Happiness Life Strategy: Don’t be pigeon-holed by your ‘personality’


A recent article in London’s Telegraph (via SMH) quoted research that a person’s birth date can influence their personality.

Now before you run screaming for astrology.com, please note that Richard Wiseman, psych professor at Hertfordshire Uni, observes in the article that these findings are ‘exactly what you would expect if it were temperature related… many of the effects reverse in the two hemispheres’.

Just what are these birth-date-related personality effects?

In the northern hemisphere (the effects reverse in the south):

  • May-born women show more impulsivity
  • November-born women are more reflective
  • Spring-born men exhibit greater persistence
  • People born in autumn tend toward greater physical activity and soccer skill
  • People born in spring are more cerebral and may have an aptitude for chess

It seems then that personality isn’t in the stars – but it might be partly in the seasons.

Happiness life strategy

Now if you’re a November-born gal who enjoys her daily omphaloskepsis, or a spring-babe with a fondness for Bobby Fischer, then by all means let these findings spur you on. But please don’t take personality categories as justification for being less than your best.  Avoid stories like this:

  • See, that’s why I throw things – I was born in May
  • I can’t get on with people because I’m a Leo/introverted/in the Dominant quadrant

They only deny you the full scope of your potential and your personality and limit your happiness. Instead, embrace personality characteristics that work for you – perhaps your compassion, sense of beauty, or analytical mind – and downplay those that don’t.

Remember too that findings like those in the article reflect an average effect – there’ll be millions of impulsive people born in other months and millions of May-borns with a calm temperament.

We all have a spectrum of behaviours open to us. Although different people may have access to different spectra – by virtue of genes, upbringing, habit or even birth season – there’s never only one narrow path we’re forced to tread. Whatever your spectrum, aim for the pole that brings out your best.

To open up your potential for happiness, don’t let yourself be pigeon-holed. Nurture the personality traits that serve you and choose to rise above the ones that don’t.

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Image: pyrator under the terms of a creative commons license

By Michele Connolly

Choose to be happier – and you will be.

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