Wednesday, April 05, 2006


There is a scene in the movie “The Matrix” where the main character Neo (Keanu Reeves), is brought mentally up to speed on reality after being a life-long fetus. They plug a cord into the back of his head that downloads 1000 years worth of information, plus a boatload of physical agility. He squirms and grunts during the process (apparently they skipped the acting talent module).

Anyway, I only remember this scene so vividly because I always wondered what that would be like. How would that really feel to suddenly have so much wisdom, insight, and perspective, flooding into your psyche?

Stop for a second and really think about that…

Now, to your newly downloaded worldview, add a couple modules of tolerance and compassion for your fellow human beings…. Got it?

That’s how I’ve been feeling the past few weeks – minus the martial arts.

E-N-F-P; the first time I heard these four letters in sequence was just after my 40th birthday a few weeks ago.

I can say without hesitation that those four letters have precipitated some of the most rewarding weeks of my life. Like Neo, I feel like I was born just yesterday. And keep in mind, it’s not like I haven’t already lived a rewarding life, I mean I’ve been way off the umbilical for a while.

Those four letters represent my Myers-Briggs temperament, character, and intelligence. Without going into the details, they say I am an Extroverted iNtuitive Feeling Perceiver. And I say they are absolutely right.

This is not astrology or celebrity pseudo-science psychic baloney. This is real science, albeit a bit squishy, based on hundreds of years of empirical psychological observation. So there is an overwhelming amount of data to explore.

Granted, I was turned onto this stuff at a time when I was struggling to figure out what the hell went wrong with a “relationship.” So I had some pretty strong motivation to study (not to mention that my particular type is prone to assigning "deep ethical significance" to ideas like this). But no matter your type, the payoff is bound to be extraordinarily fruitful - if you get yourself plugged in.

I don’t suggest books often but here is one: "Please Understand Me II" by David Kiersey (there is a website too but the book has much more detailed insights). I find his writing exceptionally clear and concise.

The real value here is not what the letters tell me about me (most of it I already knew), but what they say about others AND me. This knowledge equips a person with a keenly revised sense of tolerance. No longer do I see other’s faults, but I see their qualities. Sure in the face of true human complexity, this stuff has it's limitations (thank god) But it's impossible to overstate the value of a little tolerance and compassion - two things the world needs now more than ever.

Try it.


Anonymous said...

Happy Birthday

Anonymous said...

Hi Rich! Congratulations on discovering so much about ourself and others through personality tests. I turned 38 this year and found I am an ENFP, too, after taking a boatload of personality tests to find answers to questions I had about my personal and professional life. And, answers I got! I wish I'd had this info years and years ago, man!

In case you find it useful, feel free to check out all the ENFP profile info at my website, which I acquired over months of Internet research:

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