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2015: Top 5

I recently took an online assessment which eventually told me what my top 5 strengths were. Upon reading the results, I came to the conclusion that I was unbearably honest while responding to the 177 questions.

Here were my Top 5:

1. Deliberative

Shared Theme Description:
People who are especially talented in the Deliberative theme are best described by the serious care they take in making decisions or choices. They anticipate the obstacles.

What Makes Me Stand Out?
Instinctively, you sometimes take time to reflect on what people say, reaching conclusions only after thoughtfully weighing the information, rather than reacting to the moment. Your practicality might have a sobering effect on certain types of discussions. Now and then, you intensify your own or other people’s capacity to consider “the bigger picture.” Because of your strengths, you select your friends with great care. You are comfortable nurturing up-close and personal relationships with these chosen individuals. The quality of your relationships is much more important to you than the number of people who say you are their friend. Driven by your talents, you might approach some days with a matter-of- fact or practical attitude. Sometimes you expect to do your work flawlessly. You may strive to reach the high standards you establish for yourself. Perhaps these are a bit more stringent or detailed than those set for you by others. By nature, you offer verbal feedback and positive reinforcement that is equal in measure to people’s accomplishments. Even though you praise sparingly, your words echo in the minds and hearts of recipients. When you compliment individuals, they have no doubt they are truly worthy of recognition. Chances are good that you choose not to reveal to others too much about yourself, your thoughts, and your feelings. You exercise great care and weigh all possible risks when you interact with people. You prefer to give sincere and well-deserved compliments. You are likely to refrain from acknowledging the talents, contributions, and accomplishments of individuals and groups until you have clear evidence they merit special acclaim.

My Own Conclusions (Did you really think I wasn’t going to put this in?):
Yes, I am not given to whims of fancy. It’s very unlikely that I will start screaming my head off in times of crises. I will very seldom have emotional outbursts (but when I do, expect a barrage of text messages or a phone call describing the incident complete with details). It’s not that I have no emotions – I just have them buried deep, deep, deep, deep down inside.

It’s true that I refuse to affirm for the sake of affirming. I don’t give recognition often, but when I do, I mean it. So if you’re just looking for affirmation, I am so not the person to go to. Unless you want to be bitterly disappointed.

My personal bubble is extremely big. I’m choosy – I don’t have a lot of friends, but the ones I have are the ones I intent to keep for life (until they wrong me, at which point I will hunt them down). I have requirements for friendships. Seriously.

I am intensely private and slightly obsessive-compulsive. You are not allowed to touch my things just because we’re friends. My friends are divided into “levels”. Just because we’ve known each other for a lifetime doesn’t mean you’re in my inner circle. So, following this line of logic, going out of town with me for four days… You know how this statement ends.

2. Competition

Shared Theme Description:
People who are especially talented in the Competition theme measure their progress against the performance of others. They strive to win first place and revel in contests.

What Makes Me Stand Out?
Because of your strengths, you are eager to broaden your knowledge and expand your skills when comparisons are made between you and your opponents. Sometimes your rivalries are public. Sometimes they are known only to you. Either way, you are determined to be victorious by capturing the top prize, finishing in first place, or being declared the very best. Driven by your talents, you consistently aim to turn in the prize-winning performance. A second- or third-place finish can send you into an emotional tailspin. Your ability to pull out of it depends on your other talents. Instinctively, you refuse to be content with your performance until you have been declared the most capable, successful, or accomplished person in the group. Just knowing you are being compared to others gives you the extra energy and determination you need to surpass everyone else’s performance. Chances are good that you are enthused about being declared the very best. The experience of winning likely means much more to you than any monetary reward. It’s very likely that you act like a rival when you are pitted against others and only one person can be declared the very best at something. Your deep-seated desire to finish in first place probably drives many of your choices and explains much of your behavior.

My Own Conclusions:
I am literally the most competitive person I know (well, except Lady J). I cannot stand being second best. I have to be the best. I guess that’s why I do the things I do. I revel in bragging rights – the money is nice but it’s really not the end all, be all for me. The thing about me, however, is that whenever I don’t come out on top, I immediately think it’s my fault. I’m not the type to blame it on… others. We also know where this is going.

3. Achiever

Shared Theme Description:
People who are especially talented in the Achiever theme have a great deal of stamina and work hard. They take great satisfaction from being busy and productive.

What Makes Me Stand Out?
It’s very likely that you ordinarily take time and exert extra effort to comprehend what you are reading. You probably refuse to rush through written material. Why? You likely intend to commit to memory as many facts and concepts as possible. Instinctively, you tend to be a very good adviser to many individuals. When offering suggestions or asking questions, you probably are much more engaged, intense, and involved than usual. Driven by your talents, you possess the physical and mental endurance to withstand hardships as well as stress. Characteristically you work harder and longer than most people are capable of doing. By nature, you tend to be quite selective about the company you keep. You prefer to spend time with individuals who are trustworthy. You consciously avoid people whose words and deeds indicate they value honesty less than you do. Chances are good that you labor tirelessly when you know your performance and results are being compared to those of other people. You probably find it hard to recall a time when you failed for lack of effort. You are naturally motivated to be the very best — not merely one of the top finishers. Your satisfaction comes from being “number one.”

My Own Conclusions:
This strengths apparently compliments “Competition” very well. I see a trend in my strengths. Seriously.

I do react to stress fairly well. When I say “I work well under pressure”, I’m actually not lying. I think it’s my ability to compartmentalize and “shelf” things that allow me to do this. There are times when the stress does get to me, but that takes a long while (but when it does I end up getting sick. I’m psychosomatic.)

I told you I have requirements for friends. With the trustworthy thing – let’s put it in perspective. My moral compass does not exactly point north, so I can’t be with someone who’s straight as an arrow (because eventually I will have to kill him). However, the people I deal with must be people I can trust – those who I know will not leave me hanging in the air or say something about me behind my back (seriously – if it’s true, say it to my face).

4. Intellection

Shared Theme Description:
People who are especially talented in the Intellection theme are characterized by their intellectual activity. They are introspective and appreciate intellectual discussions.

What Makes Me Stand Out?
It’s very likely that you are willing to spend time sharing your ideas with intelligent individuals. Of course, you want them to tell you their latest thinking. Conversations that involve a lot of questions and answers stimulate your mind. You know you have spent your time wisely when you have a number of new ideas, theories, or concepts to somehow file away or remember for future use. Because of your strengths, you are a well-read individual. People whom you have befriended turn to you for guidance. Often you help them see a situation or problem from a different perspective because of something you discovered while surveying a book, article, letter, or Internet site. For you, reading is the key that opens the door to a world of fresh ideas. You collect them, never knowing when something you read will benefit someone else. Instinctively, you sometimes enliven or stop conversations with your thought-provoking statements, unusual viewpoints, jarring questions, pointed demands, or candid opinions. Sometimes you deftly play the devil’s advocate — that is, take the opposing view. Once in a while, you force people to think philosophically about the meaning of good, evil, truth, justice, or happiness. Driven by your talents, you are the ideal example of a person with an open and agile mind. Thinking consumes a great portion of your time. You like to exchange ideas with individuals who are as well-read as you are. Your passion for the written word fuels your thought processes and lays the groundwork for sophisticated conversations. When you are alone, you probably reflect upon the thoughts of brilliant writers or the findings of notable researchers. Chances are good that you probably need a place where you can be alone to reflect on your experiences or conversations with people. You often draw conclusions about a person’s knowledge, skills, talents, likes, dislikes, or moods. These insights naturally influence how you interact with that individual in the coming days, weeks, or months.

My Own Conclusions:
I told you I had requirements!!! My people need to be smart. The don’t need to be brilliant, but they do need to be able to carry a decently, intellectually-stimulating conversation whenever they’re five feet away from me.

In senior year, while we were collecting all those things we wanted to show in our yearbooks, I had a friend who wrote “A thinker” on my “What Can You Say About Me?” sheet. That always stuck with me. Maybe I’ve always been like this or maybe he just knew me really well. More than two decades later, I guess things haven’t really changed that much.

I love to read!!! Reading is an escape, a chance to travel without ever having to leave my bed. A chance to become someone else, or live vicariously through a genuinely-written character. It was Nancy Drew that started it all for me in third grade. I haven’t stopped since then.

And, because I’m mean and I have to say this, reading does help me with my vocabulary. I mean, at least I know how to pronounce “siphon”.

5. Significance

Shared Theme Description:
People who are especially talented in the Significance theme want to be very important in the eyes of others. They are independent and want to be recognized.

What Makes Me Stand Out?
By nature, you can prod people to accomplish more than they thought possible. You purposely make an effort to know each one as an individual. You probably discover and appreciate the qualities that make every human being unique. Driven by your talents, you urge, coax, and even demand that individuals do whatever it takes to reach their goals. When you step forward and exercise your authority, most people let you push and prod them toward excellence. Instinctively, you seek jobs and assignments that allow you to influence people to do whatever needs to be done. You are eager to be in a position of authority. Chances are good that you look for people who share your strong work ethic and your desire for excellence. Apparently, it is easier for you to partner with individuals who are highly productive and industrious. You tend to define your worth and value in terms of what you do, how much you do, and how well you do it. You feel most successful when important people notice your accomplishments. Their opinions probably motivate you to work even harder and longer the next time. It’s very likely that you yearn to get ahead. You strive to acquire many of the status symbols and special privileges that come with rank, title, or position.

My Own Conclusions:
I can’t work with people who don’t have the same work ethic as I do. I seriously cannot take it. I’ve been known to be a slave driver (it’s true), a really, really harsh critic (it’s also true), and a bitch to work with (very, very true) – but this is because my standards are incredibly high. I have difficulty working with people who are less than competent – this speaks more of me, I know. But I am impatient when talking to someone who just cannot get it after a million explanations.

*          *          *

When I went through my Top 5 Strengths, I realized that I have no relational strengths. Seriously. I dislike humans. It’s very seldom that I find an automatic, effortless connection with one (and when I do, it’s usually with a person who dislikes humans as well). It’s not that I don’t want friends, it’s just that I’m not going to go out of my way to collect more than the ones I already have.

So these are my strengths in a nutshell. Pretty accurate, won’t you say?

Dark & Twisty…

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15.13: Tell Me What You Read and I’ll Tell You Who You Are

“Harry Potter is about confronting fears, finding inner strength and doing what is right in the face of adversity. Twilight is about how important it is to have a boyfriend.”

I didn’t say this, Stephen King did. I nearly fell off my chair from laughing when I did because I agreed with him SO MUCH. Don’t get me wrong. I read all four books of twilight, just like I did all seven Harry Potter books. I think the biggest difference for me what that I found so much significance in Harry’s life while I just kept praying for Bella to die.

Die, Bella. DIE!!! Sorry, I’ve been dying to say that for the longest time (yes, pun intended).

 

 

Dark & Twisted…

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10.13: #4 Privet Drive

I remember reading Harry Potter and feeling so bad that he had to go home to his Aunt and Uncle until he reached 17 because it would keep him safe. I, however, felt it was something he had to go through – that it was character-building.

Freakin’ Funny.

Funny how after so many years I find myself in exactly the same predicament.

But it something I have to go through. It’s character-building.

And it sucks. Especially when, every night, you always wish you were somewhere else.

 

 

Dark & Twisted…

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01.13: To Never-Neverland and Beyond

Another year’s passed and, as always, I will always start with a list of books that let me journey to wonderful places and times that have passed or are yet to come. Although I think my list is relatively shorter in 2012 as compared to the year before, I think I’ll charge that to more training hours and a more interesting life :p

So here it is…

1. Hunger Games (from The Hunger Games Trilogy), Suzanne Collins
2. Catching Fire (from The Hunger Games Trilogy), Suzanne Collins
3. Mockingjay (from The Hunger Games Trilogy), Suzanne Collins
4. The Snow Queen (from The Five Hundred Kingdom series), Mercedes Lackey
5. Harry Potter and The Half-Blood Prince (from the Harry Potter Series), J.K. Rowling
6. My Name is Memory, Ann Brashares

Percy Jackson & the Olympians

Percy Jackson & the Olympians (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

7. Avalon High, Meg Cabot
8. The Tenth Circle, Jodi Picoult
9. The Warlock (from The Secrets of the Immortal Nicholas Flammel series), Michael Scott
10. The Immortal, Christopher Pike
11. Nineteen Minutes, Jodi Picoult
12. Tell Me Your Dreams, Sidney Sheldon
13. Bloodline, Sidney Sheldon
14. Are You Afraid of the Dark, Sidney Sheldon
15. Thirteen Reasons Why, Jay Asher
16. Twilight (from the Twilight Saga), Stephanie Meyer
17. The Lightning Thief (from the Percy Jackson and The Olympians series), Rick Riordan*
18. The Sea of Monsters (from the Percy Jackson and The Olympians series), Rick Riordan*
19. The Titan’s Curse (from the Percy Jackson and The Olympians series), Rick Riordan*

Jodi Picoult and Ellen Wilber

20. The Battle of the Labyrinth (from the Percy Jackson and The Olympians series), Rick Riordan*
21. Th
e Last Olympian (from the Percy Jackson and The Olympians series), Rick Riordan*
22. The Lost Hero (from The Heroes of Olympus series), Rick Riordan*
23. The Son of Neptune (from The Heroes of Olympus series), Rick Riordan*
24. Fifty Shades of Grey (from the Fifty Shades Trilogy), E.L. James
25. The Perks of Being a Wallflower, Stephen Chobsky
26. Looking for Alaska, John Green

Look up my new list here.

 

 

Ciao Bella!

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66 in ’12: Tonight, We Were Invincible

I should have done this when I was reading The Perks of Being a Wallflower, but that’s done and over with and now I’ve moved on to a new book: Looking for Alaska, by John Green.

To whet the appetite of those who have been reading my blog and those who want to join me in my many, many adventures in the world of books, here are some unforgettable moments…

*          *          *

“And in my classes, I will talk most of the time, and you will listen most of the time. Because you may be smart, but I’ve been smart longer.”
Dr. Hyde

“I would love to spend my remaining breath chatting with you about the finer points of Islamic history, but our time together is short. I must talk, and you must listen, for we are engaged here in the most important pursuit in history: the search for meaning.”
Dr. Hyde

She looked at me and smiled widely, and such a wide smile on her narrow face might have looked goofy were it not for the unimpeachably elegant green in her eyes. She smiled with all the delight of a kid on Christmas morning and said, “Y’all smoke to enjoy it. I smoke to die.”
Alaska Young

The next day, Dr. Hyde asked me to stay after class. Standing before him, I realized for the first time how hunched his shoulders were, and he seemed suddenly sad and kind of old. “You like this class, don’t you?” he asked.

“Yessir.”

“You’ve got a lifetime to mull over the Buddhist understanding of interconnectedness.” He spoke every sentence as if he’d written it down, memorized it, and was now reciting it. “But while you were looking out the window, you missed the chance to explore the equally interesting Buddhist belief in being present for every facet of your daily life, of being truly present. Be present in this class. And then, when it’s over, be present out there,” he said, nodding toward the lake and beyond.
Conversation between Pudge and Mr. Hyde

“Sometimes I don’t get you,” I said.

She didn’t even glance at me. She just smiled toward the television and said, “You never get me. That’s the whole point.”
Conversation between Pudge and Alaska

Just like that. From a hundred miles an hour to asleep in a nanosecond. I wanted so badly to lie down next to her on the couch, to wrap my arms around her and sleep. Not fuck, like in those movies. Not even have sex. Just sleep together, in the most innocent sense of the phrase.
Pudge

“Don’t you know who you love, Pudge? You love the girl who makes you laugh and shows you porn and drinks wine with you. You don’t love the crazy, sullen bitch.”

And there was something to that, truth be told.
Alaska, as said to Pudge

People, I thought, wanted security. They couldn’t bear the idea of death being a big black nothing, couldn’t bear the thought of their loved ones not existing, and couldn’t even imagine themselves not existing. I finally decided that people believed in an afterlife because they couldn’t bear not to.
Pudge’s Paper

The Great Perhaps was upon us, and we were invincible. The plan may have had faults, but we did not.
Pudge

More than anything, I felt the unfairness of it, the inarguable injustice of loving someone who might have loved you back but can’t due to deadness, and then I leaned forward, my forehead against the back of Takumi’s headrest, and I cried, whimpering, and I didn’t even feel sadness so much as pain. It hurt, and that is not a euphemism. It hurt like a beating.
Pudge

He was gone, and I did not have time to tell him what I had just now realized: that I forgave him, and that she forgave us, and that we had to forgive to survive in the labyrinth.
Pudge

And so that is the question I leave you with in this final: What is your cause for hope?
Dr. Hyde

When you stopped wishing things wouldn’t fall apart, you’d stop suffering when they did.

Someday no one will remember that she ever existed, I wrote in my notebook, and then, or that I did. Because memories fall apart, too.
Pudge

We need never be hopeless, because we can never be irreparably broken. We think that we are invincible because we are. We cannot be born, and we cannot die. Like all energy, we can only change shapes and sizes and manifestations. They forget that when they get old. They get scared of losing and failing. But that part of us greater than the sum of our parts cannot begin and cannot end, and so it cannot fail.
Pudge’s Final Paper

*          *          *

PhoenixFire, if it was just about surviving, getting by, and keeping things the way they are, then how would you explain imagination?

If it was just about sacrifice, selflessness, and altruism, then how would you explain desire?

And if it was just about thinking, reflection, and spiritual stuff, then how would you explain the physical world?

Get the picture, PhoenixFire? Want it all. That’s what it’s there for.

Vroom, vroom –
The Universe

*          *          *

Dear Universe,

I love him.

One day, we will meet.

Love,
PhoenixFire

 

 

Blessed Be…

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64 in ’12: A Kiss in the Rain

It was this line that first caught my attention.

“So, this is my life. And I want you to know that I am both happy and sad and I’m still trying to figure out how that could be.”
– Charlie, The Perks of Being a Wallflower

I recently finished the book and found myself profoundly moved as I read the last sentence. As I’ve told several friends, it was a book that had such an old voice being spoken by someone so young. It was almost too easy to forget that Charlie was only fifteen.

A friend of mine asked who I was among the characters in the book. Without a moment’s hesitation I immediately answered, “Charlie”. She laughed (as much as one could laugh over chat) and said, “You are so NOT a wallflower.”

Truth be told, she was right. I wasn’t the kind of wallflower Charlie was – the one who never got noticed. But so much of what he wrote resonated with how I felt (then, now, and probably always). I am a wallflower in the sense that I listen more than I talk. It’s been a running joke between me and some friends that my talent was to get people to spill their guts. It’s not such an extraordinary thing, really. It’s just that when I talk to people, when I ask them questions, the conversation stops being about me and starts being about them.

At the end of the day, I think we all want the same thing: to be heard.

It doesn’t matter if we tell our stories through poetry or prose, through colored canvasses or photographs, through melodies or movement. We are all story-weavers. And there is nothing we want more than others’ eyes to see us, ears to hears us, and hearts to understand us.

And yet I have learned is that those are the hardest things to find. Not all eyes are attuned to see what I see. Not all ears are ready to hear what I say. Not all hearts are open to understand how inexplicably different I am. Sometimes, it is a very, very lonely life.

“I don’t know if you’ve ever felt like that. That you wanted to sleep for a thousand years. Or just not exist. Or just not be aware that you do exist. Or something like that. I think wanting that is very morbid, but I want it when I get like this. That’s why I’m trying not to think. I just want it all to stop spinning.”
– Charlie, The Perks of Being a Wallflower

In the midst of loneliness, however, I think I will always need to hold on to the belief that there is something better out there. That, in some far off place, there is another who holds on to that belief as hard as I do. I will always need to believe that one day, even to just one person, I will be enough. I also believe that one day, there will be that one person who will be enough for me.

“If somebody likes me, I want them to like the real me, not what they think I am. And I don’t want them to carry it around inside. I want them to show me, so I can feel it, too.”
– Sam, The Perks of Being a Wallflower

Promise

I’m worth it too, you know.

 

 

Ciao Bella!

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61 in ’12: Dancing In The Rain

One book that I’ve always wanted to finish was Richard Templar‘s Rules of Life. Unfortunately, I lost my copy and I have spent the last year searching for another one. In vain.

But if there’s a will, there’s a way. I might now have found the book I was looking for, but I found several blogs (each of which are acknowledge at the appropriate segment) that shares several things to live by. Here is a list made up of several lessons from several sites. One day, I hope to add my own.

*          *          *

From Regina Brett
1. Cry with someone. It’s more healing than crying alone.
2. Make peace with your past so it won’t screw up the present.
3. If a relationship has to be a secret, you shouldn’t be in it.
4. A writer writes. If you want to be a writer, write.
5. The most important sex organ is the brain.
6. Time heals almost everything. Give time time.
7. Whatever doesn’t kill you really does make you stronger.
8. All that truly matters in the end is that you loved.
9. If you don’t ask, you don’t get.

From Nancy Sathre-Vogel
1. There is nothing to hold you back except you.
2. The only mistake that can truly hurt you is choosing to do nothing simply because you’re too scared to make a mistake.
3. Life is 10% what happens to you and 90% how you react to it.
4. Do what you love, not what you think you’re supposed to do.
5. Forgiving yourself is far more important than getting others to forgive you.
6. For the most part, it doesn’t matter what people think. Follow your own truth.
7. You never know how strong you really are until being strong is the only choice you have.
8. Sometimes good things fall apart so better things can fall together.
9. Life isn’t about waiting for the storm to pass, it’s about learning to dance in the rain.
10. When you stop chasing the wrong things you give the right things a chance to catch you.
11. It’s not about getting a chance, it’s about taking a chance.

From Marc and Angel Hack Life
1. Most of the time what you are looking for is right in front of you.
2. People deserve a second chance, but not a third.
3. Marry your best friend.
4. If you never act, you will never know for sure.

From Paid to Exist (Part Un)
1. Often those who aren’t the easiest to love are the ones who need it the most.
2. Money is not the root of all evil, fear is.
3. Every man has a right to choose his own destiny.
4. Be grateful for this moment, it is all there is.

From Paid to Exist (Part Deux)
1. Creatively expressing yourself is like making love to the universe.
2. The greatest gift you can give someone is your time.
3. Everyone is an divine artist, writing their own story each day, choose to write your story with love.

From Me 🙂
1. If you’re waiting for life to be easy or fair, you will be waiting for a really, really long time.
2. If you refuse to accept anything but the best, then that is what life will give you.
3. If you want to be with someone, then BE with that someone. No excuses.
4. Love me first. Love me second. Love me third. Because that is the only way I know how to love you.
5. You are worth it.

*          *          *

Options multiply, PhoenixFire, when insistence lessens.

And when the time is right, I’ll help you choose.

Be fruitful,
The Universe

 

 

Ciao Bella!

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