Daily Archives: January 22, 2014

mental hum

I was asked to complete a fairly extensive online survey / assessment the other day in preparation for a training seminar on leadership roles. I’m not able to attend the seminar, but they still wanted my assessment completed, and I’ll be involved in follow up meetings related to this subject. I received the results of the survey, and the five most prominent areas that stood out for me were described in greater detail. I found them really fascinating to read – sort of like spying on myself, or paying someone else to spy on me and then do a write up on what they found.

It feels sort of indulgent to talk about this here, but I’m asking you to indulge me a little. It’s cold and gray this week, good enough reasons to bundle up and look inward. Part of my January goals that fall under this month’s theme (this blog) really relate to many of the things that I read in this assessment. 

The first category was Intellection, and this is what it said:

You like to think. You like mental activity. You like exercising the “muscles” of your brain, stretching them in multiple directions. This need for mental activity may be focused; for example, you may be trying to solve a problem or develop an idea or understand another person’s feeling. The exact focus will depend on your other strengths. On the other hand, this mental activity may very well lack focus. The theme of Intellection does not dictate what you are thinking about; it simply describes that you like to think. You are the kind of person who enjoys your time alone because it is your time for musing and reflection. You are introspective. In a sense you are your own best companion, as you pose yourself questions and try out answers on yourself to see how they sound. This introspection may lead you to a slight sense of discontent as you compare what you are actually doing with all the thoughts and ideas that your mind conceives. Or this introspection may tend toward more pragmatic matters such as the events of the day or a conversation that you plan to have later. Wherever it leads you, this mental hum is one of the constants of your life.

Mental Hum sort of nails it. 

…as you pose yourself questions and try out answers on yourself to see how they sound.

I don’t believe I could have written a more accurate sentence about myself if I had tried. I have very distinct memories of my childhood – all the conversations that I had with myself, almost constantly. It’s a habit that has never relented – now I channel a small portion of it into my writing here, but for the most part it still floats along in my brain space.

This introspection may lead you to a slight sense of discontent as you compare what you are actually doing with all the thoughts and ideas that your mind conceives.

I battle that slight sense of discontent all.the.time. It’s a daily exercise of being patient with myself, being practical about my resources and my time. I simply cannot keep up with myself, but when I assign some type of focus I tend to feel more at peace with what I can (and cannot) accomplish.

Or this introspection may tend toward more pragmatic matters such as the events of the day or a conversation that you plan to have later.

Part of the reason why I write this blog is for this very reason – that conversation that I plan [really, need] to have later. Having a place to offload some of these mental conversations is a beneficial exercise for me, and forcing those conversations into (mostly) reasonable sentences and lists and even images or occasional drawings is a further step in self-editing. An added benefit? I can fall asleep a little easier once I’ve downloaded a bit.

I can also read a little more into this description, and I see how it directly relates to my interactions with various social media outlets. Perhaps without being completely aware of the reasons, I’ve always felt very protective of the number of ways that I interact online. I believe I have this built-in conversation monitoring system that lets me know when I’m reaching my capacity. I simply cannot be part of every conversation, and I’m not hardwired to just dip my toes in the lot of them. I’d rather be part of a few deeper ones – which hopefully is less about me being exclusive and self-absorbed, and more a reflection on my continued search for balance, between the inner words and the outer ones.

I may share more of my own survey’s findings – it’s a fun assignment. If you are interested in participating in your own survey, here’s the link to the assessment. As I mentioned before, it was a required bit for me, and the cost of it was reimbursed. There are likely similar (free) surveys floating around online.

Other fun surveys I’ve done recently: The Washington Post Dialect Quiz which pinpointed me to this very city. (Which means I can write all I want about my southern roots, but just not sound like them.) And the Vocabulary Quiz that quickly put me in my place. Ouch.