In a bit of a follow up to my last post, I’d like to address my (and by the comments, many others) aversion to being put into a box.
For starters I feel if you can define me so precisely and label everything I do then you can predict my behaviour, and if you can do that then one of the next logical extensions is that it’s probably not really me in control and therefore freewill is out the door. Forget that, I’m in control here.
I have done a Merrill-Reid personality type test recently (Analytical – Driver if you were wondering, good thing I’m in market research then huh). Maybe it was the Analytical Driver in me but I got into a bit of an argument with our head of HR for the region (Australia/Pacific), when a two day course focussed on how to deal with each personality type when working for or presenting to them. My argument went along the lines of: ‘I know the people that I am working with better than grouping them into one of four boxes, this is a waste of my time’.
Don’t get me wrong, stereotypes have their uses, they have evolved to help us make quick decisions, if someone is wearing a stethoscope it is usually safe to assume they are a doctor or medical professional for example, rather than having to go through the process of confirming which is time consuming and in this case, may cost lives. This was admittedly probably more useful back in the hunter/gatherer age when if you saw someone you didn’t know, holding a spear which is pointed in your direction, you assume they are a rival tribesman and probably trying to kill you, therefore, before it is too late to confirm, you go into survival mode and get that fight/flight mechanism up and running.
It also has its uses in marketing too in narrowing down a particular target market, but as discussed it also has its limitations.
For example, if I told you I saw Rammstein play live a month back at the Big Day Out and they were an absolute highlight of the whole festival, you would probably make assumptions about the type of person I am. Safe to say I would guess that 90% of those assumptions are wrong, take a stab in the comments and prove me wrong.