There’s a book called Growing kids with Character that explores the four main personality types as prescribed by the DISC profile. This book has become a lifeline for many anxious parents in South Africa on how to raise the mongrels some of them gave birth too. What’s interesting about the theory is that it relates each personality type to a different kind of tree. The reason for this is unclear, but most probably so fathers can understand it as well. (By the way, remove that thrown from your face, you’ll get wrinkles.) I’m just telling it like it is.
The DISC-profile identifies four main types of personalities, and seeing that this is not a psychology blog, I’m not gonna bore you with theory, you can do that all on your own, over at www.discinsights.com. General consensus lets us believe that most people are a combination of these main types, which are Dominance, Influential, Steady and Conscientious. General consensus states that you’re never just one or the other. General consensus doesn’t know what he’s talking about. Enter me. Waaaa-waaaa.
I’m an Influential type. An I. And that’s about it. I is Me. Here’s how I know this:
The I Personality Style is not afraid to be the centre of attention. They are enthusiastic, optimistic, talkative, persuasive, impulsive and emotional. This Personality Type will trust others naturally, truly enjoys being around others, and functions best when around people and working in teams.
There you have it, my whole personality summarised in two, somewhat sloppy, sentences. And if you want to dissect the rest of my brain, just hop over to the linked page and we can become great friends. Or not.
Getting back to the theory of trees, for I’m environmentally conscious. The trees used as analogies for the four personality types are:
a Rose-bush for Dominance, cause Rose bushes are all thorns and condescending and shit,
a Pine tree for Steady, cause their roots extend all the way to Middle Earth,
a Lemon tree for Conscientious, cause I have know idea why,
If we consider a palm tree to be all wavy and party and beachy and fun and centre-of-attention-like, then I suppose there is some resemblance. Can you see it?
Princess christened me as the King palm, which only enforce the notion that I’m nothing more than an enthusiastic, optimistic, talkative, persuasive, impulsive and emotional person. One who fears rejection more than death. Someone who cannot function properly without people around him.
But here’s where it gets interesting…
Weekends we braai. It’s not a question of “if”, it’s a question of “when”. It’s those special moments that gives me an excuse to indulge in my love of red. Meat and wine, that is. Our house has resembled an airport the last couple of weeks, if only for hectic schedules, and not so much boeings landing in our drive way. We were in desperate need for a time-out, a quiet, relaxing weekend, our own voluntary isolation, becoming hermits scattering away from human contact.
As Saturday leisurely migrated from dawn to dusk, Princess and Son became aware that no-one was joining us for our weekend braai. They were speculating, hovering around us like hungry hyenas. Eventually they couldn’t take it anymore, and Son was assigned as spokesperson.
“Dad, who’s joining us this afternoon?” There was a tangible expectation in his voice.
“No-one,” I replied solemnly. Son looked like I gave him a birthday present, that contained nothing but an empty box. He was positively distraught.
“Why do you look so shocked Son?” I tried. Princess jumped in.
“Dad, you’re a King palm. You need people around you. Your leaves will wither without interaction with people. You have to invite someone.”
“Well, I have Mom and you two. Last time I checked, you’re considered people too. I’ll be fine, I promise.”
“But Dad, you need a lot of people. You need to be able to wave your branches in the wind and invite birds to come and nest. You must grow and enjoy the sun and…”
I interrupted her, for that’s what Father’s do when their kids get carried away.
“Do you guys want someone to join us?”
“Yes Dad.” They said in unison.
Son continued: “That would be awesome. And it’s really going to be weird if no-one comes. There’s always someone here. Phone Grandpa.”
Another thing about I-type people is that they are instinctive communicators who are able to both influence and inspire others. They are spontaneous and agreeable. Which made me realise in that moment that we have a problem.
Our house already has a King Palm, who requires heaps of love and attention. But now there’s two new Palm trees growing at the speed of something really fast, potentially dethroning the big one. And the King palm has some appreciation of how wonderful and animated the chaos and disorder will be, living in a house full of Palm trees.
I almost feel sorry for our darling Mother Pine tree. I did say almost. Now let’s party!