Two things define you.

George Bernard Shaw says two things define you: Your patience when you have nothing and your attitude when you have everything.

That is the real question of life, is in it? “Who are you?” How are you defined and how do you define yourself? It’s hard to know in the quiet times. It is only when things get rough that we really find out who we are and of what we are made.

This quote singles out two specific situations for consideration. The first is how patient you can be when you have nothing. When you have nothing, you will, obviously, have quite a few needs. How patiently can you wait for that which you need? Can you, or do you get agitated and make a fuss?

The second situation in the quote is what your attitude is when you have everything. When you have everything, you need nothing, and by extension, no one. This is a test of how you treat people when you don’t have any need to be kind or helpful. Will you be nice, or will you be an obnoxious (something)?

These two situations help mark the boundaries within which you reside. We have all had situations where we had a great need. That was a test of who you were at that point in time. The same for the times when we had all we needed (for that moment, and in that aspect of our lives.

By keeping track of how we respond in trying situations, we can better judge where we need to improve ourselves. Remember, tests, even the ones at school, aren’t there to tell you you are a failure. They exist to test you and find out what you know.

If you use tests as they were intended and measure your progress and probe for weaknesses, you can continue to grow and become better at whatever the test is measuring. What do you want to learn about yourself? Devise a test and find out! Then analyze the results and plot your next move.

It’s just that easy. Try something (take the test). Look at the results (analyze the data). Think about what is next (plan your next attempt). Try it again. Repeat until you have reached the desired level of improvement.

Without tests, we would never know. How patient are you? How kind are you? Both in the easy times and in the trying times. How else can you measure yourself? How would you define yourself? How would you measure that aspect of your life?

What are the things you most value about yourself? Grab some paper and write a few of them down. Now consider each in turn. How would you test yourself in these aspects? If you valued honesty, and wanted to test yourself, what might you do?

It might be difficult to come up with casual scenarios, but you can set goals that the next time you are in a situation, you will attempt to do better than you have in the past. Eventually the situation will occur, and you can get your data, your feedback, right?

Take a moment and add some of these scenarios if you are having trouble coming up with a specific test (or set of tests). How will you help yourself recognize that you are in that situation? How will you help yourself remember to do better? Can you use a specific word or emotion as a trigger? Is that something you might want to write down?

Once you have been tested, all you have to do is figure out what went right and what needs improvement. What do you think the possible, or even probable, outcomes are for your tests? Can you think of what you might want to work on, given those ideas?

Testing in your mind is one tool, but you will need real tests from time to time, as you can get some unexpected results. You may find under stress, you don’t behave exactly as you thought you might. Emotions can do that to a person.

Even if you do not do anything with the information, life is always testing you. You might want to take advantage of this information and plan your next step.

We all have things we want to improve, or at least know that we should improve. Why not give it a try? – by Philosiblog on 10 September 2013.

Send us your comments on our website; or official Facebook Page; FS News Online and Twitter; FS News Online.

Until next week Tuesday, bye-bye for now.

Yours Truly
Tshepo Ishmael Phetoane