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Me in Six, or Unclear in any Gear April 15, 2008

Posted by TimTheFoolMan in Memes.
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Tiffany tagged me with this, and I found it somewhat intriguing. The challenge is to write your own memoir in six words.

Me in Six

This is difficult for me, since I can’t decide if I should write the memoir that represents what I really am, or how I would like to be remembered. I’ve been thinking about this for several days now, and I still can’t fully make up my mind.

What Personality Profiles Say I Am
I’ve take the Myers-Briggs personality test several times, and I’ve always been assessed as an ENFP, the so-called “Champion Idealist.” What is this?

In the world of Myers-Briggs personality typing, an ENFP is:

  • Extroverted
  • iNtuitive
  • Feeling
  • Perceiving

Are such tests and analysis perfect? I don’t know about the other types, but if you read the description found here, here, and here, and then go and describe that person to one of my friends, they would most likely call out my name as a prime example of the ENFP type.

David Keirsey summarizes ENFPs this way:

For ENFPs nothing occurs which does not have some significance, and they have an uncanny sense of the motivations of others. This gives them a talent for seeing life as an exciting drama, pregnant with possibilities for both good and evil. This type is found in only about 5 percent of the general population, but they have great influence because of their extraordinary impact on others. ENFPs strive toward the authentic, even when acting spontaneously, and this is usually communicated nonverbally to others, who find this characteristic attractive. ENFPs, however, find their own efforts of authenticity and spontaneity always lacking, and tend to heap coals of fire on themselves, always berating themselves for being so conscious of self.

Unfortunately, that’s a bit more than six words, and the ENFP type description is only four.

What I Think I Really Am
If I try to be honest, and recall terms that people have used to describe me, I come up with something like this:

  • Funny, forgetful, nerdy, overanalyzing, workaholic Christian

Most of my friends describe me as “funny,” so that’s pretty easy. “Nerdy” is, these days, something of a compliment, so I’ll take that one too. “Christian,” while it may not sound like an insult, was originally a term of derision, and now is associated with all manner of things that Jesus would hardly choose to associate Himself with. “Christian” is probably how a significant number of people would describe me, but I’m not sure if that’s a good or bad thing.

On the other end of the spectrum are the things not easily seen. To really appreciate that I’m forgetful is to have been close to me, and been hurt by my forgetfulness. (All the stereotypes about the absent-minded professor apply to me, but without the extensive college degrees to compensate.) Likewise, when I hurt someone with my forgetful nature, I analyze and overanalyze it sixteen ways from Sunday. My workaholic tendency has already been established, but a nice way to describe it is to call it “passion” (see below) for my job.

How I Would Like to be Remembered
If instead, I put on my rose-colored glasses and try to state how I wish others would see me, it comes out a bit like this:

  • Jesus-following, thoughtful, introspective, passionate, father

I love the phrase “Jesus follower,” but wish that I actually followed Him more than I do with my words and actions. I also like the idea of that characteristic coming first, instead of last. If only that were true too.

Perhaps some will remember me as “thoughtful” or “introspective.” I hope that these would overshadow my forgetfulness.

For the finish, I first wrote “passionate father,” but then changed it to “passionate, father.” Although I am probably more passionate about issues relating to my sons and raising them than most other topics, the truth is that most areas of interest for me become passions. When I signed up for being a father, it simply meant applying the same sort of energy and passion that had been characteristic of many other things in my life before then. May it always be so.

The Meme
Here are the rules:

  1. Write your own six word memoir
  2. Post it on your blog; include a visual illustration if you’d like
  3. Link to the person that tagged you in your post, and to the original post if possible
  4. Tag at least five more blogs with links
  5. Leave a comment on the tagged blogs with an invitation to play!

Tagged: IndianaMatt, Oscarandre, Lydia, Gentiana, Goochy

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Comments»

1. kylydia - April 15, 2008

I did this the other day! It’s making the rounds, huh?

http://kylydia.wordpress.com/2008/04/10/me-shortly/

2. Matt - April 16, 2008

Ah, a tag. I’m an ENFP, myself. I’ll get to it soon. Good answer on your part.

3. Oscarandre - April 16, 2008

Do you want to know something interesting, Tim? Somehow you managed to answer this question three times (from the formal assessment, from your friends’ view and from your idealised view). And yet, you didn’t actually describe who YOU think you really ARE…a Freudian moment, perhaps? I am off on holidays for a week but will have a go at this meme when I return.

4. Tim - April 16, 2008

Lydia,

This is your sign that I’m a dork. I’ll try to find another meme to annoy you with soon. 😀

Matt,

That profile pic is just way too funny.

Oscarandre,

It was sort of intentional. I looked at it this in “tombstone fashion.” That is, if we assume that there are going to be six words on my tombstone to sum up my life, what would they be if: a) someone analyzed my behavior and personality, and wrote the six words for me, b) one of my best friends wrote it, or c) I wrote what I hope people would have seen in my life?

Given that none of us can be truly objective about our own strengths and weaknesses, I felt like this gave three views, with the truth probably being somewhere in the middle. This was a bit of psychological triangulation, if you will.

In case I didn’t make it clear above, the standard description of an ENFP is pretty accurate about my personality traits. If you put that into a blender with parenthood, technology, and somewhat traditional theology, I’m what pours out of the blender afterward.

Here are a couple of snippets of me:

[Blogger’s Note: This is an example of you catching me in a ridiculously introspective moment, so even though I’ve got tons of work to do, I have to get this stuff out of my system in order to move on and be productive at work.]

If I look into the night sky and can see the stars, I immediately realize that I am looking into the deep, deep past of the universe. It’s simply not possible for me to look at any star and not think about the light hitting my eye traveling for thousands of years from an unbelievably distant place. This takes the joy out of stargazing for many, but it’s what makes stargazing a joy for me. I can stare at the night sky for hours without being bored in the least. The vastness of space, in terms of distance, is paralleled by the vastness of space, in terms of time. This is a spiritual thing for me to do, and feels somewhat akin to looking into the mind and heart of God.

One of my more heart-wrenching moments in recent years was being in a foreign country, waiting to get through customs, and noticing a crowd of teenage girls who were waiting to board a plane, without any adults accompanying them. With a twinge I realized that they had each been sold, by their families, and were headed off into a future of forced prostitution and pain. However, none of them saw this… they simply saw the hope and excitement of a trip to another land. I was close enough to reach out and touch any of them, but realized with even more angst that there wasn’t a single thing I could do for them. I can still see their faces, their beautiful dresses, and hear their laughter. It haunts me.

Dates that I should remember, like birthdays and anniversaries, are forgotten so easily that it’s embarrassing. The only way I can remember which birthday is my wife’s, and which is my son’s (they are four days apart) is because I can remember how long we were engaged (on her birthday) before we got married (that date is engraved inside my wedding band), and I subtract that many days. Why would I not remember her birthday, given that our 25th anniversary is this Summer? Why, instead, do I so easily remember that we were engaged for 2 years, 2 months, and 7 days?

5. Six-Word Memoir « .: Headfile :. - April 20, 2008

[…] Tim at “A Fool And His Words Are Soon Parted” tagged me with this. The challenge is to sum up your life, memoir-style, in only six words. I’m assuming the meme […]


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