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self reflection!.. you’re heading for self reflection!

In case you didn’t know, I’m currently enrolled on an MA in Creative Media Practice. In fact, you probably definitely don’t know because, despite having set up a sub category on this blog for it, I’ve not actually talked about it. That’s bad of me. I intended to consistently write about the things I was doing and whatnot, so I could keep some sort of track of the areas I was covering. Mostly for my own benefit (I have an appalling memory) but partly for the reason that I think it’s almost a requirement of the course to be doing something on a blog of some sort. Or maybe it isn’t. I forget. Regardless, I’ve been slack and now, after completing a whopping 10,000 word assignment for the first unit (more on that later), we’re into the second part of the course – ‘Professional Development’.

me me me

Currently in discussion is the nature of/value of self reflection; which got me thinking about the fact that I’ve neglected this blog and thus, you’re now reading a post. Clever that. I’ve always considered my blog as a form of self-reflection, being that it’s a blog about me and my interests. I don’t have any misconceptions about how many other people are interested in reading it (and yet I still write as if I have an audience.. must maintain blog protocol, otherwise it’d be a diary, and that’d be too emo livejournal esque), but I do like writing it and I repeatedly mean to pay more attention to this part of my site/life. I’m just lazy busy tired shy good at finding excuses.

But annyyyway.. I just wanted to write up a short recap of sorts, regarding the whole self reflection issue. The discussion has been going on for a couple of weeks now so there’s little chance of me covering everything (I should’ve been making smaller incremental posts like some other more sagacious people managed) but in a nutshell, I think that self reflection is a good activity. Or at least, it can be.

We started off by doing various online test things like “What sex and the city character are you?” and “What level of hell do you belong on?” (I’m Charlotte York, on the 6th Level Of Hell apparently), and while those type of tests can be fun, they’re really just useless time wasters.

Or are they?

divine-comedyI originally wrote them off as superficial hard coded if statements that don’t tell you anything other than you ticked a certain series of boxes. Drawing comparisons with a fictional tv character based on whether you like the colour pink or not is hardly grounds for serious self reflection but then, not all of the questions are as mundane as that. For instance, in the Dante test, one of the questions is “Could you picture yourself assassinating someone or ordering an assassination on someone if it meant that you would become very rich and powerful?“; on its surface, it’s just a casual question about your predilection for murder but if you treat it as a more general question of your desire to become rich and powerful, you could begin to ask yourself what you would really do to achieve those things and then start to look at what you’re doing that isn’t getting you there and how you could start to alter those things etc etc etc.. It could eventually lead to you making changes in your career that result in that cushy desk in the corner by the window with the company car and mucho cash money. Or this. Either way, it relies on you thinking more about the questions that those ‘fun quizzes’ ask you. But no-one does that. They’re just distractions that create fodder for those irritating ‘all staff’ emails or facebook boxes.

getting serious

What are perhaps more useful (as far as yes/no true/false type tests go) are things like Myers-Briggs Type Indicator (a version of can be found here) which in some realms is used as an actual method of ‘serious’ assessment. The questions are more formal and the results attempt to give some semblance of formality; I took it a while ago and came out as an INTJ.

INTJs are strong individualists who seek new angles or novel ways of looking at things. They enjoy coming to new understandings. They tend to be insightful and mentally quick; however, this mental quickness may not always be outwardly apparent to others since they keep a great deal to themselves. They are very determined people who trust their vision of the possibilities, regardless of what others think. They may even be considered the most independent of all of the sixteen personality types. INTJs are at their best in quietly and firmly developing their ideas, theories, and principles.

As you can see, it’s more in depth than “you are batman!” and it goes some way to explaining why I don’t write very much on this blog. I work best quietly. Like Leon. That’s how I roll. In fact, I remember when I first read those results, I thought ‘yeah, that’s definitely me’ but in retrospect, I could just be falling for the Forer Effect. That’s when you interpret something as being specific to you, when in fact it could be about anyone – it’s all in how you read it. It’s also a possible example of the idea that these self evaluations are just narcissistic and flattering in that I could happily welcome the above description because it calls me mentally quick and determined. So even if it’s not 100% accurate, I’m willing to take it as gospel because I like how it portrays me.

so basically..

darth-kubrickUltimately I still think that all of these types of test are pretty much void of real use but can potentially offer some decent insights. However, to try to gain something from them, you need to be completely honest with your answers. If it’s a true self evaluation (be it using online tests or even just a thoughtful 15 minutes or so) honesty is definitely the best policy because you’re only lying to yourself and that’ll get you nowhere. If you’re the type of person that is desperate to come out of a test as Darth Vader and not poxy Jar Jar Binks then being honest isn’t necessarily as easy as it sounds.. It’s even harder in the case of appraisals with managers (where you sit down with a boss and discuss your work, evaluating pros and cons from the past year and whatnot) because if you’re 100% honest there, you might find that your boss isn’t massively impressed with the fact that last week you managed to sort your iTunes library and make sure that all the album art work for every song was there. It takes a bit of discretion to come out of the appraisal in a good light (and keep your job for another year). But if it’s just you that you’re talking to, or if you don’t care what other people think, honest self reflection is good and should be beneficial to future endeavors. :)

Education begins the gentleman, but reading, good company and reflection must finish him.

– John Locke (not from Lost)

And that’s that. Now that I’ve managed to get the ball rolling, I’m hoping these posts will be more frequent. It should be easier to post small chunks of stuff than doing a thousand words in one big bulk like this so fingers crossed..

p.s. (re: the post title.. almost.. )

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