Methodologies

Know Thyself V

Personal Development Tools we didn’t Use

In the previous blogs in this series, I went through all of the tools that we use as the baseline for understanding who we are.  This know thyself exercise is the launching pad for building our personal development plan.  In this blog I’d like to cover some of the other tools that we reviewed and decided they weren’t going to work for our personal improvement plan.  There were a number of reasons we decided against integrated these other tools and I’ll go through each.  Most of them were disqualified because they were too expensive.  We are launching this initiative as a data gathering social experiment so we do need to keep the costs to a minimum for our participants.

The Keirsey Temperament Sorter (KTS-II)

The Keirsey Temperament Sorter is a solid alternative to the Meyers-Briggs Types Indicator (MBTI).  The KTS uses the same four letter personality breakout pioneered by Jung and later expanded by Meyers-Briggs.  Keirsey took a different approach than the MBTI.  He used archetypes first define by Platoto split us into four temperament types: Artisan (iconic), Guardian (pistic), Idealistic (noetic), and Rational (dianoetic).  This is what the breakdown looks like:

Kiersey-Temperament-Sorter1

Keirsey takes these temperaments then breaks them again into two roles each.  This split is based on whether you are proactive or reactive.  For example, in the Rational group, where I fell, the Coordinators are Proactive and the Engineers are Reactive.  These roles are split a final time based on a role variant.  The role variants determines whether you are attentive or expressive.  For the Rational group, the attentive group is the Mastermind and the expressive group is the Fieldmarshal.  Here is a slightly different breakdown of how the KTS defines the four letters in the personality type:

Kiersey-Temperament-Sorter2

I liked this chart from Wikipedia a little better:

Kiersey-Temperament-Sorter3

The biggest difference I could see between the KTS and the MBTI was that the Myers-Briggs grouped types by function attitudes where Keirsey grouped everything by temperament.  Myers-Briggs also seemed to adhere a little closer to Jung and his focus on extroversion/introversion.

The KTS is another forced choice test/survey that results in a final designation.  The test was worth running through but the other thing KTS is missing is an easy to use site like 16personalities that gives you great descriptors of all the different personality types.  To get the full KTS results, you have to pay to play.  Here were the incomplete results that I received for free:

Kiersey-Temperament-Sorter-Results

The KTS seems to be in wide use at the corporate level and my understanding is that a ton of career coaches use this on a regular basis.  We may come back to this as a tool as the system progresses but for now our go-to personality type tool is going to be the Myers-Briggs Type Indicator.

Enneagram of Personality

The Enneagram is another model of the human psyche.  This approach constructs a typology between nine interconnected personality types.  An enneagram is just a nine sided figure.  The history for this methodology is a little murkier.  Rumor has it that this was started way back in the fourth century by a Christian mystic by the name of Evagrius Ponticus.  The modern version of the Enneagram of Personality is most commonly credited to Oscar Ichazo as part of his teachings of protoanalysis.

Instead of the sixteen types offered by Myers-Briggs and Keirsey, the Enneagram only gives you nine.  This was a little more confusing to me because the breakdown seemed a lot less scientific.  This is another forced answer test that gets you to the end result.  The end result in my case was not particularly definitive.

Here’s the general Enneagram:

enneagram-Of-Personality

Here is a breakdown of the types from Wikipedia:

enneagram-Of-Personality2

Here are my inconclusive results:

enneagram-Of-Personality-Results

I didn’t get nearly the insight from this test as I’ve gotten from the others.  Even though this test was free, we’re leaving it out of the toolbox for now.

Other Tests we Reviewed

StrengthsFinder

The StrengthsFinder assessment comes from a book of the same name.  The general idea of the assessment is to provide you with a breakdown of your core strengths in a similar fashion to the VIA institute that we talked about in Know Thyself III.  This breakdown, from what I understand, is quite a bit more expansive and can be used to guide you towards a career that might be a best fit for you.

It is also known as the Clifton StrengthsFinder named after the methodology’s founder, Donald Clifton Ph.D.  This test required access codes and probably works better when coupled with meetings with a coach or consultant.

Herrmann Brain Dominance Instrument (HBDI)

This was the brain child of one of the geniuses that came out of GE, William ‘Ned’ Herrmann’.  He built this while running GE’s management education department.  He built a system designed to measure and describe the thinking preferences in people, something they trademarked as Whole Brain Thinking.  This methodology comes with a fair amount of consulting and needs an access code to even get started.  Did not get a chance to even play around with this one much.

 

This is the last blog of the Know Thyself series.  In our next couple of blogs we will start to dive into the process of turning know thyself into an actionable plan.

Book Reviews

Sapiens

Know Your Species

To understand who we are, it’s always a good idea to look at who we were.  It’s certainly cliché but that doesn’t make it any less true.   Yuval Noah Harari has written a masterpiece on the history of our species in Sapiens: A Brief History of Humankind.  He brilliantly takes us on an anthropological journey that defines who we are as a people.  This book has taken its place on my shelf as one of the all-time greats.

He starts from the very beginning.  2.5 million years ago, the humans evolve into being in Africa.  We were weird: big brains, skinny, we walked upright, we used tools.  The world didn’t know what it was in for.  Since we walked upright, women had a really tough time of it when it came to giving birth.  The upright gait required much narrower hips which constricted the birth canal.  Big brains required big heads and death in childbirth was a huge problem.  So we evolved to give birth to very premature babies.  If you look at other species, like horses, or even giraffes, they start walking within days.  It takes us over a year, but we’re vulnerable for far longer than that.  This required us to evolve communication and communities to take care of our young.  That’s what got the ball rolling towards world domination.

Harari breaks the book down into four sections: the Cognitive Revolution, the Agricultural Revolution, the unification of humankind and the Scientific Revolution.  There are a ton of insights in each section of the book so I’ll do my best to capture the ones I found most interesting in this quick review.  There is so much more in there though, so please do yourself a favor and read the book.

Cognitive Revolution

The Cognitive revolution started about seventy thousand (70K) years ago.  This is my back of the napkin math, not Harari’s, but if we consider that over history there was roughly five generations per century, this means that we started serious cogitation about thirty five hundred (3,500) generations ago.  That’s a lot of chance for evolutionary mutations but nothing compared to the roughly 2.4 million years before that time started that it took for us to figure out the tools and weapons to take us from the middle of the food chain to the top.  During that much longer period of time, sapiens weren’t the only kids on the block.  There were the Neanderthals, Homo erectus, Homo rudolfensis, Homo ergaster and several others.  The evolution to sapiens wasn’t a serial progression from these other species.  There is DNA evidence that we did the nasty with Neanderthals and we didn’t drive them to extinction until about thirty thousand(30K) years ago.  It wasn’t until about thirteen thousand years ago that Homo sapiens were the only humans left.

So why did sapiens make it when the rest of the competing human species didn’t?  The conclusion that Harari draws is fascinating.  He claims that our big edge was our ability to create fiction.  In his words, “Large numbers of strangers can cooperate successfully by believing in common myths.”  There are natural laws like the law of gravity that would exist even if humans were not on the planet, but “There are no gods in the universe, no nations, no money, no human rights, no laws and no justice outside the common imagination of the human beings.”  All of those things exist only because we made them up.  Our ability to create these fictions allowed us to “revise our behavior rapidly in accordance with changing needs.  This opened a fast lane of cultural evolution, bypassing the traffic jams of genetic evolution.”  When everyone believes in a similar idea or concept, it builds trust, which allows us to work effectively in much larger groups than chimps or Neanderthals.

The other really big step we took in the Cognitive Revolution was when groups of sapiens near Indonesia figured out how to build ships and leave Afro-Asia.  This was a monumental advantage over other creatures because we didn’t have to wait to evolve flippers and fins.  Instead, we built boats and sailed to Australia.  “The moment the first hunter-gatherer set foot on an Australian beach was the moment that Homo sapiens climbed to the top rung in the food chain on a particular landmass and thereafter became the deadliest species in the annals of planet Earth.”  As soon as we got there, we wiped out 90% of the megafauna.  All of the big animals there didn’t see us as a threat until we stuck them full of spears.  They never had the chance to evolve a fear of sapiens and they were destroyed, by us, long before that could happen.  Sadly, this was true with every other landmass we migrated to.  We migrated there and wiped out all of the big animals.  This is a disturbing trend of our species.  We move in, we pillage and destroy, and we completely change the ecological environment.

Agricultural Revolution

The Cognitive Revolution was followed by the Agricultural revolution which started around 9500-8500 BC.  Harari calls the Agricultural Revolution the biggest con job in history.  “The average farmer worked harder than the average forager, and got a worse diet in return…Moreover, the new agricultural tasks demanded so much time that people were forced to settle permanently next to their wheat fields.  This completely changed their way of life.  We didn’t domesticate wheat.  It domesticated us.”  Farmers got a raw deal and were pretty miserable.  Bigger communities meant a lot more violence and a ton more disease.  As a species though, it was great.  We banged like rabbits and our population went through the roof.

The Agrarian society also had us thinking about the future for the first time.  Since we were no longer foraging, one bad crop could wipe everybody out.  This drove us into planning for the future and accelerated things like trade with other communities.  With that many humans now living together there was a ton of bloodshed.  “The problem at the root of such calamities is that humans evolved for millions of years in small bands of a few dozen individuals.  The handful of millennia separating the Agricultural Revolution from the appearance of cities, kingdoms and empires was not enough time to allow an instinct for mass cooperation to evolve.”  This made fiction and the shared myths even more important, especially when it came to organized violence like armies.  “At least some of the commanders and soldiers must truly believe in something, be it God, honor, motherland, manhood or money….How do you cause people to believe in an imagined order such as Christianity, democracy or capitalism?  First, you never admit that the order is imagined.  You always insist that the order sustaining the society is an objective reality created by the great gods or by the laws of nature.”

The other big advance that came out of the Agricultural Revolution was writing.  “The human brain is not a good storage device for empire-sized databases, for three main reasons…. First, its capacity is limited.  Secondly, humans die, and their brains die with them.  Thirdly and most importantly, the human brain has been adapted to store and process only particular types of information.”  These were things like what plants and animals it was safe to eat.  With all these people living together it became important to process large amounts of data.  Writing and math were an inevitable progression so the whole system didn’t come crashing down.

The Unification of Humankind

The next stage he covers is the unification of humankind which started about 5,000 years ago.  Harari posits that the three great unifiers were money, empires and religion.  “Money is based on two universal principles: a. Universal convertibility: with money as an alchemist, you can turn land into loyalty, justice into health, and violence into knowledge. b. Universal trust:  with money as a go-between, any two people can cooperate on any project.”  There was a serious dark side that came with money.  “When everything is convertible, and when trust depends on anonymous coins and cowry shells, it corrodes local traditions, intimate relations and human values, replacing them with the cold laws of supply and demand.”

Our current liberal societies don’t relish the idea of Imperialism.  However, empires were incredibly effective in unifying people.  “Ideas, people, goods and technology spread more easily within the borders of an empire than in a politically fragmented region.  Often enough, it was the empires themselves which deliberately spread ideas, institutions, customs and norms.”  They did this for two reasons.  This made life easier for those running the empire but a common culture also brought legitimacy to their rule.

Religion was the final unifier.  This is how Harari defines religion, “Religion can thus be defined as a system of human norms and values that is founded on a belief in a superhuman order.”  All religions had two big rules, “First, it must espouse a universal superhuman order that is true always and everywhere.  Second, it must insist on spreading this belief to everyone.  In other words, it must be universal and missionary.”  Two pretty powerful rules, they knew their marketing.  It’s not a huge surprise that the idea of religion became such a unifier.

The Scientific Revolution

The Scientific Revolution started about 500 years ago.  Science was very different from the traditions that came before it in three primary ways, “The willingness to admit ignorance…The centrality of observation and mathematics….The acquisition of new powers.  Modern science is not content with creating theories.  It uses these theories in order to acquire new powers, and in particular to develop new technologies.”  This led to my favorite quote of the book, “The Scientific Revolution has not been a revolution of knowledge.  It has been above all a revolution of ignorance.  The great discovery that launched the Scientific Revolution was the discovery that humans do not know the answers to the most important questions.”

One of the kickers for science is that it needs an alliance with an ideology to flourish.  The ideology is necessary to justify the cost of research.  The two big allies for science were imperialism and capitalism.  One of the primary reasons why Europe dominated the Scientific Revolution was, in Harari’s words, “The key factor was that the plant-seeking botanist and the colony-seeking naval officer shared a similar mindset.  Both scientist and conqueror began by admitting ignorance – they both said, ‘I don’t know what’s out there.’  They both felt compelled to go out and make new discoveries.  And they both hoped the new knowledge thus acquired would make them masters of the world.”  This quote reminded me of the Patrick O’Brian books where Captain Jack Aubrey was always accompanied by Dr. Stephen Maturin, conqueror and naturalist going hand in hand to take over the world.

This ultimately led to the Industrial Revolution.  “The Industrial Revolution turned the timetable and the assembly line into a template for almost all human activities.”  This led to a great story he told about time.  All local communities used to track time in their own unique way.  Based on how they calculated time, It might be 8 AM in London but 8:04 AM in Liverpool.  This was true until trains starting making their way across Britain and the train timetables were getting all screwed up.  So, in 1847, the train companies set all of their timetables to Greenwich time  Thirty years later, the British government followed suit and that is how the world got Greenwich Mean Time.

The Industrial Revolution came with a serious downside.  “Yet all of these upheavals are dwarfed by the most momentous social revolution that ever befell humankind: the collapse of the family and the local community and their replacement by the state and the market.”  Neighbors used to work on barter agreements.  Your fence falls down, I help you fix it.  My wall topples, you help me.  With the Industrial Revolution all of this changed.  “In order really to break the power of family and community, they needed the help of a fifth column.  The state and the market approached people with an offer that could not be refused.  ‘Become individuals.'”  Study after study shows that when we are surrounded by family and community we are happier.  We love to describe ourselves as rugged individuals but the cost turned out to be a whole lot of happiness.

Harari is a bit of a cynic when it comes to happiness.  He broke happiness down into three theories.  The first is that happiness is in the hands of our biochemical system.  Once we can regulate that machine like a well-tuned air conditioner we can engineer our way into happiness.  Meh.  The second is that “perhaps happiness is synchronizing one’s personal delusions of meaning with the prevailing collective delusion.  As long as my personal narrative is in line with the narratives of the people around me, I can convince myself that my life is meaningful, and find happiness in that conviction.  This is quite a depressing conclusion.  Does happiness really depend on self-delusion?”  He didn’t like that idea either but this seems to be the Facebook fallacy.

Know Yourself

His third theory comes down to ‘Know Thyself!’.  This is the one I prefer.  He uses Buddhism as a way to describe this knowledge.  In Buddhism, “People are liberated from suffering not when they experience this or that fleeting pleasure, but rather when they understand the impermanent nature of all their feelings, and stop craving them.”  He goes on to add, “In contrast, for many traditional philosophies and religions, such as Buddhism, the key to happiness is to know the truth about yourself – to understand who, or what, you really are.  Most people wrongly identify themselves with their feelings, thoughts, likes and dislikes.  When they feel anger, they think, ‘I am angry.  This is my anger.’  They consequently spend their life avoiding some kinds of feelings and pursuing others.  They never realize that they are not their feelings, and that the relentless pursuit of particular feelings just traps them in misery.”

I like his systematic approach to analyzing happiness.  He seems to come to no conclusion on what theory is the best approach allowing us to draw our own.  He closes by bemoaning that we really don’t have any historical study of happiness and that is a huge gap in our collective knowledge.  “Most history books focus on the ideas of great thinkers, the bravery of warriors, the charity of saints and the creativity of artists.  They have much to tell about the weaving and unraveling of social structures, about the rise and fall of empires, about the discovery and spread of technologies.  Yet they say nothing about how all this influenced the happiness and suffering of individuals.  This is the biggest lacuna in our understanding of history.”  Lacuna, cool word.

I found this study on humankind fascinating.  If we can learn the lessons that history has to teach, our chance of being successful in our own personal development can only increase.

Methodologies

Know Thyself IV

Skills and Mastery

Thus far, in the search of know thyself, I have spent all of my time understanding who I am.  This is time well spent but I have taken almost no time in understanding what I can do.  This is the next step, understanding skills and passions.  It is important to look at both the skills and passions we already have as well as those that we wish to acquire.  Understanding our current skills and acquiring new ones are a critical part of the personal improvement plan.

Let’s first take a deep dive into what we mean by skills.  A skill in its most basic form is the ability to carry out a task with pre-determined results within a given amount of time and energy.  That is a very definition-y approach to something that constitutes what we can do.  Let’s go deeper.

Wikipedia categorizes skills into six buckets: Labor Skills, Life Skills, People Skills, Social Skills, Soft Skills and Hard Skills.  There is a fair amount of overlap between each of these buckets based on different perceptions and categorization schemes.  I won’t waste your time discussing any one type more than once.

Let’s look at the Labor skills first.  These are the skill sets that allow us to operate in the marketplace.  They break down into the sub categories of foundation, transferable and technical and vocational skills.  The foundational skills are the very basics that allow us to acquire new skills.  These are things like literacy and math.  It’s pretty damn hard to learn how to code if you can’t read or do addition.  The next is the transferable skills.  These are the skills that transfer from one line of work to the next.  Many of these are the soft and people skills that we’ll talk about in a little more detail later.  The third is the technical and vocational skills.  These are your hard skills, things that require technical know-how and specific training.

Next we have our general life skills.  These skills allow us to navigate the ship and manage the demands and challenges that life throws at us.  The nerdy term for this skill set is psycho-social.  The folks that struggle with these type of skills typically struggle to find their place in society.  They could be troubled youth, substance abusers, on the autism spectrum, or any other number of other reasons.  These are the very basics: decision making, problem solving, creative thinking, critical thinking, self-awareness, empathy, relationships, assertiveness, coping, communication and resilience.  At this level we are not talking about our people skills, but something deeper.  Life skills form the foundation for things like people skills and soft skills.

With that segue, let’s cover people skills next.  These are the skills that determine how well you play with others.  Most of these are covered in kindergarten but people skills are the ability to effectively communicate, understand and empathize with others.  Strong people skills build trust through sincerity.  These are a must have to interact respectfully with others to develop strong working relationships.

I’m going to cover social skills as well.  There is a fair amount of overlap between social and people skills.  The reason I’m covering social skills separately is that I like the list of social skills that the Employment and Training Administration has identified: Coordination (adjusting actions in relation to others’ actions), Mentoring, Negotiation, Persuasion, Service Orientation and Social Perceptiveness.  Learning these skills is known as socialization.

Soft skills are another categorization of a lot of the other skills we already looked at.  These are less quantifiable like people and social skills and serve as a good complement to hard skills.  Hard skills are more technical and quantifiable.  The hard skills fit nicely in the technical and vocational bucket under labor skills.

Hopefully, this study on skills was interesting even if it was a little dry.  Stay with me though, there is a point to all of this.  To build an effective personal development plan, we need a way of getting from who we are to a better version of us.  Some of that comes from understanding ourselves but a larger part is going to come down to strapping in and working on those skills that we want to improve.  We all have soft and hard skills that could use a bit of work.

 

Before I share the skills that I am choosing to work on, I would first like to discuss motivation and mastery for a second.  Daniel Pink has done some amazing studies on what motivates us.  He has done a couple of TED talks and written a book on motivation but my favorite is the RSA Animate version of his talk.  We are going to use these tools heavily in making sure we stay on track on our plan.  What he found is that the three biggest factors in motivation are: autonomy, mastery and purpose.  You will have total autonomy in how you build your plan.  We will also spend some time defining your purpose when we build out the vision that the plan is based on.  Mastery however is going to be an ongoing goal for the rest of your life so it’s worth spending a couple cycles on that now.

The scale of mastery that we use comes from the four stages of competence.  This was a theory built by Noel Burch while working with the Gordon Training International.  In the first stage, we are incompetent and ignorant of the fact.  The way to progress out of this stage is by showing a serious desire to learn.  We classify folks at this level as novice, because at this stage you don’t even know what you don’t know.

Personal Improvement Plan Mastery Arrow

In the next stage we have conscious incompetence.  This is where folks start to understand how much there is to know and how little they know of it.  They can recognize their deficits as well as the value of the new skill.  We classify folks at this level as apprentice, because they are starting on the journey to mastery.  In the third stage, the practitioner knows how to do the skill but it takes intense concentration.  They may have to break it down into its component parts and a ton of focus is required.  We call this level journeyman.

In the final stage, you have reached mastery of the skill.  It’s something that can be done with your eyes closed.  Many times, you can execute the skill while doing something else.  A good example of this is driving.  You don’t think about how you are going to pull out of the driveway in the morning, you just do it while you are thinking about what you have to get done for the day.  This stage is mastery.

The first step in the skill breakdown is listing out all of your skills and assigning your current mastery level to those skills.  This was a fun step for me that allowed me to flesh out my quiver of all the things that I know how to do or that I want to learn how to do at some point in the future.  The list ends up being far too long to manage though, so I will share the next step which is narrowing down the list to just those skills I plan on using in the next two years or the skills that I hope to acquire in that same time period.

SkillList1

This list becomes the launch pad for the next part of the process of building our vision and scorecard.  I will cover my version of those steps in the next several blogs.  There will be a final know thyself blog though that covers all of the other tools that we tried and decided not to incorporate into the process and why.  Stay tuned!

Methodologies

Know Thyself III

Character Strengths and the 5 Love Languages

If you haven’t read the previous posts: in the first version of Know Thyself I spent a lot of time talking about the tools that Bill Burnett and Dave Evans gave us in Designing Your Life.  I used one of those tools to place my You Are Here pin and truly answer the question of: How You Doing?  In the second installment I went deep on Myers-Briggs.  I talked about the Myers-Briggs Personality Test and the Myers-Briggs Type Indicator (MBTI).  I used my own personality profile as an example.  I also briefly looked at the Satisfaction with Life Scale to get a sense of baseline happiness.

In this post I’m going to dig in to the softer side.  I’m going to start by looking at character strengths and finish with an analysis of the 5 love languages.  There are a ton of character strength options out there.  I’ve heard nothing but good things about StrengthsFinder but I’m sticking with options that you can start looking at for free.  That led me to Character Strengths and Virtues, also known as CSV.  CSV was a book written by Christopher Peterson and Martin Seligman in which they provide a framework that allows for practical applications for positive psychology.

Character Strengths and Virtues

Positive psychology was introduced as an academic middle finger in reaction to the old standbys of psycho-analysis and behaviorism.  Those disciplines focus heavily on mental illness and negative thinking.  Seligman had enough of this limited approach.  What do you want, he was a New Yorker.  Earlier in his career, after many years of study on depression he theorized that, with the right stimuli, humans and animals can be conditioned into a state of learned helplessness.  He backed this up with a fair amount of experimentation.  In this definition, learned helplessness meant that a human or animal could be conditioned to behave helplessly in a particular situation – after experiencing some inability to avoid an adverse situation – even when it actually had the power to change its unpleasant or harmful situation.  One can only assume that this research weighed heavily in his desire to create a positive counterpart to all of the negatives associated with psycho-analysis.  Instead of focusing on what can go wrong, CSV focuses on what can go right.

Interesting sidebar on learned helplessness.  Some assholes in the government jumped on the theory and used it as one of the pillars of our ‘enhanced interrogation techniques’.  This became one of the fun ways that we tortured folks down in Guantanamo.  Seligman was horrified that his theory was used in such a reprehensible way.

The Cliff Notes on CSV start with the identification of six core virtues.  The core virtues are made up of twenty-four measurable character strengths.  Here’s the list:

  • Wisdom and knowledge: creativity, curiosity, innovation, love of learning, open-mindedness, perspective
  • Courage: bravery, integrity, persistence, vitality, zest
  • Humanity: kindness, love, social intelligence
  • Justice: citizenship, fairness, leadership
  • Temperance: forgiveness and mercy, humility, prudence, self-control
  • Transcendence: appreciation of beauty and excellence, gratitude, hope, humor, spirituality

I used the test from The VIA Institute on Character which turned the CSV framework into a forced choice questionnaire devised to illuminate what your core strengths are.  While core strengths do not directly equal core values, they are tightly coupled.  This becomes an important step in discovering what those core values are.  Here are my results:

Character-Strengths

After paying for the more detailed report here is a slightly more in-depth breakdown:

Character-Strengths

You can see that the VIA Institute slightly tweaked some of the terms.  For example, integrity became honesty.  For the most part they stayed pretty close to the academic representation of CSV.

5 Love Languages

5-Love-LanguagesThe Five Love Languages comes from a book of the same name by Gary Chapman.  Chapman doesn’t have a psychology background.  He comes from a religion / philosophy and anthropology foundation of learning.  Maybe that means he believes in dinosaurs wearing saddles?  I’d like to believe not.

He preaches more of a pop psychology on the radio.  That doesn’t make his theories any less interesting.  He has clearly worked with a ton of people to develop the theories and that alone hints at some level of scientific method.  I doubt there were a whole lot of double blind studies in his work but it still seems to resonate with a large percent of the population.

His theory is that we discover our love languages by observing how we express love to others.  We can analyze the things that we complain about most often in our partners as a good indicator of what we are looking for in love.  In his theory, people tend to naturally give love in the same way that they prefer to receive it.  When we understand how we wish to receive love and how our partners wish to receive love, communication goes waaay up.  Better communication gives us a much better chance at a strong relationship.  Makes sense to me.

5LoveLanguages.com turned this into another forced choice questionnaire.  Here are my results:

5-Love-Languages

My wife is taking the same test.  I’m not going to share her results here but when we look at the two together it becomes clear where a lot of conflicts can arise.  Defining our core values from our core strengths will provide us with the lines we will not cross when building our plan.  Our conflicts in the 5 love languages becomes another vector for our personal development plan.

There may be one final Know Thyself post that covers all of the methodologies that we decided not to use in our Know Thyself analysis and why.