Temperament Tip #7
How to Move Into the Nexus
My Insight colleagues and I often use the word nexus, as in “living in the nexus.” Because I don’t want you to confuse this term with a fabulous hair product (Nexxus.com) or an amazing news information source (Nexis.com), I’m going to explain what I mean when I use the word.
It’s a Latin noun which first appeared in Europe between 1655 and 1665 AD. It is derived from a verb that means to bind or to fasten. Nowadays, according to the Random House Dictionary1, the word nexus means (1) a means of connection; tie; link; (2) a connected series or group; (3) the core or center, as of a matter or situation.
Therefore, when you live in the nexus, you are forming meaningful connections with all the people with whom you interact. In our Insight vernacular, this means you first identify your own temperament, then you identify the temperament of other people, and finally you move or shift your interaction to a point where it becomes meaningful to the temperament of those people. What’s more, if those people also acquire some Insight, then they may be inclined to do the same for you. As a result, you will meet someplace in the center or the middle, see eye-to-eye for perhaps the first time, and start to form a bond that is strong and durable.
Let me give you an example. Let’s say you are a Gold parent and you want to find a way to interact on a meaningful level with your Orange son. While your heart is frequently frustrated with his carefree attitudes and behaviors, your head keeps nagging you to find a way to strengthen your relationship before you lose your influence completely. So you make the resolve to do something about it.
Congratulations! Committing to do something different is the hardest decision to make. Furthermore, you’ve also finished two-thirds of the steps because you know your primary color and the color of the other person. Otherwise, how would you know you are a Gold parent who has an Orange son.
Because you have spent hours and hours digesting my book, Standing Naked in the Shower: Life-Enriching Insights That Expose Human Nature, you know all about Blue, Gold, Green, and Orange temperaments. Drawing from this understanding of temperament, you recall that while Golds and Oranges have some attributes in common, such as their need to bring things to closure, they also have a number of characteristics that are completely opposite each other, such as how Golds value prudent planning while Oranges value extreme spontaneity.
So the last step you need to take on your journey to the nexus is to shift your style. How do you style shift? Well, there are two things you can do. First, you can focus on the things you have in common. Second, you can focus on doing more Orange behaviors and less Gold behaviors. Either option is good, and a little of both is probably even better.
Notice that the operative word in the last paragraph is “you.” I want you to focus on changing your behaviors. At this point, I don’t want you to think about changing other people’s behaviors to become more like your own. Sure, you probably have some good qualities, maybe even more than average, but that doesn’t justify trying to turn your son into a chip off the old block. Frankly, that’s a very selfish thing to do. Instead, you’re going to do something substantially selfless and focus on the other person rather than yourself.
As you interact with your son in the future, you will consciously make an attempt to minimize your own preferences and maximize his. You will exhibit behaviors which he values and understands. In short, you will do more Orange activities than Gold activities. You will constantly ask yourself, “How can I make this activity less Gold and more Orange.” Finally, you will also try to find something in common that the two of you can agree upon, something that is both Gold and Orange, like finishing a household chore so you can move on to something fun, fixing or building something with your hands and your hand tools, or participating in a competitive physical contest or event.
In time, your son may realize that you are earnestly trying to move closer to his perspective. Unless he’s completely convinced he’s the center of the universe (like you were at his age), he’ll see your efforts. Even though you’ll never be as good at doing Orange behaviors as he is, or derive as much joy from doing them as he does, at least you are making an observable effort. Your consistent efforts will pay off handsomely–both now and in the future. If it doesn’t, please write to me and explain your situation. Maybe I can help make it better.
And that’s it. That’s how you move into the nexus and build meaningful connections with other people. Let me recap the three steps:
- Identify your spectrum
- Identify their spectrum
- Shift your style and change your behavior so that you interact in ways that are meaningful to the other person
Now, go try this out this week. Here’s your assignment:
Think about someone with whom you are presently having a conflict. Identify their color as best as you can. Then shift your style accordingly.
Please let me know if you were able to make it into the nexus. I’d love to hear your experiences.
If you have struggles reaching the nexus, whatever you do, please don’t give up. This journey, like any worthwhile journey, takes a significant amount of persistence to complete. It certainly won’t be easy. In fact, the stronger your preferences are for one color over another, the more difficult it will be.
To understand the strength of your preferences, it might be useful to dig out your results from one of our valid personality assessments (i.e., Insight Personality Instrument, Insight Spectrum Survey, or Insight Temperament Test) and examine the scores for each of the colors in your spectrum. If your Gold and Orange score differ by more than 10 points, it is going to be fairly challenging; the bigger the difference, the bigger the challenge.
Have an insightful week!
1nexus. (n.d.). Dictionary.com Unabridged (v 1.1). Retrieved from Dictionary.com website: http://dictionary.reference.com/browse/nexus