It is so easy to be opinionated about other people’s behavior. In fact, it is effortless to judge other people. We can talk in litany about the things that we don’t like about a new kid in the office, a new member in a group, or someone you just met. But what if we turn the tables around and you yourself take the time to criticize yourself. It’s difficult, isn’t it?
I remember the time when we had this out-of-town company teambuilding and our facilitator asked us to write down in our metacards our good and bad qualities as a friend and as a coworker. Many of us took a long time which words to choose to describe ourselves in four words. I even got annoyed with a coworker/friend, an old lady, who depended her answer to me by asking, “What do you think is my bad attitude as a friend?” See what I mean? We are so confident finding faults in other people, but to find faults within ourselves we cannot think of anything. Have we taken the time to do some self-examination ourselves?
Taking psychological exams can be uncomfortable to some people. I’d like to think that job interviews are another form of a psychological exam except that it is done verbally. Here, the interviewer will observe and judge the applicant’s communication skills and also his/her mental and emotional state based on how he/she answers the questions. In a few minutes to an hour or so, the interviewer will size up the applicant’s answer and try to discern if he/she replied to every question with all honesty. The applicant or the interviewee’s job, on the other hand, is just to answer the questions in a smart, professional way. Here, the applicant will be forced to do a self-examination while answering some of the questions. And this can be emotionally draining afterwards.
But here comes a book called Kokology, a Japanese psychological quiz game, a less scary way of self-examination (thanks to Tadahiko Nagao and Isamu Saito). I had fun reading and taking all the quizzes which gave me the opportunity to get to know myself more, particularly my hidden characteristics when it comes to desires, longings, dealing with stress and life, relationships and sex! I highly recommend this book. In fact, I lent this already to my younger brother who also enjoyed and laughed hilariously with the results, also I lent this to my female friend who is now enjoying it, and will be lending it to a male friend who is excited to take the quizzes.
Warning: Kokology can only be effective (and fun!) if the reader/participant is honest about himself. There is no right or wrong answer here.
Here’s a sample, a quiz that the authors titled as “You’re Only Human”:
“I can’t believe it! How could I do something so stupid?” We have all too many chances to say those words. Burned toast, coffee stains on paperwork, sleeping through the alarm clock, stubbed toes, missed exits – it’s human nature to goof up once in a while. Nobody’s perfect, and each of us proves that every day. Keep that in mind the next time you’re tempted to laugh at other people’s careless mistakes. After all, you never know when it’ll be your turn to wear mismatched socks to work.
You’re walking down the street, thinking of other things, when you stumble into a garbage can on the sidewalk and knock it over. What comes spilling out from under the lid?
- Nothing comes out—the can was empty.
- A pile of loose trash spills out onto the street.
- Apple cores, chicken bones, and other raw garbage.
- A well-tied black plastic garbage bag.
(I answered no. 3)
Key to You’re Only Human
In your carelessness you overturned a garbage bag, dumping out something that had been neatly shut away and exposing it for all the world to see. Your image of the can’s contents reveals things inside you that you try to hide from public view.
1. Nothing comes out—the can was empty.
People who gave this answer tend to live their lives without making displays or false pretenses. What you see is what you get. It’s this simple honesty that gives them their charm.
2. A pile of loose trash spills out onto the street.
Those of you who said the can was full of loose trash may seem to be straightforward and forthright to others but actually have a pile of unexpressed feelings locked up within. You may notice these feelings only as a general sense of frustration, but when you think about it, aren’t there places where you’ve been holding back from saying the things you really feel?
3. Apple cores, chicken bones, and other raw garbage.
People who imagined a pile of kitchen waste are suppressing their appetites and the natural desire for food. Maybe you’re on (or just avoiding) a diet. Or trying to save money by cutting back on eating expenses. Whatever the case, it’s taking its toll on you. There’s no need to overdo it, but it might do you good to spend a well-earned night out at a restaurant with friends.
(I answered no. 3. This is so true!)
4. A well-tied black plastic garbage bag.
People who saw a neatly tied garbage bag have a strong sense of self-control. Maybe too strong. You hate to show weakness or make complaints—your pride won’t allow it. But letting others know how you really feel is no sign of weakness. Loosen up the drawstrings and let in some air before all that garbage goes bad and starts to smell.