Monday, September 24, 2012

Can handwriting determine your ability to "Rinse your cottage cheese" ?

 Before the title start seeming intriguing to you, I just thought to share a story from Jim Collin's book "Good to Great". The context of below story is that Jim analyses the various factors that made some organizations reach eventual greatness and in the below excerpt, he lists one of the reasons-

We came to call this the "rinsing your cottage cheese" factor. The analogy comes from a disciplined world-class athlete named Dave Scott, who won the Hawaii Ironman Triathlon six times. In training, Scott would ride his bike 75 miles, swim 20,000 meters, and run 17 miles - on average, every single day. Dave Scott did not have a weight problem! Yet he believed that a low-fat, high-carbohydrate diet would give him an extra edge. So, Dave Scott - a man who burned at least 5,000 calories a day in training - would literally rinse his cottage cheese to get the extra fat off. Now, there is no evidence that he absolutely needed to rinse his cottage cheese to win the Ironman; that's not the point of the story. The point is that rinsing his cottage cheese was simply one more small step that he believed would make him just that much better, one more small step added to all the other small steps to create a consistent program of superdiscipline.

So, "Rinsing your cottage cheese" came to be known as a metaphor for the most disciplined people, who would go lengths of any proportions to ensure that they stick to the plans they have charted for themselves. In short, this was a metaphor for Super-disciplined people. Discipline is one of the consistent factor that would help determine what you eventually get to achieve before you call it a day. Discipline is more about choosing "Now" when your lazy self lures you towards choosing "Later". The more i think about discipline as a trait, the more it emerges as a multifaceted trait i.e. dependent on multiple factors. To simplify this further, this compound trait consists of the following sub-parts-

Will power :
Will power as a term is sometimes synonyms with Discipline. Dictionary meaning of the same is the strength of will to carry out one's decisions, wishes, or plans.

Perseverance :
Perseverance is an important element of Self discipline. It is an ability of an individual to stick to the plans despite the odds and difficulties. It is the ability to handle rejection or pain and keep going. This is what is called "Don’t Give up" mind-set, which is so much a part of disciplined people.

Self Control :
Discipline is about internal control. It is about ability to say "No" at the right moment at the right circumstances. A person exercising Self-control may be under tremendous strain from within as he is constantly try to control something.
Perfectionism: :
Excessive Perfectionism can be a negative trait but we are not talking about anything excessive here. If Self-control is about saying "No" and good part of being Self-disciplined also deals with saying "Yes" at the right moment. This ability to follow a code of conduct or a set rule comes from Perfectionism.

Can handwriting give clues about the various sub-traits that constitute discipline ? The answer to this is an emphatic "Yes".

Will power can be determined through one's handwriting by looking at how the horizontal "t" bar is formed. A heavy (high pressured) "t" bar is usually an indicative of Will power. You can notice this in M.F. Husain's Handwriting sample  here .

Perseverance  can be determined in one's handwriting by looking at the strokes forming the letter that goes back and the goes forward further on the right side. This can be noted in Aamir Khan's signature here .

Self control can be determined by looking at (again) how the "t" bar is formed. The concave "t" bar usually is indicative of Self Control. This can be viewed in Sachin Tendulkar's signature here .

Perfectionism can be noted in the handwriting sample which has a straight baseline. This can be viewed in Manmohan Singh's signature here .

So Handwriting does give some good clues that can help determine Discipline in one's handwriting. How well do you rinse your cottage cheese ?

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