Anyway, I was told time and time again that anything over 80,000 words for a first time author was heresy. Finally, I got pissed off and sat down and wrote an 80,000 novel just as a big FU. Then…

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Personality: Thinker & Feeler (Blog 3 of 5)

In this third blog of determining personality (using the MBTI standard) we discuss the next portion of personality, Thinker and Feeler. This round will determine the third letter of your 4-letter personality type.

To briefly recap, the MBTI measures across four categories (two possible personality factors per category) resulting in a four letter combination, or personality type, per person. There is a total of 16 personality types. The 16 personality types will be reviewed in the 5th Personality blog.

Category Three: Thinker vs Feeler*
(T) for Thinker and (F) for Feeler

*First, it is a common misunderstanding that the categories of Thinker and Feeler somehow have anything to do with gender assignments. They do not. Men and women alike have the potential to be a Thinker or a Feeler. (T) and (F) determination, however, is pretty straightforward so this will be a briefer blog. Second, (T) and (F) IS all about how an individual makes decisions and draws conclusions. In the second blog, we examined what kind of information a person naturally notices as an (S) or (N). Now we will see how the brain works with that information once it’s collected. How do we approach decision-making.*

More often than not, a (T) makes decisions objectively. A (T) can be susceptible to decision-making based on their present feeling or circumstance, but a T’s default method for decision-making will likely be based objectively, and on a set list of impersonal criteria. A (T) will often make conclusions based on an internal set of objective standards by which they operate.

– A (T) will make decisions on what is perceived as “making sense,” and impersonal criteria. A logical solution based objective observations. The decision-making process is not personal, it’s logical.

– As a result of this emotionally detached approach, T’s are often perceived as being cold, analytical, and reserved as their personal selves do not influence the decision-making process.

– T’s are often convinced of their own logical reasoning. All personality types have their pros and cons, as I’ve stated before, so while a (T) generally perceives themselves as confident in their approach to problem-solving, it can be done at the expense of input from others. A (T) is not as likely too see the value of personal perception to problem-solving.

– T’s value honesty, directness, and fairness. Feelings and personal opinions, by definition, cannot be fair or experienced by everyone at the same time. This also dampens a T’s view of an F’s ability to be honest as feelings are always subject to change. T’s want to be valued on a set list of criteria that everyone can qualify for.

– A (T) is less likely to take things personally. Critiques and feedback (including the negative as well as the positive) are welcome. How can you improve without it? A (T) is also comfortable providing critiques and feedback, and expects the receiving party not to take it personally just as (T) does not.

– T’s are comfortable arguing and debating for fun. Since a (T) does not take feedback and observations personally, T’s find value in a good debate. T’s are not going to get upset when confronted with conflict, but rather are likely to willingly engage in a verbal debate in order to practice their skills of argument and observation.

– T’s are motivated by achievement and reward.

– T’s are prone to overlook people in favor of completing a task or a job.

F’s will base their decisions on values and feelings. An (F) can incorporate data, facts, and objective observations into their decision-making process, but an F’s default method for drawing conclusions is to consult their feelings and values first, and the potential feelings and values of others, second. F’s are much more likely to consult others in their process for decision-making, more so if an (F) believes that another person or persons may be affected by the decision. In this way, F’s resemble an (E) as an (F) is much more likely than a (T) to air their thoughts aloud. But an (F) is not necessarily Extravert, it is simply a commonality.

– An F’s personal values and feelings on a subject will be consulted before making a decision. Also, an (F) is much more prone to make impulse decisions just by an immediate feeling: grumpy, sad, happy, ecstatic.

– Because F’s take into consideration the feelings, beliefs, and opinions of others, F’s are very much seen as open, warm, friendly, empathetic, and caring.

– F’s are much more likely to be convinced by extenuating circumstances rather than logical deduction. A quick example: An (F) would consider the reasons why a someone stole a loaf of bread and draw conclusions about the actions based on that person’s motivation for doing so. Perhaps this person is poor? Are they starving? Did they steal the loaf for someone else? Someone of need? A (T) would think that while the motivation may be sad, the actions of the theft doesn’t change the facts at hand, the law was broken and a conclusion is made.

– F’s are diplomatic and tactful, they do their best to take into consideration everyone’s point of view before reaching a decision. In this way, an (F) maintains harmony within a group context.

– Because F’s take into consideration the beliefs, feelings, and opinions of others, they expect the same in return, and therefore are much more likely to take critique and feedback personally. Critique is not a form of improvement, as a (T) is likely to see it, but an act of personal hurt. F’s are much more likely to compliment while excusing flaws and so expect the same in kind. T’s dislike this approach, and F’s dislike a T’s approach. This incompatibility is never so apparent as in the work place.

– Feelers are motivated by personal acknowledgement and appreciation.

– Where T’s enjoy debate, F’s are allergic to it. Debate and argument run counter to an F’s need to keep the peace and harmony. An (F) takes no pleasure in debate, it often causes anxiety.

– Overlooks tasks or a job in favor of people.

(T) and (F) is never so obvious in how they play out in reality than in the work place. I am a high-level (T) and I once had a boss who was a high-level (F). What I admired about this boss was her ability navigate a table of staff. She would give everyone time to speak about their current work, ideas, opinions, feelings about departmental activities and direction. She was amazing. But, one on one, my (F) boss was less cool in presentation. Making individual decisions with a staff member outside of a group meeting was difficult for her as she felt it necessary to consult with everyone in order to make a decision. Seeing as how staff meetings were held once a week, making decisions and gathering staff observations meant a great undertaking at any other time. She was not comfortable making a decided, independent decision as the consequence meant the potential to affect everyone. So that took some time, but no one really seemed to mind as she was a great boss who took the time to listen to everyone and compromised a lot without sacrificing the job.

I can only recall a few times our personalities clashed. As a starting out counselor (and a high-level T) I sought information daily regarding my performance. A comfortable (T) will ask for the good, the bad, and the ugly for the sake of improvement and I was no different. As it turns out, I was doing something consistently wrong in my reports that my boss never brought up. I had to find via other colleagues who showed me the correct way that the boss liked it. I later told my boss that I learned how to correctly report something in my report. Being the (T) I am, I asked her why she didn’t just correct me. It was important to me to get things right. Being the high-level (F) she was, she winced at my directness, as if I was reproving her. She said she didn’t want to shake my confidence, that I was new and all and doing so well. I said, “being corrected on how to do things the right way cannot shake my confidence, in fact it’s the opposite. Knowing I’m doing something right because my boss told me how to do it, or corrected me when I didn’t, is what gives me confidence. I can’t change what I don’t know to change.” She gave me a thoughtful look at that, and agreed.

I like being a (T) because I do feel confident in my decision-making process, I find the (F) style exhausting, just by description alone. And yet an (F) would be mortified by how people like me execute decisions. I’ve worked for T’s too and I can say I definitely prefer working for F’s. I like being a (T) but if I must have a boss or supervisor, I always keep my fingers crossed for an (F). My opposite helps me to see what I miss, especially in such a precarious place like the office. It’s a good balance when you can see the advantages of both sides. (T) bosses, from my experience, don’t check in so much as bark orders regarding expectations and why are they not being met. Anything personal should not come into that feedback. From my experience, it’s not healthy to ignore the human experience when humans are in fact present – office place or no. Real life spills into the office and vice versa. F’s have to know when to reign in it like T’s need to understand when to turn it down.

Make note of your letter. Are you a (T) or an (F)? You have one more letter to work out before you have your 4-letter code.
Austin, Texas

Personality: Sensor & Intuitive (Blog 2 of 5)

In this second blog of determining personality, using the MBTI standard, we discuss the next portion of personality, Sensor and Intuitive. This round will determine the next letter of your four letter personality type.

To briefly recap, the MBTI measures across four categories (two possible personality factors per category) resulting in a four letter combination, or personality type, per person. There is a total of 16 personality types.

Category Two: Sensor vs Intuitive*
(S) for Sensor and (N) for Intuitive

*This area of personality examines how a person’s mind tends to notice information and remember it. Not everyone experiences information the same way. This is how an individual or several individuals can witness the same event and recall it differently. Sometimes the variations are small, others can vary wildly. (S) and (N) personality types plays a role in how we process incoming information and later on recall it. Other factors will come into play such as an individual’s health, personal feeling, and memory ability. Yes, recall, and how well you can do it is an actual skill. S’s and N’s alike have the potential for strong memory.*

The information an (S) notices tends to be in the present, collecting information as the data itself is occurring. The information is concrete and usually free from an individual’s personal projection. S’s put less of their personal feeling or personal memories onto the information they are currently receiving. It does happen, but not as a matter of course.

(S) Sally works in an office. (S) Sally has an errand to run in the office and requires that she get up from her desk, walk down the length of a hall, and stop into several co-worker’s offices. (S) Sally gets up to begin her task. She takes exactly ten steps before she reaches the first office. (S) Sally knows it is exactly ten steps as she has walked the length between her office and the next office several times and noted the distance the first time. (S) Sally also knows the exact steps between this office and the next several that (S) Sally will need to stop in at. This first office belongs to (N) Neville. (S) Sally takes note of (N) Neville’s dress, gray suit, blue tie, one class ring on Neville’s opposite ring finger. (S) Sally noticed this ring the first time she met (N) Neville and associates class rings with (N) Neville as no other male in the office wears one. (S) Sally, now knowing what (N) Neville is wearing this day, will be able to visually spot him for the rest of the day no matter where he is in the office or the building in case she needs to follow up with him later. The same will be true for of all her co-workers that (S) Sally must interact with in order to complete her inter-office errand.

(S) Sally also recalls it’s Friday. (S) Sally is briefly joyed by that fact and recalled it simply b/c she walked near another co-worker who tends to wear a little too much perfume, and only on a Friday. (S) Sally has never asked this particular co-worker why she wears a little too much perfume, only on Fridays. (S) Sally only knows that this colleague does so and has come to think of Fridays as a scent.

Sally takes note of her co-workers reactions as she disseminates her errands, often resulting in more work for people to do, and on a Friday too. (S) Sally hates giving out fresh assignments at the end of a work week, but (S) Sally’s feelings have nothing to do it. It’s work, end of story.

Some colleagues show no reaction, it’s work as usual, and (S) Sally knows she will receive follow-up on the work promptly and without complaint. Others barely suppress rolling their eyes, (S) Sally makes no comment other than to note to herself to personally follow-up with him or her regarding progress. Others wave the work off with a shrug and a, ‘I’ll get to it,’ demeanor. Sally knows she will need to follow-up directly with these folks too in case their version of “getting to it,” is a little too untimely.

– S’s notice concrete information, or ‘just the facts ma’am.’ Because S’s are grounded in the specifics, they often describe themselves as practical and literal. They are often perceived by others as being the same. Friends of an (S) usually have no hesitation using adjectives like detail-oriented, grounded, practical, sensible, factual.

– Because an (S) has an appreciation for the facts, they are much more likely to trust past experiences than to invent a new modality for dealing with something. This also means an (S) prefers practical solutions, and not wildly inventive ones. If there must be a new solution to a new problem, then a practical, trial and error solution is sought after.

– S’s will see, and often accept, what a person, an object, or a situation is at face value. If an (S) were to meet a loud stranger for the first time, the (S) is not likely to explore reasons to as to why they are loud. An (S) is going to accept the information they’ve been given unless there is obvious proof available to explain it. If the person is elderly and is inclining their head while listening, there is a good chance the stranger in question is just hard of hearing, in which case, the loudness of speech is perfectly acceptable.

– S’s like step-by-step instructions and will follow them to the letter. An (S) will not become inventive with a way of doing things until they have nailed the original way of doing things. By then, an (S) is an expert and trusting their past experiences of building on knowledge will then begin to modify things, usually considered a more personally efficient way of doing things.

– An (S) likes to work at a steady pace. S’s can portion their energy well and work consistently throughout a given time period. How an (S) is feeling about the job at hand can play a part in how long they work and how well, but an (S) is pretty good about staying the course and getting the thing done once the task has started.

The information an (N) notices tends to be big, impressionable, evocative of thought or feeling. Any information that makes an impression, an (N) is more likely to notice it. N’s are more likely to use their past memories and feelings in order to form new memories. Which is why when an (N) recalls something, it tends to be a little more personal b/c of the impression it made in the first place. An (N) will likely self-perceive, and be described as, a good story-teller, a big picture thinker, a creative solution person. B/c N’s take in more of the new, the different, the impressionable, they are more likely to offer input and solutions that are based on the same.

(N) Neville does not know how many steps it took for (S) Sally to reach his office door, although he himself has frequented her office. (N) Neville does not recall what (S) Sally was wearing when she handed out new assignments on this Friday. What (N) Neville does recall was the rapidity of her steps as the way in which (S) Sally walks has always left an impression on (N) Neville. (N) Neville perceives (S) Sally to be punctual to a fault and usually rushing to and fro. (S) Sally’s walk reflects her day-to-day impression, busy, professional, rushing, and a little impersonal. Not that (S) Sally is difficult to work with or indifferent to her colleagues. (N) Neville thinks and feels, it’s only that (S) Sally’s busy and professional demeanor makes it hard to get to know her as a person and so doesn’t leave much of an impression on (N) Neville. He recalls less of what (S) Sally says compared to other colleagues who are more open and amiable. These colleagues leave impressions on (N) Neville and so he is able to recall personal details about them, unlike (S) Sally whom he sees nearly every day.

(N) Neville grimly takes a new assignment, briefly dampening his feelings on the fact that it’s Friday and acknowledges that while he is not motivated o begin his new assignment today, he will make up for studiously on Monday. He also knows this not in favor of (S) Sally’s preference of beginning work right away, but (N) Neville just isn’t feeling it. The company meeting is on Tuesday, (N) Neville is confident he can develop and deliver an adequate assignment report on Monday. (N) Neville likes working under the gun, in fact, (N) Neville believes his best ideas are developed under pressure, as spontaneous feeling takes over. As much as (N) Neville has tried (and failed) to tackle assignments in advance, he feels no inspiration. (N) Neville insists his work lacks creativity when he tries to plan and portion out his work.

(N) Neville also passes that same colleague who wears a little too much perfume on Fridays and is cheered once more. While (N) Neville dislikes the cloying smell, (N) Neville perceives the perfume as a personal cheer for a Friday. (N) Neville feels this co-worker is quietly celebrating the end of the week and that is something he can relate to.

Not to (N) Neville’s surprise, (S) Sally checks in with him towards the close of the day. He has made note of this habit that (S) Sally has to check in on those days when less popular assignments come through. (N) Neville knows this part of (S) Sally’s efficiency and does not take it personally. He notices the slight frown she nearly concealed when (N) Neville said he had not begun the assignment, but gave his sincere reassurances that all would be well by Tuesday’s meeting.

– N’s notice the different, the outstanding, the impressionable. They notice what evokes thoughts and feelings, not only in themselves but in others. N’s also notice what isn’t present such as what is deliberately left out in a piece of music, an artwork, or in a speech. N’s make memories more easily when feelings and past memories are evoked by a person or situation or object. Thereby through no one’s deliberate doing, a person might be remembered and/or associated with nothing to do with themselves, it is completely at an N’s discretion. An (N) may not remember what you were wearing (unless it made an impression), they may not remember your name the first several times they hear it, but they can have full recall of you by what you said, or did, by a simple gesture you made with your hands, or by the look on your face or the sound of your voice.

– N’s are imaginative and theoretical. In this regard, an (N) could be confused with an (E) or Extravert. N’s tend to think aloud and usually at length. The difference is no one need be present.

– Unlike S’s who trust tried and true methods for problem-solving or “established methods,” N’s trust their own instinct, and would rather build a solution for themselves than do what everyone else has done. N’s trust themselves to come up with something, and value creative solutions. S’s tend to see what could be, not what already is. This is where we get the big-picture image of certain people. They are likely an (N).

– N’s like to figure things out alone, this does not automatically make an (N) an (I). Because N’s value creative solutions, the implication is the skill or solution is self-taught. For this, N’s don’t need outside influence; to think aloud, perhaps, but for default work, an (N) usually likes to work alone.

– N’s, unlike S’s, like to work in bursts of energy as opposed to steady-paced, planned work. N’s are creative, and they may be big picture thinkers, but the delivery of their work is often dependent upon how they feel. An (N) may have hours and hours of uninterrupted energy in which to work on something or all of ten minutes, but the point is, that work will be of quality and to their liking.

Some of you will know absolutely if you are an (S) or an (N). Others will struggle. There is a scale and you would need the full version of the MBTI to understand where you fall, particularly if you are unsure.

Personally, I am a high-level S. Case in point, I’m writing this on a Sunday. Despite the fact that I am a moderate (I), I wanted to be around people today so I decided to pack up my laptop and head to Starbucks. regret that. It’s busy in here today and my sensitive (S) is taking in EVERYTHING, even with my earbuds in place. My (S) exacerbates my (I) and all the sensory data I’m picking up is draining my (I) energy faster. I am painfully aware of how long this blog was and would continue to be about two hours ago. I was tempted to pack up perhaps an hour after arriving, but because I was determined to start what I finished, I shove my feelings aside to get the work done. I think what about what I promised myself I would do – write a minimum of two blogs a week. I tell myself I need to meet that. I think about how I can portion out the rest of my mental energy so I can finish writing this thing and publish it.

Being a high-level (S) is exhausting. I notice all things, that doesn’t mean the information is useful or in any way intelligent. I am aware of bodily movements, conversations, smells, light, temperature, background noises. I can’t tell you how many times I heard the frother (frother is not a legit word and yet I do not care) at the Starbucks counter since I’ve been here – no wait, yes I can – 22 times! You may not believe any one person could be aware of all those things, but you would be wrong. (S) people are legit when we say we notice a lot. I’m telling you, if I witness an accident you were the cause of, you and I will not be friends. I will have seen and noticed all that went down including what you were wearing and the stunned look on your face, and the license plate? That’s child play memory stuff for me, my friend.

My husband is a moderate (N). You might imagine the hilarity of our marriage as we notice, and determine importance to, wildly different things. My husband is full of creative ideas, all the time, day in and day out. He will often interject ideas into a conversation that had no bearing whatsoever to what was being discussed, but it was an idea that impressed upon so much he had say it out loud. Ideas, ideas, ideas galore, many of them wonderful and I am amazed by. His creativity is already well exercised as a software architect and I know he has the creative power to come up with something independently of his job. It takes discipline to start and maintain something of value. That’s where S’s like me come into play, we can override our feelings of exhaustion and boredom if it means getting the job done. Idea people and the get-it-done people work well together in this regard.

I’m a fiction writer, as an (I) I am comfortable living in my head and I can take my time flexing my creative muscles. I put all my sensory data full of odd human behaviors over the years to work in fiction and at my own comfortable pace. In my own way, I get to appreciate both worlds as the creative in me meets the practical.

Still two more MBTI letters to suss out. Until then, are you an (S) or an (N)? And make note, I know the S’s will. Haha.
Austin, Texas

Personality: Introvert & Extravert (Blog I of 5)

I thought it might be nice to take a break and blog on the lighter side. As I mentioned in a previous post, I am a trained counselor (formerly licensed) and part of working with my student-clients involved the occasional personality test. There are many tests, so many, but the tried and true has always been the MBTI or Myers-Briggs Type Indicator. The MBTI is not an in-depth personality test, but it does measure those personality factors that we know to be true for nearly every living person on the planet, which is to say, the MBTI is applicable to many people regardless of country, culture, economic status, age, and sex. The MBTI measures the broadest of predictable personality factors. While it is not in-depth, the MBTI is helpful in narrowing down an individual who could do with some assistance in personal insight.

The MBTI measures across four categories (two possible personality factors per category) resulting in a four letter combination, or personality type, per person. There is a total of 16 personality types.

By the way, I use the original and scientific spelling, ExtrAvert, and not the currently popular spelling, ExtrOvert.

Category One: Introvert vs Extravert*
(I) for Introvert and (E) for Extravert

*First – and this is very important – Introvert does not = shy. Extravert does not = attention seeker. These are surface impressions that, to this day, are perpetuated about each type. Whether you are an (I) or an (E) is strictly defined by ENERGY. Energy that is measurable in your day-to-day existence. I am not talking about the sort of vague references to a spiritually-styled energy that your yoga instructor is really into. I am talking about energy that is measurable in the triad: mental, emotional, and physical. Also, I’s and E’s fall on a scale. Some I’s are very Introverted, others less so. The same for E’s. Where everyone falls on the scale of (I) and (E) can also be measured by the MBTI.*

Energy comes from within. I’s are a lot like a cell phone, their energy (mental, emotional, physical) is charged inwardly, or alone. As soon as an introvert is in company with another person, they are essentially taken off their charger and begin to slowly but surely lose their charge until they are alone once more. People are draining. You will have met I’s in your life that you had no idea are I’s simply because your understanding of them is wrong. It’s not that I’s can’t socialize or be part of a group, it is only that they have so much energy to spare to any one person, or situation, before they require alone time. I’s are perfectly capable of conversation, of partying, going out to dinner, you name it. Activities with others usually require a foreseeable ending, or a planned exit. The more taxing or stressful a person or situation, the faster an I’s mental, emotional, and physical energies are drained.

– I’s are more likely to LISTEN than to talk. This is where the shyness assumption comes from, and why I’s tend to have a few but really close friends. I’s prefer quality over quantity and quality friendship means zeroing in on your friend; listening requires paying attention to the speaker’s facial movements, tone of voice, registering bodily posture and more. So when an Introvert is listening, they are all in. I’s have a harder time in groups for this reason. The ability to provide everyone the same quality of their attention becomes saturated and harder to keep up with. E’s have very few issues with this, as you will see. If you have a friend and you’ve thought, ‘So-and-so only seems to hang out with me and a few other people. What’s up with that?’ You have yourself an Introverted friend. Do well by his or her because they are all about the quality, and will take the time to be present with you when they are with you. Remember, they are taking themselves off their charger just to hang out when they could just as easily be comfortable at home, ready for a night of Netflix and snuggling the cat.

– Introverts think before they act. I’s live inside their heads, which means they are a great deal more likely to ponder over a thought of potential action well before they do it. It might take days or hours, minutes or seconds, but a thought process must take place before engaging in an action. This is in line with that quality of attention you can expect from an Introverted friend. Thought must proceed speaking aloud or moving toward an action.

– B/c I’s live inside their minds, comfortably so, you might well expect them to have excellent concentration skills, and they do.

– Introverts prefer to work behind the scenes. They prefer to work alone, once given a set of instructions, I’s pretty much prefer to be left alone with minimal supervision. Group meetings are nice because you can check in with what everyone else is doing but for the most part, it seems those E’s are really just thinking aloud. Whereas I’s don’t need to think aloud. This is where in corporate culture, those rock solid I’s take up zero time because they don’t need to contribute ideas about their work – they already know what they’re doing. Or, I’s don’t contribute their thoughts in a meeting until the have a quality-driven, fleshed-out idea to offer. There also those rock solid E’s whom, when they speak up, their ideas seem to be all over the place – the content may or may not be valid. They are the same individuals at every meeting and are as predictable as their quieter counterparts.

– Until I’s get to know you, they themselves are very reserved. They don’t dish the dish, gab, or chat unnecessarily. You will need to be a proper friend before any real sharing takes place, and even then the information shared is always parceled out and never a package bomb of info. I’s will not verbally vomit all over you in an effort to get to know you.

– B/c I’s are comfortable in their minds, they are quite good at written communication. They can say what they mean to say, thoughtfully, in the written word more so than in speech which is a lot more immediate and spontaneous. Spontaneous speech with I’s is more likely to happen with people they are close to. Anyone else is subject to a less jam-packed conversation as an Introvert tries to formulate an articulated response.

Energy comes from without. An E’s energy is charged from being around others. Nor is the (E) charge limited to just people, an (E) can experience mental, emotional, and physical energy just by being present in public. Not all E’s are talkative attention seekers, however, some E’s are exactly that. Just like some I’s are terrified at the idea of speaking up or being noticed. There are high-level versions of I’s and E’s, but there are also very mellow versions of I’s and E’s too. E’s are perfectly capable of being alone or engaging in meaningful conversation with just one person, like an (I). It’s a matter of energy. An (E) that is having a quiet day is likely to feel a little more drained than having a day filled with people and activities, which is more energizing to them. Spontaneity is a key strength to an (E). If you’ve ever thought, ‘So-and-so always seems to have something going on, they’re so busy. I wonder if they ever go home and just chill?’ You’ve got yourself an Extraverted friend. Treat them well. The encounter with your (E) friend might be brief, and may not be chalk full of quality, but they are there for you even so. No matter how busy they are, an (E) is more likely to make time for their friends than an (I) who struggles with out-of-the-blue invitations. This is not a diss, it simply is a common factor (not a given) to the existence of I’s. Every personality type has its pros and cons.

– E’s are naturally active and as a result, tend to TALK more than, listen. Talking rapidly, and seemingly without a particular direction, is an outward trade mark to an (E). What’s actually happening here is an E’s thought process. Where an (I) has an INTERNAL thought process, and (E) has an EXTERNAL thought process. E’s often work out their thoughts and feelings by using other people as sounding boards. They throw thoughts out, and in so doing, will hopefully get viable feedback. This why those E’s are always the first to speak up in meetings, they are likely tossing around ideas so their own finished thoughts and courses of actions can take shape. Don’t get me wrong, E’s are perfectly capable of making up their own minds, and ultimately all E’s make up their own minds, but preferably with input from others first.

– This first trade mark of E’s leads to the second, an ability to come together and connect with people and with very little effort. Groups that seem to form quickly and work together towards a common goal are more easily created by E’s; they just seem to naturally sort out their puzzle-like pieces. This is hard for I’s to comprehend as I’s tend to focus their energies on the individual. I’s are more likely to feel “lost” in a group setting b/c there seems to be no apparent anchor, whereas, for E’s, the group itself is the anchor.

– B/c E’s need others to sort out their thoughts and feelings, it is safe to say, distraction comes quite naturally. Exploring one’s thoughts, behaviors and feelings can be an undertaking, never mind all the incoming data from other people and situations. The cost to this hive of outward processing is attention span. E’s can and will get distracted easily.

– All that incoming data, however, also grants E’s the uncanny ability to tackle several things at one time. E’s can pick up one action while pursuing another or switch gears all-together, several times throughout the day. Hour by hour, an (E) has the potential for fluidity. I’s prefer to work out one thing (start and finish) at a time, regardless of feelings about the task at hand; a ‘I started this thing and now I’m going to finish it,’ mentality. E’s, however, don’t miss a beat when they start something and decide to finish it much later.

– B/c open dialogue is fast and has the potential to change rapidly, E’s prefer oral communication over written. Written communication requires thoughtful structure, and thus, slows the whole concept of communication down for an (E).

Some of you will know absolutely if you are an (I) or an (E). Others will struggle. There is a scale and you would need the full version of the MBTI to understand where you fall, particularly if you are unsure. Personally, I am a moderate (I), my husband is a mild (E). There are many ways in which he feels like an (I) but his DEFAULT method, as a living, breathing, human being, requires EXTERNAL energy to get through the day. (E) energy is his default. He needs to be around people a little more often than not. Not a whole lot, like a high-level (E) would, but just a little more often than not, he needs to be around people.

As a moderate (I), I need more alone time than a little, but not so much as a high-level (I) would. There are times my (E) kicks in and I need to be out and about in the world, and once I get my fix, I’m good. But for the most part, I hate crowds, I hate socializing, and I’ve always believed I’ve never needed more than two or three good friends. Because I’m an internal thinker, when I am with friends, I never need to run my thoughts or feelings by anyone because I’m already a decided person. I can spend quality time with my friends as myself and not someone who needs to sort things out. My husband, on the other hand, part of his friendship experience is running things by others in order to figure something out that’s been on his mind, because, hey, what are friends for? As a moderate (I) I have to be hard pressed on a difficult topic before I run my thoughts by anyone, be it my husband or a friend. Many people have accused me of not knowing when to ask for help – as an (I), that is a valid observation, and I find it to be true more often than not. Like I said, everyone’s personality package has its pros and cons.

Are you an (I) or an (E)?

Make note, you still have three more letters to work out. By the fifth part of this Personality blog, I’ll tell you what your four-letter MBTI personality type means.
Austin, Texas

Writing Process aka “Discipline”

For the most part, I think I’m met with a lot of raised eyebrows when I tell people I’ve written a book.

Them: ‘What do you do?’

Me: ‘I’m a writer, currently unpublished.’

Them: With feigned interest, ‘Oh me too, totally, I mean I have, like, really great ideas and stuff for a book but have never actually, like, written seriously, ya know? It’s, like, so time-consuming. But I write, like, a lot on Twitter ya know? And I’ve been meaning to start a blog cause people all the time tell me they would totally read my stuff if I wrote it down or whatever.’

Me: ‘Uh huh.’

Them: With less interest, ‘So what do you write about?’

Me: ‘I’ve written a book. It’s in the genre of Southen Gothic, roughly 440 pages. I also blog because for some reason that’s important to agents so I try to keep up with what they expect to see. My manuscript is currently being edited and I’ll likely pursue e-publishing, pending the edited results.’

Them: Quietly, ‘Oh.’

Me: ‘Yeah.’

I’m floored how often this conversation, or something like it, comes up. It is true what agents and publishers say, everyone wants to write a book, very few actually do. What they really mean to say is everyone has an IDEA for a book but not the discipline to convert an idea into a story.

Writing, in this respect, is absolutely in line with any other major goals in life, like exercising or healthy eating. The discipline, the habit, does not form by itself. It has to be nurtured into existence and then its maintenance becomes easier over time.

Like all new life changes that are important time has to be carved out for them. I made the decision to write down the idea I’ve had floating in my head for years and that meant sacrificing time and money – my family’s time and money. I’ve had the benefit of being a full-time parent who could work from home. This is a luxury I am well aware of, however, that meant spending money to place my then 3-year old into daycare so I could work, or rather I could work MORE and with no guarantee of a payoff. To say writing requires motivation as well as discipline is something of an understatement.

I developed an 8-10 hour a week writing schedule in-between my other obligations, and those hours could never slack. On the days I didn’t feel well, or just “didn’t feel like writing,” I made myself write anyway. It may have been garbage but at least garbage can be fixed, you can’t fix a blank page. Outside of those scheduled hours, I wrote at night when everyone went to bed. I wrote on the weekends and first thing in the morning. My sticking to a plan meant having something to show at the end of my efforts. I mean, dude! I wrote a book! It’s beginning, ending and everything in-between is all down to me.

Like everything in life, the more you practice a thing, the better you get at said thing. Writing is no different. Your story may be brilliant but it will come out as crap at first. So keep fucking writing. The stuff you write becomes less crappy, you find your voice, you find your characters’ voices, the pace picks up and your work becomes less crappy.

That was my experience in a nutshell. Eight months later, I had my first draft hovering at about 520 pages. After my first round of editing, I cut a lot of the crap and ended up at 480 pages. My third draft (yes, I said “third”) got me down to my current 441 pages. I handed the thing over to a professional editor because, at this point, I need another pair of eyes, professional eyes that know what to do next. The point is, I did the heavy lifting. I’ve written a book, only time will tell if I’m published or not but in total honesty, I can say I’m one of those who went beyond, ‘I have an idea for a book.’
Austin, Texas

Education: About Me, Part II

Education is the remedy to poverty. I learned this early on. I watched my father, a brilliant man, work endless blue collar days to support a family he created much too early. My mother had quit our family shortly after I came into the world. My childhood consisted of myself, a much beloved older sister, and my father. My father determined that we would not do as he and my mother had done, allowing hormones and emotions to overthrow common sense, jeopardizing futures for lack of contraception.

By the time I was college ready, I struggled with the idea of a major. I adored writing, I adored reading. You would think my major selection would be straight forward. But as I addressed in my blog, Ruth, I had burning questions that required answering. I felt if I could understand human thinking and human behaviors I might be better prepared for the world, and be more capable of helping others.

I gave myself a few years to think about it as I signed up for basic, transferable courses at Austin Community College before I declared a major. This is one of the best decisions I ever made and I highly recommend community college as a starting point for college-bound, young adults. I was a first-generation college student, no one I knew in my immediate family had gone and I was nervous. I didn’t know what to expect. I built a high GPA and all my courses were paid via scholarships and grants as a result. In the meantime, I figured out what I wanted to study while relishing all creative writing courses, and wrote short stories just for fun. I loved my intro psychology and sociology courses too. It was a dilemma.

When it came time to declare my major and enroll into a 4-year college, I applied and was accepted to UT Austin, but eventually accepted an offer from St. Edward’s University, Austin, Texas. UT Austin is a wonderful school, truly. In many respects, I wish I had gone there if only to spare something of my present day tuition repayments, but my lifelong anxiety largely dictated my decision. The size of UT overwhelmed me when I visited the campus and I felt I could not breathe. When I visited St. Ed’s, not only could I breathe, I felt excitement about continuing my education. I felt a part of the campus just by visiting it, never mind the potential connectivity as a student.

Eight years later, I finished a BA in psychology and earned an MA in counseling. Magna cum laude first, summa cum laude second. I worked hard for that 4.0 while earning my master’s degree, completing an unpaid part-time internship, and working 30 hours a week. I had no social life, and there were goings-on in general I missed out on, but I don’t regret it.

I’ve enjoyed a wonderful career as a university counselor. I loved campus life so much I decided to put my education to work in the education system.

I’m thankful I chose psychology and counseling. There are times when I am frustrated as a new writer, learning things the hard way, making juvenile mistakes when addressing literary agents and representing my manuscript. But I still don’t regret it. I’ve been touched by the countless stories of the students I’ve had the privilege to work with. Many of their stories I have incorporated into my work. The story of Ruth would not have the depth it does, the multiple layers of perspectives it has had so many paths not come across mine.
Austin, Texas

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