Thursday, January 8, 2009


Introduction to Conscientiousness

a work day, breakfast is over, and you're dressed and ready. So how
will you approach the tasks at hand? Some people work best with a clear
schedule, a set of priorities and a due date for every step in the
process. Others are, shall we say, less regimented. They approach a
task with as much imagination as organization, and with a willingness
to bend and modify in order to exercise some urge of creativity.

How about you? Do you walk in a straight line toward a clear goal, or
are you more likely to dance your way down whatever path will get you
wherever it is you're headed? The following paragraphs describe ways in
which you approach the tasks life brings to you, and to what extent you
are focused or flexible in how you choose to proceed.

Your approach toward your obligations is:

Words that describe you:

  • Casual
  • Informal
  • Compliant

  • Reliable
  • Organized
  • Solid

  • Dependable
  • Uncommitted
  • Genuine

A General Description of How You Interact with Others

you take on a task at work or at home, you are reliable; you get the
job done. In an organized way, you define the goal, lay out a plan,
figure how long the task will take, and get to work "solid and
dependable you".

But and this is important you're not a slave
to the plan. You're committed to it, but not chained to it; the
connection is more casual and informal. You know that sometimes "the
best laid plans" fall off the tracks; when this happens, you clean up
the train wreck and start over, undeterred.

Though not
happening often, when plans change, you're okay with it. In fact,
sometimes you change the plan. It's too nice of a Saturday to finish
organizing the garage. Let's go for a bike ride instead. True, the next
rainy Saturday will likely find you back in the garage, but for now the
work can wait.

What an interesting combination of qualities
in you're organized, but casual; solid, but compliant; and dependable,
but informal. At home and at work, people know they can rely on you.
You take great satisfaction in knowing that people think of you as
disciplined and responsible, but you also know that you have something
of a free spirit in you, and when this spirit moves you, off you go,
following the impulse of the moment. You are rightly proud of your work
ethic, but you also enjoy your willingness to lay the tools down, crank
up the music and play like a child.

Negative Reactions Others May Have Toward You

people live like Marines: duty-bound, disciplined and driven. To these
people you might seem uncommitted; where they would never leave work
for play or change plans in the middle of their life's forced march,
you let the circumstance sway you and move in a different direction,
and they don't understand.

Others live like kites on a
string, attached by thin threads to the solid ground of responsibility
and are blown about by every gust of impulse or imagination. To these
people you might seem too cowardly, like you'll flirt with your
impulses but never give in fully, play on a Saturday but never blow of
the entire work-week to "follow your bliss".

While these
Marines and kite-flyers might look down on you for your combination of
focus and flexibility, others might be envious. They can't free
themselves from a sense that they're not doing enough, or from the
equally frustrating feeling that they're not free enough.

here you are with your accomplishments and your pleasures, getting the
job done but also getting your hair blown back as you run with the
wind. As far as these people are concerned, you're lucky you've got the
best of both of the worlds in which they feel they fail.

Positive Responses Others May Have Toward You

a great life you have, and a great attitude to boot. You know when to
buckle down and push ahead to get the job done, and you do it well. You
know when to lay the tools of your trade aside, grab your kite and head
for the meadow where you can run with the wind. Many people will see
and admire in you this lovely combination of a person who can focus,
but who is flexible enough to know when to let the spirit move you in
some new and livelier direction.

It's a life they aspire to,
and they delight in seeing it played out in your life. They may ask
your advice and turn you into a mentor of the full and balanced
experience. They will want to know how you do it, what the costs are,
and if you get frightened that you're not working hard enough or
playing often enough. They may make you think about your own life more
than you have, so you can share it with those who want to emulate this
balance between flexibility and focus. They may be correct lucky you!

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