Sometimes, I feel like Mr. Magoo – extremely nearsighted, unwilling to admit to even being a trifle nearsighted, and then lucky by the way things turned out. I say “yes” to so many things I want to do and then add in those “have to do” items until I find myself either having to sacrifice any chance of sleep or needing to prioritize what matters most. Perhaps, I could let some tasks drop by the wayside, but that isn’t my style. If I say I’m going to do it, whatever or how painful it is, it gets done.
Lately, I’ve been taking stock of this kind of behavior in myself, and in my friends. Books tell us we’re Type A. Wikipedia, today’s source of all information, offers this quick comparison summary of Type A and Type B.
Type A individuals are “ambitious, rigidly organized, highly status conscious, can be sensitive, care for other people, are truthful, impatient, always try to help others, take on more than they can handle, want other people to get to the point, proactive, and obsessed with time management. People with Type A personalities are often high-achieving ‘workaholics’ who multi-task, push themselves with deadlines and hate both delays and ambivalence.”
Type B people exist in a different world. Wikipedia says they “generally live at a lower stress level and typically work steadily, enjoying achievement but not becoming stressed when they are not achieved. When faced with competition, they do not mind losing and either enjoy the game or back down. They may be creative and enjoy exploring ideas and concepts. They are often reflective, thinking about the outer and inner worlds.” Often, Type B individuals “have a poor sense of time schedule.” Even just reading these definitions, I’m ready to pull my hair out at the idea of not being competitive and having no sense of a time schedule.
And yet, there is a lot to be said for knowing when to give or to step back for a moment. Perhaps, finding a compromise would make a lot of Type A or B people happier. Years ago, I met a man who gave up his corporate career to take pictures of flowers. He spent days catching each moment of a flower blooming so that he had the perfect sequence of the flower unfolding. To me, his work was precise and tedious, but he exhibited pure joy and patience in capturing every nuance of how a flower opened. I didn’t understand it then, but recently I came across a note mentioning his photographs and the many awards the pictures won. Those photos were always peaceful, but taking them had to involve stress, time management, and channeling energy to get the right shots.
Back then, I was too nearsighted to see anything beyond how boring I thought his work was, but now, looking at some of those pictures, I see that he combined Type A and Type B in a way that was lucky for all of us. Maybe there is a way to be Type C….what do you think?