The Curse of the “I” Personality

An interesting exercise

I just came back from one of MAS executive council meetings during which there was an interesting personality profile exercise for the EC members. It was an interesting experience to read into each others personality and learn how to work better. It also had some humorous component making fun of each others profile and using the profile tool’s language while in the informal discussions. It was a great learning experience for me.

A very personal point I want to focus on

There was this usual discussion whether these personalities are in the genes or because of the environment and whether or not you can change personalities,or whether this whole thing is bogus and you can just fake it, trick it,  blah, blah, blah. As nice as the discussion was, the most interesting part was the statement about the ability–and actually the obligation–to live virtuously and God-consciously within any personality of yours. That was the most interesting discussion to me. I am old enough not to aspire a lot to change my personality traits–why would I want to do that anyway? :-). Rather, I would like to use these traits for the benefit of pleasing Allah and benefiting people around me.

What is the “I” personality?

According to this tool, people have one or two (or three) personality traits–please forgive my sloppiness, I am not an expert. According to the tool, D I S C are the four major traits (or personalities) that people have.

  • High D is the determined self, the dominant, the one who wants to win, achieve, accomplish–despite anything.
  • High I is the social, optimistic, excited, exciting, fast paced, persuasive, assertive, mobile personality
  • High S is the patient, empathetic, calm and soft personality
  • High C is the detailed, accurate, analytical, complying personality

It is obvious that each personality has its own strength and its own challenges. It is also obvious that people can hold multiple of these that interact and create yet another set of strengths and challenges. When you think about it from a strength perspective, every personality brings something to the table and is beneficial to oneself and to people around if well understood, utilized, and given the right role to play.

Living with a high “I” personality

Analyzed the high “I” personality, I got a little scared. What motivates the “I” personality is very dangerous. What the “I” person is looking for is a slippery slope. Maybe from a materialistic perspective the I personality can be very successful. However, from the personal, and spiritual perspective, it is a little alarming. Looking at the written material about this personality you find out that some of what motivates it are:

  • Popularity
  • Strong social relationship
  • Publicized success

Very scary, huh? – The Curse

The “I” personality is very good, actually very useful. It is a pleasant personality to be around, live with, and work with. It is a huge motivation to others. It is a positive force within any family, team, or community. It is very easy to please and gain the love of and you can get very familiar with it very quickly. This is the coach that makes everyone in the team feels he is the best player in the team and that the coach depends solely on him. She is the sister with the largest number of people on the table when the community gathers. This is the person whose twitter followers love to read his tweets and follow his facebook status, and he loves that so much. This personality can be a huge source of success to any work. This personality can help people without even knowing.

On the other side, this personality needs to be careful. People are important but not the most important thing. Popularity is useful but dangerous if it becomes a goal. Relationships should be built with the right intention. Even apologizing for mistakes should be made with the right intention (not just to remove the mistake label). Public deeds are essential but hidden ones are more genuine and sincere. The pitfalls and the traps are as dangerous as “self deceit,” and “arrogance.”

One needs a lot of Iman and a huge pure intention to behalve normally and safely with such a personality.  One needs to remind and be reminded all the time. This personality is a huge test: you leverage the strength, you make a lot of reward, you heed not, you perish!

How about other personalities?

I am sure other personalities have their own pitfalls. I just felt this one is really really scary. Why? Well, for obvious reasons!

May Allah give us the strength to live a sincere life for him and accept from us whatever we do. May he help us pass the tremendous tests he puts us through and reward us for it tremendously; He is the only one who can support and the only one we rely on!

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One thought on “The Curse of the “I” Personality

  1. Br. Wael…
    I must complement you on your conclusions regarding the serious implications of the “I” personality. I suffer from it as well, and have the same concerns that you have. The only advise I can give you, is to always check your “Neyyah” or intention and continue to move… onward and upward. This move part is what I get from my other personality trait, which is the “D”. For the other types, the “S” and “C” types, please forgive us, we have work to do… I am out of here…

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