Self-determination allows you to take control of your future

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In 1992 someone named Wehmeyer coined a definition of the concept of self-determination acting as a causal agent in one's life and making choices and decisions regarding one's quality of life free from undue external influence or interference.

There are a lot of pieces to that definition. I routinely assume that people already are rational, have the ability to act, and act in a manner that improves their quality of life. But, you just never know. Reading the definition a second time, I wondered about those external influences and interferences. I wondered if working for a living qualifies as either. But, I digress. Let's get back to exploring self-determination and running your own life.

Taking control
Wimps don't get or expect royal treatment. It seems that if one is to claim a right to enjoy the benefits of self-determination, one will need to assert that right against those darned stifling influences and interferences. Yes, even a wimp can assert a right to self-d without interfering with someone else's similar right. It looks to me like assertive communication is one key to not appearing like an overbearing jerk or whiney child when you defend your right.

Alberti and Emmons wrote a book on assertive behavior in 1978. If you will please point your machine at http://www2.arkansas.net/%7Emom/pts6.html, you will find their working definition of assertiveness, the three barriers to self-assertiveness, ten key points about assertive behavior, and more.

Be sure to check out the 35 questions in the assertiveness inventory and then learn the components of assertive behavior.

Another guide to assertive behavior is found at http://www.emc.maricopa.edu/academics/wellness/assert.html. The self test mentioned at the end of the piece refers to the test the students take to verify comprehension of the material. It is not a test to check you level of assertiveness. So, now that you have what it takes to take control gently but firmly, let's move on to bigger and better things.

Guidelines for successful interactions
Everyone processes information in their own unique manner. This varied approach to info processing makes everyone's personality unique. It is these highly varied personalities you will deal with when you assert your rights.

The reference shelves of the Web are full of theories about different personality types, take my word for it. However, my favorite way to make sense of the intracacies of human behavior is the Meyer-Briggs personality inventory. It attempts to sort folks into one of 16 buckets on the basis of four temperment types, each with four variations. I went through the exercise formally several years ago. It was enlightening to see how my personality type, which I thought right on target, stands in relation to the other 15 types.

Back in 1984, Keirsey developed a "temperment sorter" that is similar to the appraoch used in the M-B. Keirsey's sorter is supposed to give similar results. An on-line version of Keirsey's test appears at http://www.keirsey.com/cgi-bin/keirsey/newkts.cgi. It consists of 70 multiple-choice questions about behaviors and feelings that make you comfortable. Since there are only two choices for each question, you can zip through the test and submit your responses for rapid analysis and interpretation. You, too, can find out into which of the 16 buckets you fall. And, no, I am not going to tell you the results of my personality testing exercise.

The next step
Now that you know the appropriate way to assert your rights on the basis of someone's personality, you must figure out what you are going to do with this self-d business. You certainly can't be working for a living and claim to be self-determinant. But, we live in a capitalist country so you still need something that resembles money. You want to be living off your investments. You do have investments, don't you? I know of a couple of sites you might want to check.

One is supported by The American Association of Individual Investors. This organization publishes a monthly magazine that discusses technical analysis, fundamental analysis, philosophies and theories to use when building you portfolio, tax avoidance ideas, starting a portfolio, and other information. You are going to need this and more if you expect to go your own way unencumbered by those pesky external influences and interferences.

Unfortunately, you need to be a memeber of the organization to get the magazine. Fancy that!
So, I suggest that you visit http://www.aaii.org to get a feel of what they are about. If you are already a member of AAII, you can get into the nitty-gritty stuff on the site by entering your member number found on the mailing label on your AAII Journal. Non-members get a more superficial tour of the site. Some of the features of this site include  various forms of education about investing, research into the relevant numbers needed to intelligently pick investments, message boards for posting questions, computerized investing and portfolio analysis, and a list of events AAII is supporting. This one is worth investigating, maybe even joining.

Some other finance sites (with little comment)
Your friends at Ohio State University invite you to visit their Virtual Finance Library where you will find information for "personal and institutional investors." How's that for a dichotomous approach to Web site content? Go to http://www.cob.ohio-state.edu/dept/fin/cern/cerninv.htm to get the index page covering a variety of investment topics. Think of some term or phrase applicable to investing and I bet you will find it there. Clicking on any of them takes you deeper into the site.

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