KOKOLOGY 101: Pictures at an exhibition

Every once in a while its nice to take a break from your busy schedule and experience the world of art firsthand. Some of us go to concerts or plays, some take up dance or a musical instrument, others try their hand at crafts.. And of course there’s always a trip to a museum…

You are standing in front of a painting, at an art museum, hands clasped behind your back as you try to take it in, when a total stranger comes up alongside you and says something to you. Which of the following does the stranger say?

1 ‘Isn’t that a beautiful picture?’
2 ‘What do you think of this painting?’
3 ‘Excuse me, do you have the time?’
4 ‘You know, I happen to be a painter myself.’

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Answer key:

When a stranger suddenly speaks to you there’s always a momentary mix of apprehension an expectancy. In this imaginary scenario, the words the stranger spoke actually reflect how you react in chance encounters and when meeting others. Your answer reveals what kind of impression you make when meeting someone for the first time.

1. ‘Isn’t that a beautiful picture?’
Your friendly and positive nature creates a great first impression on almost anyone you meet. Your only concern should be that people may not take you seriously at first.

2. ‘What do you think of this painting?’
You’re the type who likes to feel out the person’s temperament before committing yourself to anything. People can sense that hesitancy, and it may color their reactions to you. You won’t step on any toes with your cautious approach, but you may end up living on other people’s terms.

3. ‘Excuse me, do you have the time?’
To half the world you seem like an all right sort, but to the other half you just look a little strange. You create a first impression of living life at your own pace and maintaining an individuality that some would call eccentric. You don’t place much importance on what others may be thinking or feeling. For better or worse, therein lies the secret in you.

4. ‘You know, I happen to be a painter myself.’
On first meeting someone, you come across as a little bit nervous and overeager. Maybe you’re just trying too hard to be liked, but the harder you try, the worse an impression you make. Don’t worry so much about making people think you’re great – they’ll like you better if you just loosen up and relax.

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KOKOLOGY 101: Somethings fishy

When it comes to relaxing in the great outdoors, few activities have the perennial appeal as fishing. Every weekend, no matter the weather, dedicated anglers set off for their favorite spots, joined by curious first-timers in their pursuit for the day’s catch. Not many pastimes can boast the number of confirmed addicts that fishing has. What could be the secret ot the allure?

You are out for a day of fishing when you get a strike. As you reel the fish up out of the water, it thrashes on the line and smacks into you. What area of your body does the fish hit?

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Answer key:

The fish you hooked acted out what could be interpreted as a final
counterattack, and the place you imagined it striking is a part of yourself you particularly want to protect. It is a truth of human psychology that we often fantasize that those things we want to keep hidden will get found and the things we want to protect will come under attack. So the body part you named is actually a place you feel insecure or sensitive about.

Was it your face? Take a good look in the mirror. Maybe you just need to smile more.

Your stomach? Maybe your unconscious is telling you its time to cut down on the cheesecake.

Somewhere between the legs? Oh, well, we’re all a little sensitive down there anyway

KOKOLOGY 101: Whispers in the darkness

When you think of a bat, the first image that springs to mind is probably a dark cave, night skies, and blood sucking monsters. But although they’re an object of many fears and superstitions, bats have another secret side. Despite their wings, they are mammals like us and nurse their young with caring and affection. And though they look fierce, the society of bats is more peaceful than our own. So the next time you see a bat flitting overhead, think that it may be looking down with the same fascination and dread that you feel.

You are lost in a deep cavern, wondering through a vast network of winding passages. As you search for the way back to the surface, a bat flies up to you and whispers something in your ear…which of the following does the mysterious creature say?

1. ‘I know where the exit is.’
2. ‘Let me show you the way out.’
3. ‘Keep looking.’
4. ‘You’re never going to get out of here.’

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Answer key:

In this scenario, the magical bat serves as a symbol of guidance and aid for those lost and struggling. By imagining what the bat might say to you, you give an important glimpse at the way you yourself respond to others in need of your assistance.

1. ‘I know where the exit is.’

You tend to be somewhat of a busybody and a know-it-all. There’s no question that you’re always willing to lend a hand or a bit of advice, but you sometimes try to help when it’s not needed, and end up looking like a meddler.

2. ‘Let me show you the way out.’

Your big heart and selflessness serve as a shining example for others. People sense your strength and caring and are comforted just knowing you’re around when a problem arises.

3. ‘Keep looking.’

You keep your distance out of respect for other people’s space. It’s not that you’re unhelpful, but you only give the absolute minimum when asked for advice and generally encourage people to work things out on their own. And that principle of non interference may be the best long-term approach in helping others find their way to maturity and independence.

4. ‘You’re never going to get out of here.’

When you see somebody who’s down, your first impulse is to kick. It may be natural to feel a certain pleasure at other people’s misfortunes, but that doesn’t make it good. Your attitude isn’t going to win you many friends or help you keep the ones you have. Watch out.

KOKOLOGY 101: Time for a change

Sometimes the smallest changes to a room’s decor can have a surprisingly large impact. There’s no need to replace or rearrange furniture; merely applying a different color of cushions on the sofa, adding a new floor plant or a print on the wall, or even switching from bright white to soft yellow lightbulbs can utterly transform the way a familiar room feels. Sometimes all it really takes is a good session with the vacuum and a feather duster. Whatever the changes, big or small, they’re sure to make you see your room in a new light.

You have decided to buy a new tablecloth for your dining room table. What kind of tablecloth do you want?

1. A simple white tablecloth
2. A tablecloth in a ‘warm’ color like fuchsia, mustard or apricot
3. A tablecloth in a ‘cool’ color like periwinkle, teal or moss
4. A tablecloth with a bright multicolored pattern

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Answer key:

We’re all decorators within, letting our hearts decide the way we want our surroundings to look. The dining room is a center of home life, and the table represents the stage across which family dramas play out. Perhaps without realizing it, you chose the tablecloth you did for more than just the way it fit the color scheme. Your choice reveals the atmosphere you want to create, or the thing you place most importance on, in your family life.

1. A simple white tablecloth

Whether it’s a father who’s always shouting to keep the volume down, an ongoing marital dispute over bathroom rights, or just the feeling of being hemmed in by the endless responsibilities of raising a family in a busy world, the things you sense your home lacks most are personal space and freedom. That white tablecloth might help a little, but for real elbow room there’s nothing quite like a move to a bigger house.

2. A tablecloth in a ‘warm’ color like fuchsia, mustard or apricot

Your home suffers most from a lack of open lines of communication. You may have noticed that family meals are declining in frequency, and even when you do manage to get everyone together, it can be hard to get a discussion going. The condition is serious, but not irreversible. As you intuitively sense, if you make home a warm and comfortable place to be together, those family conversations will start to flow naturally again.

3. A tablecloth in a ‘cool’ color like periwinkle, teal or moss

You have a close family, sometimes a little too close for comfort. People can’t seem to get out of each other’s way in your home, and it always seems as if somebody’s toes are getting stepped on. It’s admirable that your family is so tightly knit; now, if you could only find a way to turn down the tension level a notch…If that tablecloth doesn’t work, a little soft music in the background during dinner might do the trick.

4. A tablecloth with a bright multicolored pattern

The environment in your home is sedate. ‘Comatose’ may be a better description. It feels as if your home has become no more than a place to collapse after another long day, and perhaps a little colorful enhancement would provide a much needed shot of vitality. It takes only one person to strike the match that gets the home fire burning again. Maybe that someone could be you.

KOKOLOGY 101: Empty inside

Some days everything just seems to go your way. Traffic clears a path for you on your way to work; your boss takes the day off; you win the office pool. Each bit of luck comes as a pleasant surprise. Of course, there’s another side to the unexpected. All it takes is a run on your stocking or a stain on your favorite tie to bring you right back down to grim reality. Good or bad, it’s the little surprises that keep things interesting.

You go to a local bakery and buy a jelly doughnut. But when you get home and take a bite, you discover it’s missing one essential ingredient – the jelly inside. How do you react to this bit of bad luck?

1. take the defective doughnut back to the shop and get another one

2. tell yourself, “these things happen,” and eat the empty doughnut as is

3. eat something else

4. try filling the empty doughnut with something like maple syrup or jam to make it taste better

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Answer key:

Q: What do you call a jelly doughnut without any jelly in it? A: a nasty surprise.

And speaking of the unexpected, you may be surprised to hear that the response you chose for this scenario shows the role you play among your friends.

1. take the defective doughnut back to the shop and get another one

An orthodox thinker who isn’t easily thrown off guard by odd occurrences, you can be relied on not to panic when the unexpected happens. But you aren’t the type to take command and lead the way. Rather, you tend to support leader types with your clear judgment and coolheaded advice.

2. tell yourself, “these things happen,” and eat the empty doughnut as is

You don’t let surprises ruffle your feathers, accepting whatever hand the fates deal you. Your patience and flexibilty make you incredibly easy to get along with, and it could be said you’re the glue that holds the circle of friends together. Because you don’t make a fuss over things, it sometimes seems that you fade into the background. But like air, you go unnoticed only until you’re not around.

3. eat something else

Quick to decide and quick to act, you’re a natural leader in any group. You come into your own when things get out of hand and the situation calls for one person to take charge and decide a course of action. You don’t hem and haw over where to go for dinner or what movie to see – the word indecision is not in your vocabulary. That air of confidence and authority means that when you speak, the people around you listen.

4. try filling the empty doughnut with something like maple syrup or jam to make it taste better

Your talent for coming up with innovative solutions makes you the undisputed idea generator in your clique. Everyone has common sense, but you have a knack for uncommon sense that lets you see opportunities where others see only problems. Your creative instincts mean you run the risk of getting carried away with yourself and seeming eccentric from time to time, but people feel safe knowing that whatever happens, you’re sure to keep things interesting.

KOKOLOGY 101 : YOU’RE ONLY HUMAN

“Unbelievable! How dumb am I?” How many times have we asked a similar question? Burned toast, coffee stains on paperwork, sleeping through the alarm clock, stubbed toes, missed exits – it’s human to goof up once in a while. Nobody’s perfect and everyone proves it everyday. Remember that the next time you’re tempted to laugh at another person’s mistake. After all, you never know when it’s your turn to show up to work with mismatched socks.

You’re walking down the street, your mind somewhere in the air, when you stumble into a garbage can on a sidewalk and knock it over. What comes spilling out from under the lid?

1. nothing comes out
2. a pile of loose trash finds its way into the street
3. apple cores, chicken bones and other raw garbage
4. a well tied plastic garbage bag

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Answer key:

In your carelessness you overturned a garbage can, dumping out something that had been neatly shut away and exposing it for all the world to see. Your image of the can’s contents reveals things inside you that you try to hide from the public.

1. People who said nothing comes out tend to live their lives without making displays or false pretenses. What you see is what you get. Its this simple honesty that gives them their charm.

2. Those people who said the can was full of loose trash may seem to be straightforward and forthright to others but actually have a pile of unexpressed feelings locked up within. You may notice these feelings only as a general sense of frustration, but when you think about it, aren’t there places where you’ve been holding back from saying the things you really feel?

3. People who imagined a pile of kitchen wastes are suppressing their appetites and the natural desire for food. Maybe you’re on (or are avoiding) a diet. Or you’re trying to save money by cutting back on eating expenses. Whatever it is, it’s taking its toll on you. A night out at the restaurant will do you good.

4. People who saw a neatly tied garbage bag have a strong sense of self-control. Maybe too strong. You hate to show weakness or make complaints because your pride won’t allow it. But letting others know how you really feel is not weakness. Loosen up the drawstrings and let some air in before all that garbage goes bad and starts to smell.

KOKOLOGY 101: THE BLUE BIRD

One day a blue bird suddenly flies through a window into your room and is trapped. Something about this lost bird attracts you, and you decide to keep it. But to your surprise, the next day the bird has changed color from blue to yellow! This very special bird changes color again overnight – on the morning of the third day it is bright red, and on the fourth it turns completely black. What color is the bird when you wake up on the fifth day?

1. the bird doesn’t change color; it stays black
2. the bird turns back to its original blue
3. the bird turns white
4. the bird turns gold

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Answer key:

The bird that flew into your room seemed like a symbol of good fortune, but suddenly it changed color, making you worry that happiness would not last. Your reaction to this situation shows how you respond to difficulties and uncertainty in real life.

1. Those who said the bird turns black are pessimists. You believe that once a situation goes bad, it never really returns to normal. Maybe you need to try rethinking, If this is as bad as it gets, it can’t get any worse. Remember, there is no rain that doesn’t end, and no night so dark that there’s no dawn the next day.

2. Those who said the bird turns back to blue are practical optimists. You believe that life is a good mix of good and bad and that it doesn’t pay to fight against that reality. You accept adversity without being swept away.

3. Those who said the bird turns white are cool and decisive under pressure. You don’t waste time on fretting and indecision. If a situation gets too bad, you feel it’s better to cut your losses and look for another route to your goal rather than getting bogged down in needless grief. This proactive approach means that things seem to just naturally go your way.

4. Those who said the bird turns gold are fearless. You don’t know the meaning of pressure. To you, every crisis is an opportunity. You might be compared to Napoleon, who said, “…impossible: the word is not in French.” But be careful not to let your boundless confidence get the best of you. It’s a very fine line between fearless and foolhardy.