E-type personality like a car in overdrive

Saturday August 04, 2018 Written by Published in Virtues in Paradise
Just because you have an E-type personality doesn’t mean you have to drive yourself full bore, like a Jaguar E-Type sports car! 18080304 Just because you have an E-type personality doesn’t mean you have to drive yourself full bore, like a Jaguar E-Type sports car! 18080304

The idea of the A-type personality was popular some years ago, referring to someone who had to get all A’s in school, drove themselves mercilessly, and had to get it all done, whatever it was.


An internet site describes it as a temperament characterised by excessive ambition, aggression, competitiveness, drive, impatience, need for control, focus on quantity over quality and unrealistic sense of urgency. It is commonly associated with risk of heart disease and other stress-related ailments.

Even here in Paradise, we have people with enormous drive. We even have people who have what I call the E-type personality – “everything to everybody”.

They can never stop for long to rest, because they are like a ping pong ball in a tile bathroom, bouncing from one demand or need to another.  And there are never enough hours in the day to get a sense of completion.

I’ve been writing recently about how essential self-care is, from the perspective that when one’s own cup is full, we actually have more to give others. The quality of our loving attention is heightened, we are less driven, more peaceful and present, and we can actually feel our feelings, and experience joy and contentment. Sometimes the whole aim of busyness, when it is out of control, is to avoid and numb our feeling reality.

A powerful concept in Maoridom is turangawaewae. Literally, it means “a place to stand”. Virtues such as dignity, confidence, strength, courage and honor flow from this cherished value. To know one’s place to stand is an ideal worthy of profound effort and requires deep reflection.

What is my purpose at this season? What sparks my joy? How do I let go of habitual hyperactivity or lethargy, and rise to my true place? To what am I called? Jeremiah 33:3 says: “Call to me and I will answer you and show you great and mighty things that you do not know.” If we ask, the answers will come.

Discerning the life that is calling to us doesn’t mean we have to run away from home, even if we wish we could! Getting away for a while to ponder is actually a good idea, even if it’s a couple of hours on the beach or a hike up a mountain. We can actually create radical change within our current lifestyle. However, if we want to change our lives, we have to change our minds. One of the Five Strategies of The Virtues Project is Setting Clear Boundaries based on Justice.

Being fair to ourselves can save us and others from our resentment and irritability at being weighed down too heavily by things we don’t really want to do. In order to set a clear boundary, we need the attitudes of one who practices turangawaewae. Boundaries are about what we stand for and what we won’t stand for, and can be established only when we recognise that we have far more control over our lives than we realise. Abdu’l Baha in the Baha’i Writings says: “…make ye a mighty effort and choose for yourselves a noble goal…Thus may each one of you be as a candle casting its light.” 

What is our unique part to play in this world? What were we born to be? To create clear boundaries, each of us must first know in our souls that we are worthy to have them, deserving of respect and honor for our unique contributions, talents, and yes, our needs and desires. Boundaries help us to protect our yeses and our nos, what we are willing to do and be, and what we are no longer willing to accept. 

As Sufi poet Rumi wrote, “Let the beauty we love be what we do. There are hundreds of ways to kneel and kiss the ground.” 


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