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Enlarging My Conversation sample essay

Abstract

The purpose of this essay is to ascertain what needs to be done concerning my personality that will aid in my efforts to become a better-rounded contributing member of society. I will explore several aspects of this journey and lay them out for you, the reader, in order to give you a clear understanding of what is involved in trying to adapt to your surroundings. For example, when I took the DISC test I learned I have an I/C personality. As I read what that means I could not argue the findings because so many of them described me very well.

In the body of the following text, I unfold the highlights of what I am expecting to experience, e.g. defining the enlargement of my conversation, how my background and behavioral blend influences my conversation, bring to light potential barriers, develop some solutions for the noise pollution which interferes with my goal, putting together a plan of action to improve myself, and finally, I will map out the procedures needed in order for me to control a better me.

Enlarging My Conversation

A workable definition of the Title

An acronym was created by using a term Dr. Carbonell used in the title of his book Extreme personality makeover: How to develop a winning Christ like personality to improve your effectiveness, using the term makeover. By following the principles of this acronym, I hope to render a definition for the title for the phrase: Enlarging My Conversation.

Make the decision to have a makeover

Accept the “way” God made your personality

Know your strengths and “uniquenesses.”

Emulate the good traits of all the personality types.

Overcome your doubts and obstacles.

Visualize what you can become!

Expect challenges to your makeover

Renew your commitment daily (www.uniquelyyou.com).

I soon discovered that defining my personality was a little more complex than anticipated, and even then the information didn’t fully register. It took a little thought on my part, but I would define the enlarging of my conversation as the action needed to build a better me. However, this is a difficult task at best. How does one go about changing the personality that was developed over a long period of time? Are there sequential steps to follow? Is there a book that can be purchased or read that will set your feet on the path of enlightenment? These are the questions I found myself facing for which I did not have an answer.

To try to find these answers I searched the Internet for literature that would express a similar journey someone else had already taken, and I also asked people I know. The answers I received were interesting yet I wondered how they would apply to my journey. I considered the possibility of asking the wrong questions and actually sat down and tried to make a list from which to choose questions that would supple pertinent information, but I could not come up with a generic set. This still leaves that area open and my hope is that it will become clear to me what I need to do to get the answers to alleviate the struggle for enlightenment.

The DISC test played a huge role in my determination to discover ways to change from who I am now into who God wants me to be. The letters that form the word DISC are an acronym and stand for personality traits: ” D ” – Dominant/ Driver; ” I ” – Influencing/ Inspiring; ” S ” – Stable/ Steady; and ” C ” – Compliant/ Correct. My combination of these is I/C which means my personality is best defined as a person who is influential and inspiring and at the same time is compliant and correct. I do find that I fit into this personality trait, and also believe it is the one thing that hinders me from enlarging my conversation.

To me, enlarging my conversation entails a deliberate acceptance of others’ view point whether I agree with it or not. It is the idea that I can live with people and have healthy relationships even though my view on life itself contradicts everything they hold as truth. An expert in behavioral sciences, Dr. Mels Carbonell translates the DISC personality assessment in an understandable and useful form. He masterfully explains the links between our unique personalities and spiritual gifts, even showing possible challenges (uniquelyyou.com). If I was as knowledgeable as he is, this might not be such a hazardous journey for me. I am sure, though, that he writes from his experiences in life, and since mine are totally different than his, I will have to approach this from a different angle.

I suppose putting a definition on paper might help in the thought processes required to change a person’s personality, yet rarely can we relegate life down to a science. It is the very nature of life itself that makes it so adventurous and difficult to predict. Therefore, I have come to the conclusion that my definition for enlarging my conversation is the ability to hear the conversation of others and allow it to affect the paradigm that controls me and bring about a positive result.

Behavioral Blend Affects Conversation

“I/C Types are inspiring, yet cautious. They size up situations and comply with the rules in order to look good. They are good at figuring out ways to do things better through a lot of people. They can be too persuasive and too concerned about winning. They are often impatient and critical. They need to be more sensitive to individual feelings. They are often more concerned about what others think. They do not like breaking the rules; neither do they enjoy taking risks. They need to try new things and sometimes go against the crowd. They are careful communicators who think things through” (Carbonell, M. (2005) Extreme Personality makeover. Blue Ridge. Uniquely You Resources.)

To say that things of this nature do not affect people’s lifestyle would be considered naïve. I understand the task before me, and believe that this understanding affects my present behavior I will be essential in equipping me to make the change a lasting one. So, being the cautious, yet inspirational person I am, I will march forward in search of my holy grail with anticipation and exhilaration. I expect to run into some road blocks and barriers, but this is what it takes if I am to change the way my behavioral blend affects me and those around me.

One of the disadvantages of I/C blend is I tend to be overly cautious. Even in the face of tremendous encouragement from others, I still find myself lagging behind where they think I should be. Given what I know about Christianity, and the potential for change that is a result of studying the lifestyle closely related to Christianity, I am encouraged in my efforts. My experience as a soldier in the military has afforded me the discipline needed to make a change which enables me to find the means whereby this can actually happen. I have noticed how quickly I am to reject something new. This must be due to the way I was raised, yet after experiencing military life I thought it would not be so difficult.

The things I learned as a soldier have definitely had a strong impact on my personality, but I always considered that a good thing. The influence that impacted me to be a disciplined soldier, however, is different from what I need to change so I can better serve the Lord and others. Since being a servant is a priority for me, I am hoping that the journey from who I am to who I can become will be moderately pain free. Given my tendencies to remain like I am, I do anticipate some sort of struggle but I hope my tenacity is steady enough to overcome this barrier.

On the positive side of my behavioral blend is the inspirational me. I have noticed how this has helped others in the past and hope that the change I make will allow me to keep this particular trait. I really don’t know what to expect, neither can I positively define what my goal looks like, but I do know I am experiencing the need for a change. I also feel like I will know what it looks like before I get there, but at this point I think the definition and expression are some representation of what I now know. Of course, all of this will change as I continue the journey into the unknown me.

Interpersonal Barriers

Barriers are only barriers until we notice them and are ready to remove or overcome them. The highest priority given to interpersonal barriers is to the barrier of listening. Madeline Burley-Allen wrote a book on the subject, Listening, the forgotten skill: A self-teaching guide.

A proven program for turning effective listening into a powerful business tool Managers and other employees spend more than 40 percent of their time listening to other people but often do it so poorly that the result is misunderstood instructions, misdirected projects, and erroneous actions— millions of dollars‛ worth of mistakes just because most people don‛ t know how to listen. In this new edition of her classic guide to the art of effective listening, Madelyn Burley-Allen shows you how to acquire active, productive listening skills and put them to work for you— professionally, socially, and personally (Publisher’s comments).

This is a barrier we are taught to deal with at a very young age. For me it is the replacement of the ‘filter’ in my mind through which all information travels. By the time my brain has decoded the incoming message, if I am not careful; I will only hear what I want to hear and nothing else. Allen demonstrates how this affects our lives and gives practical advice to help us cut through our own listening bias, or the changing of the filter.

[active listening] is a way of listening and responding to another person that improves mutual understanding and trust. It is an essential skill for third parties and disputants alike, as it enables the listener to receive and accurately interpret the speaker’s message, and then provide an appropriate response. The response is an integral part of the listening process and can be critical to the success of a negotiation or mediation (Richard Salem, Empathic listening).

“Listening means better grades,” according to Allen. “Better grades mean our self- concept will move up a notch or two” (pg 8). This is a very inspiring statement. If I have the opportunity to look at the change I need to make as a positive thing, then statements like the one Allen makes is sure to give me a boost when I’m not sure how to proceed. I hope to be able to say as the quote Allen used on page two says, “I am more honest with myself now.”

I find difficulty arises when I try to picture myself as someone I am not. This is a common role-playing thought pattern that most, who will admit it, play on a daily basis. We are taught from childhood to emulate others’ actions or to refrain from doing the same. The only caution sign I can see in this behavior is the disappointment it can lead to when the desired goal is unattainable. Effective listening involves not only tuning into others, but tuning in to ourselves (pg 6). This remark is profound and life changing, but only as I adhere to the philosophy it represents.

The road to adventure in life is laden with people who have interesting things to say. If we are guilty of rushing our lives to meet some goal we face the possibility of missing out on some things that could enrich our experience and help us in the future. Listening is a huge barrier for all of us to overcome, and the first step in doing so is recognizing that the barrier exists and is hindering our progress.

Listening is not the only barrier I face. I also have difficulty with pride. This is not to say I think I am better than the next man, but it does keep me from experiencing something different because I have already built a paradigm that rejects some particular life experience as judges it as no good. I liked what Cloud had to say about realizing the need for a change and the difficulty in trying to discover how to implement that change.

On page five of his book, Nine things you simply must do to succeed in love and life: A psychologist probes the mystery of why some lives really work and others don’t, there is a revelation sandwiched between to double line bars that reads “People who found what they were looking for in life seemed to do a certain set of things in common” (pg 5). Again, I am approached with the idea that there must be some sort of formula I can follow to reach my still indescribable goal of change.

A Solution to Noise Pollution

It can be quite daunting to face obstacles with a clear mind and set goals, however, if there is outside interference then the job becomes nearly impossible to do. When I think of all the efforts of people who lived before I did, and compare to mine the ordeals they encountered by reading their stories, I find myself wanting to write my journey down so others might gain some insight. People will surprise you; we even surprise ourselves from time to time. I can think of a few times in my past when I was trying to make a major decision and there seemed to be too much information to wade through in order for me to make a sensible choice.

Outside, external barriers include such overwhelming information. This can be quite debilitating if you happen to be the person who loves research and tends to overdo the research end of writing. Finding a balance between reading and writing brings a wonderful feeling of satisfaction. However, when trying to determine which pieces of data to use in the document needed it can get frustrating.

External ‘noise pollution’ unbalances the healthy breakdown of communication as described by Allen. The only means I have discovered to this point that helps me overcome external noise pollution is brainstorming my data on paper. I do this by writing everything that comes to mind around a central topic. From that I choose which pieces of information to include in my document and then I can formulate a useable outline to create my document.

Inside conflict is ‘noise’ within itself that is able to trap your thoughts into a loop where you end up ‘spinning your wheels’ and ultimately never make a choice. Allen breaks down the time we spend in communication into four divisions. They are Listening, Talking, Reading, and Writing. These are the four main avenues of communication. Forty percent is the allotment given to listening. In a world where it seems people really love the sound of their own voice, I’m wondering how we survive as long as we do. Allen precedes these percentages by stating that we spend nearly seventy percent of our waking hours communicating (pg 2).

This leaves us with a dilemma: If it takes more listening for us to be better rounded individuals and we are prone to do more speaking how can we find a balance? What’s more; are we searching for a balance? As I stated a few sentences before, people love the sound of their own voice. There are psychiatrists that will tell you the only thing they did to help some of their patients is to just let them talk. I find that when I am in anguish or stressed out the best therapy for me is to talk it out. Some people talk to themselves for this very reason. They do it to remove the noise pollution in their minds.

If there is noise pollution in the thoughts we think, where does it come from? It seems to me that if we can discover what triggers the noise pollution maybe we can take some preventative measures and avoid it all together. Unfortunately, I have not found the individual who can lead me into this level of discipline, so I struggle with this facet of changing my conversation until I come to the point of revelation that explains what to do about it.

This leaves an empty space that continually gets filled with junk and emptied when I prove it to be of no value. I realize there is a way to reduce, and in some cases remove noise pollution but it seems that just as soon as the noise is removed it immediately gets replaced by something else. I have come to the conclusion that this facet of my conversation will constantly need my attention, which I suppose, would keep me on my toes in regards to bad information.

Plan of Action

Devising a plan of action to help me enlarge my conversation means I will have to endure some needed changes until I am comfortable using the new methods in such a way that enables the needed change. The old cliché “Change can be a good thing” rings true in the effort to enlarge my conversation. Changing something that is as complicated as your set paradigms takes a great deal of self-effort. This doesn’t come easy, of course, and all the expert help we can get will not replace the role we must play.

My plan of action is to try to be more open-minded about things on a personal level. I believe when I really ‘hear’ the different viewpoints on a given topic and make a rational judgment concerning the same, I will have the beginning of a new paradigm; one that will enlarge my conversation. This is probably the most difficult thing for a human to do because we are all raised in different homes and all have different paradigms upon which we build everything that develops our conversation. I have heard people say that if they had the chance to just sit and listen to others they could tell you what sort of person they are. If this is true, then our words, and the way we use them, are tell-tale signs of who we really are.

Therefore, for us to develop a plan for change, we will have to discipline ourselves to accept things we would not normally accept; even if these things are contradictory to what we describe as truth or real. The healthy change will not include merely accepting new input as much as it is the possibility that we would at least examine it. Before I can establish a plan of action I must accept my new role in accepting new input. I find a little consolation in the fact that I do not have to accept input simply due to it being something I have never done before; I am actually given the opportunity to explore it.

Exploration was the founding principle of the United States, or any other country. If not for this facet of life there would be no technology to boast about, and life, as we know it, would not exist. This begs the question, “Why is it so difficult for us to accept change?” If exploration has brought us to where we are socially, it stands to reason that it will be exploration of the world around me that helps enlarge my conversation. Challenges of this nature are the very reason why people do not change. It is a matter of personal involvement and most are just too comfortable in their present state.

The fact that I am achieving a higher education means that I am willing to accept new things as long as they apply to my priorities. If I can use the same thought pattern that makes me accept this, I stand a better chance of enlarging my conversation with a minimal amount of pain. So, I have set out to devise a plan of action that I will describe in the next section as I map out the procedures I believe it will take to initiate this plan.

Mapping it Out

To achieve my current level of education I had to lay out a map. To reach my ultimate goal in education I must follow the map I have laid out. If I deviate from it will it will affect more than just not going to that class. It will affect what I learn and when I learn it which means I may have a difficult time in a subject that could have been avoided by following the map.

The same is true for enlarging my conversation. As hard as it may be, I must lay out a map defining the steps needed and in what order they need to be taken. As I see it, and as I mentioned earlier, the first destination on my map is listening. The effort I must make in this endeavor is to open myself to new ideas. As this becomes more common place it will be easier for me to figure out how to productively use that new data. Some of it will not be worth much, but it still adds to the data base from which I draw my logic.

After accepting new data I must analyze it. This will help me determine the usefulness of the data. Once this is done I can store that away in the corners of my mind to pull out when it is needed. Although our brains are very complicated, we can still compare this process to the computers we use every day. The only information you can get off of the hard drive is what has been stored there.

As people grow older I hear the common complaint of not being able to remember things from their past. I am amazed that they can recall as much as they do given all they have learned and the time frame that is involved. The size of the computer that would store the information of just one human in their life-span would be enormous. It is absolutely mind boggling to think about the many millions of pieces of information stored in a human’s brain over the course of seventy years. Life spans are growing larger all the time, so the technology it would take to record all that information would also need to increase in complexity.

On my journey to enlarge my conversation I have already encountered some struggles, and I expect there to be more. However, if I do not start I will never finish. Mapping out a game plan will aid in my attempt. Accepting more information, filing it away properly, and recalling it when needed is just the beginning stage of it. After all this takes place I have to interpret the information in a manner that is conducive to my goal. For example, I can learn how many shots of whiskey it takes for me to get drunk, but that data would not provide much in the way of enlarging my conversation. Getting drunk may cause me to talk a lot, but it will not enlarge my capacity to engage in healthy conversation with a contradictory view.

My over all goal from this lesson is to become a better person. If I can achieve that before my life is over I will be able to lay my head on my pillow, pull my feet up in the bed and say “I have fought a good fight, I have finished my course, I have kept the faith: Henceforth there is laid up for me a crown of righteousness… (2 Timothy 4:7,8).

Conclusion

Finally, I have come to the end of the road, as it were, and I am ready to depart on this journey of a life time. I realize that no matter how long I live this journey will continue. It is one of the most encouraging things about life. There is always a new adventure around the corner, and there is always a mind-blowing piece of information awaiting an open mind. There is the endless possibility of changing into the person we actually want to become. There are all the people we want to meet, and those we do not expect to, both with anecdotes that encourage us to live life to the fullest.

I have discovered the definition of enlarging my conversation as it applies to my personal variables in life. I have explored the behavioral blend of my personality that describes me fairly well; I recognize the barriers impeding my progress and what I need to do to overcome them;

I have learned what noise pollution is and what to do to remove or reduce it; I have explained my course of action that invites others to render input; and I have also laid out a map to follow to help keep me on this path of change. With these areas of my conversation being covered so well, I believe there will be no way to stop my conversation from enlarging. In fact, I will admit to looking forward to not only enlarging it, but also to record how it gets done.

Enlarging my conversation places me on a new plateau from which I can launch into the unknown; the mysterious; the vastness of person-hood that has yet to be explored. From the launching pad of fervor, intellect, idealism, and curiosity I will rocket into new ideas, personality traits, and positions in life other wise unattainable. I welcome the journey.

References

Extreme Personality Makeover. (n.d.) How to develop a winning Christ-like personality to improve your effectiveness. Retrieved January 25, 2007 from, http://www.uniquelyyou.com/newsite/pdf/Cat0306/pg8.pdf.

Carbonell, M. (2005) Extreme Personality makeover. Blue Ridge. Uniquely You Resources.

Salem, Richard. (July 2003). Empathic Listening. Retrieved January 25, 2007, from http://www.psywww.com/psyrelig/psyrelpr.htm

Allen, Madelene Burley. (1995). Listening, the Forgotten Skill:: A Self-Teaching Guide. 2nd edition. New York, NY: John Wiley & Sons, 1995.

Cloud, H. (2004). Nine things you simply must do to succeed in love and life: A psychologist probes the mystery of why some lives really work and others don’t.

Nashville, TN:Integrity Publishers.

Holy Bible. (1611). II Timothy 4:7,8. Cambridge University Press. London, England.

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