Have you ever done a personality test? There are plenty to choose from – Myers-Brigg, the Enneagram, DISC, 16PF, and OCEAN to name a few.
I saw the latter mentioned recently. OCEAN stands for five broad amalgamations labelled as Openness, Conscientiousness, Extraversion, Agreeableness, and Neuroticism. But rather than go into each of those individually, I’m struck by the acronym – wouldn’t it be much simpler to say that everyone is an ocean?
An ocean is entirely subjective. Majestic and terrible, full of secrets and beauty, raging and tranquil, inspiring and terrifying.
Oceans provide and take away, ebb and flow, make some things secret and expose others. Oceans sustain life. They are full of beauty. They accommodate the largest and the smallest of things. They hide things we fear and are in some ways impenetrable. Oceans capture our imagination and stimulate our emotions. They can hold us gently one day and drown us the next. They are constant yet constantly changing… I think we’re all oceans.
But even oceans are affected by other things – climate, temperature, the rotation of the earth, the gravitational pull of the moon, and those pesky, grubby humans. So too, we are impacted by a variety of external forces that we must endure, accommodate, respond to, or reject.
I suppose we need to imagine how we engage with those external forces.
Do we thunder down on them like a tsunami, full of power and rage, inundating and drowning? Are we the gentle waves on a protected beach, shaping and moulding always, but soothing and calming at the same time? Are we somewhere in between? Our method of engagement can and should respect the enormous power and impact that we have on our family, friends, colleagues, and strangers.
Next time you gaze out at the ocean, take a moment to gaze inwardly as well. There is something to learn from our kinship with the ocean – we’re 60% water after all.