Nobody has ever told me I'm type A in my life until recently when a commenter wrote in my perpetual failure post,
“I’m not sure everyone would agree with some of your ‘failures' Sam. I mean, growing a site only 50% a year after 120% growth in previous years is not really considered failure in the corporate world (growth has to slow eventually). It sounds more like type A overachieving not quite reaching the outrageous goals you set for yourself.
But you’re right, any goal not achieved feels like failure regardless of how successful you are compared to others.”
I see a 70% slowdown as a failure because my business isn't that big in the first place. At this pace, I'll be lucky to see any positive growth over the next 12 months. But perhaps our personalities aren't so black and white. I decided to create a sophisticated quiz to get to the bottom of things.
TYPE A OR TYPE B PERSONALITY?
The only type A personality trait I think I exhibit is the desire to get things done. I cannot stand leaving things half-complete. I tell people not to bother me until I can finish an article, complete a project, or close a deal. I'm laser-focused in most of the things I do.
But everything else, from the way I play tennis, to how I let thousands of unread e-mails pile up in my inbox points to more type B behavior. I go back to Hawaii every year to hang loose at the beach rather than go on adventure trips. There was even a skater dude phase during the 7th and 8th grade.
I believe in taking it easy, which is why I have an entire category called Motivation to make sure I don't lose my productivity. I also believe in the saying, If it's meant to be, it's meant to be. There's no point forcing things. Let go of the things which you cannot control.
Take The Personality Quiz!
To ascertain whether you are a type A or type B, simply answer the following questions as truthfully as possible on a scale of 1-3. Record each answer and add up the total.
1) You can't stand your inbox filling up with unread messages. 3 = Agree. I must file and read them all! 2 = I'll get to my spam when I get to it. 1 = If something was really urgent, they'd call.
2) You create folders for every single document on your computer. 3 = Absolutely. How else can you retrieve an important file quickly? 2 = Sometimes when the files are super important. 1 = Who has time for that?
3) You like to correct people when they've spoken a factual error. 3 = Of course! If you are wrong, you must be corrected. 2 = Only if I'm moody. 1 = Who cares? The world goes on.
4) If the grammar police was an actual organization, you'd sign up in a hurry. 3 = Obvi. People with bad grammar and punctuation annoy the crap out of me! 2 = Only if they paid well and have a good pension. 1 = Does anybody really speak or write perfect English? Come on.
5) You stay back to check all your answers on your test. 3 = Careless errors are for losers. 2 = Depends on if I'm hungry and have somewhere to go. 1 = The first answer is always the best answer.
6) You are always striving to be #1, no matter who stands in your way. 3 = If you ain't first, you're last. 2 = Depends on how big the prize. 1 = Can't we just all get along? We're all winners.
7) You would dress up in formal wear during important lectures or meetings in college. 3 = Gotta look sharp and respectful to others. 2 = Only if the person was really, really attractive. 1 = Flip flops all the way, baby!
8) You choose to live in a harsh weather environment because of your job. 3 = It might be freezing outside, but I've got a great job that pays me lots of money! 2 = I'll go wherever the wind takes me. 1 = Life is too short to live in hell.
9) You check your e-mail and text messages at least 20 times a day each. 3 = Err, that's it? It would be rude not to get back to people ASAP. 2 = Only if I'm frantically waiting for an urgent message like a job interview response, application, or hot date. 1 = Everything can wait. If something was urgent, they'd drive over or at least call.
10) You can't wait to open your holiday or birthday gifts, often demanding a gift up front or peeking to see what you got. 3 = Why wait for glory?! 2 = Only if the gift might go bad. 1 = Surprise me at the very end.
If you didn't like one of the selections, replace with one of the two below!
11) When you know you will win, you: 3 = run up the score to crush your opponent's soul, 2 = play things out in normal fashion, 1 = lose some points to make things closer than they really are, and grab a drink afterward.
12) When the alarm goes off, you: 3 = immediately wake up and do your business, 2 = look around, take a little stretch first, and check your phone in bed, 1 = don't even hear it and like to snooze for at least 30 minutes.
THE FINAL TALLY To Decide On Top A Or Type B
If you scored a 20 or higher on my 10 question test, then it is clear you are type A! If you scored 10-12, you might really need a kick in the pants. If you scored a 25 or higher, then perhaps a long vacation without an electronic device is in order.
I scored a 15, so I'm a type B. I knew for sure I was type B once I started going to Europe for at least two weeks in a row starting in 2010. I met so many happy people who worked to live, instead of lived to work. There was a strong sense of kinship during my visits.
Sure, Europe isn't a leader in creating any new inventions or technologies. But why should they when there's America? Americans work like animals compared to the rest of the world. Just the other Tuesday, there was heavy traffic when I drove my parents to the Oakland airport at 6:45am. Then there was a brutal amount of traffic when I left my SF home at 4:20pm to go south for a fintech meetup in Foster City. Then there was heavy traffic again at 10pm on the way home. Nuts!
It's important to do the best as we can with the opportunities we have. But after we've given it our best, how about just accepting what's in store for us?
Here are the definitions of type A and type B personalities:
Type A personality definition. A temperament marked by excessive competitiveness and ambition, an obsession with accomplishing tasks quickly, little time for self-reflection, and a strong need to control situations.
Type B personality definition. A temperament characterized by moderate ambition and drive, accommodating attitude, cooperativeness, focus on quality over quantity and, in general, an easy going approach to life.
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