To Reach Your Ultimate Potential You Must Develop Multiple Personalities (UHD Part 3)
This title came to me this morning in the shower: one of the places where I can “connect the dots” of what is on my mind. Don’t judge — we all have our quiet spaces where we connect our “thought dots.”
Over the last few years, I have spent considerable time contemplating how to connect my dots to yours while also being sensitive to everyone’s preferred way of absorbing “new dots.” This is not an easy task because it implies I have to find one approach to fit the preferences of more than one combination of brain functions.
We all have moments where we come to a pinnacle of insight on something we have been quietly pondering. Unfortunately, we don’t always remember the path our minds took to get there, nor do we have someone nearby to share it with. I personally started practicing the process of tracing back my steps to new insights almost 20 years ago when I was deeply consumed with what I call the “Ultimate Human Dilemma.” Now I will share with you this morning’s path over the stepping stones that helped me see a different way to connect my dots to yours.
It started with the realization that innovation cannot be bureaucratized. The only way innovation happens inside of a stone-walled bureaucracy is by rogue forces. History has repeatedly proven this within large corporations as well as nations and civilizations. If you have read any of my previous blogs, you may have seen one that reveals the WiFi we all have that allows us to “synapse” with other people. This then brought me back to the “why.” Why am I trying to connect my proverbial dots to yours?
The answer is because I genuinely want to help people. I have an authentic belief that if I can help enough people do this, it can grow organically and spread through its own merits. Society could potentially materialize the filter against those who let personal greed sabotage the real gains of the collective capacities of the very teams the world depends on. Then, it clicked. The way to “frame” what I refer to as the Ultimate Potential so that a 21-year old nursing student can connect with it the same as a 55-year old insurance agent. Now stay with me, because I cannot give you the Ultimate Potential yardstick without first finishing the refinement to the new use of MBTI.
In a previous blog, I introduced “MBTI 2.0”, a way to use the same foundational work of Carl Jung without losing the added structural integrity of Katharine Cook-Briggs and her daughter Isabel Briggs-Myers, who formed the MBTI personality assessment tool. My approach, however, strips away the complexities that are often misused and misunderstood which unfortunately then cascade into others who will learn to use and then also share, incorrectly. (See the 3 things that MBTI tells us about ourselves.)
Continuing on this path, I next separated more terms that are not always understood the same way by the average person. Let’s start with the definition of ‘personality’ — a set of individual differences that are affected by the development of an individual such as values, attitudes, personal memories, social relationships, habits, and skills.
The word personality is derived from the Latin word persona, meaning mask much like the one you would find in the theater. Your personality is, therefore, the mask you wear, which is a manifestation over time. It is shaped by the conditions and circumstances in your life and how you manage them from the “1,2 combination” brain hardware and software functions given to you by your biological parents.
When the “what doesn’t kill you makes you stronger” happens, your capacity and ability to overcome and grow the right kind of stronger is intricately linked to how your brain builds and refines its functions ambidexterity.
It is then reflected in the outward mask we know as our personality. Therefore, the definition of the word ‘personality’ does not tell us why.
Most of what you read today are examinations based on snippets of symptoms; symptoms at the personal and individual level, as well as the level of groups, teams, inside company walls, society, culture, generations, etc. These might make you feel good while reading, but they do not change anything. They are snapshots of symptoms and not the problem. Chasing symptoms is dangerous, as it leads only to more complex symptoms. Yogi Berra, former catcher, and Hall of Fame baseball manager once said it best:
“You’ve got to be careful where you are going because you might not get there.”
Personality Psychology is Now Linked to Actual Neuroscience
The history of the study of personality psychology goes back to Hippocrates, more than 2,000 years ago. He showed that there were 4 describable categories of personality, later termed temperaments by Galen in AD 129. Fast forward to today, all major breakthroughs in the science of personality psychology have come to some version of the same symmetry of the “number 4.” This includes the work of Carl G. Jung on which MBTI is based.
For those of you who might be a tad skeptical of psychological science, we now have neuroscience. Neuroscience has also proven the existence of the two hardware functions of Sensing (S) and iNtuition(N) as described by Jung and MBTI, which I describe as ‘interpolative’ and ‘extrapolative’ brain types. Take a moment to really read the descriptions of the dorsal and ventral systems in the figure. You are predominantly, or out-right dominantly, one of these two types of brain hardware.
Neuroscience also arrives at this symmetry of 4, as evidenced in the book Top Brain/Bottom Brain. I commend the authors for making the connection and for bringing to light what is a well-known farce in the brain community that the Left/Right brain beliefs are not true about one’s personality. The foundational work separating the two halves of the brain was based on radical procedures to cure epilepsy. The truth is, the difference is actually between the upper and lower regions of the brain (shown in the figure as the dorsal and ventral systems). What the authors failed to do is connect their dots to the other dots out there. Namely, the history of personality psychology and legacy of work from Carl Jung et al.
As already alluded to, the way to think about your Ultimate Potential is through your brain’s level of “ambidexterity” — something that cannot be developed unless the brain is pressured. It has to experience the strain of conditions and circumstances. Then and only then can it gain acumen with non-dominant hardware and software. If left undeveloped, it will eventually atrophy over time, so that by adulthood it is largely unavailable. Unless of course, you survive a major head trauma event. See link to Phineus Gage, who survived a metal rod going through his skull in an accident in 1848. It forced a reprogramming of his functions to his weaker functions. He became an 8-year old inside of a 32-year old man’s body.
Looking at it this way, reaching closer to your Ultimate Potential implies having more than one mask to wear. Because, of course, you have developed more than one from the conditions and circumstances in your life. This means that technically, by default you have developed multiple personalities.
This, therefore, implies that there should be at least 2 (perhaps more) MBTI profile descriptions that resonate with you, but still only one that you would write your name at the top of. This is especially true when looking back at your childhood years and when you first took the straps of your brain in the 4th grade. By default, this makes you more valuable to those around you: at home, at work, and in your community. Why? Because you can Synapse with more people because you have the added dimensions to do so.
Presenting the Ultimate Potential to you in this way (from my shower epiphany) means that I must completely flip the order of reveals. This means that before I can give you the 6 factors of your Ultimate Potential (Called UP Factors and pronounced as letter ‘U’ then letter ‘P’), I need to continue to build out from where I left off in the proposed MBTI 2.0 blog. This should help the UP Factors make more sense to you, because, they are tools, a yardstick if you will, for assessing an individual’s own “manifestation of their masks.” The 6 Factors of Ultimate Potential are the missing yardstick of humanity.
In MBTI 2.0 I showed you how by removing the E/I and J/P dichotomy of MBTI you are left with 8 combinations. This is the combination of hardware and software you get from your biological parents. From there, it is up to you. Among these UP factors are the ‘Conditions and Circumstances’ you must go through to provide the pressures needed to develop your brain’s ambidexterity. If you get there, you no longer look like that 1,2 combination. Your 3rd function, using the MBTI model, becomes fluently accessible as either a dual hardware processor (S/N) or an expanded software upgrade (T/F).
The 4th function is what I call the “prison space.” It is your prison space because you will never be good at it. If you had to work every day in an environment where emotional survival depended on using your ‘prison space function’ as your go-to dominant one, then it would for sure feel like a prison! (Note, in a future blog I will show you how to read other people’s functions. One of the techniques is to find their prison space).
Compensating for your prison space is as simple as (firstly) recognizing it exists and (secondly) subordinating it to others on your team for whom that function is one of their 2 dominant functions. That alone makes your weaker 4th function no longer so weak, right? It has always has been up to you!
If you, therefore, assume that everyone who is born with their 1,2 combination starter kit develops themselves to some level of proficiency and ambidexterity with their non-dominant hardware and software functions, you arrive at that lovely symmetry of 4 again. Even so, it is still based on the same proven model proposed by Jung, structured by MBTI and now justified by neuroscience.
I have given a tag name and description to each of the 4. This is the symmetry of 4 personalities, masks, or temperaments (if you please) for how we would be easily seen if all of us reached this level of brain function ambidexterity. Which one are you?
Unfortunately, not everyone will achieve the threshold of their Ultimate Potential to become “functionally ambidextrous.” This doesn’t imply that they are of no value to teams or their resumes be tossed aside; it simply means that they may not “Synapse” with as many different types of people as someone who has developed this ambidexterity. The UP Factors, however, will filter out those who can be cancers to teams from the ones who are team builders as well as team leaders.
We Should All Want to be that Monkey That Can Do Our Job!
I have come up with a way to frame this, metaphorically and visually. The descriptions of the Vacuum Cleaner, Problem Finder, Problem Solver, and Mind Reader are key to balancing out our teams. Important in situations such as building an executive leadership team or staffing a major R&D project. These are the 4 buckets that I call BOM’s, an acronym for Barrel of Monkeys.
So why would I use ‘Barrel of Monkeys’ to describe the individuals I want to build my organization with? It is an often used as a denigrating saying when your boss tells you that ‘even a monkey could do your job’. Well, if being that monkey means you can build what you see here, I would wear the monkey tag like a badge of honor.
Let’s use an example. Let’s imagine I have 100 people in my organization who have developed this ambidexterity, (therefore a ‘BOM’) and I put these 100 people into an imaginary bucket. If I then randomly pull one out of the bucket, the chances are they will pull along with them a connected network of other people. A Synaptic network of people. It’s just like the game Barrel of Monkeys. Every organization not only needs BOM’s on their staff, they should want as many as they can get.
From babies to toddlers to the 4th graders Alan Greenspan talks about, (when we first take the reins of our brains) we have to go through the conditions and circumstances necessary to create the incentive to build our brain ambidexterity. If you don’t achieve it you remain what I call “40/10’ers” (pronounced ‘forty-tenners.’) This means you are not using any more brain functions at age 40 than you did at age 10. This is okay, and not a negative connotation by any means, it just means you will have a somewhat reduced ability to be on the same page with, or Synapse with, other people compared to a BOM who has more than one “mask” to do so. This means a 40/10'er will connect best with individuals who share similar functions to their own. Forced teamwork between two people with opposite functions often generates frictions. “Frictions between the functions” is the Ultimate Human Dilemma and is the source of the team and organizational dysfunction.
From a people chemistry perspective, teams of 40/10'ers tend to consume more energy than they produce, while still being able to get the job done. It just might take more energy to overcome the frictions between the functions of individuals that are unable to “Synapse.”
Conversely, high-performance teams are only built when BOM’s are connected to form networks with the freedom and empowerment to let these networks manage themselves. This is where each person is the same person: no matter where they are in the world on any given day, they are the same person. The team has a singular identity. A fictitious person with a face and a body that is the interface between the team and the outside world. Everyone on the team is this same person with a well-understood goal to achieve. It is a true Level 3 Synapse.
In future blogs, I will show you how just one 40/10'er who scores low on two of the dimensions of the UP Factors can take a successful, dynamic team and poison it like cancer. In future blogs on the Ultimate Human Solution, I will propose how to prevent this from happening so your organization can transform itself to being akin to a living, breathing organism.
I hope you enjoyed this blog. This is a hefty piece of the puzzle that is my quest to connect my dots to yours. Thankfully I had the day off today and could take this shower-epiphany moment and run with it. Now I have to reconfigure the order and flow of my seminar version of The Ultimate Human Dilemma!
Please give me some ‘recommends’ if you like this post and as always, feel free to reach out to me directly at email@example.com or visit our website at www.up-factorllc.com
And please let me know who you think you are! Vacuum Cleaner, Problem Finder, Problem Solver or Mind Reader.