It Is Complicated

If you have not noticed, people are very complicated. Consistency is not humanity’s best-known trait; although, I have come to value it more as I grow older. Supposedly, in psychology, five factors determine different personality traits. The big five factors are:

  • Openness: appreciation for a variety of experiences.
  • Conscientiousness: planning ahead rather than being spontaneous.
  • Extraversion: being sociable, energetic and talkative.
  • Agreeableness: being kind, sympathetic and happy to help.
  • Neuroticism: inclined to worry or be vulnerable or temperamental.

According to the Myers-Briggs Type Indicator, there are sixteen different personality types. It is more likely that an individual will tend toward several different ‘types’ rather than matching only one. Moreover, a person often changes types as they walk, or run, through life’s mysteries. In addition, there is luck, good or bad, yogurt happens.

If you are consistently fortunate and life has smiled on you then it is more likely that others will describe you as possessing positive personality traits, a bonhomie, if you will. e.g. Adventurous, Helpful, Affable, Humble, Capable, Imaginative, Charming, Impartial, Confident, Independent, Conscientious, Keen, Cultured, Meticulous, Dependable, Observant, Discreet, Optimistic, Dutiful, Persistent, Encouraging, Precise, Exuberant, Reliable, Fair, Trusting, Fearless, Valiant, Gregarious.

Alternatively, if your life circumstances have been less kind and you have experienced events that are more negative then you might find your descriptors fall into this other list. Arrogant, Quarrelsome, Boorish, Rude, Bossy, Sarcastic, Conceited, Self-centered, Cowardly, Slovenly, Dishonest, Sneaky, Finicky, Stingy, Impulsive, Sullen, Lazy, Surly, Malicious, Thoughtless, Obnoxious, Unfriendly, Picky, Unruly, Pompous, or Vulgar.

Personally, I believe we could all be described using adjectives from both sets of traits depending upon your life circumstances at the time. If the fluidity of our lives dictates our personality traits then for the Ayn Randian advocates, how much control do we exert over which group of adjectives that others will use to describe us?

What part does luck play in defining our personalities?

I dreamt of meeting my earliest true “girl friend” last night. Never have I experienced such feelings of love for a woman, before or since. We ran into each other in an Airport Terminal. She appeared just as lovely as I remember her, although significantly taller; I guess in my dream reality, she grew after we parted. Growth is a part of life and one would hope that we grow all throughout our lives, in one way or another. I remember thinking upon waking, “what might have been?” My illness began manifesting itself just prior to our breakup, although no one knew it at the time. What would my life story, and subsequently, my personality descriptors have been, had I not had the misfortune of being born with a colloid cyst blocking the Third ventricle in my brain?

My first wife was fond of saying that there is no such thing as luck. She was a fan of self-determination; “you are what you make of yourself.” She is someone whose descriptors would come from the former group of adjectives. I wonder if her belief has changed over the years; however, I am disinclined to seek her out and ask.

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