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.

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Confessions of a Sociopath

27 05 2015

I picked up this book on a whim, it’s title having piqued my curiosity. I had no expectations from the book but just hoped that it wouldn’t be a drag. I’m relieved to discover that it made quite an interesting read with enough depth and detail. Even though written anonymously, or rather because of it, this (kind of) memoir seems more honest and authentic.

sociopathThe author, M.E.Thomas (a pseudonym), is a lawyer, and by self-diagnosis, a successful sociopath. To add credibility to this book, she even got a formal diagnosis that merely confirmed what she already knew. She starts with describing what sociopathy means and what characterizes a sociopath, based on scientific research and popular medical and other works. She then delves into how she had always been a little off – compared to the “normal” empaths (the interpretation of terms – “normal”, “empaths” is arguable, according to the author, and she addresses it in the final chapter.), right from the childhood, the challenges she faced, what she learned along the way, how she coped and what she envisions for the future.

Merriam-Webster dictionary defines being sociopathic as “of, relating to, or characterized by asocial or antisocial behavior or exhibiting antisocial personality disorder“. While there doesn’t seem to be a universal agreement on what traits conclusively and objectively define sociopathy, some of the major traits of sociopaths include lack of empathy for others, charm, manipulation, lying, promiscuity, chameleonism, mask wearing, ruthlessness, impulsiveness, lack of moral compass, lack of rigid sense of self, risk-taking, lack of reaction to negative stimuli like fear and danger etc.

This definitely sounds dangerous, but not always in reality – according to the author. She tries to establish that sociopaths are just variants of human nature, with a slightly different genetic makeup and brain structure.  But of course, they are not doomed by their biology and can turn out into successful, contributing members of society rather than criminals or people of violence/ruthlessness. The upbringing and the kind of people around them – nurture, coupled with their conscious effort to function well in the society full of empaths, can and will always stump “nature”, as is evident by the author and several others who visit and comment on her blog – http://www.sociopathworld.com/

Of course, sociopaths are prone to be destructive, but it’s true that even the so called “normal” people commit heinous crimes in the name of passion or something else. So, don’t jump to hasty conclusions. 😛

The author describes her journey of trying to understand herself, to learn how others “function”, and making up a prosthetic moral compass that serves her well in her relationships and interactions with other people, and mostly keep her out of trouble. She says that since many things that empaths take for granted  – like relating to other’s emotions and reacting appropriately, feeling guilt, making small talk,  etc don’t come naturally to her, since all her actions are driven by self-interest  – loss vs gain – without any emotional stake, she can’t be herself while she is with people. She has to project a persona that charms, and pleases others. She doesn’t understand and doesn’t care that she may hurt someone by her words/actions, but she will likely refrain from them only if she believes her behavior will negatively impact her in some material way. She likes manipulating, and ruining people. She takes everything as a project, a challenge, and strives to succeed. She enjoys the journey rather than her exploits.

The neurological disconnect between emotion and decision-making in sociopaths coupled with ruthlessness, and self-interest serves well in professional settings and is actually desirable. But the same traits fail one awfully in personal settings. She realizes that this kind of attitude/behavior is not sustainable. Sociopaths always need to be vigilant and try to be someone who they are not, which is so burdening. She emphasizes that it is important to understand the true nature of sociopaths and how they are different. Acceptance and understanding from the people around will help a great deal in coping and being successful and constructive in a sustainable way. It’s difficult both ways – empaths to understand sociopaths and vice versa. Whichever side you are on, you need to make an effort to understand the other. 😉  The bottom line is that Sociopaths exist – roughly 1 to 4 percent of population is sociopathic -, and they are often hidden in plain sight.

I’m sure I haven’t managed to put down all I wanted to say about this book here, but I’ll like to end with just saying that it had been an insightful and engaging read.





What Totem Animal am I?

25 04 2012

I’ve taken this test on http://allthetests.com as part of a reading-challenge and the results are as follows:

What Totem Animal Are You?
For 26 % you are: You are…AN EAGLE! You’re serious, concentrated, calculating, and judging. You are a natural born leader, and can be compassionate towards close friends. You may come off rather bossy to some.

You could also get this result:
For 26 % you are: You are…A WOLF! Your utmost priority is leadership and kindness. You make friends easily and steadily, learn quickly, and care about others, hurting as much as they do when they’re having a hard time.

Or even this one:
For 26 % you are: You are…A DEER! You’re artistic, creative, very compassionate, gentle, and kind. You like to delve into very complicated artistic activities such as drawing, sketching, or playing music. You’re always there when a friend needs you.

Or even this one:
For 21 % you are: You are…A BEAR! You’re laid back, rather easygoing, and compassionate. You are rather unorganized, like to eat, and may be overweight. You cry over trivial matters, often, but are also there when a friend needs a laugh.

Looks like I’m more like a combination of all these Totem Animals, so I have only a little of their corresponding traits. I wonder which ones and how little! 😛

I’m always curious to know more about myself and quite enjoy taking similar tests. I know there are many apps, with nonstandard tests, out there promising revelations about oneself and I’m almost sure that this particular test too is such a silly case. It’s just that I’m in the mood now for some fun and that’s the reason I’m posting the results in here.

Of all the descriptions above, there aren’t many that I’m absolutely sure of. (I quite agree with this though – “You may come off rather bossy to some.”)

I hope those who know me well enough will either affirm or contest any of them.





Personality Type

8 05 2009

Have you ever taken the Jung-Myers-Briggs Typology Test or at least heard of it? It’s kind of cool. It’s devised based on Carl Jung and Myers-Briggs personality approach, which enables us to know about our personality types and helps make better career choices. 

You can take this test here

The theory basically divides people based on their attitudes and preferences in certain cognitive functions. 

Attitudes:

  • Extravert(E) Vs Introvert (I) 

Cognitive Functions:

  • Sensing (S) Vs Intuition (N)
  • Feeling (F) Vs Thinking (T)
  • Judging (J) Vs Perceiving (P) 

If you want to know more about these attitudes and cognitive functions, click here

So, there are 16 possible personality types and the brief descriptions for each can be found in the Myers-Briggs Foundation website

I’m not sure how consistent the results will be if you take the test more than once. For me, there has been only a slight variation.

I took it for the first time at least 6 months ago and the result was E S F J: 
§ slightly expressed extravert
§ moderately expressed sensing personality
§ moderately expressed feeling personality
§ moderately expressed judging personality
When I took the test today, it was I S F J: 
§ slightly expressed introvert
§ moderately expressed sensing personality
§ moderately expressed feeling personality
§ slightly expressed judging personality

I took it for the first time at least 6 months ago and the result was E S F J: 

  • slightly expressed extravert
  • moderately expressed sensing personality
  • moderately expressed feeling personality
  • moderately expressed judging personality

When I took the test today, it was I S F J: 

  • slightly expressed introvert
  • moderately expressed sensing personality
  • moderately expressed feeling personality
  • slightly expressed judging personality 

Actually, it wasn’t much of a difference because in the first case, I was only 1% Extravert. 

And my personality can be best described as:

Quiet, friendly, responsible, and conscientious. Committed and steady in meeting their obligations. Thorough, painstaking, and accurate. Loyal, considerate, notice and remember specifics about people who are important to them, concerned with how others feel. Strive to create an orderly and harmonious environment at work and at home. 

Wow, seems cool to me! 

Come on, take the test. It’s fun and helpful too. 

Besides making more suitable career choices, this information can help you improve your personal relationships too. When you know that certain behavior or actions of the other person are because of his or her personality type, rather than intended for you, you can develop an entirely new way of dealing  with issues in your everyday life.