Facts and arguments about your future

Peter Urs Bender

Without knowing your birth date, I bet I can cast your horoscope. It will convince you I know all about you. Try this on for size:
Sometimes you are too honest about your feelings and you reveal too much of yourself. You are good at thinking things through for yourself and you like to see proof before you change your mind about anything.

When you find yourself in a new situation, you are very cautious until you find out what's going on, and then you begin to act with confidence.

Your personality has a few weaknesses but you can generally compensate for them. Sometimes you have difficulty making decisions and you have serious doubts about whether you've done the right thing.

You don't like being told that you can't do something and you become bored when you have to live with too many restrictions because you like a little change and variety in your life.

You are able to discipline yourself so that you seem in control to others, but actually you sometimes feel somewhat insecure. You wish you could be a little more popular and at ease in your interpersonal relationships than you are now.
Does that sound like you? When I try it out on people who attend my seminars, they always agree that it describes them nearly 90% of the time.

Even I am not immune. My colleague John Robert Colombo did the very same reading for me. He sucked me in completely. I agreed that 80% of it was 100% me. Everyone likes to hear nice things about him or herself, especially from a knowledgeable friend. How did you feel the last time you read a positive, flattering assessment of yourself and your behavior?

If I asked you how much of the above reading applied to you, and you replied, "It's me!" would you trust me to continue? The answer is probably yes. Such readings tend to create a measure of trust between reader and recipient that might not be warranted. Moral? Retain your left-brain analytical sense of "disbelief" when faced with what seems at first glance to be a remarkable character insight from someone you know doesn't know you.

Yet this so-called horoscope is quite calculated. It's not too difficult to figure out what people want to hear about themselves. There is no need to consult the stars or planets. Just think what you'd like to hear about yourself, and then write it down in a manner calculated to appeal to others.
To see just how well this works, compare it to the following reading. It's more or less the same, except the meaning of every statement has been reversed. Very few people would say it fits them. (However, I bet you have a relative who fits the reading perfectly!)

You charge into a new situation before you know what you're doing, but after you find out what's going on you lose confidence in yourself. You make up a lot of stuff about yourself, but you still can't impress people.

You never think for yourself and never change your mind-even when shown proof.

You have a lot of bad personality traits that you never try to overcome. You make snap judgments and never regret it.

You enjoy being told what you can and cannot do by others. You don't like trying new things.

You have no self-control and that makes you feel confident. You seek out people who don't like you, and then insist on spending time with them.

Astrological character readings can be fun, as long as they are viewed that way. But they can also have serious consequences.
On the other hand, you might like to try casting a horoscope for yourself. It can be fascinating, especially if you are prepared to listen to your inner voice. Properly used, a horoscope can be as revealing as a personality test, or a psychological profile. Horoscopes done as a form of self-analysis can be helpful in putting you in touch with your most intuitive feelings.

The great Swiss psychologist Carl G. Jung believed that fortune telling (and astrology is a form of fortune-telling) is a way of helping us get in touch with our subconscious. It's a way of coming to grips with "feelings" we have about life, but often can't elaborate.

What do human beings want to know about themselves?

Most of us want and need to know we're "nice guys". Very few of us want to be villains.

Most of us also want to know what the future will hold for us.

On that score, forget about horoscopes. They can't foretell anything. It's not too difficult to appreciate that if you're constantly angry with yourself and other people, you are likely to ruin more relationships.

Shakespeare's said: "The fault, dear Brutus, is not in our stars, but in ourselves that we are underlings." In other words, fate (the stars, planets, etc.) is not what drives us to be and do the things we do, but the personality within us. That's why I insist, "Your past was perfect to get you where you are today." Where will you be tomorrow? Look to your own past and your own desire and ability to change.

If horoscopes help you to make your day more productive…please keep on reading them. But remember what La Rochefoucauld, the 17th-century French statesman said: "Flattery is counterfeit money which, but for vanity, would have no circulation." Watch it!

Peter Urs Bender is one of Canada's most dynamic and entertaining business speakers. He lives and works out of Toronto. He is the author of four best-selling business books: Leadership from Within, Secrets of Power Presentations, Secrets of Power Marketing,, Secrets of Face-to-Face Communication, and Gutfeeling.
To read excerpts from his books visit www.PeterUrsBender.com.