Keep Calm and Carry On—a British understatement—was a motivational poster slogan produced by the Government of the United Kingdom in 1939 in preparation for World War II, but now enjoys general currency as an expression of resilience --calling for persistence in the face of challenge. Definition: the power or ability to return to original position; to adjust or recover from adversity, crisis or disruption. We’re not preparing for war but pesky crises with a mate, children, work, family, friends, clubs, committees, church, synagogue or out and about demands resilience to remain calm and carry on.
What sustaining behaviors facilitate maintaining a cool calm and collected disposition when time- consuming recovery, skirmishes as traumatic as a fender bender, missing cell phone, billfold, tickets, passport, or important papers each interrupting routine affording little time to fall back on solid common sense in making wise decisions? I’ve asked around in an informal survey. Several have asked what part temperaments play regarding staying calm in a crisis. Before reading the examples, take a few minutes to recall the major preferences of your Myers-Briggs Temperament Indicator--if you know your letters--to compare with your own likelihood responses. A quick review of the four MBTI preference areas:
Extroversion – Introversion: Sensing(closer to the conscious world) -iNtuition (Ideas and possibilities) Thinking(Head logic)-Feeling (Heart logic): Judging (structured)–Perceptive (sPontaneous/unstructured). Keep in mind that everyone has all the preferences but differ in which are major or the shadow side.
Recently, I experienced mayhem when a large group of mixed ages that I was leading exploded after one kid made a snide remark about another. After it was over, my assistant remarked about how calm I remained. When I asked how she remained calm her answer was good advice for the rest of us should we find ourselves in a like-situation. I intentionally don’t think inwardly like, how’s this going to affect my reputation but always outwardly “What will benefit the kids the best?” K. (ENFJ) Extroverted Intuitive Feeling Structured (Judging).
I don’t stay calm, an Extroverted Sensing Feeler admitted. “I did notice, however, that during covid when having to work virtually from home that our office was calmer. I think the reason was that no one was interrupting me all the time.” M. (ESFJ) Extroverted, Sensing, Feeling, Structured (Judging).
Remaining calm has been a mystery to me because I don’t say anything because my tone would upset anyone who’s with me or myself. I just wait. But I just realized that I came through an anxious time recently feeling calm and credit the calmness to the prayers of the people who were praying for me. L (INFP) –Introverted iNtuitive Feeling sPontaneous.
One time when I experienced unusual anxiety and fear over my medical condition, I just got down on my hands and knees and asked the Lord to help me accept the medical news that I had just received. A calmness swept over me after that. D. (ISFJ) Introverted Sensing Feeling Structured (Judging)
Thinking of things that have helped me stay calm and get me through all the medical traumas that I have endured, would be ‘a mind over matter’-thing with telling myself that I am a strong person, taking deep breaths and repeating ‘be calm, this too shall pass’. My family and friends have always been my cheerleaders adding to many prayers that have made me a stronger person. A saying that I always have close at hand is ‘Let my strength be stronger than my fear.’ That’s my go to. S. (MBTI unknown).
I look forward to your blog on staying calm in distressing situations because that topic really hits home with me because responding very emotionally is the first instinct for me. I literally have to practice to be calm. I pray and ask God's help first. Next, I ask my friends to pray. Then I work toward doing what I know is right and that is letting go, and trusting God to handle the crises as only He can. Believe me in my case It is a work in progress. G. ENFJ Extroverted Intuitive Feeling Structured (Judging).
A retired gentleman shared “I take several deep breaths and exhale through my nose.” T. (INTP) Introverted iNtuitive Thinking (Head Logic) sPontaneous (unstructured).
Introverts dislike noise and confusion and Feelers (Heart logic) must have harmony in order to function. Thinking (Head Logic) people maintain their logic which neutralizes the situation. They may say little, which is normal. Following their lead is an excellent decision. Judging (Structured) Like to plan ahead and work their plan. The sPontaneous group, remain cool-headed as they handle physical and emotional crises---becoming structured in the process of disruptions. Otherwise, they prefer to be laid back.
I always projected when flying that if an emergency should develop, that I’d follow the Thinking Spontaneous person. I closely watched and listened as people would get settled in their seats for any telltale body language of sPontaneous Thinkers. I had my personal safety-net deplaning plan.
Introverted Feeling (Heart Logic) folks say little but may cry during settling of the problem. If they are Sensing, they will use hands-on technique in dealing with disturbances; if the Introverted Feeler is Intuitive, they also will say little but they are able to look beyond the present dilemma with ideas of positive solutions.
Extroverted Thinkers (Head Logic) are gifted in giving verbal direction. If they are Sensing, they’ll offer hands-on directives; if they are Intuitive, they’ll organize actions that have far reaching solutions. Continuing flying, I usually tell a Temperament Seminar group that ENTJ’s could organize an airport. If you have one in your family, you can confidently depend on them. Well, they don’t wait to be asked but cannot resist taking over. If no one else seems to be in charge, they gladly assume that responsibility.
If you would like information about learning your MBTI preferences, email me or go to my blog domain ruthmcrobertsward.com, click on my last book How to Get Along with Everyone…the first chapters give a simple interpretation. Personal Profiles can be found under menu. Just reading the profiles will help you identify your profile--only one will suit you. Knowing who you are and are not and identifying with whom you are living/working will expand your resources of understanding that will bring relief, joy and security.
The world offers roses, comfort, and ease and fulfillment. But life is not easy with relationships, schedules, health, weather woes and financial struggles. Constant modes of change add another layer of concern and possibilities of disturbances and crises that threaten understanding and serenity.
I was relaying to a friend what this blog was about, he said “How do you stay calm under duress?” My thoughts flew to three years ago when facing five neurological team doctors with Jim listening from his bed, and they informed us “the tumors have spread to the right side of the brain; time is brief.” While I stood there, I silently prayed for the Lord’s strengthening, aware that I must keep calm and carry on.
You will keep in perfect peace him whose mind is steadfast, because he trusts in you. Isa. 26:3. Because he is at my right hand, I will not be shaken. Therefore, my heart is glad and my tongue rejoices; my body also will rest secure. Ps. 16:8-9 (NIV).
Thank you, Father, for your peace and constant presence, even though.
in the throes of turmoil, we are often unaware of either.