Who in the where said what now?Sat, 17th Feb '07, 7:40 pm::

One of the things I love about a kayaking trip is the long drive to and from the water. I often pick a single real-life incident and slowly generalize the matter, as if back-tracking to its source. On my drive to the Oscar Scherer Park in Osprey, Florida to kayak earlier today, I wondered why a close friend of mine gets offended whenever I ask her how some plan will work out. It was irritating me because she loves to answer why something happened yet doesn't like it when I ask how something will function. It occurred to me that depending on your personality, you fit into one or maybe two of the following types:

  • Why Personality: The Why people want to know the reason for every incident and everyone's action. These are the psychologists and philosophers. They love to delve deep into the root cause of events to determine whether there exist logical bases for the same. Generally smart and inquisitive by nature.
  • How Personality: The How's are the engineers, the scientists, the mechanics of the world. They could care less WHY the Universe exists, all they want to know is how did the Big Bang happen? And how does white light break into the colors of rainbow when it passes through a prism. You may think that many of the scientific questions are Why's, like "Why does an apple fall down and not up?" instead of How's. However, for a scientist, "Why" doesn't really say anything unless you can describe "How." We know "Why" the apple falls down: Due to Gravity. But till date, we don't know "How" gravity works and hence this area of Physics still has ample room for discovery. The How's are just as smart as the Why's and much more practical in nature.
  • What/Where/When Personality: These are the folks that are living it up. They don't care Why or How, and instead just want to know what's going on, where's it going on, and when do they show up with a 6-pack of beer. The world is full of them and it's a good thing - they live in the moment and get things done. Most of the people you know fit into this personality. Next time you hang out with them, don't try to talk philosophy or calculus. Just raise the glass and have a drink.
  • Who Personality: Of all the people I despise, I'd say the one thing most of them have in common is that they are always looking to put the blame on someone else. Who ate my cake? Who stole my ideas? Who told you that you can use my computer? If you know someone that begins half of their questions with "Who," I'd advice you to stay away from them. "Who" knows how they'll get you in trouble some day.

I'm mostly "How" and a little bit of "Why." I become the "What/Where/When" type every now and then though I do my best to never become a "Who." I'm pretty certain my friend is "Why" and hence loves to explain "Why" something happened. However, she just doesn't understand that other people may want to know specifically "How" she intends to make her plans work. I think that now that I've realized this, it will be easier now for me to deal with persons of different types.

So which one are you?

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