Sunday, 21 October 2012

All The Things in Life that Matter

"Personality is two things: (a) generalizations about human nature, and (b) explorations of individual differences.What generalizations can we make about human nature? Sociology, anthropology, and evolutionary psychology suggest three. First, people always live in groups. Second, every group has a status hierarchy. Third, every group has a religion, which is typically used to justify the status hierarchy and the existing moral and legal systems. This suggests that there are three overriding themes in individual lives: (a) efforts to get along with other people (because we live with them); (b) efforts to attain some power, status, and control of resources (more is always better); and (c) efforts to make some sense out of our lives (by interpreting them in terms of a quasi-philosophical system.)

Personality psychology is also about individual differences. People differ from one another in many, many ways. These three generalizations - that people want acceptance, status, and meaning - suggest what the most important domains of individual differences might be. The first domain will concern individual differences in the desire for, and the ability to obtain, social acceptance and support. The second will concern individual differences in the desire for, and the ability to obtain, status, power, and the control of resources. The third will concern individuals in the desire for meaning and purpose in life."

- Robert Hogan, In Defense of Personality Psychology: New Wine for Old Whiners, 2005

Indeed, leaders are people who excel in their ability to gain acceptance and support, power and status, and to make meaning.

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