Tuesday, 26 January 2016

Surveying Things - Why do I fall for those questionnaires?

I'll admit it to anyone.  I'm a sucker for those tests with names like "how happy are you?", "is your partner right for you?".  I just caught myself today reading partial results of a survey by a Harvard professor carried out on X number of males over Y number of years.  It seems as we get older we prefer quality in our relationships rather than quantity.  Do I profit from reading this result of hours of copious research?  I don't think so.

I mean, if you start analyzing why you're happy, most likely you're not.  Or you're bored, or maybe you're hoping something startling will come up that will change your world.  I think most of us are happy - not all of the time, that would be boring, but most of the time.  So why do we need all these surveys and books on self-improvement and stuff like that?  Certainly they are very useful, they can prod us into admitting that we make this or that mistake.  I have personally profited from reading different books on coping with life's problems.  Almost all of them say the same thing, don't they?  And I guess it just depends on whether you like the author's style.  There's usually a new version of the same thing out every year so something for everybody, right?

Why do we read this stuff, attend seminars, keep journals?  Personally I find some of it a lot of fun.  You can always learn something new.  Do we really alter our personalities, though?  I'm inclined to think that for most of us the answer to that would be -yes/no.  We try some of the methods then we slip back into our old habits a lot of the time.  That's being human.  Besides, there's something irritating about people who refuse to be fazed by anything and have their lives completely under control, isn't there?   It's like visiting someone's home and finding everything in its place, neat and tidy, no dust anywhere and every bit of furniture matches the design of the place.  Wouldn't you prefer a place where the sofa cushions are a bit shabby but your hostess has a story of how she got them?  Or the sofa is wrecked because the kids have been playing on it or the dog likes to sleep there in the afternoons? 

I remember when I was diagnosed with cancer and undergoing chemotherapy I promised myself that when I got back on my feet again I would never ever make a fuss about little things.  Did this noble resolution last?  No, it did not.  I was about a week back at work when I flipped my lid about someone not putting paper in the printer when they'd used it up.  Dooh!!!

I can't be cured of those self-help, what-type-are-you questionnaires and although I don't buy any more self-help books, I do skim through them in the bookshops just to see if I'm missing anything.
I guess nobody's perfect, right?

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