You have probably heard the nursery rhyme “Monday’s Child” but here is a refresher. The lyrics were first published in A. E. Bray’s Traditions of Devonshire in 1838.
Monday’s child is fair of face,
Tuesday’s child is full of grace,
Wednesday’s child is full of woe,
Thursday’s child has far to go,
Friday’s child is loving and giving,
Saturday’s child works hard for his living,
And the child that is born on the Sabbath day
Is bonny and blithe, and good and gay.
I am a big fan of personality tests of all kinds. I have found that there is always something to be learned from taking a test (I like taking tests as much as I like making lists) and reviewing the overarching themes. The Myers Briggs indicator (ESFJ – “the persuader”) reminds me to slow down in interactions with those who tend more to introversion. Reviewing the traits of an Enneagram 3 (“achiever” or “performer)” cautions me to – you guessed it – slow down and stop trying to achieve all the time.
Of course, when we review personality test data, we often ascribe the meaning that we prefer when there is room for interpretation. One of my children, born on a Tuesday and prone to tripping, reminds me that there are multiple meanings for the word “grace.”
So even nursery rhyme personality tests interest me. I come from a family of geniuses. Seriously, my parents and siblings got the intellectual genes. I always needed to work hard and with persistence to keep up. Obviously, I was born on a Saturday. And I do feel like I have had to work hard for a living.
In her outstanding book Grit, Angela Duckworth asserts that the secret to outstanding achievement is not talent but a blend of passion and persistence she calls grit. “Even more than the effort a gritty person puts in on a single day, what matters is that they wake up the next day, and the next, ready to get on that treadmill and keep going. ” Does that sound familiar?
In our local government world, I know many colleagues with brilliant minds. But I am most comforted by the camaraderie of the huge number of us who got where we are through grit – and remain on the treadmill. Interestingly, pandemic leadership values grit over talent. If there were ever a work treadmill, this is it. Especially now, we simply keep going. Here’s to you my fellow plodders – this is our time.
How about you? On what day of the week were you born? Care to share any Myers-Briggs, Enneagram, or other personality test tips that have helped you in your career? Let’s practice – heads high, one step at a time.
Side note: While researching the nursery rhyme, I came across the poetry of Countee Cullen, noted poet of the Harlem Renaissance. This poem, about another child born on a Saturday, compares the lives of those born into wealth and those born into poverty. It’s a topical read.
Second side note: Did you ever put fall leaves between sheets of wax paper and then iron them? What was the point of that?