Happiness For Dummies
Book image
Explore Book Buy On Amazon

A balanced lifestyle is key to achieving happiness. In general, personality types play a role in this balance. The people who can’t seem to pull themselves away from work and are highly stressed are Type-A personalities. And the people who are a bit more laid back and relaxed are Type B’s.

To understand why Type A’s spend so much time working and too little time playing, you have to see the world from their perspective.

Type A’s Type B’s
They’re continually striving to meet some illusory goal of perfection. Demand less from themselves even though they fully intend to meet the requirements of the job.
Feel the need to engage in multiple tasks at the same time, giving each task number-one priority. Are more satisfied completing one task at a time. They tend to prioritize tasks, ranking them as more or less important.
Attribute their success at work more to effort than ability. Ironically, they seem less impressed with their own abilities than others are. Understand that success comes from both effort and ability.
View work as a competitive enterprise. They often initiate competition in noncompetitive situations. They aren’t averse to healthy competition but enjoy working collaboratively with others.
Prefer working alone but end up feeling like they carry the burden of getting the job done squarely on their shoulders. Are quick to share the responsibility of work assignments so that they don’t become burdensome.

If you see yourself in that Type A column, you can make a few key changes in your life to adopt some more of the Type B tendencies.

Appreciate the arts

Music, paintings, sculpture, poetry — these all provide opportunities to enrich the spirit, to appreciate the beauty of things rather than their utility, and to be inspired by artistic genius. The arts transcend the material world — the world in which your efforts are all-important — into the heart, soul, and mind of the artist.

When you’re standing in front of a beautiful painting or reading an awe-inspiring poem, you feel humble — and, humility is a much welcomed antidote to the feelings of superiority and self-importance that so many Type A people have.

Expand your horizons

Type A’s are fairly monolithic thinkers — they’re always thinking about work, work, and more work. Type B’s, in contrast, tend to be global thinkers — they see beyond the work horizon into a world full of relationship possibilities, hobbies, recreational pastimes, conversation with friends and neighbors, spirituality, community service, patriotism, and an up-close-and-personal relationship with nature.

Be curious

Type B’s have an abundance of curiosity that leads them to expand their horizons. If you’re a Type B, you seek a variety of life experiences, a diversity of relationships, and a difference of opinion with others. You’re not afraid to explore life beyond your own comfort zone, and you have a tolerance for uncertainty that is uncharacteristic of Type A’s.

Every so often, go to your local bookstore and buy a book on something you know absolutely nothing about.

Put down the grade book

Instead of simply appreciating people for who they are and enjoying the quality of whatever it is that they’re doing, Type A’s tend to quantify another person’s behavior by assigning a numerical value.

When you’re complimenting or criticizing another person — at work or elsewhere — forgo statements like “I see you brought your A game today.” A simple, “You did a good job” will suffice.

Lose the watch

One of the core elements of the Type-A personality is their sense of time urgency. Type A’s are ruled by their watches. The relationship Type B’s have with time is much more flexible — they’re not plagued throughout the day with thoughts about not having enough time to complete everything.

Eat slowly

Type A’s do almost everything aggressively and that includes how fast they eat. When you’re eating with family or friends, are you the first one to clear your plate? When you’re having lunch with colleagues at work, do you eat fast so that you can get on to business? If so, you’re definitely Type A.

Here are some tips on how to become a Type-B eater:

  • Slow down.

  • Observe the people you’re sharing a meal with and try to eat at their pace — unless they’re also Type A’s!

  • Whenever possible, don’t set a specific time limit for eating.

  • Don’t eat alone.

  • Think of eating as a social event.

  • Don’t eat while you’re driving.

  • Stay away from fast-food eateries.

  • Relax.

Think of yourself as a small “i”

Type A’s love to talk about themselves. Their conversation is saturated with I, me, and mine. Rarely do you hear them referring to we, us, or ours. This tendency toward self-referencing is an expression of what psychiatrists call the narcissistic personality.

Type Bs are more humble creatures. They lack the feeling of grandiosity and sense of entitlement. And they think of themselves as a small “i” in the grand scheme of life.

Walk to work — even when you drive

Type A’s are always on the run, everywhere they go. Their head is way out in front (thinking of where they’re going next) and their feet are hurrying to catch up. No wonder they’re so exhausted at the end of the day.

A simple but effective strategy for slowing down your Type-A engine is to force yourself to walk longer distances to and from work.

Eliminate the number-speak

The painful truth is, the rest of the world doesn’t care about how many successes you’ve had or how much you’ve accomplished. Why not just say, “It’s been a really productive year,” and let it go at that?

From now on, when you’re talking to other people, try reducing all the number-speak, including references to your latest golf scores, how much money you’ve made in the stock market, how much your new car cost, the square footage of your new home, or how big a raise you got last year.

About This Article

This article is from the book:

About the book author:

W. Doyle Gentry, PhD, is a clinical psychologist, a distinguished Fellow in the American Psychological Association, and the Founding Editor of the Journal of Behavioral Medicine.

This article can be found in the category: