Our Quirks Hold Clues

As I was walking out of the mall at lunch today it dawned on me that our individual quirks can hold clues about who we are and help unlock secrets to overcoming obstacles in our path. How did I get all this wisdom from one little trip to buy new underwear you might ask?

First let me say that while I’m not a big clothes person, I do manage to look presentable and professional except when I’m slumming at the house or out on one of my adventures (at which time I’m decked out in gear for the occasion). I’d describe my wardrobe as classic, not too flashy or trendy, and neat/tidy. Growing up I didn’t dare look like something the cat dragged in unless I was playing in our own yard and that appearance ethic has stuck with me.

So, why is it that I have such resistance to going out and purchasing new underwear? For some reason I think nothing at all of coughing up $10-25 for a nice bottle of wine yet I’ll whine for days when I have to go spend the same amount on underwear. While we all have our favorite, worn in briefs, there comes a point where one just needs to overhaul the dresser drawer and start anew. That point in time for me was about 3 months ago and it took me until today (much to my partner’s chagrin) to get around to it. The good news is that JCPenney was having a sale and the only types of briefs I will wear were not only on special but they actually had my size. Miracles do happen! So now I’m all set for a long time.

My point is not to share intimate details of my underwear purchasing patterns, but to shed light on the fact that little quirks like these (we ALL have them) can hold clues to who we are. And, since they are practically ingrained in us we don’t tend to notice when these quirks are at play in other, more important areas of our lives. As a result, sometimes we find ourselves stuck facing an obstacle (or repeating dead end patterns over and over) and wonder why we can’t see the solution.

For instance, if I look at myself in this situation several things pop up to me:

  • I resist spending money on things I need that I don’t particularly value. (Yes, I value wearing underwear and would certainly miss it if I didn’t have any, it’s just not on the top of my list of things that excite me whereas a new biking jersey would).
  • I don’t like to let go of things or people that I’ve become familiar with, comfortable having, or attached to. It’s pretty clear how this could prevent me from giving up something that is “good” to reach for something “great”.
  • Since I don’t enjoy shopping I need a system to make it convenient for me to make these needed purchases. This translates to other areas of my life in that I need to ensure I have a system in place to support me in doing the small, needed stuff (or tasks I don’t enjoy) so that I can achieve my bigger goals.
  • Keep a reserve of essential resources. It’s not like I didn’t have ANY new underwear. In a pinch I could whip together several ‘tag still on’ pairs from deep in my closet to meet my needs. It is always easier to navigate life’s events (and our quirks) if you have a reserve to tap into.

What little quirks do you have? If none come to mind, ask someone very close to you. They are most certain to name a few right off the bat. Then, in the spirit of lightness and fun, ask yourself, “What do these little quirks have to teach me?” I’d love to hear what you discover. Please share them by posting a comment.


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Google+ Comments


  1. Lyle Lachmuth - The says:

    Interesting idea Paula!

    We all have quirks… .well except me. 😉

    And, those quirks help focus our uniqueness.

    I LIKE IT!!

    Thanks…. now I gotta go figure out my quirks.

    The Unsticking Coach

  2. Michelle Halbsgut says:

    I would say my biggest quirk and my friends and family know this is, keeping my spices in alphbetical order. But is that really a quirk or common sense? I bet I can find my tarragon before you!
    I don't know, makes absolute sense to me.

    Anyway, I'm sure I have more. Let's see? Nope, can't think of anymore. Only kidding, of course.

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