But how does our self perception compare to other people’s perceptions of us? And how might knowing others’ perceptions of us benefit (or hinder!) our life and leadership? Recently I had the opportunity to hear how others viewed me. It happened through a discussion of the book Divergent.
Divergent is a dystopian story is set in futuristic Chicago.
Society has been segmented into 5 factions: Abnegation, meant to uphold selflessness; Amity, meant for the peaceful; Candor, meant for the honest; Dauntless, meant for the brave; and Erudite, intended for the knowledgeable (wikipedia). Each 16-year-old is given an aptitude test revealing which faction they are best suited for. After receiving these results, they decide whether to remain in the faction they grew up in or choose another. Those who show high aptitude for more than one faction are labeled “Divergent.”
Over a recent dinner conversation with friends we considered which factions each of us are suited for. Some were easy. Others were a bit more difficult. I got pegged as abnegation. Afterwards I had to look it up to gauge their accuracy.
Abnegation is described as:
- Value selflessness.
- Blame selfishness for the worlds problems.
- Discourage any thing done for a persons own enjoyment.
- Believe kisses are not meant to be shared in public.
- Believe gossiping is self-indulgent.
- Guilt is used as a tool, rather than a weapon against the self. They use it to remind themselves to do better the next time.
- They are not manipulative, but they aren’t forthright, either.
- Never allowed to do ‘whatever they want.’ They must always think of other people’s needs first.
- Don’t form real friendships because it is hard to do when no one feels like they can accept help or talk about themselves.
- They are regarded as incorruptible, due to their commitment to selflessness. Their leaders (representatives) are selected by their peers for their impeccable character, moral fortitude, and leader ship skills.
- This faction includes five of the traditional “seven heavenly virtues:” chastity, temperance, charity, patience, and humility.
I can agree with some of these characteristics and disagree with others. But I did find it interesting that most of my friends (and wife!) were confident that I’d be abnegation. It got me wondering…
- Have you ever been surprised by someone’s perception of you? If so, was it beneficial or detrimental to your life and leadership?
- If you were to put yourself in a Divergent faction, which would you be? Would your close friends, family, or co-workers agree with you?