Do you tend to begin a project with enthusiasm then fizzle out somewhere in the middle? Do you have more unfinished books then completed ones? Does your excitement about a project wane after a few days, weeks or months?
Maybe you are the one who procrastinates, driving others crazy with excuses as to why you haven't started. Does that procrastination turn into a last minute frenzy to get the project done a week before the deadline? Do you tie up all your lose ends, finish the project and take some time off before tackling the next one?
I am a starter. Hubbles is a finisher. I think I amuse him with all the things I excitedly begin and never finish. He drives me crazy with his procrastination. Several years ago, we had an opportunity to relocate. His company promised the same job with the same pay in an area with a lower cost of living. The thought of buying a house with cash (and most definitely a pool!) in a warmer climate appealed to me. I kept asking him if he'd talked to his boss yet, and he always had a reason why he hadn't. Eventually, the opportunity closed and I was just a tad resentful, but forgot about it. A few years later, he told me that a good number of the people who relocated had lost their jobs. That was when I realized that his procrastination wasn't such a bad thing, and my impulsiveness wasn't such a great thing.
Luckily, we balance each other. Yes, I have to "remind" him at times, but once he begins the project, he patiently sees it to its completion. Always.
Me...not so much. I love trying new things and I get bored of the old. I've moved so many times, that my mother once told me I'm "shanty Irish." (which is like Irish white trash I suppose). Instead of cleaning my house, I just moved into another, cleaner one. She was kidding, of course (I think).
I make spontaneous decisions and excited commitments that turn out to be tedious and time-consuming, then I feel resentful. As I age, I'm learning...it's a slow process to be someone you're not wired to be.
Which brings me back to the first question:
Are you a starter or a finisher?
Everyone has certain aspects of their personalities that they don't like and wish they could change. Sometimes we can, but often, we discover that we're just hard-wired that way.
In her book, Wired That Way, Marita Littauer explains the four basic personalities:
- Powerful Choleric
- Popular Sanguine
- Peaceful Phlegmatic and
- Perfect Melancholy
An introverted Phlegmatic's basic desire is to have peace, and that person controls others (and situations) by procrastinating.
A Sanguine's extroverted personality just wants to have fun and controls by charm (Since I didn't go into the other two, can you guess which two Hubbles and I are?)
I find personality profiles to be fascinating. When you take these tests (and answer honestly, not with the answer of the traits you'd like to have!), it is truly amazing and eye-opening how right on they are.
If we have been hard-wired with certain traits, then why do we berate ourselves when we fall short of our own expectations--expectations that we often truly can't meet?
Because we see in others what we wish we had in ourselves. And try as we might, we just can't be that way. I can't relax in a recliner for hours watching Youtube videos and old movies like my spouse can. I find that to be a waste of time.There are too many other fun things to do.
Conversely, he watches me and tells me that I don't know how to relax. He's right. For a Sanguine, there is no relaxing. Not if there's a party going on, and if there is, I need to know why I wasn't invited. If there's not, I'll make one.
Dear reader, don't you know that God knew what He was doing when he fashioned us? If he made us all to be Phlegmatics, nothing would get done. If we were all Cholerics (their basic desire is control and uses threats of anger to control others), no one would ever stop working. And if the world was made up of moody Melancholies, no one would be allowed to make a mistake, because their driving force is perfection.
None of these traits are bad or wrong. They're all part of our internal design--God's design.
So go ahead and celebrate the fact that you procrastinate. Recognize it and determine to control it, not letting it control you. if you're a finisher, congratulate yourself for a job well done.
And if you're a starter, go ahead and have a little fun. Enjoy yourself. But don't forget to set goals and be accountable if you need to finish something. Instead of berating yourself for "never finishing anything," (what I tend to say), look at all the things you actually did finish, and congratulate yourself for a job well done.
If you're interested in learning more about personality profiles, I highly recommend Wired That Way, by Marita Littauer, or any books by Florence Littauer (Marita's mother), the guru of personality profiles.
You just may discover that you're worth celebrating.
Blessings Along the Path,
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