Sunday, January 25, 2009

Tao of Obsession

Back in the day when I was part of the "working" world and, like most people, had the unmitigated joy of going to job interviews, one type of question always befuddled me. The interviewer[s] would ask me either to name 3 positive or negative traits about myself. I suppose this type of question was asked to gauge a person's self-confidence and openness to criticism.

I always noticed at group interviews that none of my fellow applicants had the slightest problem answering this style of question. Each, in turn, would extol his/her positive attributes and would then provide 3 negatives that were actually backdoor positives (e.g., "I work too hard -- but it's because I always want to get the job done right").

When it came my turn, my answer tended to leave everyone -- fellow applicants and interviewers alike -- with a dropped jaw expression! I would explain that my personality exhibits certain traits that can be viewed as positive or negative, depending on a person's point of view.

For example. One of the hallmarks of my AS is that I'm obsessive-compulsive. Just stating it, in a sterile sense, makes it appear in a negative light, but there are many situations in which being obsessive can be a very good thing indeed!

Let's say a person is an investigative reporter, an attorney or some type of advocate. Being obsessed with getting the story right or defending a client or group of people against all odds is a noble trait. In many instances, only an obsessive person can win the day because the non-obsessive person would have given up long ago.

So, if you support the aim of the news article or the person/people being defended, you would view absolute persistence as a strong quality in a person.

If, on the other hand, you stand on the opposite side of the fence -- you believe the reporter's aim is bogus or the people being defended are as guilty as sin -- then such dogged persistence will be viewed very negatively. Such people are apt to say that the reporter or advocate simply can't let go and they're causing no more than a tempest in a teapot.

And that's how I view each of my personality traits. Every single one of them can be viewed in a positive or negative light -- it all depends on the reference point of the person doing the analysis.

I do understand, however, that my opinion on this matter probably is greatly influence by my AS. I readily recognize that a great many people don't understand this topic this way at all and, when I try to explain my reasoning, they look at me as if I just landed from the planet Mars.

But what can I do? I'm obsessed with explaining my take on obsession. ;-)

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