Who are you?
Here is a game I like to play with others that exemplify the power of instinctual response. Try this (you can even try it yourself right now...): Ask somebody to answer a very simple question as quickly as they can. Tell them is it not a trick question and that it involves something they see every day. Then ask, “What’s the color of a traffic yield sign?” The greatest majority of people will answer “yellow”. It is actually red. This little exercise can be used to demonstrate why it is important to prepare our subconscious to answer correctly when we must make a decision faster than our capacity for consideration.
There is a difference between personality and learned behavior. Biology dictates our physical appearance and physiological functions (phenotype) are different from the genetic instructions for our build (genotype) because of the influence of environmental factors. Likewise, our displayed social presence will differ from our innate personality based on learned and consciously practiced behavior. Today the challenge is centered on the creation of what I call Personal Culture.
As an example, my personality and natural tendency compels me to provide an immediate answer to every problem or challenge thrown my way. But who can really deal with a guy who always thinks he has the answer? In order to counterbalance this tendency, my Personal Culture dictates I should be aware of my nature and consciously decide when I should offer a solution, and when I should simply listen. Even when I know exactly what should be done, I have learned to negotiate the answer rather than give it, which has made me into a much better leader.
So, who are you? I challenge you to create a mental document for YOUR Personal Culture. If you consciously and constantly counterbalance your innate personality with your desired and practiced behavior, you will answer to every situation with control and grace. Your social actions will become automatic answers from your subconscious, even when you don’t have proper time for consideration.