“Let’s Take a Look at You” — Dr. Everydoctor
As a rule, Skipper Armstrong, the superintendent here at the Broom Factory, always sits on our personal evaluations. The reason, he says, is that a disconnected outsider gives a more objective assessment of our work. Since many of us are union men, we consider his words a bunch of bunk except for the part where he calls himself a “disconnected outsider.” We’ll throw that back at him next time we have a meeting about comp.
Anyway, much as we may dislike the super, we typically agree with the “don’t introspect too much” idea — too much navel-gazing and you wind up tripping. Nevertheless, we find a little personal evaluation helpful every once in awhile, so here’s our attempt to do it objectively without calling our boss in to watch.
We’re Westerners, unabashed, and we use historic Western thinking for our philosophy. If you don’t like it, find another site. But good luck, because we’re the third-best blogging broom factory around, and we blocked the IP addresses of those other two jerks.
The Judeo-Christian tradition breaks human action down into four categories: actions of the heart (will/affections), soul (character/personality), mind, and body. That’s how the commandment to “Love the Lord your God with all your heart, soul, mind, and strength” covers everything. So, to properly evaluate ourselves, we look at the actions of each part.
1. The Heart
In ancient Jewish literature, the heart is the “center of the will.” Despite the Valentine’s Day cards, modern Western thought tends to agree with this — just look at any basic psychology book and it will include emotions as a subhead under motivation. To test your motivations, and, specifically, your motivational development, ask this question:
“What have I done in the last week to have greater affection for that which is good and less affection for that which is detrimental?”
2. The Soul
The soul, the living you inside of your body — it can grow even though your body stops. Many people puzzle at the difference between personality and character, but they’re trying to call two pieces of the same fruit apples and oranges. Both are expressions of the soul, the parts people are usually talking about when they say, “That experience really stretched me.”
For an example of soul growth, consider the Christian idea that your spirit becomes conformed to that of Christ, but you’re still a unique image-bearer of God. It’s not a paradox. To test your soul’s development, ask:
“What have I willfully experienced this week that challenged my personal preferences and decisions, and how did I respond?”
3. The Mind
This is the first easy one. Intellect.
But in our bloated media world, you absorb all sorts of information that isn’t helpful along with some that is. So, question:
“What have I learned this week that has contributed to my life and the lives of those around me?”
4. The Body
The second easy one (philosophically). Your body doesn’t have to be growing to develop.
And this isn’t just “Are you getting lean and sexy?” This is your physical ability. Dexterity is part of it. Coordination is part of it. Physical memory is part of it. And yes, staying fit and healthy is, too. So:
“What have I done this week through my physical output to ensure better use of my time and improved quality in my actions/interactions?”
Count It and Move On
You’ll notice we framed each question as an end-of-the-week reflection. That’s about all it is. You check yourself; you see where you are; you recognize your place in this world; you go about your weekend.
Maybe you’ll see a place where you’re consistently slipping up — i.e. your thoughts are limited to “Walking around, looking around” as Jerry Seinfeld says. Well, if you actually care, and skippers do, then you’ll get a clue about developing. For Christians, this will help them “Love the Lord” more holistically. For everyone, it will help them love others more comprehensively. That’s how you want to move on.