The Black Sheep Effect
Hey worker bees!
Thought I'd forgotten about you? nevah! I have been quite busy…I know, lame excuse. BUT! the truth of the matter is, no matter how long it's been, I will always return to my blog to write to it since I quite simply love to write too much, in case you haven't noticed it yet ;)
Speaking of writing, in a psychometric test that I was trained for this week in Toronto (yet I am far from being certified), called The Pathfinder, I noticed that in my scores, the written communication behaviour came out significantly high. Meaning that I often use writing as a tool to get things done. In other categories it was also found that I scored significantly high in intuitive thinking (aka judgement), experiential learning and in self-understanding. Meanwhile, I had lower scores in quantitative orientation (HA! so true…) and self-respect. Wait, wait, what?! But I respect myself! How come this came out low?
**Of course, the low scores always make us wonder more. In this test though, they only mean we tend to use this behaviour significantly less than others. It does not measure our ability to use it. That being said, we are human and it takes five positive comments to undo the impact of a single negative comment. So, we stall on what seems negative.**
Here's the lowdown for the self-assessment cluster In this psychometric test
Scoring high in Self-Respect means feeling inferior to no one, being quick to praise ourself, possessing a high self-esteem. However, when one scores lower, it usually means the persons feels respect has to be earned by what he or she accomplishes. Low scorers also have a sense of inferiority and have to work to earn their worthiness, this is how they perceive themselves.
On the other hand...
High Self-Acceptance means the person finds it easy to admit their mistakes, they avoid being self-critical and leverage their strengths. While a low score can be quite self-destructive as the individuals struggles to accept mistakes that were made. Self-Acceptance represents the dialogue a person has with oneself and so, high scores means a positive dialogue while low score tend to be more self-destructive.
Self-Understanding scores demonstrates how much we know ourselves. High scores show that we understand exactly why we do what we do, that we understand the big picture and that in the end we are all humans. High scorers are continuously introspecting and are aware of their self-contradictions.
That being said, I understood clearly why I score lower. In the world of me, with my peers, I usually always consider others to be smarter than me. Not out of comparison or anything of the sort as I know quite well how different we are all but strictly out of the fact that I do indeed feel as though I have to earn my own respect out of achieving different things. As the creator of the psychometric test says, scoring low in self-respect is like chasing a moving carrot since every time I reach a goal or achieve what I wanted, the low scorer will rationalize it into "oh, well if I got it, it must not have been that difficult" or "It's not enough". Sounds familiar to you? Perhaps you would score low as well. It is simply how we perceive ourselves.
Don't get me wrong, I know how the word "low" and "self-respect" together may sound dramatic but that is not the point. I simply want to share and attempt to explain how much power the brain and our perception has on ourselves and consequently, on our behaviour, the decisions we take and actions we take. Luckily for me, my self-acceptance and self-understanding trumps my low self-respect and I own many other strengths that I leverage to make my way in the world!
This one low score however was quite a revelation to me as it made so much sense with how I usually feel in certain situations: being the black sheep. The truth? I almost always felt like the black sheep in many different eras of my life. Sometimes in a good way, sometimes it was a little harder on the ego.
An example of the good black sheep effect: in high school, I had strong beliefs: The Beatles being the best band in the universe (even if I got teased), I hated cigarettes and wasn't impressed by smokers (everyone knew that), I had zero tolerance for peer pressure and last but not least, justice. I had one close friend I always hung out with but I spoke equally to everyone, every clan, every nerd, every tough and bad boy and I got a peep even out of the silent one. I always wanted everyone to get along and feel like we are a family. That is when I made the link to my high score in fraternity (at the 90th percentile!).
I didn't realize it then, but I was the little black sheep that strived to maintain a little bit of peace amongst the lot of us. I wasn't concerned by the popularity ranks and approached everyone with the same amount of respect and kindness. This is only something that struck me in the last few years and as I recently spoke to an old high school camarade during a small high school reunion. He said to me: "you always stood for justice Ivana, and for that, you were untouchable, you spoke to everyone and always wanted for things to be right". Hearing this from him confirmed it and surprised me all at once since I wasn't sure if I was the only one who felt this way. I did want things to be right. As a black sheep, I also couldn't stand bullying and intervened while I could have easily been a target myself.
My being petite and having been at the same school for so long earned me all the tough guys' protective eye. No one bugged me and also, no one wanted to hear my non-smoking speeches over again anyway so I wasn't to be "messed with" (haha!). I still had my insecurities but for some things, I wasn't going to stand by and watch…I had to do something.
I remember being the only one stepping up for someone at the last day of final exams. That day when we unleash the madness as high school students and throw everything out of our lockers and run wild into summer. Well, at our high school we would run down Guy street in Montreal and throw eggs and disgustingly smelling shaving cream at each other. So you can imagine what a nice mess this made. Either way it was hilarious and pretty much everyone got into it. At one point, a boy who had been teased a lot in high school was being targeted with the shaving cream and it quickly turned wrong as all the guys and the crowd effect took on to pin him down. Small as I was, I immediately stepped in and yelled "STOP IT! GUYS STOP IT!" and to my surprise I was the only one yet, my voice was enough to halt the crowd and to leave him alone. I was never certain what happened after but I couldn't believe I was the only one who had the guts to make it stop. That it was scoring high in empathy and in self-understanding will do I suppose.
The reverse effect of the black sheep feel is when you feel estranged in a group simply because you are a little different. Even though this difference could actually be positive. The power of the mind is incredible. It can be empowering just like it can be quite destructive since the truth is, it is only in the the brain that this is true. No one ever told me I was different, I felt this way. No one ever belittled me, I did it to myself. My reflex is always to think that others around me are brilliant unless proven otherwise or unless my high scoring intuition says the contrary.
In University, because I admired the quantitative skills (Math) of my peers even though I later went on to succeed in statistics, I somehow always felt others had an advantage over me or knew more than I did and I praised them for it. I was even happy that, in my perspective, they were "better" than me because I genuinely like seeing others do well and It inspired me. But I have to admit that I always inevitably felt like a fraud in Psychology. I was surrounded by what seemed like theoretical geniuses. When I saw I scored high in experiential learning which is quite different from theoretical learning…I now understand and no wonder I felt that way. I was never as protocolar as the psychology system was and I praised the right personality rather than the right grades, to a certain extent of course, to do counselling.
As previously mentioned in my posts, I was a black sheep in music, because I didn't want to read the sheets. Playing by ear was so much easier. Yet reading music is compared to mathematics? Well! Now I can understand why playing the way I did was easier when I see I score high on intuition and low on quantitative orientation.
Even in recent years, after a master's degree, a certificate, obtaining my designation…I'll still feel like that psychology black sheep sometimes as I still don't fit in with the intellectuals. I know myself well enough to draw the line and actually snatch that carrot and stop having to earn my own self-respect. Also, being a black sheep, and an italian one at that, has its perks especially in the right environment. We say out loud what everyone else is thinking, we aren't afraid to look like fools, even by writing a blog about our weaker psychometric test scores, we share our emotions and always, always…would rather beg for forgiveness than to ask permission ;)
How about you fellow reader? How do you think you would score? In this amazing psychometric tool there are 85 behaviours to explore. If you ever have the chance to get a self-assessment done, make sure you use a well researched tool with a great guidance counsellor (I love my job!). I highly recommend completing The Pathfinder created by Cash & Lehman offered at Optimum Talent. The test has 25 years of research to back up its validity and a brilliant creator: Larry Cash.
The feedback meeting on your results is very powerful, make sure you are receptive to it. The results can be QUITE interesting at any age. Better self understanding allows for better greatness and let's you tap into the perception you have of yourself and that of others. It can always explain a lot about you past, present and will certainly influence your future. Imagine if all companies had everyone take The Pathfinder and position individuals according to behaviour styles? At least, everyone would understand each other better.
Being a career counsellor myself, I will never stop being impressed by the power of the mind and of perception.
Cheers to all sheep, take ownership!
My name is Ivana. I love photography and meeting people. I hold a Master's in counselling psychology and work as a career consultant. Music is my fuel and an important source of energy in my life. I drive my vespa around the city and I love what I do! :) About this blog: me on my artistic soap box!
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