Personality Tests are not Horoscopes: but They Can Be Helpful

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A lot of people take issue with personality tests. I used to be one of those people. The objection is clear: No individual unique person is exactly like any other person. And putting people in a box isn’t helpful. And besides, those results never really capture who I am.

It’s true. Every person is unique. No one can be summarized in a simply personality box. And often the results of personality tests are inaccurate.

Why have I come round to appreciating personality tests? Mostly because I began to see them for what they actually are. A helpful rephrasing of accurate information I already know about myself.

Personality tests can’t reveal anything you don’t already know. Continue Reading

Seven Tips for Improving Communication

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Whether it’s a good friend, a child, or a spouse, we all have someone in our lives we’d like to communicate better with. Here are seven tips that can help:

|ONE| It takes time. I don’t just mean that it takes a while to move from bad communication to good communication, which is true. I mean that it presumes you have a lot of “margin” time. If your life is rushed, if you are rushed, there is no space for that communication.

If you only really see your spouse for 30 minutes in the evening, during which time you are checking your phones or too exhausted to do anything but watch a show, there is no space. If you only see your teen in between school and violin practice and tutoring, there is no margin time.

Good communication can survive through busy seasons only if time and space are the norm. Continue Reading

Coming Up Blank

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Last week I had a creative project to work on. I needed to come up with an idea, but I found myself completely and utterly blank. Usually I can think of something, however bad, to start with, and then edit and analyse and improve… but this day I was empty. I couldn’t even think of one single terrible idea, let alone a good one.

Still, I was trying to be disciplined and so I took Ann Pachett’s advice and applied it to my situation. I went to a coffee shop with a notebook and a pen and I just sat there, staring at a blank page. Continue Reading

Margin in My Mornings

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I am not a morning person, and likely never will be. If I have to rush around in the mornings, I will be unhappy for the rest of the day. Both my body and my mind need time to wake up, gradually and quietly.

If I am rushed in the morning, my day is pretty much ruined. I feel stressed the whole day, as though there’s an itchy tag scratching at my soul. No matter how much I try to adjust, there’s something bothering me.

In an effort to be less stressed, I’ve started to try and build more margin into my day. Here are my morning practices: Continue Reading

20 Minutes a Day

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Ann Pachett has some great advice on writing that applies to an awful lot of our endeavours in life:

“If you want to write and can’t figure out how to do it, trying picking an amount of time to sit at your desk every day. Start with twenty minutes, say, and work up as quickly as possible to as much time as you can spare. Do you really want to write? Sit for two hours a day. During that time, you don’t have to write, but you must stay at your desk without distraction: no phone, no Internet, no books. Sit still quietly. Do this for a week, for two weeks. Do not nap or check your e-mail. Keep on sitting for as long as you remain interested in writing. Sooner or later you will write because you will no longer be able to stand not writing, or you’ll get up and turn the television on because you will no longer be able to stand all the sitting. Either way, you’ll have an answer.”

—From “The Getaway Car” in This is the Story of a Happy Marriage


What do you need to try for 20 minutes a day?