Infectious Attitudes and Personal Growth
Sometimes personal growth is influenced by the company we keep. Much recent research suggests that attitudes and sensitivities like optimism and rudeness are contagious. There are even scales used to talk about emotional contagion. But it would be too narrow to think that only emotions spread from person to person.
It’s reasonable to think that if people are open and motivated, they will adopt good ideas and attitudes when they are exposed to them. There is less research on this, but you simply need to watch how cultures change over time, sometimes slowly and sometimes swiftly, to realize that people are also infected by ideas and intellectually based moral and behavioral sensibilities.
And that’s the premise of this article. No one offers the complete package of positive qualities, but who knows? Maybe someone with the positive characteristics that we lack will share theirs with us and infect us with just the right amount of these traits to enhance our lives and effectiveness.
So let’s quickly look at some of the things that the various personality types offer. As personality types and individuals are multifaceted, this list is not comprehensive but a highlight of what might be one or two of their more coveted features.
Analyst Personality Types as Personal Growth Mentors
Architects believe that there are answers to be found, and they will usually investigate until they find them. According to our research, they are the personality type most likely to say there is a right and wrong answer to every question in life, and they are generally internally motivated to prove that belief correct. So what do they offer as mentors? You couldn’t find a better partner to help sharpen your analytical skills and approach the world in a more rational and clearheaded manner.
Do you sometimes feel like you have tunnel vision and aren’t seeing relevant and interesting things in your day-to-day life beyond the same old same old? Maybe this has made your view of the world uncomfortably dull and limited. Logicians, with their healthy curiosity, don’t typically have that problem. Maybe you’d find your perspective gaining all kinds of texture and range if you hung out with someone with this personality type.
Our surveys suggest that Commanders are highly resilient. They’re not likely to give up or let go easily. Should they face failure, they will look for ways to turn defeat into victory. Are you finding your self-esteem flagging because too many things have gone south in your life? Your best expansive move may be to find yourself a Commander and latch on to some of their energy. More resilience and persistence may be just a friendship away.
Many personality types value authenticity. Debaters flaunt it. They are willing to admit things about themselves that many people would not, for fear of the reaction of others. But you’ll not likely get an apology from Debaters for being exactly who they are. In fact, being controversial is often a point of pride for people with this personality type. If you feel less forthright about who you are than you would like, may we suggest that you befriend a Debater to serve as a role model for living candidly?
Diplomat Personality Types as Personal Growth Mentors
Advocates have empathy almost to a fault. They feel other people’s pain and often put themselves in the shoes of the downtrodden. You may find that your decisions in life are too cold and calculating and that the human element is missing, but shadowing or just having coffee with an Advocate might help you change that. If you’re an overly objective person, you might find yourself allergic to bleeding hearts and how some of them may indiscriminately latch on to any cause. Fear not. Advocates hate chaos. They’ll use their critical-thinking skills almost as much as their big hearts to maintain stability while sharing their altruistic energy.
Mediators score the highest of all personality types in unselfishness, based on our research surveys. Enough said. But wait – there’s more. They also report a strong tendency to accept people for who they are. Yes, Mediators might criticize groups and even individuals if they see injustice. But their overarching attitude is one of acceptance. So if you feel that your growth edge is about learning to give more to others and caring more about people just as they are, this could be a match. Try befriending a Mediator and testing whether positive characteristics are really contagious.
Other types may provide examples of empathy, but Protagonists are efficient and organized around the empathy that they feel. They tend to enjoy leadership, whether formal or informal, as much as they enjoy serving the needs of others. It’s easy to see how they might be good examples for anyone who finds compassion difficult to express within an organized structure or who feels that empathetic leadership is a reach. Protagonists tend to be leaders with a heart. Many leaders could learn a lot from them.
The French have a phrase for it. Joie de vivre. Joy of living. If your life feels mind- and soul-numbing due to constant routine and too much responsibility, shadowing a Campaigner might offer a taste of the good life. Campaigners are not only social animals who take immense joy in the company of others, but according to our surveys, they also have a sense of adventure. Visionary, gregarious adventure seekers love to take others along for the ride. So team up with someone with this personality type to add excitement to your life, whether it’s an exotic new restaurant, a new spiritual practice, or camping on the side of a mountain in a faraway land. The possibilities for adding joy are endless.
Sentinel Personality Types as Personal Growth Mentors
Logisticians tend to be all business, whether taking care of personal business or actual commerce. People with this personality type enjoy focused intention in all their endeavors. They are detail-oriented and diligent in almost every way. If you find that your efforts in life can do with a little tightening up, and you yearn to be more exact in your performance, Logisticians may be your new best friends.
Defenders tend to be kindhearted, nurturing souls who only want the best for those they care about. While many personality types are charitable in expansive ways, Defenders’ giving spirit is more focused. It’s personal and practical. They tend to be humble and nurturing in their service to other people. If you’re looking to be more of a giver and to show the people who are important to you that you care, time spent with a Defender is likely to be instructional.
Executives are planners and problem-solvers who often pride themselves on their leadership skills. People with this personality type are usually effective on a very measurable and practical level. If you find your focus and commitment level shaky, these might be the individuals you want to hang out with for a while to get a sense of dedication and forward motion. Such a mentoring relationship will probably involve spreadsheets and charts.
Consul personality types are warmhearted individuals who see themselves as “joiners.” They commit themselves enthusiastically to groups and communities. They often know how to bring a sense of celebration and fun to any activity that they put their hand to, but that doesn’t mean that they constantly wear a party hat. They mix all this in with responsible action and results. So if you feel like you don’t belong to a tribe and want to, or if you discover that you belong to the wrong tribe and want a community that resonates more, follow in the footsteps of a Consul to find out how to release your inner participant.
Explorer Personality Types as Personal Growth Mentors
Feeling too dependent or mired in the wishes and wants of others? You wouldn’t likely allow that to happen if you were a Virtuoso. If you feel like you lack independence and need some breathing space, Virtuosos will show you how it’s done. Befriending this “lone wolf” personality type may be just what you need if there’s not enough “you” in your life.
According to our research, Adventurers tend to see themselves as almost passive in many ways. In a world that too often honors striving and effort, that doesn’t sound like a good thing, unless you step back and consider that too many of us are trying to do too much. Perhaps we should all find an Adventurer to pal around with, so that their presence can help us catch our breath and exchange doing for being, at least once in a while. Here’s something for your to-do list: “Chill with an Adventurer.”
Entrepreneurs often enjoy taking risks for fun and profit. If you find that your life is too filled with caution, you may not be the sort to want to take extreme risks. But maybe catching some of the Entrepreneur spirit would nudge you just enough out of your safety zone that you’d begin taking more reasonable chances that could make life more exciting and maybe even a bit more profitable. Spending time with Entrepreneur personality types can be exhausting – but in a good way.
Entertainers and poets often agree that beauty is truth. Unlike many poets, who often write in solitude, Entertainers are likely to take their truth into a very social arena and share beauty very publicly. They generally have good taste, and they share it freely. Maybe your life lacks a little texture and sensual input. Or maybe you’re a bit lonely. Either way, Entertainers are likely your best bet to help beef up those parts of your life.
The Advice Underlying All of This
Go make friends. Go make friends who can help you explore fresh perspectives. Allow someone with a different style to shake up your world just slightly (or more, if you’re up for it). There’s an old saying about being known by the company we keep. But maybe, on some level, what that means is that we are, in subtle ways, becoming like the company we keep.
Obviously, we have not been able to include all the things that each personality type can offer as a personal growth mentor. But maybe you have something to share. Has hanging out with someone with a different personality type changed your view or approach to the world?
We’d love for you to tell your story in the comments below.