Sunday, October 8, 2017

Owning Our Turbulence

Life can feel like a jumble of seemingly non-matching parts.

Whether for fun, validation or in a desperate hope for someone or something outside of ourselves to help us makes sense of it all, people take quizzes which will tell you something insightful about yourself. That’s what the authors claim, anyway.

According to 16Personalities, I’m a mediator- an INFP-T personality. “First and foremost is seemingly every Mediators’ dream growing up – to become an author.” Well, would you look at that.

The one piece of information that threw me was the T. It stands for Turbulent. The other option is Assertive. As 16Personalities describes, the term “turbulent” can have some negative connotations. I mean, who wants turbulence in their lives, right? It sounds unsettling, chaotic and potentially dangerous. It sounds like a label that others would shy away from, like Hester Prynne’s scarlet A.

The 16Personalities article points out some important benefits to being turbulent:

Mental flexibility

An assertive personality sees situations in clear terms and push forward aggressively, but if the window they are looking through is flawed, they may have a hard time replacing the glass. A turbulent personality will see other options and will be open to ideas from others.

Always growing

Assertive personalities can be extremely bright but they can stay within their comfort zone. Turbulent personalities are always seeking to expand their understanding of self, others and the world. Thinking “Things may be nice now, but they could be better if…” leads to research, testing and innovation that can benefit many.

Determined to succeed

Assertive personalities can be so confident in themselves, they become complacent. Turbulent personalities seek gains constantly. Because their minds are always absorbing and they can piece together significant information, turbulent personalities are driven to improve life for themselves and others. Their hopes drive them to make dreams become reality.


There are some downsides to having a turbulent personality. Turbulent personalities run all-out and also having a natural tendency to never be satisfied with their work. This can leave them susceptible to burn-out. They also can become extremely frustrated with their worlds if they cannot affect positive change. Without a steadying hand, this can lead to feelings of hopelessness and even depression.

I read all this and could relate to most of it. I can own it in peace. In addition, reading about the specifics of aggressive personalities, I became more aware of how the world could look to others. I was reminded of the power of vagaries in perception. I’ve always wished I had a more cut-and-dry outlook on life. I wrote about it in my essay The Captains of Our Ships. Now I can see that it’s not in my makeup to be that way- and that what I do have is good. Mine is but one way and cannot be looked at shamefully.

Of course, since I’m Turbulent, I’m driven to point out something that I (that we) can work on moving forward.

Assertive personalities need to absorb a bit of Turbulence. Try relaxing the reins a bit and explore. Turbulents- you need to pick up some Assertiveness. Work hard, but know neither it or you is ever going to be perfect.

For both: live your truth but learn from others.

And there it is again. We become bigger people, stronger people and better people by working together.

A reminder: My book, Dear Teachers, is a great gift for yourself or a teacher you cherish. Encouraging essays, beautiful photos and space to write your own reflections- all for $15.99 on and £12.34 on!

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