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Before looking into the relevance of profiling in relationships, first a little background.
Introduction People are different - but they are predictably different.
A personality profile helps predict how someone will react in a given situation, helping you understand what motivates them - and what they're trying to avoid.
And they can understand you too.
In his book "The Seven Habits of Highly Effective People", Dr Stephen Covey said: "Seek first to understand, then to be understood.
" In 1926 Dr William Marston, an expert in behavioural understanding and the inventor of the polygraph (lie-detector), devised a system to understand people's personality styles.
In his book "The Emotions of Normal People" he grouped people according to their active or passive tendencies, dependent upon their view of the environment.
The main styles identified are: D - Drive - "My Way" (3% of the population) I - Influence - "The Fun Way" (12% of the population) C - Compliance - "The Right Way" (16% of the population) S - Steadiness - "The Safe Way" (69% of the population) Of course there aren't just four styles, as everyone exhibits different levels of each of the four, resulting in an almost infinite number of combinations of the main styles.
In fact a profile that showed someone as all one style would be extremely suspect.
Your style, for instance, may be a combination of 'High D', 'Medium I', 'Fairly C' and 'Low S'.
No style is inherently 'Good' or 'Bad'.
The aim of profiling is to identify and play to your strengths, while utilising the self-awareness of possible weaknesses.
If you choose to share this knowledge with others, and they're willing for you to study their profiles, relationships can be transformed.
Suddenly you may realise that what seemed to be an irritating trait in your partner has value you never appreciated before.
The personality profile derived from the combination of the different levels of each style gives an amazingly accurate profile of the subject in: How they think of themselves; How others see them; How they act under stress; Their communication preference; Greatest fears; Greatest motivators.
Knowing your own preferred style, and that of others, can go a long way towards creating an environment in which Dr Covey's recommendation to "Think Win/Win" can flourish.
Responsibilities can be shared in a way that best utilises talents, instead of putting round pegs in square holes.
For instance a High C hates conflict, so their High D partner would be better suited to complaining about poor service.
When you understand a partner's greatest fears, this may explain many things that remain unsaid.
In the example above, the High D who enjoys a full and frank exchange of views, may finally realise why a High C partner repeatedly puts off making that phone call of complaint.
You will understand how to motivate your partner, how they set goals for themselves and how best to support them.
The High I 'big picture' goal-setter will often benefit from some detailed plans prepared by a High C family member.
You will learn possible growth areas - a High I may get a better response from others if they talk less and listen more.
A High S can try to be more open to change.
A high D and a high C may both come to appreciate the benefits of developing personal relationships, although these two will initially exhibit very different styles.
Graphs in the personality profile can identify normal individuals going through a tough time - for instance stress at work, or those too wary of making a move for fear of failure.
They do not identify mental health problems.
Different styles communicate very differently.
For example a high S working with a high D may withdraw in the face of the D's direct style, thus slowing down results.
When both are aware of their communication styles they can seek to modify their communication style and at least allow for the other's point of view, even though they are unlikely adopt it themselves.
Personality profiling terminology provides a less-confrontational language for pointing out a partner's unhelpful behaviour.
For instance, "You need to up your C today" is likely to be better received than "Don't you ever stop and think before you act?" Obviously any of this knowledge could be used exploitatively, but that is counter-productive to building good relationships and has no place in the ethical use of personality profiling.
If you fear that your partner might abuse the knowledge gained, it would be unwise to share it - relationship counselling would then be more appropriate.
Have you guessed what your style is? I guessed mine, before completing the questionnaire, and I was completely wrong.
However, I have to confess that, as I read the report, I could see that I was deceiving myself, and in fact the analysis knew me better than I did.
I wanted badly to be a High D - direct, dominant and demanding, instead I was a High C - compliant, contemplative and careful.
At first I was disappointed, but the point of personality profiling is to highlight strengths.
Don't be fooled into think that C and S styles are weak - they're not.
The more of the report I read, the more I realised that characteristics I was lukewarm about in myself are actually strengths I can use to move forward in a way that won't make me feel threatened and I now know (and recognise from the past) the pitfalls I need to avoid.
What is your partner's profile? Reading my own partner's report, with his permission, gave me a new insight into some of his character traits.
Knowing the motivation behind them helps me more deeply appreciate his talents and realise that we just have different ways of expressing ourselves.
How about your teenager son or daughter, now so difficult to understand? Think what it would be like to get into their heads and know what makes them tick.
The possibilities are endless - for self-knowledge and for better inter-personal relationships at home and at work.
For a free eBook on other benefits and applications of personality profiling and to download a free sample report visit the website below.