On doing a spot of gardening today (and capturing some drops of water on my fast growing lily plants) I found myself as usual, not looking at how much work I have put into my garden, and how good it is looking at the moment (in general – strange art installations of foil and tape aside that is!) and instead looking at everything else there is to do. This is such a common thought process for me that I decided to do a bit of research on the whole personality typing theory as I have had “Type A” thrown at me a few times in my life.
Originally published in the 1950’s, the Type A and Type B personality theory is a theory which describes two contrasting personality types, the highly-strung Type A , and the easy-going Type B. The theory describes a Type A individual as “ambitious, aggressive, business-like, controlling, highly competitive, impatient, preoccupied with their status, time-conscious, and tightly-wound. People with Type A personalities are often high-achieving "workaholics" who multi-task, push themselves with deadlines, and hate both delays and ambivalence. Type A behaviour is expressed in three major symptoms: free-floating hostility, which can be triggered by even minor incidents; time urgency and impatience, which causes irritation and exasperation; and a competitive drive, which causes stress and an achievement-driven mentality. “
“People with Type B personalities are generally patient, relaxed, easy-going, and at times lacking an overriding sense of urgency. Because of these characteristics, Type B individuals are often described as apathetic and disengaged by individuals with Type A or other personality types.”
So I thought I would just double check and find out what I guessed to be true (and what anyone who knows me, and is reading this will already be nodding their head at!) and do one of those online questionnaires: http://cl1.psychtests.com/take_test.php?idRegTest=2986 and I came out being 83% Type A, which surprised me as I thought I would be more like 99%! Actually not really, I temper my temper as much as I can, and am aware of the more negative manifestations of being this way, so clearly I do control my “free-floating hostility” to some extent (what a hilarious description / statement!)
But I did think later as I was driving how much of this I do manifest in even the simplest of tasks, like commuting to work, it pains me to admit that when listening to music I get so impatient that I actually press the track forward button at the end of a song, so I don’t have to wait the 2-3 seconds in between tracks! I mean surely that’s almost certifiable levels of impatience???
Then there are the larger questions of “nature” or “nurture”, did I learn this behaviour? Or is it innate in me genetically? In this case I guess I got a double dose, both parents are like it in personality type and behaviour, I grew up in a house of lists of things “To Do” and holidays planned from 8am – 10pm every day, so really I had no choice I am proposing (and using for an excuse also!) In some ways its no bad thing, it makes me achieve a lot in my life, I am successful at work, and strive hard and give 100% to every single thing I do, and every relationship. But, and it’s a big but for me, it does lead to burn out and migraines, sometimes at the weekend I can sleep for 14hrs to catch up from the week before. Sometimes I can’t stop long enough to just sit back and enjoy my achievements, as as soon as one thing is done, I am planning the next thing. Sometimes I have to be almost forcibly restrained to relax without scanning for something else to do. And sometimes (often!) the person I get most irritable with is myself!! Hence my interest in and semi adoption of Buddhist practices such as Mindfulness, of which more in later posts I would guess!