I knew nothing whatsoever about the Chinese Zodiac until I started making greeting cards for the Chinese New Year.
As a ‘goat’, according to the Chinese zodiac, I was surprised to discover that quite a lot of the characteristics actually describe me quite accurately – and yes, I am even prepared to admit a bit of to pouting when I don’t get my way!
I’m a Gemini according to the ‘modern’ zodiac and it seems a bit strange that I’m not a Capricorn, as that is the Sign of the Goat. However, if you compare the descriptions of the ‘goat people’ in the two zodiacs, they are not very similar.
So is there any truth behind these categorisations?
I’ve always been rather sceptical, though sometimes the descriptions do seem to fit people with uncanny accuracy! I actually pay much more attention to the personality profiles that come from taking the Myers Briggs personality type test.
As well as appearing to be very accurate – though, as with the zodiac descriptions, that could be pure chance – I am persuaded of their validity by the fact that they are based on input from the person taking the test, rather than on external factors such as the position of the planets or the date of birth.
I find it useful to know the Personality Type of my friends and family. It helps me to understand when they seem to be behaving in ways that to me seem odd – for instance, a ‘J’ might find it really irritating that a ‘P’ doesn’t keep to a pre-arranged plan, whereas a ‘P’ might feel that a ‘J’ is making a fuss about it, preferring to ‘play things by ear’, rather than being ‘hemmed in’ by a plan.
The biggest and probably most important difference is that between an Extravert and an Introvert.
Author, Susan Cain, has carried out very thorough research into this difference and how Western society’s emphasis on Extraversion overlooks the benefits of Introversion and the valuable contribution that Introverts can make - if they get the chance in a world seemingly full of Extraverts!
She explains all this very well in her TED talk and in even more detail in her book, ‘Quiet - The Power of Introverts in a World That Can't Stop Talking’, including the link to creativity.
I’m finding the book fascinating! My only quibble is that, in the book and also in her talk, she seems to conflate introversion and shyness, aren’t really the same thing, as she herself points out, although they may overlap. For instance, I am a ‘sociable introvert’ but I have a friend who is a ‘shy extravert’.
If you have 20 mins to spare, do watch this video – there’s stuff to learn, laced with humour, whether you are an Introvert or and Extravert and what she says about the link between Introversion and Creativity surprised me!
In fact I am an INFJ and quite a large proportion of my friends and one of my daughters are INFJs too, even though there are apparently not all that many of us around!
I’d love to connect with other INFJs – if that doesn’t seem like a contradiction in terms!
And just for fun, take a look at this Pinterest board!