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Personality And Spirit

The theory that I use is based on a model of personality that I learned in executive coaching training. Our personalities have three basic components: our language, our emotions, and our bodies. They intersect with one another like this:

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If someone has a personality characteristic, it shows up in each domain. This is a coherency-a way in which a particular trait manifests itself in physicality, language, and emotion.

For instance, if a person is outgoing and friendly in personality, you would expect her to have a relaxed stance, a friendly way of speaking ('Hey! How's it going? How can I be helpful to you? What are you doing this weekend?'), and an upbeat emotional state. If, however, the person has the proverbial 'chip on his shoulder,' you'd expect his chin to jut out, his conversational tone to be challenging, and his emotional state to be angry and turbulent. Think of someone who is arrogant, someone who is kind, someone who is diligent. You would expect these traits to be reflected in each domain.

In order to grow, a person must expand the boundaries of his or her personality. The only way to do that is to break an existing coherency. If someone is shy, she can begin to change her entire personality by adopting a strong physical stance. If someone has a chip on his shoulder, he can modify his personality by tapping into his feelings of gratitude and empathy.

We tend to be creatures of language, thinking primarily in words, and we can use our verbal facility to defend our inner selves. The concepts of 'lip service' and 'talking the talk' point up the fact that it's easy for us to change our words without changing our behavior. However, if we modify our body language or our emotional state, true growth is more likely to happen.

I believe that the same three-domain model holds true for creativity: Creative thinking can be stimulated through techniques that are language-based, emotion-based, or movement based.


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