Brian Ho (brianho) wrote,
Brian Ho
brianho

Reinventing Brian Ho

This is a self-assessment. I'm taking a look at who I am and what I know about myself in the hope of being able to identify my strengths and weaknesses as a first step toward self-improvement.  These are in no particular order (other than the relation of some to each other) and this list is surely incomplete.

I am an open book.
While I can hold other people’s secrets in the strictest confidence, I do not like to hide details about myself.  I may not always volunteer information, but it is very rare for me not to disclose something about myself upon direct inquiry if doing so serves some purpose beyond morbid curiosity.

This is why my LiveJournal has always been—and I intend to always be—completely public.  I do not have friends only or private entries.  If I am prepared to reveal something or have something I feel is worth saying, it is my intent to give everyone the opportunity to see it if they so desire.

I think this is an expression of my analytical side.  I like to make decisions based upon as much of the best information as I can obtain.  Under that logic, I want people to be able to evaluate me based upon the best information *I* can provide—not rumors, hearsay, and the like.  If you want to know something about me, just ask.

I want to fix problems.
I believe there is a solution to any problem—it’s just a matter of finding it.  Being unable to find the solution or feeling powerless to solve a problem is one of the most frustrating situations for me.  I can’t stand feeling useless.  It is one of the biggest blows to my self-confidence.

I can't stop getting older, but that doesn't mean I have to grow up.
I much prefer to approach life with a childlike sense of wonder and curiosity.  I want to be carefree and find the fun in the simplest parts of life.

It is so easy to get bogged down by the pressures and responsibilities of adulthood.  I certainly don’t want to be irresponsible and will give my best effort to the necessary tasks at hand, but I never want to lose the kid that still lives inside me.

I trust by default.
I want to believe people are inherently good and I tend to operate under that assumption.  I am quick to give the benefit of the doubt.  Yes, I definitely get burned by this on occasion, but I just can’t live with the cynicism and paranoia of the opposite.  However, if you manage to lose or betray my trust, you can expect my attitude toward you to become punitive.

I am not the extrovert I may appear to be.
People tend to regard me as outgoing and personable.  I am when I am within my comfort zone.  That zone, however, is actually relatively small.  Outside of it, I am actually quite shy and lacking in self-confidence.  The drive and will I wield easily inside the bubble are almost entirely absent outside of it.

I have a debilitating fear of failure.
I lack initiative outside of my comfort zone.  I am sure this has significantly held me back and limited me as a person.  I am so fearful of failing that I often do not even try.  I regard this as worse than failure in that not only do I not succeed, but I don’t even know if I could have succeeded.  The fact that I have logically come to this conclusion and still retain this fear makes this one of my weakest attributes in my own eyes.

I have even experienced some successes on the rare occasions I have overcome this fear, and those experiences usually were not at all as difficult as I had built them up in my head.  Yet, the fear remains.  I guess that moves it into the realm of phobia for being baseless and illogical.

I have an incredible drive hampered by inconsistent motivation and the aforementioned fear of failure.
I can accomplish anything I set my mind to.  The problem is getting my mind set.  I often fail to put the necessary dedication toward things that really matter in a relentless pursuit of things that really don’t.  Or, I simply talk myself down from commitment to a task—often as a result of my fear of failure described above.

Sometimes I don’t know when to quit.
Once I do get my mind set to something, I sometimes become fixated beyond any reasonable expectation.  It becomes about getting to the end even if that end no longer matters.

I need goals.
I need to know what I’m working toward so I can take steps to get there.  Without this, I tend to flounder and make no progress.  Checklists are good for me.  Even if the goals are small, being able to check them off of a list provides me with a sense of accomplishment and serves as good motivation for me to continue. 

I want to do everything.
This world is filled with seemingly endless opportunity and I am excited by many things, but I have difficulty choosing and prioritizing between all the things I need to do and want to do.  The result is that I often try to cram them all in, become overwhelmed, and am less successful at each.

I sometimes send the wrong message.
Sometimes my body language, tone of voice, or even the actual words I use send messages I do not intend.  I have a tendency to come across as condescending and put people off.  My mom first made me aware of this in high school and demonstrated its negative reception and counter-productivity in relationships I had with people—including her.  I try to be mindful of it and take steps to avoid it, but it still comes up periodically.

A great deal of my happiness comes from making other people happy.
I find that much of my motivation in life lies with how what I do will be received by others.  When I can have a positive impact on someone else is when I experience my greatest joy and fulfillment.  I can’t decide if this is selfless or the ultimate in selfishness.

This is who I am.
I am not one way with some people and another way with others.  Frankly, I’m not that clever.  I have enough trouble understanding just one of me without trying to juggle multiple personas.  I hope you like what you see and I am grateful that many people do.  Of course not everyone does, but I’d much rather be accepted for the real me.

I care what people think of me.
As a continuation of the previous point, I do care about how I am regarded by others.  Maybe it’s shallow, but I want to be liked and I thrive on validation.  I’m not going to deny who I am merely to seek approval, but I do take feedback and criticism to heart.

If I can earn a stronger relationship with someone through a change on my part, I will seek to do so if I feel that change is an improvement upon the person I already am.  Often such a change is the result of a revelation of something I had just not considered before.  Once I am made aware of how something I do affects other people, I may choose to change my default, unconscious behavior.

Sadly, I think most people are reluctant to provide this kind of feedback as they fear it will create a confrontation they would rather avoid.  I must concede that I share this feeling and only rarely have the courage to go through with telling someone something of this nature.  However, the greatest travesty is complaining about these things to others without addressing the individual involved.  I loathe when this happens to me and strive not to participate in this activity myself.

I am rarely angry, but my anger is extremely unhealthy.
At some point I made a conscious decision that anger was a waste of time.  In my assessment, all the agitation and stress of the anger response merits no positive result and can often make things even worse.  The blood boils and whatever caused it is still going to be there when I’m done.  I would rather direct all that energy toward solving the issue.  Or, I have found that the issue is often so small that it doesn’t even merit a response and can choose to just brush it off entirely.

Unfortunately, sometimes I am overcome with emotion and am unable to choose a more positive response.  I absolutely abhor the person I become when my anger comes out.  I am completely blinded by it and lose myself entirely.  It becomes about winning—at any cost.  I am deeply ashamed of how I have hurt the few people who have experienced it.

I am extremely optimistic.
I recognize and cherish that my life has been far more good than bad.  I’ve certainly had hard times, but better times always seem to follow as a natural course.  I draw strength from the recognition of this experience and am always on the lookout for the silver lining when things do get tough.

I make my own mood and I feel how I want to feel.
In general, I choose to be in a good mood and I am actually quite good at it.  However, I have used this as cover when things do get bad and as avoidance in dealing with issues.

I have forgotten how to cry.
I can remember crying a lot—especially in middle school and high school.  I don’t remember why, but at some point I decided to stop.  I think maybe I wanted to appear stronger and less vulnerable.  I think this may be one of my worst decisions ever.
Not often, but sometimes I do get sad or I want to share in someone else’s sadness as a way to show concern or make an effort to console.  The ways in which I now express that sadness seem horribly awkward and contrived.  I’ll feel the tears start to come and I seem to automatically block them before I even realize what I’m doing.

I can only remember two times that I’ve had a real tearful expression of sadness since high school: at my paternal grandmother’s funeral and when my mother died.  The latter was especially profound, but I find it somewhat disturbing that it seems to take death for me to overcome an entirely unnecessary defense mechanism.

Strangely, however, in the past couple of years I have found myself crying at movies or a particularly poignant story.  This experience lacks a personal connection to the tears, but I am hopeful it represents the beginning of a desired crack in this ridiculous armor.



This was a good exercise for me and something that I have been wanting to do for several weeks.  I had been putting it off because I knew it would take a long time—and it did.  I've been composing this for over four hours and, while it's long, I don't really have that much text to show for it.  But a lot of time and thought went into crafting this and I learned a lot through trying to explain the things I already knew about myself.  And seeing it all laid out like this gives me a new form of perspective.

I've been working on this person I call me for quite a few years now.  I am generally satisfied with the person I have become, but there is certainly much room for improvement.  There's a lot here to work with.  It is my sincere hope that I can use it to play a more active role in continuing to find and shape who I am.
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