Entries Tagged as "Physical Health"

The Olympics and Judging

The Winter Olympics are upon us, and this has me thinking about all the events we are seeing and how the winners are being determined. That means making “judgments.”  However, I am not talking here simply about Judging in the type sense of the word, but about judging in terms of its uses in “contests.”  Of course that usage does include making decisions (or judgments) so in a roundabout way we are still on the topic of type.

I was privileged to attend the Beijing Summer Olympics in 2008 and watch nearly all of the track and field finals as well as synchronized swimming.  Track and field people, by the way, are purists in terms of what they believe are true Olympic events.  They believe events should only be included where there is no human factor in the judging.  That means whoever is fastest, or jumps the highest or longest, or throws the farthest is the winner. 

In these sports there is no room for judges to make scoring verdicts.  Without this type of judging there would be no gymnastics, no diving, no synchronized swimming, etc. And in the Winter Olympics, that would mean no figure skating, a favorite of mine.

Track and field (a.k.a. athletics) has been plagued by athletes taking drugs to enhance their performances, so I find it interesting that they are calling themselves “purists.”  When some of us left an athletics banquet to attend the synchronized swimming finals, the joke there was that anyone attending the latter event should be “drug tested.”  Truly, watching the synchronized swimming finals was almost intoxicating! 

Now, who decides which drug is “performance enhancing” and which is not? The decision is likely based on a Thinking judgment, since there are logical standards used.  But what about the Feeling component of how people accused of using drugs are treated and how we create harmony (or not) in our relationships when the test comes back “positive?”

Of course, many winter event athletes might also be tempted to take drugs to enhance their performances.  I wonder if some of those ski jumpers and snowboarders might want something additional to calm their nerves and enhance their bravado before taking off, let alone something to make them go higher (perhaps a pun is intended here)!  Is that a Thinking decision or a Feeling one?  I can see that decision being made either way!!

In the U.S., the commercial networks usually limit our Olympic coverage.  But in some European countries, there is a pledge to cover every event’s gold medal performance, no matter how esoteric the sport and no matter which country’s athlete wins. 

It seems that the decision here on TV coverage is made both from a Thinking perspective (which sports will bring the most viewership and thus more commercials watched) as well as from a Feeling perspective (which sports have a “human interest” component and will make people feel good in watching them).  However, that still leaves some events out.  

When I watch the Olympics, I admit I’ll be making lots of judgments, such as those about the beauty and the grace of the figure skating routines as well as how crazy those snowboarders’ jumps look to me. I think too about the sacrifices each athlete and his/her family made to get there, and also the joy of that process.  Here are people doing what they love - what could be more wonderful!!

I truly don’t care who wins.  I just hope a good time is had by all and that somehow the international spirit of the Olympics helps create lasting bonds of friendship, or at least of understanding.  After all, the latter is what type is about, too.


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You Can’t Keep ESFPs Down

We know two ESFPs, Rockley and Suzi, who are married to each other. This summer, my family has watched them go through a crisis, and we’ve had a chance to learn a lot about their type.
They found out that Rockley had cancer of the throat, which is dreadful news. They felt all of the grief and fear that any family would feel after such news.  

What amazed my family were the faces they showed to the world throughout the ordeal. Instead of behaving downcast and sad, they never stopped smiling, laughing, chatting happily and having fun with each other and their friends. 

After I first heard the news, I phoned Suzi. She was cheerful as she told me about the kind doctor who had diagnosed Rockley’s cancer, and their adventures in finding the best doctors for his treatments. 

A few weeks later, their three kids came home for a visit and to discuss the future. The whole family and some of their friends came to our house loaded with pizza boxes, bottles of beer and home made cookies. We sat in the back yard and talked happily about their plans to re-paint Rockley’s bedroom, find a deal on a Vitamix so they can make him liquid meals during his chemo, and the availability of a milkshake from Smoothie King made especially for cancer patients called “The Hulk.”

In the weeks that followed, people were coming to see them, and they were entertaining everyone. On the evening before he checked into the hospital for surgery, Rockley was partying until dawn with his family in their hotel room. 

A week after his surgery, they were all over at our house again for another fun get-together. Rockley, sitting there with a healing scar on his throat, excitedly told us about new computer programs he had found to help him work from home while he convalesces, and new people he had hired at the dance studio he owns. He had even found a way to make more money from all of these changes.   

He was taking part in several drug trials so he was on the phone making arrangements with the nurses and doctors in charge of those trials. His kids had spent the week cleaning out their parents’ bedroom and repainting it, and they were showing iPhone pictures of all of the bags of clothes they took to Goodwill.

In the weeks that followed, when he was undergoing chemo and radiation treatments, every time I called to get an update, Suzi had me laughing with some funny story about Rockley. A month into his treatments, he had so much energy from the steroids they were giving him that he was cleaning out their house and finding things they thought were lost for ten years. When he wasn’t doing that, he was watching re-runs of “The Big Bang Theory” and laughing his head off.

Even when he had to be admitted to the hospital with a blood infection, after Suzi told me the grim details, she told me what a lovely private room they had given him, and how it was like a luxury hotel.

When the chemo and radiation were finished, the doctor said he should take it easy. Suzi asked the doctor, “Does that include moving furniture, scraping fences and power washing the deck?” In order to get him to sit still, his son brought over a 4,000-piece puzzle of Times Square. “It’s all over my dining room table,” said Suzi, “We have no place to eat because the kitchen table is covered in his papers. I have got to get this man out of the house. You can’t string him up. That’s against the law.”

“Who were you talking to?’ my husband asked, wondering why I was in stitches on the phone. “It was Suzi,” I said. “We were talking about Rockley’s cancer.”

For this ESFP couple, cancer has been many things, but most of all, it’s been another reason to be with friends, meet new people, and learn new things and laugh. I don’t know what it’s like for them in the dark, when they’re alone. All I know is that I’m amazed by the genuinely sunny faces they show to the world, and I’m grateful for what they have taught me. Even when we’re facing the worst, life still has endless possibilities for positive experiences, and it seems that ESFPs will always remind us of that.


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Fitness Programs and Personality

Last winter, I signed up for Pilates classes at the local rec center. It seemed like a good idea when I was registering, and nothing to be afraid of. So I was surprised at my nervousness when the first day of class approached.  

I just have to get over the new-ness, I told myself, and I won’t be nervous about going. But the second week wasn’t any better, nor was the third. When it came to the fourth week and I still had to talk myself into going to the class, I began to wonder what the problem was.

Then my friend, Mary, announced that she had just been certified to teach Pilates, and in order to acquire experience in teaching, she would be offering free classes in her home. At her first class, there were just three of us, and I knew the other two people. It surprised me that I wasn’t nervous about going, I felt completely comfortable when I was there, and I looked forward to coming again.

So what made the difference?  It had to be that I’m an introvert. At the rec center, I was walking into a large group, and they were all strangers. That’s a double whammy for introverts. As time went on, I didn’t get many opportunities to get friendly with anyone, so even after four classes, it remained a large group of strangers.

At Mary’s house, I was walking into a small group of familiar faces. In a setting that is both intimate and familiar, I can have a great experience. Among a large group of strangers, I can’t seem to relax.

My son, on the other hand, is just the opposite. He’s an extravert, so he’s always trying to find new groups of strangers to exercise with him. He plays on several teams, signs up for every large group marathon nearby, has a great day when he makes new friends at them, and bemoans the fact that it’s so hard to find “community” at the gym.

The strange thing is I don’t think my son would have liked the rec center’s class either, since there weren’t many chances to meet people. I wonder what the trainer could have done to make that class more comfortable for both extraverts and introverts. She couldn’t spend a lot of time on social activities, because people were there to exercise, but she could have spent a little time. She might have given us one exercise that required us to pair up, and told us to introduce ourselves to each other while we were doing it. Then she could have paired us up with a different person in each class. Just a few minutes in each class in a one-on-one conversation could have satisfied my need to be among familiars, and my son’s need to keep adding to his long list of acquaintances.

That experience got me thinking about what an exercise trainer could do to appeal to all eight of the preferences. Then I realized that my friend, Mary, is already doing it. For extraversion, she invites new people to join and serves juice after the class so we can sit and talk. For introversion, she keeps the groups small. For sensing, she gives crystal-clear instructions and helps us be aware of our bodies (“You should feel this in your hamstrings.”) For intuition, in the first class she told us the history of the Pilates method, why it was unique, and what changes to expect over the long term. For thinking, she frequently says, “If you want a greater challenge, do this,” so we have an objective way to measure our increasing abilities. For feeling, she told us what a difference Pilates had made in her life. She smiles and makes eye contact, and gives positive and personal feedback (“Good form, Sue.”) For perceiving, she is always surprising us with new exercises and adapting the class for the people in it. For judging, she does some of the same exercises every week so we can gain mastery; she is always well-prepared and in control of the class, and starts and ends the session on time. She really is a fitness trainer for all types, or for the whole type in each of us.

For me, the thing that seemed to make the biggest difference, however, was that first letter in my type. In the future, before I begin an exercise program, I’m going to ask myself, “Will this satisfy my introverted need for small groups and familiar faces?” I’m going to experiment with video programs where I can exercise alone or with my daughter. If I want to try a big class, I’ll look around for a friend to go with me. I realized that my introverted needs are very important, and a big factor in my ability to stick with an exercise program over the long term.



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