I saw a graph about when anyone is most likely to have a birthday. My mom and ex-husband and now-husband all have a birthday in the first week of April. This is statistically unlikely and it makes me think there is something I should know about astrology.
But I have cognitive dissonance to becoming an expert in astrology because I think you’ll think I’m crazy and then I won’t be able to blog about it, and there is no point in being an expert in something I can’t blog about – like when I battle with my editor where I write about
my ovulation and my fascination with my mucus something and he cuts it.
But I like graphs because they make numbers into pictures and numbers seem more true to me than hunches. Like, I had a hunch that I’m working fifty-hour weeks, because I’m always squeezing work in between other stuff, but then I graphed my time and it turned out I am working about thirty hours.
When I was randomly clicking links to avoid facing the problem of how much I’m not working, I found a graph in the New York Times about how you can estimate how many grades above average a kid will be by looking at the median income of their school district.
On my education blog I write about how if you take a poor kid and put them in a rich school (busing, vouchers, whatever) the poor kid doesn’t score any higher. So it’s how rich your parents are, not how “good” the school is. (Which means there are no good schools because school doesn’t impact a kids education—it’s only the parent’s income.)
My brother sent me a link to IQuantNY which shows a graph of how many tickets get issued in different parking spaces in New York City that are actually legal parking spaces. The guy uses photos from Google maps and records of tickets issued to create a huge list of ill-gotten tickets.
If you scroll down the page you see that the police department issued an apology. And a commitment to do better in the future. I don’t know which blew me away more—the ingenious use of data collection or the lovely apology letter the data analyst published.
The graph at the top of this post is about how much different types of people like to read. Before we discuss the graph, let me say that I think our society really overvalues reading and really undervalues doing (both in the name of learning). And it’s a joke that kinesthetic learners are forced to sit in school for 18 years while told that if they do well they can get jobs where they sit in offices, as if the goal in life is to avoid all kinesthetic everything. It reminds me of how my clearly-left-handed mom was forced to learn to write with her right hand in 1950.
The first thing I noticed about the graph is my older son is the personality type that reads the most, and my younger son is the personality type that reads the least. The next thing I noticed is this is a good example of how personality type is relative. For example, if you ask an INFP if they like to read, they’ll say yes. But relative to all 16 types, INFPs are not readers, they are thinkers. INFPs like to be alone, staring into space, organizing their very complex brains.
The biggest reasons we mistype ourselves is because we don’t realize how we fit relative to the rest of the world. Did you think you were a big reader but you are not an INTJ or INFJ? Then probably you are not as big a reader as you think. Do you think you are good at sports but you are not an SP? Then probably you have other thoughts that interfere with being focused on the moment. (Professional athletes have fewer thoughts than normal people.)
The problem I’m talking about really, is getting caught up in what other people care about instead of what you care about. It causes us to see ourselves in such a clouded way that we don’t see ourselves accurately.
So now I realize why I worry about not being at the top of my work game. It’s not that my career is bad—my career is great (I make good money and I do what I like to do) but I used to work at a higher level, years ago, when I was willing to give up all my time with kids. Back then was like being in a gifted program in school. And it brought up my game. And it’s hard to not be that now. Being in the gifted program is a lift to anyone.
So I know I’ve performed at a higher level in the past. I used to be good at meeting deadlines, picking up the phone, posting four days a week. And, people who are Aries really appreciate those traits, which okay, maybe doesn’t matter, but clearly I surround myself with people who care about punctuality and productivity.
Then I decided I needed to homeschool. I looked at the world and made choices that put my kids before work and now I’ve disappointed pretty much everyone who works with me.
I have missed so many deadlines that people are starting to think I’m intentionally sabotaging. So I’m going to be like the police department: To all the people I’ve wronged with my questionable working hours: I’m sorry.