When the Impractical Route Is the One to Take

Ray and I could be poster children for the impractical. Our entire married life has been a reflection of this approach to life, from buying and selling antiques early in our marriage – not the most “practical” profession – to moving to Los Angeles from our town of Sherman, Texas – not the most practical of moves.

Alas, we did try once to operate with practicality in mind – we moved back from LA to Sherman shortly after my brother died, the person who had encouraged us to move to LA in the first place.  The Texas return seemed to make the most sense. After all, we owned a house outright and I took a perfect job for me: the executive director of a drug and alcohol prevention program. We made it exactly eight months. Despite economic security, we simply were not as happy as we had been in LA and we made the very impractical decision to move back there even if it meant we might have to toss burgers to make ends meet.

We have never regretted that decision to move back to Los Angeles (and we never had to toss burgers) though we do love Texas and eventually bought another home there so we could visit. But, for us, the return to LA was the right choice even though it involved a fair amount of risk.

A few years ago, I discovered a personality test online called the Keirsey Temperament Sorter and Ray and I both took it. We came up with the same profile except on the extrovert/introvert scale. The Keirsey is like the Myers-Briggs and Ray scored as an ENFP and I scored as an INFP. The E and I are extrovert and Introvert, the N is intuitive, F is feeling, and P is perceptive. The gist is that these personalities are Idealists and operate directly from intuition, feelings, and perception, not logic. Based on our personality types, if things don’t feel right, then we are just not going to do them for long, no matter how practical they may seem.

Sometimes the most logical choice simply isn’t the right choice. Particularly if you have another option that you really would rather choose but are having trouble justifying. I know from our many years of trying to decide whether we should live in Texas or California. On a pros and cons list, Texas won hands-down. This was where we owned property outright, where our family was, and where life was easier on a day-to-day basis. However, as Idealists, California holds an intangible allure for both of us. LA is the land of dreams and despite the fact that many people end up waiting tables rather than becoming movie stars, there is a “Go West, Young Man” spirit that permeates the city. Many people there have actively chosen not to operate out of practicality, but rather from their dreams. They may not “make it” in the way they expected, but they have the satisfaction of having tried.

Ray and I returned to LA with no idea how we were going to make money. The only thing we knew was that we wanted to live in LA. The money has come – even if the recession nearly killed us – and we have made friends with lots of people who are as crazy as we are in terms of jumping off the cliff and seeing where we’ll land.

If the practical feels right, then by all means make that choice; but if it doesn’t, then trust your intuition and go where your heart leads you.  Sometimes a little risk can make all the difference.  Sometimes, it can change the course of your entire life.

Here is the Keirsey link, if you’re interested.  You can take the temperament sorter test for free. http://www.keirsey.com/

2 Comments Add yours

  1. Linda Dudley says:

    First, I want to make a comment about a class I just finished with Circle Story. Breaking the Silence was the name of the workshop and I really loved it. Mary Tuchscherer is a wonderfully thoughtful and brilliant coach. I enjoyed and benefited from it so much that I am taking it again in the spring.

    Also, I loved your post today. I took the Meyers-Briggs Indicator when I was about thirty years old. A therapist I was seeing thought it would help me get clarity as I was working my way through some “developmental” issues. It did. I was an ENFP then. A few years ago I took it again. I have moved up closer to the I but otherwise stayed the same. I will be taking the Keirsey Temperament Sorter very soon. Here we are…a couple of 70 year old women trying to ourselves out !

  2. Hi Linda,

    I am so happy to hear that you enjoyed and benefitted from Mary’s class. Even more pleased to hear that you’re taking it again. Also, I’m pleased that you loved my recent post. That is music to my ears. Yes, two 70-year-olds who are still in search of answers. That sounds okay to me! It means we’re taking chances and growing.

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