The opposite point from where you now stand (or sit) is on the other side of the earth. These two points–where you are, and the opposite of where you are–are called the “antipodes.” Accordingly, the North Pole is called the antipode of the South Pole. The antipode of Britain is a point south of New Zealand, such that the islands there have become known as The Antipodes. The word means opposite foot.
As with geography, personality also has its own kind of antipodes, or opposing feet. We call them complementary traits, or dispositions. Each trait comprises two such opposites, two kinds of behavioral energy, such as solitude and sociability. The two members of each pair of traits are equally necessary for a satisfying life. While each of us tends to have a set point for each trait—some preferring more time alone, some more time with others, and some equally divided between solitude and society—we ignore our antipodal trait at the risk of living a life out of sync. In the spirit of preparing for the New Year and its tradition for making resolutions, today’s blog is a reminder of the value of giving expression to our less preferred, or our less natural, traits. The 23 reminders that follow are based on the 23 subtraits of the WorkPlace Big Five Profile 4.0TM.
- Embrace your calmness, but give voice to your fears.
- Be at ease, but express your anger appropriately.
- Optimism will get you through, but pessimism will arm you.
- Be quick to recover from adversity, but allow time for grieving and recovery.
- Know when to be still and attentive, and when to be enthusiastic and bold.
- Use your time alone to absorb energy, and your time with others to burn it.
- Take time to sit and think as well as to move and do.
- Know when to be independent, when to follow, and when to lead.
- Be skeptical when cues warrant, but keep in mind that trust builds relationships.
- Be direct so critical messages are understood, yet tactful so egos do not bruise.
- Build with what is known, but dream for what is possible.
- Keep it simple, but not too simple.
- Enjoy the comfort of the tried and true, yet be ready to take flight for the new and different.
- Pay attention to the details—some say God is there, yet step back to take in the big picture.
- Let your needs be known and pursued, while embracing the needs of others.
- Stand your ground when conflict arises, yet know when to collaborate, compromise, yield, and avoid.
- Be proud, especially of those dear to you, yet know when to deflect praise, especially towards others’ efforts.
- Speak your mind, then keep silent while others hold forth.
- Know when good is enough, and when perfection is required.
- Allow casual spaces in your life, but know that order is reassuring.
- Accept your lesser status in most areas, while embracing a few areas for excellence or dominance.
- Allow distractions in order to be accessible, but ensure adequate focus to get things done.
- Trial and error is in order when no proven method is available.
Never allow any of these antipodes to thrive at its opposite’s expense. Knowing when to alternate from one foot to the other is a key to personal health and happiness.