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    Default Identifying your faults

    So I've been doing a lot of thinking lately. Every day I pray and ask for help to be a better man (please let's not make this a religious thread as it's against the forum rules) and when faced with a tough situation I often ask myself, "What would a saintly person do?"

    Over the past several years I've come quite a ways. I do a lot fewer d-baggy things, including not being a d-baggy driver. In fact, I got to thinking a bit recently that I'm actually not a bad dude.

    But then I realized that's terrible thinking. This is where self-improvement stops.

    One of my biggest faults, I think, is having too high of standards. I have incredibly high standards as a husband, a father, a teacher, and as a... self-reflecting person. I expect too much from my wife, my son, my students and myself. I've been decent about not being a d-bag when people don't meet my standards, but still.

    A second glaring fault is my strict adherence to the rules. I'm big on justice, not mercy. This probably affects my students the most, in the form of not giving make-up quizzes and dropping them when they reach the exact number of absences (I do give them a warning though).

    tl;dr
    Have any faults you want to share?
    Any advice?

    Ninja edit: As for advice to give, here's something that works for me. I constantly remind myself, "The price of freedom is eternal vigilance."
    Last edited by danzibr; 2012-11-02 at 12:51 PM.
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    Default Re: Identifying your faults

    If it helps any, I tend to try take a thinking walk usually every day, to similar effect. What would a Better man do? How can I be a better man. How should I have handled situations that happened. There's even a online Magazine called the Art of Manliness that sometimes writes well on this sort of thing.

    I suppose the Fault that arises most recently to mind is my liability to start setting my heart on a relationship as soon as I meet a girl who I fancy, and being rather picky with the girls I fancy.

    It does lead me to feel rather stupid when they shoot me down, particularly as I don't seem to be a very good judge of women or their intentions. Or maybe it's just I'm not as picky as I think, and it's just the girls who like me back provoke my romantic interest.

    When it comes to Advice for that, The Consolations of Philosophy by Alain de Botton has a great layman's introduction to lots of philosophers, and I've found his summary of Schopenhauer on Lovelessness more philosophical consolation that the original writings.

    I used to say my temper would be a big flaw of mine, but I'm a lot better now, perhaps because I've managed to discipline myself into only really getting angry in situations where Action is appropriate and if I do get angry at other times, I go for a walk, a run or to the Archery Butt and use it constructively.

    Some say it's a major flaw of mine to tend to ramble/lecture on various subjects, others tend to find it useful.
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    Default Re: Identifying your faults

    Quote Originally Posted by danzibr View Post
    One of my biggest faults, I think, is having too high of standards.
    It's impossible to have standards that are too high. They're supposed to be higher than you are capable of meeting, or they can't help you.

    So how do you survive with standards that are higher than you can reach? Humility. Stop believing that you will reach them. They are inspiration, not the finish line.

    "Ideals are like stars: you will not succeed in touching them with your hands, but like the seafaring man on the ocean desert of waters, you choose them as your guides, and following them, you reach your destiny."
    Carl Schurz

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    Default Re: Identifying your faults

    Quote Originally Posted by Jay R View Post
    It's impossible to have standards that are too high. They're supposed to be higher than you are capable of meeting, or they can't help you.

    So how do you survive with standards that are higher than you can reach? Humility. Stop believing that you will reach them. They are inspiration, not the finish line.

    "Ideals are like stars: you will not succeed in touching them with your hands, but like the seafaring man on the ocean desert of waters, you choose them as your guides, and following them, you reach your destiny."
    Carl Schurz

    There's an important distinction between high personal standards, and subjecting other people to your high standards when they have in no way accepted them. Holding yourself to a high standard can be great - or it can just make you despise yourself - but you can't subject other people to your standards if they haven't agreed to them.

    To my mind the biggest challenge to being a better person is learning to exercise compassion. We don't live in a society that encourages it particularly well, and so far as I can tell it's pretty much key to treating other people well. Not just not badly mind, but actually well.
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    Default Re: Identifying your faults

    My greatest fault, is that deep down inside I'm an A**hole. For a long time i tried to change my nature, and perhaps to a degree it worked. But I came to the realization that this world is filled with A**holes. Being one just helps me deal with them. So Ive since then changed my goals. I no longer try to resist being an A**hole, I just try to be one only to other A**holes. It's working pretty well for me.

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    Default Re: Identifying your faults

    I'm lazy, that's pretty much either it, or the source of it. I can do something amazingly, and I learn really fast (mostly by going over every excruciating detail in my head 50 times over after I do something and comparing it to how other people who are good at it do it), which makes it look like I've picked up a skill in 2-4 tries when other people take a few dozen to learn. But I won't do something at all unless I'm motivated (read: it's interesting, money/"because I have to" is not a good motivator for me). I've been getting better at not procrastinating, but the lazyness itself is still bad.

    And the fact that I do learn really fast makes it even worse - I'll stop at "just good enough," at the point where you need just practice to improve (and can't do so anymore through pure analysis) which is maybe an SD better than average. I've never mastered anything to the point of, well, mastery.
    Quote Originally Posted by warty goblin View Post
    There's an important distinction between high personal standards, and subjecting other people to your high standards when they have in no way accepted them. Holding yourself to a high standard can be great - or it can just make you despise yourself - but you can't subject other people to your standards if they haven't agreed to them.
    Completely agreed.
    To my mind the biggest challenge to being a better person is learning to exercise compassion. We don't live in a society that encourages it particularly well, and so far as I can tell it's pretty much key to treating other people well. Not just not badly mind, but actually well.
    Actually, I think our society is pretty good at compassion and is steadily getting better. Sure, we're not as good at it as, say, very family-oriented collectivist Latino/Filipino cultures, but still decidedly above average in "turn the other cheek and be the better man."
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    Default Re: Identifying your faults

    Quote Originally Posted by Jay R View Post
    It's impossible to have standards that are too high.
    I don't know about that. I'm the same way and for me it was damning. It can be good, yes, or at least in my experience when you expect a lot out of people they will almost always rise to the occasion. Thing is, you've got to make the "rewards" for achieving your expectations meaningful, or they'll just stop trying. Negative reinforcement is never as powerful as positive, and in fact punishment for not achieving very high expectations can suck the drive to excel right out of otherwise highly motivated people. Holding others to high standards requires you to be a lot more thoughtful about your standards and acceptable degrees of failure than most people are, and it can end up alienating a lot of people you really love, particularly the people you love most since you will always judge them by a higher standard. I can see now why it's difficult to live with somebody who never seems satisfied, but that insight certainly wasn't gained by such a cavalier attitude toward unreasonable expectations.

    So how do you survive with standards that are higher than you can reach?
    Vodka! And a really--
    Humility.
    Oh. Well then. You're no fun

    Stop believing that you will reach them. They are inspiration, not the finish line
    See, to me and for my purposes, that's a sign of a poorly thought out goal. Expectations (for yourself) should be higher than what you can achieve at your current capability, but not higher than what's possible. That just seems silly to me. A well crafted goal should be something you can achieve after improvement so that you can set a new goal with a better understanding of how you grow. You have to reward yourself occasionally or the people around you will start thinking you're losing it you might lose your motivation to continue improving, at least if you're like most people. The pursuit of excellence is healthy, but trying to be perfect is neurotic.

    Setting up a Skinner box-esque reward schedule for yourself, even when you know how it works and what's going on, can be incredibly effective for self-improvement--if the method keeps people playing World of Warcraft for 30 hours at a time it certainly has its merits when it comes to developing compulsion--because where people fail to improve isn't ignorance of what's wrong, but usually it's failure to implement what they've learned. Doing is just as important as learning, after all. Heck, maybe more important because you'll never get angry with yourself for not fixing a problem if you don't know how to fix it whereas if you know how to fix it there's no excuse to make for yourself. After a while you won't even need the reward schedule because you'll have trained yourself to reflexively stay on course. Even something simple like "I can have a bowl of ice cream if I can go three days without eating something unhealthy" and increase it by one day every four or five times you succeed, or add new requirements like "I have to have two servings of fruit or vegetables every day and not eat anything gross and unhealthy" can work wonders for developing self control in eating habits and training yourself to avoid bad things (BUT you should always talk to somebody who knows what they're talking about before you determine that something is unhealthy!). Of course, you have to have a modicum of self control for it to work in the first place since it doesn't work if you're just going to eat ice cream anyway after all, but as a rule using some minor vice as a reward for not doing something wrong works really well as long as you don't indulge too often.
    Last edited by Saskia; 2012-11-03 at 05:11 PM.

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    Default Re: Identifying your faults

    You are asking the question, That is a good start.

    It is easy to know how you should be, and what you should and should not be doing. Granted everyone will have a different view on what you should be, but that is a small matter

    The hard part is to be that way, for more then a few seconds at a time. What I have found useful to me is, When ever I need to make a decision I wait ether an extra 20 secs for minor stuff, To an extra day for significant stuff ( I use this one when shopping) To a week for major life decisions. It is far from a perfect solution, But it lets me reflect on what I am about to do.

    But you have an idea of what you want to be already, So the easy part is done...although most people do not even make it to the easy part. So you are doing quite well.
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    Default Re: Identifying your faults

    I stay awesome to impress my fiancee. She does the same thing for me, so I guess its working. My greatest flaw is arrogance from being too awesome. Other people don't understand how to be as awesome as me, so I get frustrated when they aren't awesome. It's okay though, because I'm awesome.

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    Default Re: Identifying your faults

    I too think I have too high of expectations for I usually feel like I am falling short of everything and fail. And sometimes I can make people feel this way. I can be loyal and honest to fault being overly blunt in many ways. I can be over zealous in defending my beliefs. I procrastinate. And finally I like to think I am a patient person, but I have no patience for what I perceive as stupidity.

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    Default Re: Identifying your faults

    Quote Originally Posted by Anxe View Post
    I stay awesome to impress my fiancee. She does the same thing for me, so I guess its working. My greatest flaw is arrogance from being too awesome. Other people don't understand how to be as awesome as me, so I get frustrated when they aren't awesome. It's okay though, because I'm awesome.
    I like the cut of your jib.

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    Default Re: Identifying your faults

    I'm pretty good at identifying faults. I did geography while I was at school.

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    Default Re: Identifying your faults

    Quote Originally Posted by danzibr View Post

    Over the past several years I've come quite a ways. I do a lot fewer d-baggy things, including not being a d-baggy driver. In fact, I got to thinking a bit recently that I'm actually not a bad dude.

    But then I realized that's terrible thinking. This is where self-improvement stops.
    You need to relax and stop thinking so much. Wise men know that thought is the enemy of action. Do not let thoughts of doing good affect the action of doing good. You have become truly good when good flows through your actions without thought.

    Be like the turtle. The turtle does not think, "Am I not turtely enough?" No. He simply is turtely enough because he is a turtle. The truly good man is not unlike the turtle: he is good because he is a good man, it is his nature and the thought of "am I good?" detracts from that nature.

    How to become the good man is a harder question which requires a level of eloquence in explanation that I cannot manage. I would highly recommend consulting Søren Kierkegaard, or continuing down a path of endless self-doubt, whatever works for you.
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    Default Re: Identifying your faults

    Quote Originally Posted by danzibr View Post
    One of my biggest faults, I think, is having too high of standards.
    Unrealistic expectations are premeditated resentments. If your expectations of others are too high, you are just setting yourself up to resent them for failing.

    Quote Originally Posted by danzibr View Post
    a second glaring fault is my strict adherence to the rules. I'm big on justice, not mercy.
    Try to keep the end goal in mind.

    With your students, your job... your goal… your purpose is to educate them. At the end of the course, they should walk out being knowledgeable on the subject you were teaching. If strictly adhering to the rules helps the students reach that goal, then keep it up. If cutting someone a bit of slack helps them reach that goal, then it is time for you to ease up on the rules.


    As for me... my main fault is avoidance of conflict. I hate conflict and always avoid it, when at times I should be a bit more bold and confront the problem.

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    Default Re: Identifying your faults

    I have many faults, certainly. Whenever I notice them as faults, I try to fix them, think through them, and work them out. I figure that's about the best I can do. Sometimes it works better than at other times.

    Long discourse on my various faults, spoilered because this is likely not of interest to most (and it became lengthy):

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    My greatest fault is almost certainly my temper. I have got past the point of hitting people or smashing things by now; I still need to work on not punching walls, not insulting people, and somehow controlling the feeling of "I need to wound something, now, before I flip out completely".

    I'm also somewhat selfish and low on empathy. The two are tied together, I think; I don't intend to think only of my self, and for some people who I know very well and care about (family, a few friends) I manage to take them into consideration fairly often. Most people, however, don't register as concerns to me. I try to think of them, but my process is clumsy. I have no idea what other people want, so I assume they all want the same sorts of things I do.

    My phobia is another big problem. There are too many dogs around here for me to not work to try to get rid of that, but it's quite difficult to do. I know I should just grit my teeth and stand in front of a dog or something, but I keep fleeing from them instead.

    I also sometimes hold myself to unrealistic expectations. I get upset if I don't get a perfect grade on something, figuring that if I didn't, I must not have tried hard enough. I give up on things if I can't master them within a few weeks or months. I constantly look at my art and wonder why I can't do any better. I'm working on this, though; I keep pressing on, and I keep referring back to things I did earlier to convince myself that I improve. Consciously, I only expect myself to be the best that I can be, but unconsciously I seem to assume that means that I should be the best at anything I attempt.

    I don't consider my chaotic nature to be a fault, exactly, but it does sometimes get me in trouble. I can't bring myself to care about rules for the sake of it, but sometimes my various jobs require me to enforce rules I care nothing for. I try to make myself do it, but when it comes down to it, I often don't -- because I find the rule to be pointless, and therefore pointless to enforce. I also don't see the point of having any rules beyond common-sense ones, which shouldn't need to be stated anyhow. I make an effort to adhere to rules when I must, but it grates on me constantly, and I can't help but think that the problem lies not with me, but with those making the rules. There is likely a better way to deal with this.

    Being confrontational is another one, which is usually the only source of real problems with my family. The rest of my family hates conflict and avoids it, but I never feel satisfied with an argument until it has been won or concluded one way or another. Walking away from it and leaving it unresolved leaves me feeling angry, and so I tend to pursue them relentlessly until their end. May be tied in with the anger issue. I've been trying to diffuse them before they start to avoid this, but I'm not sure how to approach the core problem.

    Elitism is the last one, and somewhat hard to shake. Also somewhat hard to explain without sounding even more elitist! I quickly become impatient with people who can't do things that I consider relatively simple quickly enough, and even though I try not to, I often begin to disrespect them for it (unless they have what I consider to be a good excuse). I have made some progress on it over the years.

    Okay, not the last one, because that reminded me of impatience. I don't take long enough with things, and I become bored easily. If I can't finish a painting in a matter of hours, I begin to rush it so that I can; same goes for just about any other task. It then bothers me whenever people complement me on being quick at things, because I know that I ought to take my time so as to get better results, but I can't seem to make myself.

    Right then. If you read all that, I assure you that there are also good things about me. It's not all bad!


    As for advice, beyond noticing things and then attempting to fix them whenever they come up, I have little.

    What has helped me somewhat with my temper, although I know that it is only a stop-gap measure, is to get up and find something harmless to hit whenever I get to that point. Pillow, punching bag, what have you. If it's a less extreme and more restless feeling of anger, I stop what I'm doing and go outside (if possible) to ride my bike, take a walk, or some such. If that's not possible due to the weather, I find something else active to do.

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    Default Re: Identifying your faults

    Oh jeez. I don't want to go in depth with everyone, but lets see. I'm vain, rash, jealous, obsessive, lazy, judgmental, overly sarcastic, and (decreasingly) withdrawn (which is a good thing). I'm also have issues with my temper.

    My biggest flaw is that I have almost no self-esteem. I'm a pretty good actor though, so most people can't tell.
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    Default Re: Identifying your faults

    During my teens, I was quite arrogant. During my young adult life, I realized this and probably overcompensated for this. These days I am guilty of wearing humility as a shield. I still struggle with finding a balance on this issue.

    I once went through a personality test that had something like 40+ possible results, and was somewhat surprised to see myself in print The name was "context". Essentially, I'm bad to want to know all the stuff 'around' the decision and, without that information, I'm resistant to changes. I can definitely see this tendency happening in my writing and the way I study history.

    That last point lends itself to my tendency to get so caught up aiming I sometime forget to fire.
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    Default Re: Identifying your faults

    Whenever I've taken a personality test it always tells me something I already knew about myself, or else complete nonsense. The conclusion I've really drawn from this is that psychologists like money.

    Of course I'll also admit that I have a tendency towards extreme skepticism, probably to a problematic degree.
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    Quote Originally Posted by Saskia View Post
    I like the cut of your jib.
    Tis an Awesome Jib. Arrr... Sometimes I pretend I am a pirate, an airplane, or a dinosaur in public. Perhaps if you are having problems with your personality you should try the same thing? I promise that it is the only awesome correction your life requires.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Don Julio Anejo View Post
    I'm lazy, that's pretty much either it, or the source of it. I can do something amazingly, and I learn really fast (mostly by going over every excruciating detail in my head 50 times over after I do something and comparing it to how other people who are good at it do it), which makes it look like I've picked up a skill in 2-4 tries when other people take a few dozen to learn. But I won't do something at all unless I'm motivated (read: it's interesting, money/"because I have to" is not a good motivator for me). I've been getting better at not procrastinating, but the lazyness itself is still bad.
    that is probably my biggest issue as well...certainly not good for school work

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    Quote Originally Posted by warty goblin View Post
    Whenever I've taken a personality test it always tells me something I already knew about myself, or else complete nonsense. The conclusion I've really drawn from this is that psychologists like money.

    Of course I'll also admit that I have a tendency towards extreme skepticism, probably to a problematic degree.
    Who dislikes money? Honestly though, our economy is built on buying things you don't need. So yeah, most likely a waste of time.

    Wait a second... did you actually pay for a personality test on the internet?

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    Quote Originally Posted by HairyGuy4 View Post
    Who dislikes money? Honestly though, our economy is built on buying things you don't need. So yeah, most likely a waste of time.

    Wait a second... did you actually pay for a personality test on the internet?
    Personally, no. But it's pretty clear they're set up to get you to buy stuff about how being Hippopotamus Lemur or whatever affects your career choices, dating strategies, and whatever else seems to appeal.

    As part of a recent and particularly pointless orientation session I took a learning style delineator from the same people behind this marvelous website. I particularly enjoy the part of the mission statement which says "Our mission is to....reduce negative harm." I'm glad they cleared that up. I'd hate to think they weren't against negative harm, or even worse, were against positive harm.

    I didn't spend anything on mine, but the lady giving them out paid for 'em all, and clearly thought they were the best thing since sliced bread. Totally useless too. Basically boiled down to 'some people need to have stuff presented in order, others don't. Also some people think better about abstracts, others don't' It may have also mentioned how some substances are wet while others are not wet*.

    Based on my gut ranking of ten different words. I was also bemused to learn that I didn't have a learning style. Since I'm essentially a professional student, this was somewhat surprising. I was less surprised by the frequent, prominent advertisements for various products that, in exchange for money, could better explain my learning style to me.


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    Binary categorization is fun! All you need is a category, and the deep observation that some things fit into that category, some don't. You now have a complete typology of everything. Usefulness may vary. Example: Some things are giant balls of hydrogen undergoing fusion. Others are not. Which are you? If you aren't, you may be a person. Or possible a goat. Otherwise you are a star!

    For advanced users only: try combining two binary categories. Example: Some things are blue. Others are not blue. You may be a blue star, a not blue star, a blue non-star or a non-blue non-star. If you are blue, remember to only date blue things, while non-stars should only orbit around stars. So if you are a blue ringed octopus you can date a blue-footed booby, but any orbital attraction will be weak and bound to break. Try orbiting a star instead.

    For more profound life tips like this, just PM me your bank account information. In exchange you'll be introduced to the duck/goose category, and receive a certificate indicating you are a moron.



    On a rather more serious note, I'm coming to realize I'm really bad at actually making friends. Like, I don't have any bad. Got acquaintances aplenty, but I don't know how to let the barriers down, or else I do let them down and nobody likes what they see. I'm not really sure which it is.
    Still her confidence was not shaken. There was always death. If one feared that constantly one had no time for life. One had this day - that was enough to concern one's thoughts.

    Andre Norton, Forerunner, 1981.

  23. - Top - End - #23
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    Default Re: Identifying your faults

    I am a procrastinator and don't finish things unless very motivated.

    I'll tell you more about it later.
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    Default Re: Identifying your faults

    Quote Originally Posted by AtlanteanTroll View Post
    Oh jeez. I don't want to go in depth with everyone, but lets see. I'm vain, rash, jealous, obsessive, lazy, judgmental, overly sarcastic, and (decreasingly) withdrawn (which is a good thing). I'm also have issues with my temper.

    My biggest flaw is that I have almost no self-esteem. I'm a pretty good actor though, so most people can't tell.
    Yeah, see all of the above. I don't tend to lash out at others in anger, but I am pretty consistently irritable. The vain/no self-esteem combination is an odd one, but it's there.

    I'm also not that great with money. That's linked to one of my positive characteristics (I'm pretty generous, on the whole) but it's something that causes a lot of problems.

    My biggest problem, I think, is that in a lot of cases I'm so worried about the possible consequences of failure that I don't try to begin with, and thus never live up to my own expectations. In particular, I'm terrified of making a fool of myself, and so avoid any situations in which that's a possibility, including, for instance, not contacting people who are in a position to help me advance my career, etc.
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    Its hard for me to tell when I'm being an insensitive jerk, or when I'm doing something socially "incorrect".

    ….that pretty much describes it all there.
    Monkey Playwright of the Improbability Drive Fan Club, Regardless, orcs should be people.

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    Default Re: Identifying your faults

    Is there an important difference?

    Check out my blog!

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    Default Re: Identifying your faults

    When I'm in an argument I point out as many of my flaws as I can at the start to beat the other person to it. If they do beat me to it I just agree to it. It gets them every time.

    Semi-off topic but, hey, I'm living dangerously.

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    Default Re: Identifying your faults

    Quote Originally Posted by The Succubus View Post
    I'm pretty good at identifying faults. I did geography while I was at school.
    I don't think that's what the OP was thinking of, Succubus.

    Quote Originally Posted by Aedilred View Post
    Yeah, see all of the above. I don't tend to lash out at others in anger, but I am pretty consistently irritable. The vain/no self-esteem combination is an odd one, but it's there.

    I'm also not that great with money. That's linked to one of my positive characteristics (I'm pretty generous, on the whole) but it's something that causes a lot of problems.

    My biggest problem, I think, is that in a lot of cases I'm so worried about the possible consequences of failure that I don't try to begin with, and thus never live up to my own expectations. In particular, I'm terrified of making a fool of myself, and so avoid any situations in which that's a possibility, including, for instance, not contacting people who are in a position to help me advance my career, etc.
    And this decribes me, pretty much exactly. Just mix in a bit of arrogance and a dash of megalomania, and that is me.
    We don't know how many the Collectors have stolen. Thousands, hundreds of thousands. It's not important. What matters is this: Not. One. More. That's what we can do here, today. It ends with us. They want to know what we're made of? I say we show them, on our terms. Let's bring our people home.

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    Default Re: Identifying your faults

    Before I go all Confusius on everyone here, it is noted that knowing your strengths and shortcomings greatly helps you understand yourself, your reactions, and other people. If you can bring up the introspection on how you would feel or react on something it's a short step to take to ponder the same things from another's perspective.

    I personally have many shortcomings. some I have come to terms with, some are still in line to be adressed. And I think I'll never get to them all. To Identify them I usually 'just' give myself an evaluation. the process usually goes like this: get into introspective mood (this happens at quite unexpected moments, sort of like inspiration), pour glass of whisky (this is a personal medium, other great catalysts might be tea, coffee, anything else relaxing and fluid), sit back, relax and evaluate. identify things I should have done differently, identify source of those mistakes, try to discovere what trait in my character this source comes from. and now comes the great part: decide wether you want to continue this trait or change behaviour. sometimes a trait comes with both a positive and a negative effect (as it were). In this situation it is best advised to ponder wether the benefits of said trait are worth the negative effects of yoru character. Sometimes the trait can't be changed at all (since you know, you are what/who you are)

    A good visual guide may be:
    (example using modesty as core quality)

    This visual tool helps you on different sides fo the problem: it help you identify what your characterflaws may be (Pitfalls). They also give you traits you might want to develop or something to develop your trait into (challenge). they alo hand you traits you don't like and should avoid in others if possible (allergy). On the whole it helps you identfy and thus keep in check any flaws you have and better yourself (if that is your goal). (I am not a proffessional here, but I found this type of diagram in a managementbook of mine and I thought it might be an asset in this kind of things). One fo the flaws I discovered this way is my self-assuredness which can turn into strongheadedness (pitfall), which present the challenge to be more open to suggestions though I must be careful to avoid my allergy which is not having an opinion. This way I understand myself better and can adapt myself to the situation at hand.

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