Sunday, September 21, 2008


*sigh* Myers Briggs, move aside. Apparently, there's a new quadrant available that more aptly describes personality traits, the DISC: Drive - Influence - Steadiness - Compliance.

Notice how they put my personality type last? ... Jerks.

I've known about this new assessment for a couple of years now, because every year, a few times a year, Amway (now called Amway again, thank God, and not Quixtar) sends in some trainers to Mike and Pinky Malovic's organization to help us improve. Our sponsoring rates are among the highest in the world — Mike and Pinky are very good disciples of their mentor, Rex Renfrow, who has the largest autonomous organization within Amway — but are sales rates are among the lowest in the world.

So, Amway comes in to teach us balance. For free. And then a week later calls up each participant, and interviews them for 1-2 hours to improve the course. And then they do.

Please read that last paragraph again and tell me of any other organization in the world that does the sum of those things.

One of their improvements is that brought in a successful sales distributor, Giove ("Joe") Pici, to talk about people. I like Joe; Joe is a very D direct person. If I'm going to be trained in something, it had better be somebody who is better than me in the subject matter, and they had better get to the point expeditiously. Joe does that, with confidence and with the surety of authority. Not many people get past first base with me in the "knowing the subject matter" department; Joe does. Did I mention that I like Joe?

So, I show up to the meeting at 8:55 am (breakfast starts at 9 am) with Gödel's Proof (studying the enumerable property of categories, don't you know). So, after Joe set up, he sauntered over to me in a friendly fashion and asked what I was reading. Getting to know his audience (of one, so far), as any friendly instructor would, you see. I handed him the book and explained:
Gödel's proof is a discourse about using the laws of the Principia Mathematica to show that it itself, and any system than claims completeness, is inconsistent.
As I explained, I watched his face and his jaw fall. I could read his thoughts — This is not what us eyetalian from Neu Joysy talk about over pasta on Wednesday nights... — so, instead he lied very politely by stating a fact made obvious to him: "You're really smart, aren't you."

I didn't see any point with equivocating with this guy. "Yes," was my answer. But then he did something I didn't like. He said, "Hey, Mic," calling over the conference organizer, "come over here. Doug, explain to Mic what your reading."

I sighed (I catch myself sighing often; I guess Nana was correct to call me her "Charlie Brown." God, I miss Nana. You had better be taking good care of her, please) and explained. Mic nodded, indulgently. Joe then went out to chat with Mike and Pinky, I later found out, because Mike relayed the conversation. Joe said: "There's this guy in the conference room reading a book that I didn't even understand the explanation of!" Mike's immediate answer was, "Oh, that must be Doug."

I hate that. I don't mind being recognized or praised, if my actions are worthy of such attention. But "Wow! a kid's reading a book to learn something; that's amazing!" I mean, shouldn't everybody be doing that? What's so laudatory about self-improvement. Isn't that what the purpose of this seminar was, at base, anyway?

Sandy Frazier came in with Sandy Foster (I'm still grieving; I miss Joel). Sandy (Foster) went out for some breakfast; that's when I noticed something about Sandy (Frazier). "You look happy," I told her, and she thanked me. No, that wasn't correct, so I tried again, "You seem to be radiating inner peace." She didn't flinch away, as people normally do from my weirdness. "Thank you," she said, "I got to spend some time with God this morning." Ah. I mentioned that we're told that special time is so vital, but that so few people make the effort to do that. "Yes," she responded, "of course, I read the Bible, but I've found that journalling has helped me listen more." Diane would be please with her confession: she, too, has been journalling, and I've seen the improvement to her equanimity. I agreed: "Hm. It can be easy, reading the Bible, to be an inactive participant, but journalling requires your effort." Sandy (Foster) returned, and we chatted amicably, about our plans to go to the Pink Bicycle for Isabel's birthday Tea. Sandy (Foster) asked what she should get for Isabel on her birthday, so I recommended a few books on mathematics that would help her down the road (because they would help me now). Others had arrived by then, Gene and Donna Dwyer, and Donna interrupted my monologue and Sandy' blank stare with a whispered: "Ask Diane instead!"

What I did learn at this conference was that polar opposites in the DISC types can, in fact, work together to achieve so much more than if they worked separately. Michael (the definition of a D) and Faye (the textbook of an S) Edmonson are the strongest organization in the Malovic team. Just like Bill Britt storms the castle walls, busting right through them, and Peggy follows right along, smiling at her Bill, making sure everyone's okay, Mike and Faye stormed and cruised right up to and past their level of success. Amway has taken note of this couple, and for good reason. It happened to be their anniversary, and I happened to know, because it happened to be my anniversary. So I thought it would be nice for the team to wish them well on this special day. I purchased a greeting card, and handed it off to more capable hands: Gene Dwyer's and Pinky's, both strong I's, both polar opposites to me. It took them three hours to work the crowd, discreetly avoiding Michael and Faye, but they loved every minute of it, because they like people, and they got everybody in the conference to sign the card.

That result was a vast improvement over anything I would have accomplished. They like people; my feelings about people, qua people, are the dual. I have a Comonadic relation with liking people. On the other hand, I types are impulsive — they had no idea about their anniversary, after 15 years of associating with them; calendar? planner? What's that? — whereas C types are always calculating, always sizing up the situation. Working together, we made a very nice gift for them. Mike Malovic led the singing of "Happy Anniversary" (he's a professional opera singer) for them. And then, of course, Sandy Foster, in on the game ("Doug, how did you know it's their anniversary?" "Because it's ours.") signalled for Mike's attention.

Um, no. I would not allow a well-meaning, but spur of the moment, action cheapen the gift to Michael and Faye. Sandy was going to have everyone recognize my own occasion, but I wasn't having any of that. I hsst her into silence.

But Sandy, another Über-I, is always in my good graces (I hope I could say the same for the contrapositive case). She had earlier asked Joe a question, in her inimitably I-style, about selling to an AVON™ lady; Joe's answer: "Products do not have politics."

Huh! Just simply seeing an AVON™ sticker on the back of a car gets my back up, for no other primordial reason than enemy! I just learnt something from Sandy. I leaned over to her and soto voced "Good question!" She looked pleased.

Pinky interviewed me after the conference. "Did you learn anything here, Doug? Not that I'm pushing you to build your business more. No, really, I'm not, but I was curious if you got something from today." *sigh* It seems that more than of the few people close to me are I types. I smiled at her and turned the question around, as I didn't think my answer would be helpful, having a near-perfect memory and having had this material at least three times before from these special Amway conferences. "Oh, yes," she answered me breezily, but knowingly. She's known me long enough to read my hesitancies, "I learned a lot about TINs, 30-day B2B deferred payments and sales!" So, I challenged her, "But don't you have those already set up in your business?" She smiled in return. It appears two could play the circumspection game. But, of course, my business wouldn't exist without Mike and Pinky's guidance. It was Mike who introduced me to Joel who got me my first job in software. It was Pinky who goaded me with my one successful sale, "You should order ten more and sell those." They were model train sets, deeply discounted post-Christmas from $150 to $20. I didn't sell ten more; I sold seventeen more. That's when I learnt that I am the greatest salesman in the world. And I used that learning to help me break into the field of artificial intelligence and helped me to help the company for which I'm currently working close a contract that could become a multi-year multi-million dollar. C's and I's working together. There is a God.

The happy postlude to my silence about our anniversary is that Diane was the lector for the Filipino Mass, she read from Isaiah in clear Tagalog, and then, the offertory prayers included the following:
That Douglas and Diane Auclair have a blessed wedding anniversary. Let us pray to the Lord.
As many Filipinas know us from Paaralang Pinoy, we had half the congregation wish us a happy anniversary, and then we celebrated with some bing soo at Le Matin de Paris (that is French), and so it was indeed a happy one.

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