Type A, Type B, and resolutions

12 01 2017

There are mainly two different personality types, according to one theory, – Type A and Type B.

Type A: competitive, ambitious, impatient/ time-urgent, aggressive, fast talking.

Type B: relaxed, non-competitive, one thing at a time, express feelings.

Like many theories, this also is subjected to lot of criticism. Maybe rightly so, since it indeed feels like a rigid and broad classification of personalities. And of course, there are also questions on the validity of the original study and the results. Let’s not go deeper into that now. For our current discussion, I just  want to take it at its face value. Given the classification and the associated descriptions, I’m just curious to understand the quality of life of Type A and Type B people.

There are some studies on the health implications suggesting that twice as many Type A people, with their more aggressive attitude, are likely to suffer from coronary heart disease compared to Type B people. Of course, since the subject population was restricted to middle-aged males, the results might not be generalized across gender and other factors.

Also, it is evident that Type B people enjoy lower stress levels compared to Type A people. With their focus more on the game, rather than on winning or losing, in contrast to Type As, Type Bs tend to take it slow, enjoy the achievement when it happens and don’t fret much when things don’t work out as planned. This sure seems like a better way to live.

What about happiness? While I didn’t find any studies on this aspect in my cursory search efforts, I would like to take a stab at it drawing on some happiness science. There are five major toxic mental habits that lie at the root of much of our unhappiness –

  • Perfectionism
  • Materialism
  • Maximizing
  • Social comparison
  • Frazzle (overwhelming lifestyle)

While, it can’t be just concluded or reasonably argued that any or all of these can be characterized as either Type A or Type B traits, I would think Type As are a little more prone to these vices. Hmm!

There are also connotations that Type A people may also be miserable in their strive  towards achieving more. Are they? And I wonder whether they do really end up achieving, contributing, and being successful more than their counterparts? It definitely looks like. But of course,  the Type B traits of “relaxing” and “non-competitive” doesn’t mean lethargic or unproductive. Just to be clear. Type Bs tend to procrastinate though.

All in all, things look pretty dismal for Type A people. But let’s not come to hasty conclusions. I’m sure both types have things to learn from each other and they complement each other well. Type As, as long as they learn to manage their tasks and behavior well, have nothing to fear. Here is a wonderful resource on these types, which also talks about the other types – C and D.

In this context, I was just curious to understand how different new year resolutions of Type A and Type B people would be. My hypothesis is that while the broad themes may not be all that different between the two groups, the way they are expressed – in terms of goal determination and tracking, could differ significantly. The ideal way to test this is to conduct a survey of a representative sample with open ended questions and do some qualitative analysis for answers. But then, it’s a lot of work. 😛 Also, I don’t want to harass my friends and acquaintances much. 😉 So, I just did a fun and short poll on categories of new year resolutions.

I haven’t included the Type A/B test in the survey, so the responses are just self-perceptions. But here is the test, if you are interested. It gives out a score between 35 to 380, lower score representing Type B and higher Type A. So basically it’s a continuum.

One interesting observation is that Type A has “More family time” as the top choice along with Pursuing a career ambition, but Type B doesn’t. Seems like it is more challenging for Type As compared to Type Bs. It doesn’t mean that it’s not a priority for TypeBs. Challenge is different from priority. Something can be a priority, but not challenging.  For example, saving money may not be my resolution, because I don’t see it as a challenge but it still can be a higher priority than my resolutions such as picking up a new hobby.



Good luck!

3 01 2017

First working day of the new year! It’s that time of the year when we, with utmost willpower, are eager to hit the gym, start working on the perpetually procrastinated pet project, spread the yoga mat, indulge in meditation, go on a run, read a book, start learning a new skill, start on a diet, call our moms often, or whatever new year resolutions we have taken for ourselves. I know that technically the new year started two days ago but I think we all can acknowledge that we could use some grace time before embarking on the journey of change. 😛

Well, how long do these best intentions and resolutions thrive? It depends on the person and also the magnitude and intensity of particular resolution. There is abundant self-help literature and other resources out there that give us lot of advice on how to go about it; how to persevere and how to change old habits and make new habits. We certainly need to exhibit much restraint, overcome the comfort of the existing habits, and basically need to undergo unpleasantness and occasionally be ready for frustration and discomfort. Of course, there is also the guilt and disappointment when we fall short. The bottom line is that it’s not easy.

Here are a few things I’ve tried that worked for me. First of all, I cheated. Not in the sense of claiming (to myself and others) that I achieved something when I didn’t, but rather in the way that I chose only those resolutions that I knew I would most definitely and without much difficulty accomplish. I know, this is lame and practically useless. But it actually helped me to restore confidence in myself. I’m sure at least some of you will resonate with the feeling of satisfaction and achievement that comes with striking off a goal from the list. 😉  After many years of going through the cycle of disappointment, this was a desperate measure I had taken. With renewed confidence and energy that comes from success, or rather a sense of success, I was then ready for greater challenges. However, I follow some rules in making and acting upon my resolutions:

  1. Break down big resolutions into manageable smaller chunks. Take it slow. Be easy on yourself.
  2. Translate resolutions into SMART goals
  3. Anticipate lapses. Accept them and be self-compassionate. But remember to persevere. Don’t stop trying.

I believe that more often than not it’s the journey that’s more valuable than the destination. It’s the journey that teaches you more things and shapes you.

Enjoy your journey. Good luck!


Last note of 2012

31 12 2012

This new year eve does not fill me with the usual anticipation, hope, and excitement as always. It makes me much more retrospective and reflective on serious issues and life in general. It makes me feel vulnerable and helpless. The Delhi rape incident has affected me deeply as is the case with the rest of the country. I can’t gather up my courage to read through the victim’s narration of the ghastly incident. My heart goes out to the girl as I try to take a look at her picture circulated around on social networks. I can’t bear to see it for more than a few seconds. An enormous amount of sadness overtakes me. Tears well up in my eyes whenever I recall what the girl had to go through.

I’m glad about the nation’s (as in “public”, not as in “government”) fury and also about the fact that people have finally acknowledged the degree of dangerous and unsafe surroundings our women are living in. It’s commendable that people are mulling over what needs to be done to amend the scenario, to bring about a sustainable change. It’s truly laudable that in addition to demands for quick and severe punishment for the perpetrators, people seem to realize that the real problem lies in the cornerstones of our culture and society. Awareness and sensitization is the key. I’ve also observed that ever since the event and the resultant uproar, more and more of crimes against women are being reported in the media. Of course, there had never been a day without at least one news item about sexual violence on women and minors, but now they are being given more space and limelight. And people are taking note without brushing them off as stray incidents. With grim, shocked, and terrified faces.

All these and more thoughts have been whirling around my mind for days and a particular thought stuck me: What if I had a daughter! I would be more than paranoid. I would be terrified for her safety. I realized with a rude jolt that more than the cultural factors which  make many prefer boys to girls, this utterly unsafe world for girls/women would be the lone reason for my uneasiness (if any) to have a girl child. Of course, I appreciate the fact that being the mother of a son, I have greater responsibility on me – to shape him into a person who will treat a woman as a “person”: with respect and dignity.

Bye bye 2009

31 12 2009

It’s time to say goodbye to 2009. It’s also time to reflect & introspect as old year passes by and to plan ahead as new year welcomes us.

All in all, 2009 had been a good year to me. While it had its own share of disappointments and troubles, I think I made most out of it. I feel that the significance and effect of any particular incident that happens to you depends on the way you feel and react to it. The general attitude and state of mind are what I perceive as the indicators of how good or bad time is. In that sense, I can say I’ve been good to whatever 2009 brought me.

I have been able to realize only two of all the resolutions I made in the beginning of this year. L I think I wasn’t determined and/or motivated enough. Some things like “work out” or “weight control” keep coming up as resolutions at the start of every year with little attention given to them the rest of the year. I think a simple solution can be to include only easy resolutions which don’t demand much change in our lifestyle 😀 . There were other critical goals too – may be I just have to preserve and strive to achieve in the coming year. This reminds me that it’s time to come up with yet another resolution list for yet another year. Well, I have to think hard this time. 🙂

As you might have figured out by now, I’m a kind of person who regularly maintains a to-do list, plan things, and generally like to be organized. But I’m by no means a perfectionist. The brief description about me projects me as someone who likes to act on a whim. And that’s true too. First, I enjoy making plans and then take secret pleasure in deviating from them; slight disorderliness in the context of orderliness. I have another reason to take pleasure in making resolution or goal lists: the sense of independence and power. It might seem silly but I’ll explain. Until recently, all the major decisions concerning my life were taken by someone else – be it the degree I earn or the college I go to or the person I marry or the place I live in. These days, I feel like I can make my own decisions and shape my life as I wish. This feeling of being in control (albeit of one’s own life) is intoxicating. Thanks to my wonderful husband, I can now pursue my interests and dreams. In fact, I realized only recently that never before had I thought seriously about what I wanted to do, never let my imagination soar. I was just busy trying to meet others’ expectations. It seems tragic to think about it all in this way, but I presume it’s usually the case for most. Presently, I feel so liberated. Now, my lists take on more significance than before. 🙂

As you might have learned from my previous post, I had been on a reading spree this year. I’m glad I could read so many books of varied genres. I’m not so sure I would be able to repeat this feat in future though. I just love reading and my passion seems to grow with each book I read.

Career was satisfactory. I count myself lucky to have gotten timely opportunities in this hard economic time. And I’m happy about my academic pursuits. I’m learning a lot and the fact that I’m enjoying it very much makes me feel happier about my efforts.

I’ve been to some wonderful places this summer, all except one within the State. Washington never ceases to enthrall me with its amazing landscape. Some of the scenic places we have been to this year are:

  • Deception Pass
  • Deception Falls
  • Alpine Falls
  • Scenic Falls
  • Mount Baker- Snoqualmie National Forest
  • Hurricane Ridge
  • Chinook Pass
  • Tipsoo Lake
  • Whidbey Island
  • Franklin Falls

The one out-of-State place we have been to is Yellow Stone National Park, whose beauty is mesmerizing. It has everything in it – rivers, waterfalls, valleys, mountains, snow, geysers, hot springs, wildlife, lakes. It was beautiful beyond words.

Last but not least, this blog was born this year giving me a canvas to paint my thoughts. I’ve thoroughly enjoyed my blogging experience so far and I hope to be better in future.