Don’t Be Your Own Story or An Assholes Confession

Photo Credit Thomas Martinsen

One of the greatest pieces of advice I received recently was that of no longer Becoming my own story. It sounds very counter intuitive to what many self help/ growth people say: “Become your own story! Write your own tale!” It’s a beautiful thing, but can also become a very cautionary tale for some people. Sometimes when things get incredibly rough or uncomfortable our most internal thoughts and basic emotions come out to play. This can adversely affect those around us. I’m one such cautionary tale.

Growing up I was always a very empathetic kid and this followed me into young adulthood. In my early 20’s I took the Meyers Brigg Personality assessment for college. If you haven’t it’s something I highly recommend in assessing how you might be interacting with people. After going through everything I tested as a INFJ (Introverted Intuition Feeling Judging Personality). My actions with others around me reflected as much. However, as I grew up and obtained more experience my personality started changing.

I noticed as I grew older I was quicker to the point with people even so much as doing it in a very cold fashion. I wasn’t a perfectionist with people, but I was very stern with what I wanted. My vision of a project superseded that of those around me. Perhaps some of that assertiveness was a byproduct of growing older and experience, but my ideals had definitely changed. I would often cast aside people’s feelings when making decisions because honestly my empathy by the time I was in my late 20’s was completely gone. If it sounds like I was really good at being an asshole then chances are you’re probably right.

It turns out in 10 years I had morphed from an INFJ to an ENTJ (Extroverted Intuition Thinking Judging Personality). ENTJ’s are great leaders. We see inefficiencies quickly, but man when we want to get to the point we do it in a pretty damn cold way. When we see something moving at slower pace or are no longer getting our way we press and press until we get what we want. When dealing with our own ambitions this is fine, but when others are involved it becomes emotional sand paper just wearing people down.

So here I was this stubborn asshole re living my own story every time things were no longer going my way. So how did I start turning around my nature? I started recognizing my beginning chapters. Every time I felt like I was losing my grip on a situation my reaction was always the same.

  • I would not be pleased with something
  • I would try to be constructive in my own way. (Be an asshole)
  • Let my terrible constructive criticism play out (ineffectively)
  • Say something more snide instead of meeting a person at their emotional level and figuring out a problem together.

The cycle always repeated itself.

Instead of letting it play out like this I started to adjust. If something wasn’t going my way I would ask: How can meet this person at their emotional level and fix this? I found over time by allowing my voice to be heard earlier in a calmer manner and allowing the person to offer their own opinion towards a solution to drastically change how my story ended.

Everyone knows when calmer heads walk away from a situation much more productive things happen and there’s a much more positive work environment.

Perhaps you’re different than me. Maybe you’re not the stubborn asshole, but I’m willing to bet you can relate to this. A lot of times our own story is something that is so ingrained in us that if we don’t stop for a second we’ll just rehash the beginning chapters and not see it through to another ending.