Personality – The Choice (or Decision Making) Connection

As adults we are all faced with making decisions each and every day and we have years of experience in making these decisions.   When it comes to the younger generation that are completing high school and looking at choices for their future, these decisions are not so easy.   Some of these decisions are small and really have very little impact on the big picture of our ives, such as buying a cup of coffee or just making one at home. However, some decisions can have an impact on about every facet of our lives.  Decisions about relationships, choice of college, course of study, and careers fall into this category.  Since these decisions can affect our happiness, stability and economic status it is important to make informed choices instead of shooting from the hip.

How can we make more informed choices (particularly the young adults just getting started on the journey)?  There are two critical areas to take into account and the good news is that with a small investment of time we can get closer to the mark!  The first step is to discover our personality traits and the second step is to learn a process to use that information to make informed choices.

There is a wealth of information available regarding personality that has been researched and validated over the past 50 years.  Personality traits can assist in identifying strengths, inform us on how to communicate more effectively, and help create a customized learning strategy.  Discovering our personality traits can also show us the areas where we gain energy regarding tasks and situations and the best way to use that energy in order to become successful in whatever we choose to pursue in life.

Here are some facts regarding personality as researched and documented by Drs Pierce and Jane Howard.

  1. We are born with 60% of our personality traits. The other 40% is influenced by our environment and experiences.   In other words, we are hardwired very early in life!
  2. There is no ideal personality or personality profile. However, there are ideal profiles for specific tasks or situations.
  3. Being someone we aren’t can make us physically sick. We can change the way we naturally express a personality trait such as the ability to multi-task or expressing an opinion in order to blend in with a group or an organization, but our body physically reacts negatively.  In other words, we can get sick by choosing to be in a situation where we can’t act naturally.
  4. Falling to peer pressure is a choice. Peer pressure has a greater effect on the modification or reinforcement of basic personality traits – more so than the influence from our parents!  Peer pressure is not something that your peers do to you, but something that you do to yourself.  Make wise choices.
  5. It takes practice, but learn to think for yourself. The more we learn to think for ourselves, the greater the chance that our identity will be free of coercion.  No more hand me down dreams!  When we learn to think for ourselves and make decisions based on who we are, we will have fewer false starts as we make important choices.

So why is all this so important?  With the rapid pace of change in the world and the economic uncertainty it is more important than ever to make more informed decisions.  The cost of education has skyrocketed and the employment choices are limited.  We can’t afford to guess when making decisions about college or career choices.

Knowing who we are doesn’t mean that we are going to get it perfect every time.  The more self-awareness we have the better we are at working with our strengths and compensating for the challenges.  A good analogy would be the guard rails often seen on the road as we travel.  They don’t keep us from running off the road, but they do keep us from falling off the cliff.  Self-awareness helps us stay on the road and gives us boundaries for decisions.  Take the time to answer the question “Who am I?” so that the answer to “What do I want to be?”

Amy Ramsey – Go 2 The Peak


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