Tuesday, July 5, 2011

Hot, Cold or Lukewarm?

Literature on personality types is extensive and has long traditions. Any generalization has a large number of flaws, but nonetheless, personality characterizations can sometimes be useful to highlight certain traits to learn more about ourselves.

Some years ago I made a more or less formal statement about myself that might have been included in my mission statement:
I'd rather be an open enthusiast labeled by others as an idiot occasionally swimming in deep water than a closed pessimist considered by peers as politically correct and always remain anchored in a safe harbor.

To me, these few words summarizes the needed awareness of "risk taking" as part of personal and interdependent growth. It can make you wonder at times: How can we enthusiastically embrace other people? How can we work with other people in such a way that we communicate trust in them, but at the same time reduce risk and the number of mistakes we make together?

To Be Hot - Not Cold
During the past twenty years I've encountered three types of people; individuals we might categorize as hot, cold or lukewarm.

Now, nobody likes to be "explained as a predictive model" or "branded" (in the real meaning of the word). However, as long as we keep our eyes fixed on what we ourselves can change and improve, it is my experience that books such as "The Color Code", "Personality Plus", "Men Are From Mars Women Are From Venus" and many other similar books do provide insights to specify what can be improved. A small part of wisdom must be to witness the mistakes of others and try to correct them in ourselves.
We can influence others, but we can only change ourselves. However, when we change ourselves, our influence on others increases. (The 3 Energies Behind Sales Success)

In my desire to make a difference I find that it's impossible to be skeptical in the outset and THEN make wonderful discoveries and contributions filled with opportunity afterwards. Believing in others and their thoughts and ideas is an essential beginning. It's taking risk that people have value.

Without being willing to risk making mistakes by believing in others, there is no mutual growth. (Preferably we make mistakes in "the small and private" and succeed in "the big and public", if we can.) Willed innovation together with other people has to start with enthusiasm - an almost naive belief in something beyond what seems to be currently possible.

Sure, we need all types of people, but I confess: I so much more enjoy working with optimistic people that dare to believe in something, fully aware of initiative as the deciding factor of greatness. Are you self aware? Have you chosen to be positive and optimistic in the outset?


  1. The final questions you asked were very thought-provoking. I agree with the quote from your mission statement, and I think I have chosen to be positive and optimistic in the outset. I think there are two challenges people have with enthusiasm: 1. It usually takes work, and for people who don't catch the vision that may seem like more drudgery (vision without work is just dreaming, work without vision is drudgery, but work and vision combined is joy) and 2. People realize that enthusiasm and initiative moves the world, and some people fear to set powers in motion because they are uncertain about the direction. They don't know if they are a part of a cure or a disease so to speak. Politically, this is the main cause of my inaction or relative lukewarmness ;)

  2. REALLY got me thinkin', David..!

    What you're saying really underscores the importance of "beginning with the end in mind" and making sure that vision, goals and plans are well communicated, which in turn will help people unite around or fight against them. hm..