What Type A’s Can Learn from Type B’s

Filed in Living by on April 16, 2015 2 Comments

Type A's and Type B's

I will begin a series of articles on attitudes and behaviors that people with Type B personalities tend to exhibit and which Type A’s might consider adopting.

I hesitate to write about this because I have quite often made good sport of, and greatly enjoyed, denigrating Type B’s. We Type A’s are generally suspicious of them, because they are not like us! And they don’t seem to understand (or adequately appreciate) our high-energy and perfectionist ways.

However, I have to admit that I have learned a few things from Type B family and friends over the years, and which have helped me to somewhat “soften the hard edge” of my Type A personality, so I will share these concepts in this series of posts.

We Type A’s tend to adopt an “all or nothing” attitude about situations, and this is not always necessary or healthy. Type B’s, instead, seem to have a knack for observing the gray in a world we see as all black and white. I’ll provide some examples where this “shades of gray”-type thinking can be useful.

As you all know, I am a dedicated workout guy. I go to the gym every Monday – Friday, and I have a very structured routine. Each day I work a different body part, but every day’s routine takes about the same amount of time, usually an hour and fifteen minutes. Since I am human (surprise!), some mornings when I awake I just don’t feel all that well. Whether it is a headache, the start of a cold, or just old age, some days I just don’t feel up to going to the gym. As a Type A, I have tended to view this as an “all or nothing” decision: either I go and do my full routine, or I stay home. And I think that if don’t go, I could be labeled (most likely by myself) a slacker. At some point in my life it finally dawned on me that situations such as this do not have to be all or nothing decisions. What if I just skipped my cardio warmup and post-workout stretching, and just did the body part exercises for that day? Or instead simply cut back all of my sets by about 25%? Surprisingly, many of us Type A’s don’t consider these common sense alternatives.

Another example is running errands. I’ll have a list of, say, five stops I plan to make. About half way through I might become tired, impatient, or hungry, and yet I tend to think I need to finish them all. Otherwise, I will have lost the game! I have come to realize that it’s okay to take a break to rest or eat, or just stop altogether and leave one or two errands for another day.

Whether at work or home, I have found that there are many situations where it is useful for us Type A’s to realize that we have a whole continuum of options we might consider, not just 100% or 0%. And no, we are not failures as a result of stopping short of “perfection,” whatever that is.

I will share more Type B perspectives that I believe are helpful in future posts. Just do me a favor and promise you won’t share any of this with your Type B family and friends. We don’t want them getting a big head, or, God forbid, thinking they are in any way superior to us!

About the Author ()

TIM MCINTYRE retired in 2004 from his position as president of Applied Systems after facilitating a successful sale of the company. At only forty-six years old, he made the unusual decision to fully retire to pursue other interests and simply enjoy free time. As a hard-driving Type A personality, this turned out to be a significant challenge for the Notre Dame and University of Chicago-educated MBA, CPA, and Certified Cash Manager.

Comments (2)

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  1. Ed deMartin says:

    Tim,

    As usual I enjoyed your observations and comments. Personally, over quite a few years of retirement life I’ve found myself drifting from Type A to Type B. You may have heard me say this before, but especially since hitting age 80, the “B” in my Bucket List has been changing to an “F”.

    LOL- hugs to Elaine and yourself,

    Ed

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