Meet the eagle, rooster, carabao, and tarsier

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2017 Reads: YOUNIQUE – Understanding Others by Understanding You by Jayson Lo

Back in college, our Editor-in-Chief Kuya Venz would share personality tests to the staff. I can’t recall if he was the one who introduced to us the Myers-Briggs Personality Test, but I do remember him teaching us about the Dominant, Supportive, Influential, and Analytical personalities.

I’m sure about the supportive and analytical terms, but for the other two, not so.

I remembered because the first time I answered something like it (on my first year as a staff writer), I was the Supportive type. Then when Kuya Venz graduated and came back after a few months to share the exam again, I changed to an Analytical type. I read somewhere before that these may change after some time, depending on the circumstances that could propel us to take on a new personality.

On the other hand, the first time I took the Myers-Briggs, I was an INFJ. That was in college, but during the time I was working already, I became an INFP. The interpretations and descriptions for these were accurate for me during those moments in my life.

I enjoy taking personality exams, because it helps me know more about myself. They serve as good references too for improving our interpersonal communication and relationships.

One time at work, I was asked to be the Marketing Head Officer-in-Charge for our team. I was unsure if I would be able to do a good job – I said this because I’m naturally introverted. I also identified myself as task-oriented rather than people-oriented, because sometimes, I put more time and effort in the task at hand rather than the people I was working with. So I read articles on how introverts can be good leaders, the difference between being people- and task-oriented, and so on. Then I had a thought: what if I also knew the personality types of my teammates?

I asked them to take the Myers-Briggs Personality Test, and when we found out the results, I got to read about their descriptions. It helped a lot for me in understanding how they worked and determining how I could be a better leader for them and how our team could work in harmony. We can see who is good at a certain skill or how someone responds to stress. By knowing these, our team could cooperate with each other more efficiently and with clear understanding and respect for the other person’s nature.

Although our traits are not set in stone, there is hope for us to be able to emulate the strengths of other personalities. I remember Kuya Venz saying something about the DISC personalities. He asked us who would be a good leader among the four? Each has its own strength and weakness.

The best leader, he said, was one who could be each of those four personalities. Probably not all at the same time but when a certain scenario calls for it. Like how being Analytical would be best for researching about a problem and coming up with solutions, or how being supportive would be best for when a team is unmotivated.

I’ve relearned all these things when my Mom gave this book by entrepreneur and renowned speaker Mr. Jayson Lo entitled “Younique: Understanding Others by Understanding You” to me after she attended a seminar where the author was one of the speakers. She even had the book signed with a message from the author himself! (Thank you, Mr. Lo!)

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Younique discusses the D-I-S-C personalities which came from the initial theoretical framework by William Moulton Marston in the 1920’s. The D is for Dominance, I for Inducement, S for Submission, and C for Compliance.

Mr. Lo described personality as “the complex blending of everything that makes up who you are.” It is different from behavioral style, which is “the outward expression of who you are, and it may change depending on the context.” In Younique, the author just focused on personality, given that we cannot change our personalities (who we are), but we can adjust it and not change it entirely.

What differentiates Mr. Lo’s book from others is that he wrote in the Philippine context and shared examples of his own stories and encounters with people from those four personalities.

To make the reading fun too, he enlivened each of the personalities with four of the Philippines’ known animals:

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Meet the Dominant Eagle, the Influential Rooster, the Steady Carabao, and the Corrective Tarsier.

The Dominant Eagle is the born leader, the Influential Rooster is the life of the party, the Steady Carabao is the laid-back and relaxed one, and the Corrective Tarsier is curious and inquisitive.

When my Mom gave me this book, she already claimed that I was a Steady Carabao. She was actually right!

Before being able to read more into Younique, Mr. Lo prepared a short exam – one for strengths and one for weaknesses – for readers to assess which personality they had. From four columns of words, they have to encircle which of the words best describe them.

For the Strengths exam example, let’s say we have these four words:

Gentle     Generous     Good Listener     Get Things Done

The reader would encircle the word that best describes him.

You have to plot those, plus the results for the Weaknesses exam, on the Scoring Test to see how much points you’ve earned as a Dominant, Influential, Steady, or Corrective.

When I answered mine the first time, I got Corrective, one point above Steady. However, there were a few words I was unsure of, so I asked my Mom to affirm if those words actually best described me. When we recounted, it turned out that I’m Primary Steady and Secondary Corrective. One point difference again!

(You can take the exam online, or you can also buy Younique from bookstores!) 

I love how he lined up the chapters for the book. In that first part, I was able to know my personality according to the DISC framework. We should know first, because how then will we be able to assess ourselves? Which areas are we good at? Which areas do we need to develop on? After that, Mr. Lo introduced two more classifications for the personalities.

The four are interrelated: the Dominant and Corrective are task-oriented, while the Influential and Steady are people-oriented. Another classification has the Dominant and Influential as Active, the Corrective and Steady as Reactive. In another illustration, the Dominant Eagle does tasks faster, the Influential Rooster builds relationships faster, the Steady Carabao builds relationships slower, and the Corrective Tarsier does tasks slower.

With the differences we have with one another, Mr. Lo imparted how unique we truly are from one another, and nobody else in this world is an exact replica of us. However, even though we know this is true, we still get dissatisfied at times with who we are and how we act.

Sometimes, we may get disheartened when we are involved situations where we are not very comfortable in by nature. A Steady would likely decline an opportunity to speak in public as opposed to an Influential who would thrive in that stage. A Corrective would not easily give in to buy a certain thing he wants because of thoughts like “Oh, it’s not economical” or “Earning for that will take this and that and these and those…” while a Dominant would gladly accept the challenge and do whatever it takes to get it.

From a podcast I’ve been listening to recently called The Purposeful Creative by Arriane Serafico and a conversation I had with my former superior at work, I’ve learned and realized that we put limitations on ourselves basing on our personalities. Ms Arriane said it was called ‘typecasting’ oneself, and I think it’s the same with stereotyping which is a term I’ve come across before too.

We have manifested these prewritten narratives and used them as excuses to escape responsibilities or to say no to good opportunities. We also compared ourselves incessantly to other people like “People like her as the speaker, because she’s extroverted” or “He’s a better leader, because he’s dominant.” I know I have done these plenty of times!

Because I was introverted, I already didn’t think I wouldn’t be a good leader to the team or making friends will be hard whenever I join a new organization or meet with a new group of people. Because I was a Primary Steady, I will say “I just want to stay inside and read or work by myself” when somebody asks me to go outside and have lunch – not because I don’t want to, but because comfort is in my nature. Because I was a Secondary Corrective, if an opportunity to share my skills comes up, I will provide even more reasons why it will not work out. And we top these excuses with the proverbial “That’s just the way I am.”

My former superior said that we shouldn’t be like that. If we’re unmotivated, we have control over that. If we really want to grow as individuals, we would not want to be self-limiting. We can actively do something about it and not make the excuse of “This is how I work… I’m inherently just relaxed.” But we cannot dilly-dally when a situation calls for urgency, emergency, or a boss wants a project done immediately.

These are all under the fixed mindset instead of the growth mindset. We’ve gotten too comfortable on an idea that we forget that the pot we’re planted on isn’t getting enough sunlight or rain anymore.

(I’ve learned the terms fixed and growth mindset from my Mom and one of The Purposeful Creative’s podcast minisode. The growth mindset is good to research on.)

In regards to our typecasting excuses, taking on the ‘learned personality’ should come into play, partnered of course with personal accountability and responsibility. In the book, Mr. Lo described it as “developing the strengths of the other personalities that are not inherent to you.” It’s not about becoming another person but just applying his/her strengths that you have learned.

Although primarily a Steady, I think I am Dominant when it comes to working on projects with our team. I can also be Influential when we have to meet with other people. We can take notes on the strengths of one another and see how we can complement and support each other’s weaknesses too!

This is probably what Kuya Venz meant on being a leader. You are able to equip yourself with the right armor for every kind of battle out there. Also, you get to appreciate the value that your teammates bring to the table and understand more of how they work.

In Younique, after knowing your personal style, you can then read the succeeding chapters on each of the personal styles’ strengths, weaknesses, and versatilities.

At first, I thought, should I just read the chapters about Steady and Corrective? I thought that that would defeat the purpose of reading the whole book. This was made, so that you could understand other people by understanding yourself!

We take personality tests to discover more of ourselves and understand the people around us. It’s equally important to know, especially if you’re working with a team or in a company. When I knew the strengths and weaknesses of my teammates before, I gained better insight on how I could help them more and evaluate which projects they could thrive in. You could see who would be the best fit for a certain task, so the outcome will come out excellently as well.

Knowing our weaknesses too is helpful. At least, we are able to understand how we and other people respond to stress and other circumstances. For instance, when I knew that I was a Steady Carabao and read the descriptions in the book, I wasn’t so hard on myself anymore, because that was really who I am.

I avoid conflict as much as possible, I like being in my comfort zone and resist change, I take a long while to decide on something, and I lack initiative. I wouldn’t usually be the one to volunteer to take on a new project – the Dominant Eagle would be the one to do so. As a Corrective, I am pessimistic, sensitive to criticism and doesn’t handle it well the first time, and analyze every little thing even if it’s uncalled for.

Because of knowing our and others’ weaknesses, we see now why we act the way we do when we are on our pressure points. This is where forgiveness, understanding, coordination, and patience play their part. We each have our faults and shortcomings – no personality – no person! – is ever perfect. Doesn’t that relieve us from such a heavy burden such as perfection? Rather than perfection, we can strive for goodness.

After Mr. Lo discussed each of the personalities’ strengths and weaknesses, he shared the versatilities like how to observe one’s personality based on his actions, the sweet spots, the emotional need, points of conflict, and attitude on making decisions. This chapter covers how we can adjust to other people’s needs or traits.

So from knowing ourselves first and reading about the strengths and weaknesses of each, we finish with knowing how to cooperate well with people with personalities different from us. And that is just with the DISC framework – the Myers-Briggs Personality Exam has 16!

Reading all of these, I’ve come to appreciate more of myself as a Steady and Corrective and all personalities as a whole. I love the Dominant Eagle’s goal-getting (and -achieving!) attitude, the Influential Rooster’s fun and happy quirks, the Steady Carabao’s calmness and gentleness, and the Corrective Tarsier’s attention to detail, sensitivity, and organization. My Mom and I would also easily joke about my state as a Steady whenever I do chores a little bit later than expected…

The book’s illustrator Joel Chua also made these characters even more lovable, because each chapter featured the Eagle, Rooster, Carabao, and Tarsier in funny and light-hearted illustrations! I could relate so well to the comfortable carabao never releasing the arrow and just kept saying, ready… ready… ready…

I enjoyed reading Mr. Jayson Lo’s Younique and the stories he shared as well. His concrete examples made me form a clearer vision of the DISC personalities in the Filipino context. He has a second book too called Younique Youth which is aimed to a younger set of readers aged 12 to 22. Although I’m not in that bracket anymore, I’ve decided to read it too, because Mr. Lo has other stories there which were not shared in the first book.

When I was in the first chapters though of Younique, I just got scared because I might then start typecasting other people. (The Analytical Tarsier in me was speaking). But pages after pages, the fear dissolved because like what Mr. Lo had said, we are all unique, and when God made us, He threw away the mold. He doesn’t want us to be all Dominant, Influential, Steady, or Corrective either, because what a plain stagnant world that would be. In our diversity, we work better with one another and bring out the best in each other. What one lacks, one will fill.

We should also not give in to being envious of other people’s strengths. We will never be him or her that we admire, but we can apply what we like about their leadership or personal style. And with every strength, there is also a weakness – what he may need improvement on, you already know well, and you can even help him improve on that particular area.

“Don’t compare yourself with other people, because if you do, only two things may happen and they’re both negative: you will become proud because you are better than others, or you will become insecure because you may think they are better than you. Be younique!” – pg. 111

Anyway, these personalities are just who we are in nature. We must not put our identities on those entirely. Likewise, we must not resort to using them as excuses or permission to act a certain way, especially if it hurts others or ourselves.

Lastly, whatever personality that we have, we must learn to accept and love ourselves and those different from us, and we must not forget who we are in God’s eyes. We are all His beloved children, and He does not care so much about who we are in nature but rather what good we do for Him and our neighbor.

What a delight it would be for the eagle, rooster, carabao, and tarsier to settle their differences and learn to live with one another.

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