Entropy, Feelings, and the Next Chapter In My Quest for Peace

grave

Is this a picture of peace or unrest? I think it is both–the nature of our life on Earth.

I’ve been thinking about peace all week. And as with other synchronicities of life, I happened to also take a personality test on 16personalities.com . It is a Myers-Briggs style test. I scored as an INTJ (introverted, intuitive, thinking, and judging) type when I first took the test in the early 90s and in all the years I’ve taken it since. This particular test labeled me again as an INTJ-A, and categorized it as a rare analyst personality type called “The Architect.” If you haven’t taken this particular test, I highly recommend it. Don’t forget to read all the methodology (but of course I would say that, I’m the Architect).

Naturally, it makes sense I continue my quest for peace by none other than good old reliable analysis. It’s what I do.

First, I discovered people often misunderstand what I mean when I say I am not peaceful at Christmastime. It is not spiritual peace I am lacking. I have plenty of that. In fact it is because of my spiritual peace that I am all the more in a state of unrest. I want and desire more than anything the promised peace I believe is to come. This peace does not exist naturally on Earth. Don’t get me wrong, there are peaceful moments, but let’s face it…the second law of thermodynamics proves that disorder is the order of the day. That’s right! Entropy! And the holiday season brings with it both  great joy as well as great disorder. Hence, less peace in my life.

Secondly, while doing my morning swimming/thinking, I contemplated how we all use the same words to mean different things. Peace, joy, happiness, contentment …what do they really mean?

I hear all the time that joy and happiness are different; that is, happiness is circumstantial and joy is not. That’s how I’ve always thought of these two words. Webster only partially agrees with this concept. I hear people use peace, joy, and happiness interchangeably when describing their state of being. I see both circumstantial and spiritual meanings in all of these definitions. It is confusing because you never know on which plane people are speaking when they say they are happy, content, joyful, or peaceful.

Joy: 1) the emotion evoked by well-being, success, or good fortune or by the prospect of possessing what one desires; 2) a state of happiness or felicity 3) a source or cause of delight

Happiness: 1) a state of well-being and contentment;  2) a pleasurable or satisfying experience

Peace: 1)  a state of tranquility or quiet; 2)  freedom from disquieting or oppressive thoughts or emotions

Contentment: 1) in a state of peaceful happiness.

My contemplation of peace has been centered on something I’ve started to really embrace and let out.

Are you ready for it? They are called feelings. Amazing, right?

Did you know we are allowed to feel bad, or sad, or mad, or glad? And we don’t have to repress, hide or deny those feelings? In other words, I don’t have to cry in my closet or the car wash anymore. I can, but I don’t have to.

I’ve actually been working on understanding feelings for the past six or so years (thanks to my feeling friends—most of whom score high on the Ffeeling scale on personality tests).

When I took the personality test this week one of the things I discovered about myself was a change on the thinking/feeling scale. I was no longer heavily weighted on the thinking side, as I have been in years past. There was almost an equal balance on the thinking/feeling scale. And, if I switched the T (thinking) for the F (feeling), my personality profile changes to that of an Advocate (INFJ) not an Architect (INTJ) —both of which are rare personality types. Eureka! This explains a lot!

INTJ – Architects form just two percent of the population, and women of this personality type are especially rare, forming just 0.8% of the population – it is often a challenge for them to find like-minded individuals who are able to keep up with their relentless intellectualism and chess-like maneuvering. Few personality types are as mysterious and controversial as Architects. Possessing intellect and strategic thinking that allow them to overcome many challenging obstacles, Architects have the ability to both develop and implement a plan for everything, including their own personal growth.

INFJ –Advocates tend to see helping others as their purpose in life, but while people with this personality type can be found engaging rescue efforts and doing charity work, their real passion is to get to the heart of the issue so that people need not be rescued at all.

In short, what I’m discovering is that my own repression of feelings for many years may, or may not be, my natural personality. Most likely I am some hybrid of the two.

So what does this long personality explanation have to do with peace, you ask? Everything for me. I’ve been interpreting my newly embraced entropic feelings as the lack of peace – physical peace. And, I believe, rightly so. And guess what? That’s alright. Because when I let myself feel them and I share them with others (outside of my closet) it allows me to be an advocate for others–something I’ve been doing more and more and more as the years advance.

A good friend of mine told me to imagine feelings as if they are kept in a vise. If you tighten the vise and suppress one side you suppress the other as well. So if you squash the unrest, you squash the joy, too.

So, today I say this. I’m going to be glad I’m not “peaceful” all the time. I’m better for it. Ironically, I’ve found that there is peace in not being peaceful Wow! Who knew?

But no time for more writing today…. I have whips to crack, puzzles to solve, people to love, and a world to help rescue.

Happiness at Work? It’s In My Toes.

gold toes

Happiness is gold toes.

My toes are gold. Why? Yes..it’s true…I was inspired by the Olympics. But why gold? Why not red, white and blue? Or silver or bronze?

Gold because it reminds me of where to go. True, only one person can win the gold medal. But everyone..EVERYONE..can run for their gold. Giving it all you’ve got every day.

Today I watched a French hurdler false start in his qualifying heat. His Olympic dream was finished in two seconds. He fell to the side of the track and wept.

He was understandably crushed. But did he run for the gold? I think the answer is “yes.” Because although we only see a few seconds of failure on TV, what we don’t see is his years of daily training pushing himself—the injuries and ups and downs that got him to that race. Did he fail when it really counted? Maybe. But just maybe the years of work was actually the biggest part of his gold medal effort.

This week at work I’m being asked to report in a meeting: What makes me happy at work? What is it that makes work a place I want to come to every day?

With transition and change at the office, there are often feelings of uncertainty, unrest, even failure. Some days we find ourselves wondering “Why?”, or worse, crumpled at the side of our desks weeping after a false start.

When I thought about this question I realized that I usually try never to focus on the word “happiness.” It is illusive. Joy is easier. But as I thought more about it, I think happiness for me IS the gold. Not always obtaining it, but the continual challenge of striving for it.

So what makes work a happy place for me? The answer can be found on my toes.

  1. Gold is the treasure I share. Happiness comes if I can answer “yes” to this question: Do I have an opportunity every day to serve others? This comes first and foremost through earning money. I work so that I can provide for others and be charitable with the fruits of my labors. It also comes from serving people at work in every way I can. Often this looks like helping get a project done right, but just as often it looks like being a mentor or friend.
  2. Gold is the mission, goals, and strategy. Do projects have a mission, goals, and strategy that I can help create solutions for AND can I measure, see, and celebrate the value of those solutions? I am happy when I can say “YES!” Strategies and goals can and should change from time to time. Sometimes from year to year…sometimes even from day to day.  My happiness at work comes from understanding the path forward and architecting how to get there.

I look forward to hearing my coworkers’ answers to this question. As for me, and my toes, it’s all about going for gold. Not judged by someone else’s race, but for the only race I can control…my own. Running hard. Running happy. Running like it matters. Because it does.