Over the last 2 years since being in Thailand I’ve started – for the first time, to think about what my core personality traits are. Core traits are the ones that you display before even thinking about them. They are not an act, they are part of who you are. They are at the base, the foundation, of who you are as a human being on this big planet.
Here is my short list of core personality traits that are “the real Vern”. I never really state these out loud but they are always there, part of my psyche and guiding me in every interaction that I have socially among my circle of friends and strangers I meet.
It reminds me of the Boy Scout motto – or part of a list of what a scout is. When I was in Boy Scouts up until age 16 I remember saying something about, “A scout is trustworthy, loyal, kind, helpful, obedient, perseverant, friendly, hmm… I know I messed up the order of the saying – but anyway, here goes what I think I am…
1. Friendly. I am friendly with people that I first meet. Friendly as in cordial. Not overly kiss-your-feet and fawn all over you friendly, but I am always nice to people I don’t know. I give people the benefit of the doubt upon first meeting them and treat them like they are a person worthy of respect and worth getting to know.
2. Helpful. If someone needs help, they ask for it, and I can readily provide it or provide it after some small effort I always help. If it will take me a moderate amount of effort and I have the time at that moment, I will help. If it takes me an extreme amount of effort or I think that the person is being lazy and just doesn’t want to do the process him/herself then I will pass. I’m helpful when I judge the situation to require it, as we all are I guess! I’m a firm believer in not asking anyone for help unless it’s something I’m just stuck on – and have no option to do it by myself. When people are asking me for help with an issue that they can do themselves, I will usually just explain how I would do it, and let them go about it themselves. I like to enable people to do for themselves, sometimes that’s a good way to be helpful too.
3. Good listener. I listen well for a couple reasons. When I talk I like it to be something meaningful. General conversation about mundane topics is not exciting to me, and usually you won’t see me engaging in that type of behavior much. I just don’t think it’s worth the time. I know others will insist it is and that it builds a tighter knit social circle… it helps you explore others’ realities and what not. I’m sure it does, but I’m just not someone that does it or cares to start. I listen well because I genuinely have a real understanding of people that are hurting emotionally. I think I have a great deal of empathy – which is the next trait on the list. If I can lessen someone’s emotional pain by providing my usual “alternative” look at the reality they’re experiencing I really am happy inside.
The other reason I’m a good listener is because I am listening to understand the person that is speaking. What are the person’s core beliefs? Are they trying to accomplish something by talking to me, as in, do they have an agenda? Are they speaking from the heart, or are they repeating things that they’ve heard said and acting as if they are fact? I listen from a psychological standpoint and assess as much as I can about the person and what they’re saying. One of my core traits is that I don’t waste time. If it appears I’m wasting time with someone that is not going to be a win-win interaction I cut the conversation short with the truth. Sometimes the truth to them is bewildering, because I do not fluff the truth – I just state it and that’s the end of the conversation.
4. Empathic. I know I’m a person filled with empathy for those that are going through pain of some sort. I have been through some really intense emotional pain. I know pain of all sorts. I know that there are all levels of pain and that pain can seem totally overwhelming and all-consuming. I know that, and after empathizing with them I can give someone 6 examples of experiences that are much worse than whatever it is they’re going through.
This is one of the core ways I interact with others… I present someone else’s reality that is far worse than what the person in pain is experiencing and they start to feel like they are not really at the bottom yet when I paint them pictures of people that really ARE at the bottom. I then start to identify many positive things they have going for them. Like, did they eat food today? If yes, that’s a positive because there are a couple million across the planet that didn’t.
Pain must be gone through in the person’s own time. Don’t rush someone out of the pain, let them feel it until they’re ready to go forward again. If they ask you or are crying out to you then listen and maybe try some of the steps I mentioned above. It seems to work for people I’ve talked with in pain.
5. Fun and funny. To me, life is a game. If I laugh 100 times today, that’s about right for a normal day. I try to make others laugh if I think the possibility exists during conversation. People like people that make them laugh. I like to be liked. I make others laugh so I can laugh too. I like a win-win… but I like a happy-happy even better.
6. Energetic. I don’t know if I’ve said “I’m too tired” more than 100 times in my entire adult life. I am never too tired to do something physically and I see it as a personal weakness if I do say it or I hear someone else say it. How can you be too tired to do something? Didn’t you eat your 2000 calories everyday since you turned 18 years old? Yes, of course you did. How can you be too tired then?
7. Inspirational. I like to motivate others to do something positive with their time, their energy, their lives. Hence this web site.
8. Analytical, not emotional. I am 98% analytical in my thinking. Emotions don’t really enter the picture unless there is extreme emotionality involved in whatever issue I’m considering. I like to deal with clear facts (as clear as possible!) when I think and make decisions. I rarely ever base a decision or an action on an emotion. Some of you may think I’d act like a robot when you met me – but that’s really not true. My interpersonal communication is relaxed and easy-going. I don’t speak in blips and beeps and I don’t stand rigidly and move mechanically.
9. Inflexible. I noticed since I came to Thailand that as much as I try to be flexible about certain ways they do things here I am continually upset by lies and changes in the plans. Thai people live their whole lives with the idea of “face” as the prevalent social factor that guides them through life. I do not. If face is the most important thing, then many confrontations, disagreements, and errors, wrongs and such are never taken care of and eventually something fails to happen. Thais’ would much prefer to gloss over differences in opinion and problems. They basically ignore them and in the end – someone just gives in and says, “Mai pen rai” which means something close to, “It doesn’t matter” or “No matter” or “Never mind”. It’s very difficult for me to accept this and live life this way so I’m constantly challenged by it!
10. Easy Going! Nothing is all that important to me because one of my core beliefs is that life is a game. To me life is no more serious than a game of checkers. Yes, I really believe that. I know the majority of readers will disagree with that. This belief lets me not take anything too overly seriously and keep smiling and laughing. If I wasn’t smiling and laughing life would really be unbearable!
11. Curious. Maybe more than anything else I am curious. I want to find out the WHY of things. WHY does a seed, using only water, sunlight and some trace minerals in the dirt grow over time into a mango tree with hundreds of the most succulent fruit I’ve ever tasted? Why is someone so serious about certain topics? Why isn’t religion solving anything? Why do snakes know not to eat poisonous cane toads?
Anyone care to share their Core Personality Traits?
Best of Life,