Copyright Tam Black 2013 Edited for May 2013 by permission
Copyright Tam Black 2013
Edited for May 2013 by permission

In their calendar-type book “The Secret Language of Birthdays” Gary Goldschneider and Joost Elffers have done a pretty good job calling me out on at least one of my weaknesses. The extended book is based on the zodiac signs, with each of the 12 signs further divided into weeks so they can get even more specific with the profiles of the signs. The version of the book I have is designed to assess relationships with people by providing spaces to keep track of people’s birthdays, how my interactions go with those people, and thereby gain insight on the relationships.

They have my personology pretty close overall, I am described thus:

“Although Aquarius I’s may not necessarily be more intelligent than others, they generally learn quickly, often arousing other people’s amazement and also jealousy, due to the speed and ease with which they pick things up at the first go…They believe that experience is the best teacher and are often self-taught types…In their careers, those born in this week rarely do well in jobs where they are told what to do or have too much social contact. Self-employment suits them better, since they need freedom to make their own choices and plans and to follow their instincts and be true to what they believe. They can be emotionally unstable and at times can appear distracted, wired and self-absorbed…They will not be tied down to fixed routines and schedules. Aquarius I’s will rarely accept restrictions.”

If you were born between January 23 and January 30, you may recognize yourself here.

The days are further broken down for an even more individual look. January 26 is described as the “day of striking deeds”. My strengths (accordingly) are… I am active, dramatic, and confident. My weaknesses; I am destructive, dictatorial, and driven.

I don’t know that I would describe myself as either dramatic or destructive. I am too rational to be very dramatic and I have worked a lot on countering any destructive tendencies (although perhaps some still linger).

I am, however, definitely active and confident. I can even see where I have a tendency to be dictatorial, but again, I have worked a lot on countering that impulse.

It’s really the driven I am stuck on at the moment. I can be very driven. When I am in it, I notice it, but it does not matter. I’m in this THING that has taken hold.  I can see myself, I can see how focused and intent I am, and I don’t want to stop. Maybe I could stop, I just don’t want to.  It’s as though nothing else matters. It’s not quite obsession, because it is not ALL I think about—I can think about other things to do, consider my options, observe myself; it is more like compulsion—there is a force that is pushing me to continue.  I can’t resist or don’t want to resist.

Driven is not always a weakness or a negative experience; much of the time I like it. I enjoy being totally wrapped up in a project. For example, one weekend recently, I spent hours upon hours learning to draw the Shri Yantra (and then I spent hours making a video about how to draw it).  Another weekend recently, I spent hours upon hours creating Shiva Nata practice aids. When I get fixated on cleaning out a room or some other home project, I do it until it’s done (mostly) because it’s hard to stop in the middle. I do these things because they are fun, because they invigorate me, because I want to learn. I am relaxed and enjoying myself when I am in this state of being driven and the experience is positive.

But then there is the flip side to being driven, when insecurity, uncertainty, the fear of the future, the fear of loss or lack motivates my driven behavior. In this mode, the physical behavior is very much the same as when I am driven by pleasure or fun, but the mental state is very different. Physically, I am just doing, totally focused, all my attention on the task at hand, being totally absorbed. But mentally, instead of thinking about the fun of just learning or playing, my thoughts are more along the lines of, “If I don’t do this…then I will fail” or “If this doesn’t get done, I won’t have enough income” or “I must do this otherwise I will not be successful with this other (next) thing that I need to do.” Emotionally, this causes LOTS of stress.

I am learning about being driven. Stressful experiences encourage me to diminish them.  My stressful experiences of being driven have encouraged me to diminish the thoughts and motivators that make my experiences less than happy or joyful. I don’t want to diminish my drive, just the negative experience of it.

Personality traits are complex parts of who we are and how we express ourselves as individuals. The traits themselves are not positive or negative, strengths or weaknesses. What motivates or underlies the trait while we are exhibiting it is what determines its positive or negative experience. It’s up to each of us to decide where our motivation lies, what experience we want to have, and to move our thoughts, desires, will, and motivation in the direction of that experience.

For more information on the secrete life of birthdays see: