Art of Fulfillment

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Do you know that Singapore has the longest working hours in the world, ahead of South Korea, Taiwan and Japan? In 2014, MOM reported that our average paid hours in a week per employee is 46 hours. If we work 5 days in a week, it would be 9.2 hours. It is about 54% of our waking hours, excluding our commuting time to/fro office. Imagine if we don’t find fulfilment and follow our passion, every day we will be dragging ourselves to work. We need to find our gift, interests and compelling reasons why we choose this trade than other one.

In Jaipur, India, there are two street dentists who do not have fancy fan, assistants, x-ray and other gadgets, and just charge 80 rupees (less than SGD$2) for their dental service. When they fix someone’s teeth and the person feels happy, they will feel happy taking their money. If the client is not happy, then they don’t want the money. That is their principle.

In Hubei, China, a 55-years-old Yu Youzhen who is a cleaner wakes up at 3 a.m. six days a week for more than a decade and sweeps along 3km street for six hours a day. She earns about RMB$230 per month but she loves her job. Her colleagues described her as a very diligent and meticulous cleaner. The astounding part of her story is she is a millionaire who owns 17 properties, valued at $1.5 million. Her compelling reason why she continues to work is she has seen many young people who are aimless, jobless and squander away their parents’ fortune through unhealthy habits like gambling and drinking. She wants to be a role model for her two children, who will also lead a purposeful life.

My fiancé left her former company due to the hierarchical and inflexibility of working hours and opens her own vocal studio to teaching singing, which is her talent and interest. Now, she is much joyful and passionate in her new trade.

Chris and Janet Attwood, authors of “The Passion Test” book, designed a set of questions to help us to discover our passion and some of the questions for us to ponder are:

  • If I could star in my own how-to TV show, it would be about
  • I am the go-to person when my friends need help with
  • If I won first prize in a talent show, it would be for

Brian Tracy, a motivational speaker, recommends us to imagine you have $20 million in the bank, yet only 10 years to live due to terminal illness. What would you do with the time you have left? What do you really want in your life?

Don’t settle until you discover your true passion and art of fulfillment. Confucius said, “Choose a job you love, and you will never have to work a day.”

Serving Others, Serving Us!

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In this season of Christmas and thanksgiving, I had organised a community service and cohesion day with my team to volunteer at Willing Hearts, a non-denominational and non-affiliated soup kitchen on 22 December 2015. Every day, Willing Hearts prepares, cooks and distributes about 5,000 meals to the low-income families, disabled and elderly. We reported at 5.30am, opening cans of baked beans, seasoning the pumpkins, frying fish filets and trying to scoop equal portions of cooked food into numerous lunch boxes for the beneficiaries. There were other groups of volunteers and families, coming at different timing to help out. My colleague and I used our vehicles to deliver the packet lunches to beneficiaries living in Chinatown, Choa Chu Kang and Jurong areas. We met affable and appreciative elderly who were thankful of our service and one of them was living alone, in a studio apartment. He has difficulty in walking due to stroke, and is divorced and has not met his son for about a decade. Fortunately, his daughter still visits him occasionally and bought him the necessities. That experience deepened my understanding and compassion towards people who are in need, and also reminded me to give thanks to my family and friends who are with me.

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Another meaningful experience was arranging a tour to River Safari for the aged living in Kheng Chiu Happy Lodge with my friends. Each of us sponsored an elderly and together, we chartered a bus for them to River Safari. Many of the elderly do not get the chance to travel out of the lodge unless volunteer groups bring them out. A few of them are single and some are abandoned by their children. They were cordial and joyful during the journey and sightseeing of various animals. Unfortunately, Kai Kai and Jia Jia were sleeping when we were there. At the end, the elderly were quite reluctant to depart from us, asking us whether we could stay longer and when we are coming again. Both volunteering experiences fostered stronger bonds among us and allowed us to express the values of love and kindness to others. Thus I encourage you to serve and bring joy to others, in return, serving and develop ourselves.

Fighting Spirit of East Asia’s Richest Man

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I always enjoy learning from successful people and like to widen my horizon by discovering new persceptives. So I found out one of the Asia’s Wealthiest People, Li Ka-shing (nickname: “Superman”) who is the richest man (valued at $20.1bn) in Hong Kong. He started with nothing and did not have a chance to go to school but was self-educated.

Dr. Li founded Cheung Kong Holdings (in real estate, life sciences, hotels, telecom., IT, etc.) and acquired Hutchison Whampoa Limited (owner of the world’s biggest port). I began watching a series of interviews on him and I’m totally immersed into it. He is a humble, determined, optimistic, approachable and visionary leader. He is like the Chinese “Warren Buffett” who invests a lot when the times are bad and people are losing confidence in the market. There are many valuable life, management and business insights that we can learn from.  Here are some golden quotes from Dr. Li:

  • “Simply speaking, you are the commander in chief, the head of a group of armies, you can never be better with a machine gun than a machine-gunner or better than a gunner at operating a cannon. But as a commander, you don’t do these things. Your job is mapping out strategy.”
  • “When I started my business, I almost certainly did not rely on luck. I relied on work, hard work and ability to make money.
  • “You need to be interested in your business. If you are interested in your business, you bound to do well.”
  • “Something that seems to be a loss can often turn out to be a gain.”
  • “The secret of management is simply identifying and making use of talent. But you must in principle make them feel they belong and like you first.”
  • If the university were destroyed by a bomb tomorrow or demolised by an accident, I would have it rebuilt.”

Dr Li Ka-shing (on the left) with our late Singapore first Prime Minister, Mr. Lee Kuan Yew

In 2002, his foundation and Hutchison Whampoa Limited has given S$19.5 million gift to SMU (one of the universities in our country) for the endowment of the library and scholarships to support scholars from Hong Kong and China. SMU’s library was named after him.

An incredible man for us to respect and model!!

In an article posted by Edmund Ng on CeoConnectz, Li Ka-shing talks about how one can afford to live comfortably with a house and a car even if their monthly pay is below $500 a month.

Lee suggests that wage-earners put their monthly salary proportionately into five sets of funds with different purposes. After setting aside for daily necessities and social activities, one should spend on books for learning, travel and invest with the rest of the money, he says.

The Hong Kong business magnate, who was also a school dropout, also gives tips on how to spend the money in each of the funds set aside. For example, one should treat only those who are richer than them or more knowledgeable than them to meals. This way, your social circle will expand, making room for yourself to grow.

At the end of one year, a person’s wealth should grow. If your income does not increase, then you have been doing it wrong and are failing to learn anything, Lee adds.

The trick to earning more is to learn more and investing in people and things that are worth your time, he says in the article. “When you are poor, spend money on others. When you’re rich, spend money on yourself,” he added.

Here is a translation of the article ‘Li Ka-shing teaches you how to buy a car and house within five years’:

Suppose your monthly income is only RMB 2,000 (S$415.60), you can live well. I can help you put money into five sets of funds. The first with RMB 600, second RMB 400, third RMB 300, fourth RMB 200, fifth RMB 500.

The first set of funds is used for living expenses. It’s a simple way of living and you can only be assigned to less than twenty dollars a day. A daily breakfast of vermicelli, an egg and a cup of milk.

For lunch just have a simple set lunch, a snack and a fruit. For dinner go to your kitchen and cook your own meals that consist of two vegetables dishes and a glass of milk before bedtime. For one month the food cost is probably $500-$600.

When you are young, the body will not have too many problems for a few years with this way of living.

Second set of funds: To make friends, expand your interpersonal circle. This will make you well off. Your phone bills can be budgeted at RMB 100. You can buy your friends 2 lunches a month, each at $150.

Who should you buy lunch for? Always remember to buy lunch for people who are more knowledgeable than you, richer than you or people who have helped you in your career. Make sure you do that every month.

After one year, your circle of friends should have generated tremendous value for you. Your reputation, influence, added value will be clearly recognised. You’ll also enhance your image of being good and generous.

Third set of funds: To learn. Monthly spend about RMB 50 to RMB 100 to buy books. Because you don’t have a lot of money, you should pay attention to learning. When you buy the books, read them carefully and learn the lessons and strategies that is being taught in the book. Each book, after reading them, put them into your own language to tell the stories. Sharing with others can improve your credibility and enhance the affinity.

Also save up $200 per month to attend a training course. When you have higher income or additional savings, try to participate in more advanced training. When you participate in good training, not only do you learn good knowledge, you also get to meet like-minded friends who are not easy to come by.

Fourth set of funds: Use it for holidays overseas. Reward yourself by traveling at least once a year. Continue to grow from the experience of life. Stay in youth hostels to save cost. In a few years you would have travelled to many countries and have different experiences. Use that experience to recharge yourself so that you’ll continually have passion in your work.

Fifth set of funds: Invest. Save the $500 in your bank and grow it as your initial startup capital. The capital can then be used to do a small business. Small business is safe. Go to wholesalers and look for products to sell. Even if you lose money, you will not lose too much money. However, when you start earning money, it will boost your confidence and courage and have a whole new learning experience of running a small business.

Earn more and you can then begin to buy long-term investment plans and get long-term security on your financial wealth being of yourself and your families. So that no matter what happens, there will be adequate funds and the quality of life will not decline.

Well, after struggling for a year and if your second year salary is still RMB 2,000, then that means you have not grown as a person. You should be really ashamed of yourself. Do yourself a favour and go to the supermarket and buy the hardest tofu. Take it and smash it on your head because you deserve that.

If your monthly income is at RMB 3,000, you must still work very hard. You must try to find a part time job. It will be great to find part time sales jobs. Doing sales is challenging, but it is the fastest way for you to acquire the art of selling and this is a very deep skill that you will be able to carry it for the rest of your career.

All successful entrepreneurs are good sales people. They have the ability to sell their dream and visions. You’ll also meet many people that will be of value to you in the later part of your career. Once you’re in sales, you will also learn what sells and what not. Use the sensitivity of detecting market sentiments as a platform for running your business and in the identification of product winners in the future.

Try to buy minimal clothes and shoes. You can buy them all you want when you’re rich. Save your money and buy some gift for your loved ones and tell them your plans and your financial goals. Tell them why you are so thrifty. Tell them your efforts, direction and your dreams.

Businessmen everywhere need help. Offer yourself to do part time for any kind of opportunities. This will help to hone your will and improve your skills. You will start to develop eloquence and soon, you’ll be closer to your financial goals. By the second year, your income should be increased to at least RMB 5,000. Minimum it should be RMB 3,000, otherwise you would not be able to keep up with inflation.

No matter how much you earn, always remember to divide it into five parts proportionately. Always make yourself useful. Increase your investment in networking. When you increase your social investment, expand your network of contacts, your income also grows proportionately.

Increase your investment in learning, strengthen your self confidence, increase investment in holidays, expand your horizons and increase investment in the future, and that will ultimately increase your income.

Maintain this balance and gradually you will begin to have a lot of surplus. This is a virtuous circle of life plans. Your body will start to get better and better as you get more nutrition and care. Friends will be aplenty and you will start to make more valuable connections at the same time.

You will then have the conditions to participate in very high-end training and eventually you’ll be exposed to bigger projects, bigger opportunities. Soon, you will be able to gradually realise your various dreams, the need to buy your own house, car, and to prepare an adequate education fund for your child’s future.

Life can be designed. Career can be planned. Happiness can be prepared. You should start planning now. When you are poor, spend less time at home and more time outside. When you are rich, stay at home more and less outside. This is the art of living. When you are poor, spend money on others. When you’re rich, spend money on yourself. Many people are doing the opposite.

When you are poor, be good to others. Don’t be calculative. When you are rich, you must learn to let others be good to you. You have to learn to be good to yourself better. When you are poor, you have to throw yourself out in the open and let people make good use of you. When you are rich, you have to conserve yourself well and don’t let people easily make use of you. These are the intricate ways of life that many people don’t understand.

When you are poor, spend money so that people can see it. When you are rich, do not show off. Just silently spend the money on yourself. When you are poor, you must be generous. When you are rich, you must not be seen as a spendthrift. Your life would have come full circle and reach its basics. There will be tranquillity at this stage.

There is nothing wrong with being young. You do not need to be afraid of being poor. You need to know how to invest in yourself and increase your wisdom and stature. You need to know what is important in life and what is worth investing in.

You also need to know what you should avoid and not spend your money on. This is the essence of discipline. Try to avoid spending money on clothing, but buy a selective number of items that have class. Try to eat less outside. If you were to eat outside, do make sure you buy lunches or dinners and foot the bill. When buying people dinner, make sure you buy dinners for people who have bigger dreams than you, and work harder than you.

Once your livelihood is no longer an issue, use the remainder of your money to pursue your dreams. Spread your wings and dare to dream! Make sure you live an extraordinary life!

Famous theory from Harvard: The difference of a person’s fate is decided from what a person spends in his free time between 20:00 to 22:00 . Use these two hours to learn, think and participate in meaningful lectures or discussion. If you persist for several years, success will come knocking on your doors.

No matter how much you earn, remember to split your salary into five parts. Take care of your body so that it will still be in good shape. Invest in your social circle so that you will constantly meet new people where you can learn new knowledge from. Expanding your network will also have an important impact in how much you earn eventually. Travel every year and expand your horizons.

Also keep abreast with the latest developments in the industry. If you follow this plan diligently, you will soon see big surplus in your funds.

Whatever happened in the past is over. Do not dwell on past mistakes. There’s no point crying over spilt milk. Everybody makes mistakes. It’s what you learn from the mistakes, and promising yourself not to repeat those mistakes that matters. When you miss opportunities, don’t dwell on it, as there are always new opportunities on the horizon.

Being able to smile when being slightly misunderstood is good upbringing. When you’re wronged and you smile with calmness, it is generosity. When you’re being taken advantage of and you can smile, you’re being open-minded. When you are helpless and you can do a philosophical smile, you’re in a calm state. When you’re in distress and you can laugh out loud, you’re being generous. When you’re looked down and you can calmly smile, you’re being confident. When you’re being jilted in relationships and you can smile it off, you’re being suave.

There are many people who are struggling to make ends meet. It doesn’t matter if you are rich or poor. There are lessons for all to learn from Li Ka Shing.

Persuasive Language

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As an educator and speaker, it’s my duty and interest to keep improving the way I speak and communicate to my audience. I’ve come across and read this book, “Persuasion in the Media Age” by Timothy A. Borchers. There is a chapter that really caught my eyes. It is “Persuasion and Language”. Companies and individuals (e.g. politicians, CEOs, speakers) use slogans, jingles and other persuasive language to create, transform and reinforce power relationships in society. I believe these slogans will be familiar to you: “Just Do It.”, “I’m lovin’ it”, “Think Different” and “It’s the Real Thing.”

The author talked about the 5 aspects of language use by persuaders:

  • Persuaders use language strategically.
  • Persuaders work within a culture in which the meaning of verbal symbols is contested.
  • Language is a powerful way of creating social reality.
  • Persuaders use electronic eloquence to form intimate relationships with audiences.
  • The relationship between language and power influences how persuaders and audiences identify with each other.

Language intensity refers to the degree of affect reflected in the persuader’s language, ranging from mild to intense (Hamilton & Hunter, 1998). An example of using intense words:

“As Americans, we want peace – we work and sacrifice for peace. But there can be no peace if our security depends on the will and whims of a ruthless and aggressive dictator. I’m not willing to stake one American life on trusting Saddam Hussein. Failure to act would embolden other tyrants, allow terrorists access to new weapons and new resources, and make blackmail a permanent feature of world events.” said President Bush.

However, language intensity does not benefit all persuaders equally. Hamilton and Hunter (1998) argued that language intensity influences attitude change only for discrepant messages delivered by credible sources.

Next, powerful persuaders do not use empty adjectives, they make strong statements instead of using questions, they do not use polite forms, and they use hedges less frequently than do powerless persuaders. Below are some features of powerless language:

  • Empty adjectives, such as “cute”, “sweet”, and “divine”.
  • Question forms or the use of questions – such as “right?” – at the end of statements.
  • Polite forms, such as the use of “please” and “thank you”.
  • Hedges, which modify the previous statement. Examples include “I guess”, “I think”, “kinda”, and “you know”.

Burrell & Koper (1998) found that powerful language is “not only more persuasive but also more credible than powerless language”. They advise persuaders to “use powerless language with great discretion/ caution!”. So avoid using the above examples.

Rhetorical figures have been used since the ancient Greeks. Here are several aspects of different speaking style:

  • Parallelism is the repeated use of similar words, phrases, or sentences in the same position in a grammatical construction. The repetition creates a sense of rhythm that invites the audience to listen and remember what is being heard or read. E.g. “But we refuse to believe that the bank of justice is bankrupt. We refuse to believe that there are insufficient funds in the great vaults of opportunity of this nation.”, said Martin Luther King Jr. (his use of “we refuse to believe”)
  • Alliteration is using words that start with the same first letter in close proximity to each other. E.g. “We must forever conduct our struggle on the high plane of dignity and discipline.”
  • Antithesis is the use of contrasting ideas in the same sentence. E.g. “Nineteen sixty-three is not an end, but a beginning.”, “One small step for a man, one giant leap for all mankind”, “To err is human, to forgive, divine.”
  • Repetition involves restating a key word or phrase to reinforce the point made. The most well-recognized use of repetition is King’s “I have a dream”.I have a dream that one day this nation will rise up and live out the true meaning of its creed: “We hold these truths to be self-evident: that all men are created equal.”I have a dream that one day on the red hills of Georgia the sons of former slaves and the sons of former slave owners will be able to sit down together at the table of brotherhood.

    I have a dream that one day even the state of Mississippi, a state sweltering with the heat of injustice, sweltering with the heat of oppression, will be transformed into an oasis of freedom and justice.

    I have a dream that my four little children will one day live in a nation where they will not be judged by the color of their skin but by the content of their character.

    I have a dream today.

Jamieson (1988) explained that electronic eloquence has five characteristics: It is personified (illustrating through a person), self-disclosive (using your personal experience), conversational, synoptic, and visually dramatic (combining words and images or visual props). This is the way how persuaders establish this intimate style through their word choice.

Just need to spend some time to craft your very own powerful, persuasive, positive presentation or speech. Good luck & have fun.

Quiz: What motivates you best?

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David McClelland believed that everyone is motivated by affiliation, achievement and power. Find out which one is your primary motivating need with this quiz designed by Dr Lim Boon Leng from the Centre of Psychological Wellness.

Score 1-5 for each statement if you:
1- Rarely feel or behave this way
5- Always feel or behave this way

  1. I work well with people.
  2. I enjoy dealing with difficult challenges at work.
  3. I believe everyone should keep to schedules and plans.
  4. I like to share how I feel with my colleagues.
  5. I set out to be a role model for others.
  6. I try to exceed the targets set for me at work.
  7. I always try to be friends with my colleagues.
  8. I come up with new ideas and suggestions.
  9. I like to innovate and try new ways to solve problems.
  10. I know when my colleagues are experiencing difficulties and will respond to them.
  11. It is important for me to put across my point in any discussion.
  12. I seek feedback from colleagues to understand how I can improve.
  13. Status symbols, such as the size of my office, are important to me.
  14. I work well under the pressure of deadlines.
  15. I am concerned about the personal lives of my colleagues.

Styles

  • Achievement: Add up the points for statements 2, 6, 9, 12, 14
  • Affiliation: Add up the points for statements 1, 4, 7, 10, 15
  • Power: Add up the points for statements 3, 5, 8, 11, 13

The style for which you score highest is your predominant motivational style.

Achievement

You like to set targets and have a strong need to achieve them. You like challenges at work and will take calculated risks in completing your tasks. You are open to regular feedback so you can improve your performance. However, you prefer to work alone or get things done by yourself.

Affiliation

You want to be liked by your fellow colleagues and want to belong in a group. You prefer to cooperate rather than to compete with your colleagues. You often go along with what the rest of the group decides on and may be averse to high risk and uncertainty.

Power

You want to influence others and are conscious of status and recognition at work. You enjoy competition and like to win. You have a need to be heard and to win arguments. This motivator can be divided into personal and institutional power. People with an institutional power drive like to influence teams to further an organisation’s goals, whereas those with a personal power drive want to have control over others – and may not be good team members.

Theory of Multiple Intelligences

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Have you ever wondered what constitute intelligence? When you compliment someone as intelligent/smart, which type of intelligence or knowledge are you referring to? Or do you envy other people’s intelligence in a certain field? We need to be aware that the definition of intelligence can vary and everyone has different gifts/talents that enable us to acquire more knowledge easily and grow deeper.

If you have taken an IQ test, it measures mathematical and spatial reasoning, logical ability, and language understanding. Is it a comprehensive measurement of intelligence? It may not.

Dr. Howard Gardner, a psychologist and professor of neuroscience from Harvard University, developed the theory of Multiple Intelligences (MI) in 1983. The theory challenged traditional beliefs in the fields of education and cognitive science. Unlike the established understanding of intelligence — people are born with a uniform cognitive capacity that can be easily measured by short-answer tests — MI reconsiders our educational practice of the last century and provides an alternative.

According to Howard Gardner, human beings have nine different kinds of intelligence that reflect different ways of interacting with the world. Each person has a unique combination, or profile. Although we each have all nine intelligences, no two individuals have them in the same exact configuration — similar to our fingerprints.

For Gardner, intelligence is:

  • the ability to create an effective product or offer a service that is valued in a culture;
  • a set of skills that make it possible for a person to solve problems in life;
  • the potential for finding or creating solutions for problems, which involves gathering new knowledge.
  1. Linguistic Intelligence: the capacity to use language to express what’s on your mind and to understand other people. Any kind of writer, orator, speaker, lawyer, or other person for whom language is an important stock in trade has great linguistic intelligence.
  1. Logical/Mathematical Intelligence: the capacity to understand the underlying principles of some kind of causal system, the way a scientist or a logician does; or to manipulate numbers, quantities, and operations, the way a mathematician does.
  1. Musical Rhythmic Intelligence: the capacity to think in music; to be able to hear patterns, recognize them, and perhaps manipulate them. People who have strong musical intelligence don’t just remember music easily, they can’t get it out of their minds, it’s so omnipresent.
  1. Bodily/Kinesthetic Intelligence: the capacity to use your whole body or parts of your body (your hands, your fingers, your arms) to solve a problem, make something, or put on some kind of production. The most evident examples are people in athletics or the performing arts, particularly dancing or acting.
  1. Spatial Intelligence: the ability to represent the spatial world internally in your mind — the way a sailor or airplane pilot navigates the large spatial world, or the way a chess player or sculptor represents a more circumscribed spatial world. Spatial intelligence can be used in the arts or in the sciences.
  1. Naturalist Intelligence: the ability to discriminate among living things (plants, animals) and sensitivity to other features of the natural world (clouds, rock configurations). This ability was clearly of value in our evolutionary past as hunters, gatherers, and farmers; it continues to be central in such roles as botanist or chef.
  1. Intrapersonal Intelligence: having an understanding of yourself; knowing who you are, what you can do, what you want to do, how you react to things, which things to avoid, and which things to gravitate toward. We are drawn to people who have a good understanding of themselves. They tend to know what they can and can’t do, and to know where to go if they need help.
  1. Interpersonal Intelligence: the ability to understand other people. It’s an ability we all need, but is especially important for teachers, clinicians, salespersons, or politicians — anybody who deals with other people.

9. Existential Intelligence (1998): the ability and proclivity to pose (and ponder) questions about life, death, and ultimate realities.

You may also ponder how you can deepen your intelligence or gain expertise in a certain area. It can be both daunting and easy, as there are simple ways to do but we need to take deliberate consistent actions to attain your desired level of competency:

  • Read relevant books/articles/journals
  • Attend courses/programmes/seminars/forums
  • Talk to industry experts and professionals
  • Practise and experiment the strategies/techniques
  • Don’t be afraid to make mistakes as long as you learn from them
  • Be humble and seek out ideas and wisdom from others
  • Immerse yourself in the field

At the end of the day, we should be making use of our knowledge and insights to better the lives of people or solve world problems (not to intimidate others) to achieve harmonious, peaceful and benevolent society.

Finding your Personality

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“Knowing others is intelligence; knowing yourself is true wisdom.
Mastering others is strength, mastering yourself is true power.”

— Lao Tzu

According to American Psychological Association (APA), personality refers to individual differences in characteristic patterns of thinking, feeling and behaving. Our personalities can be shaped by different factors such as heredity (i.e. genetic transmission of characteristics from parent to offspring, “like father, like son”), upbringing, education, role models, and experiences. Hence, our characteristics are acquired through both nature and nurture. Values that we uphold also determine our personalities and behaviours. Emotions/feelings have an important role to play in how we behave and react in situations too. With more self-knowledge or intrapersonal intelligence, it can help us to communicate our viewpoints and make decisions clearly. In addition, if we can read and identify specific patterns in others accurately, we will be able to speak their language, leverage on their strengths, motivate them, avoid their pet peeves and minimise conflicts.

In the marketplace, there are tons of personality tools/instruments for individuals to take and determine their types of profiles/characteristics. Each instrument measures different attributes and dispositions. No tool is the best and every one of them aims to provide you a general description of your dominant style/preference. When you have taken a few of them, sometimes the results point to the same set of attributes, which means you have consistent patterns. Otherwise, it can be confusing, worrisome or due to different situations or states of mind when answering the questionnaires. You may consult the coach/trainer for clarifications. It is important to choose an instrument that had been reviewed and tested rigorously and demonstrated high validity and reliability.

Below is a summary of personality assessments available:

Big Five Personality Traits or Five-Factor Model of Personality (Costa & McCrae, 1992), which is an empirical generation about the covariation of personality traits:

  • Openness to Experience: Creative, cultured, intellectual, perceptive
  • Conscientiousness: Orderly, dependable, industrious, disciplined
  • Extraversion: Assertive, competitive, positive emotionality, sociable
  • Agreeableness: Warm, likeable, gentle, cooperative
  • Neuroticism/ Emotional Stability: Relaxed, free from anxiety, depression, negative emotionality

A summary of meta-analytic findings (Barrick & Mount, 1991) showed that:

  • Conscientiousness and Emotional Stability are the best personality predictors of job performance across nearly all jobs.
  • Extraversion and Agreeableness are important in jobs requiring a high degree of interpersonal work
  • Less consistent evidence for Openness to Experience

This Big Five Personality Traits is an universally accepted measure of personality.

DISC personality profiling system was developed by Dr. William Marston in 1928, where he explained how normal human emotions lead to behavioural differences among groups of people and how a person’s behaviour might change over time. The behavioural expression of emotions could be categorized into four primary types: Dominance (D), Inducement (I), Submission (S), and Compliance (C).

Myers-Briggs Type Indicator (MBTI) was based on Carl Jung’s theory of psychological types in 1920s but the tool was developed in the 1940s by Katherine Briggs and Isabel Myers. The tools measure four bipolar dimensions/preferences:

  • Extroverted (E) vs Introverted (I)
  • Sensing (S) vs Intuition (N)
  • Thinking (T) vs Feeling (F)
  • Judging (J) vs Perceiving (P)

From the interactions among the above dimensions, 16 distinctive personality types are identified and classified.

Hogan Personality Inventory (HPI) measures normal personality along seven scales:

  • Adjustment: confidence, self-esteem, and composure under pressure
  • Ambition: initiative, competitiveness, and desire for leadership roles
  • Sociability: extraversion, gregarious, and need for social interaction
  • Interpersonal Sensitivity: tact, perceptiveness, and ability to maintain relationships
  • Prudence: self-discipline, responsibility, and thoroughness
  • Inquisitive: imagination, curiosity, and creative potential
  • Learning Approach: achievement orientation, valuing education

Enneagram of Personality has a set of nine distinct personality types:

  1.  THE REFORMER
    The Rational, Idealistic Type: Principled, Purposeful, Self-Controlled, and Perfectionist
  2. THE HELPER
    The Caring, Interpersonal Type: Demonstrative, Generous, People-Pleasing, and Possessive
  3. THE ACHIEVER
    The Success-Oriented, Pragmatic Type: Adaptive, Excelling, Driven, and Image-Conscious
  4. THE INDIVIDUALIST
    The Sensitive, Withdrawn Type: Expressive, Dramatic, Self-Absorbed, and Temperamental
  5. THE INVESTIGATOR
    The Intense, Cerebral Type: Perceptive, Innovative, Secretive, and Isolated
  6. THE LOYALIST
    The Committed, Security-Oriented Type: Engaging, Responsible, Anxious, and Suspicious
  7. THE ENTHUSIAST
    The Busy, Fun-Loving Type: Spontaneous, Versatile, Distractible, and Scattered
  8. THE CHALLENGER
    The Powerful, Dominating Type: Self-Confident, Decisive, Willful, and Confrontational
  9. THE PEACEMAKER
    The Easygoing, Self-Effacing Type: Receptive, Reassuring, Agreeable, and Complacent

TetraMap uses the four Elements of nature – Earth, Air, Water and Fire – to help people identify similarities and differences in each other and situations. It was founded by Yoshimi and Jon in 1980s.

Earth elements are confident in the way they walk and talk. Goals, control, achievement and winning are important. Quick possibly risky decisions come easily to them.

Air elements are orderly and focused individuals rely on abilities to think things out. They excel in finding logical solutions and making sense of situations. Air elements listen and plan to ensure accuracy and quality.

Water elements are caring and consistent and are important in holding families and teams together. They are loyal and deeply feeling people who show steadfast effort, great patience and a desire for harmony and flow.

Fire elements look at the positive side of life, they love to explore possibilities and inspire others to see bright futures. They are often colourful, love variety and have a great sense of fun.

Emergenetics Profile (Drs. Geil Browning and Wendell Williams, in late 1980s) is a brain-based, psychometric assessment that provides an accurate measure of the four Thinking Attributes (analytically, socially, structurally, and conceptually) and three Behavioral Attributes (expressive, assertive, and flexible) that every person exhibits.

Other tools include California Psychological Inventory (CPI), Occupational Personality Questionnaire (OPQ), Sixteen Personality Factor Questionnaire (16PF), etc.

Choose your instrument(s) wisely from genuine and legitimate sources. If you have the resources, you may like to take a few assessments to have a more complete overview of your personality from different types of measurements/attributes.

Whatever your personality may be, remember to apply the golden rule:

  • One should treat others as one would like others to treat oneself; or
  • “So in everything, do to others what you would have them do to you, for this sums up the Law and the Prophets.” (Matthews 7:12)

If you are able to be flexible and adaptable, apply the diamond rule instead:

  • Treat others the way they want to be treated!