Saturday, February 25, 2006

Oscar winning ACTOR, Nuclear ReACTOR, or One Who Takes ACTION...which are you?

In life, there are many cliches about the categories into which people fall:

  • There are two kinds of people: The haves, and the have nots
  • There are two kinds of people: Them that can, do; them that can't, teach
  • There are two kinds of people: The movers and shakers, and the rest
  • There are two kinds of black people: The Talented Tenth, and the other 90%

You get the drift. As overused as they may be, the true beauty of the cliche is that at least to some extent, they are almost always based in truth. Each of the phrases above when analyzed will lead to the same conclusion, which is that on some level, the statement is based on an underlying truth which bears out, and as they say in geometry, proves the rule.

This got me to thinking about my own views on the categories into which I think people tend to fall and what truths if any in my own personal experience has fed these views; thus the title of this post. I believe people fall into three basic categories: ACTORS, REACTORS, and THOSE WHO TAKE ACTION.


We all have met people who always seem to be the life of the party. These are the people who live in the spotlight, and in any social setting, they seem to be part of the "in crowd". Actors know what it takes to pull off any part and they play their role accordingly...they are extremely good planners with a keen ability to look the part. They appear always to know exactly what to say in any situation, and as long as things remain superficial, they are "there for you...they've got your back".

The problem with actors, is that they can ONLY skim the surface in terms of their ability to navigate the choppy seas of the full spectrum of human emotions and relationships. Always great in the light of the sun, actors will leave you floundering every time when storm clouds roll in. Their usual M.O. is to just not show up when things get rough because that is a script they have difficulty writing. They'll always have a reason which sounds really good for why they were not able to be there for you, but when you examine your history with an actor, you will find that everytime you faced a tough situation, you faced it sans your actor buddy.

Unfortunately for the actor, the person who is most damaged by this behavior is the actor himself. Always the center of attention in public, the actor inevitably finds that when he/she most needs support and the comfort of others, it is unavailable. In their quest to portray an image, they have effectively isolated themselves from others by establishing and maintaining superficial relationships which have no significant foundation upon which to stand. These are the people who were voted "Most Popular" in high school who don't attend the 20 year reunion because they can't be found, have fallen by the wayside, or feel too uncomfortable to attend. How sad that in all their high school popularity, they unlike most of us, were unable to establish and maintain even one relationship that was deep enough to sustain itself throughout life. Without doubt, the life of "the actor" can be a lonely one.


Energy! In one word, that is the best way to describe a reactor, ENERGY..that eventually fizzles out! These are the people who are oftentimes found amongst those referred to as the Type A's among us. Usually, reactors can be counted on to carry out whatever promises they make, they are great at follow through with one caveat...only as long as things are moving along according to the plan. Reactors given a plan, will carry it out. These are the "to do listers, the clip board people". They live according to master plans, and believe wholeheartedly that they, and only they, dictate their destinies. Unfortunately, this belief is flawed from the start as it is impossible to dictate your own destiny while using someone else's plan.

The thing that makes reactors so interesting is that with all the self-direction skills they believe themselves to possess, they are most likely [even more so than actors] to be swayed by the opinions/actions of others. Reactors get their name honestly as they tend to re-act based on the actions of others. These individuals believe themselves to be the captains of their ships when in actuality, every major move they make in life tends to be a consequence of what someone else's action forced them to do. For example, reactors don't end unhappy relationships because they're unhappy, they wait until their partner decides the relationship is over and then still find it difficult to move on.

Reactors can only be counted on by others as long as things go according to the plan. When there is a variation from the plan, a total melt-down results. Reactors though dependable in smooth waters are even more fickle than actors in rough seas because as opposed to not showing up at all, they have a tendency to walk out at the most inopportune moments when things are as bad as they can get, making a bad situation horrible. This same trait is detrimental to the reactor as well as they are frequently unable to function when their own plans fall short and typically shut down when faced with unexpected obstacles.

Those Who Take Action

Ever met someone who seemed to have it all together? Whatever the problem, they were willing to work towards a solution, assist in any way they could, up to and including handling the scut work. These are the people who take action. Folks who fall into this category, have the ability to plan and follow the leader. They are as good at following up as they are at making the plan. In short, they are well-balanced. These individuals seem to be able to juggle whatever life sends their way while hurdling over any obstacles placed in their path.

They're the bright idea people [I bet you thought that was GE], always coming up with or chasing down new ideas. These are the people in our lives who don't quietly back out of the room when we are facing a crisis. These folks can be counted on to do what needs to be done be it planning the next move, carrying out the plan, developing a plan B, or cleaning up the mess of plan A. These superheroes should be nicknamed "The DEPENDABLES" as they will never let you down.

Those who take action will never sit around wringing their hands wondering what to do. They are incapable of rehashing situations that have occurred in the past as they are eager to decide what needs to happen next and get started making that thing happen. These individuals are a motivated lot and will do whatever it takes to move forward from where they are. To them, action is key and even if it means flipping a coin to decide what that action will be, some action must always be taken.

Though they sometimes come off as brash and insensitive in their quest to move forward, those who take action are great to have around in a crisis. They may be their own worst enemy in that they risk missing out on the enjoyment of savoring the pleasures of life because they are constantly looking to the future and what comes next.

Like most things in the world, nothing and no one is as cut and dried as the descriptions of these three personality types that most of the people I meet seem to fall in. In each of us lies the capacity to be any one or a combination of any of these descriptions depending on the day. However, each of these personality types comes with its own issues and it is important to understand which one you lean most heavily towards and what that means about the kind of person you are.

Questions such as:

  • Am I dependable in a crisis?
  • Does anyone really know the real me?
  • Are my goals my own or am I checking off a list of society's expectations of me?
  • Are there people willing to risk themselves for me?
  • What do I give to others, and is it commensurate with what I receive in return?

may be valuable in helping each of us to better understand who we are and what if any value we bring to the lives of others. Furthermore and just as importantly, answering these questions for ourselves honestly will potentially alert us to the possibility that others are taking us for granted.

Personally, I have always done my best to avoid being reactionary. Don't get me wrong, we all must react to the situations we find ourselves in, however it is my opinion that my reaction should always be a function of my values, beliefs, and self-imposed morals. The best example I can think of is when I was involved in a relationship where my significant other was cheating with another woman. The advice I received ranged from getting a make-over so I would be better able to compete, to providing some good, old-fashioned tire slashing, to rolling up on him and her both and breaking out the vaseline. However, I in my normal, self-possessed state of mind would never embarass myself or my family (especially my son) by behaving in that manner. So as I saw it, the best response for me to that situation was to extricate myself from the relationship as I have never been one to hold on to someone who has let me go; and that is what I did. Obviously I reacted to the situation, but that reaction was an independent action on my part and not an [atypical of me] reaction to his action. In truth, I try at all times to be a person who takes action typical of the person I am, and, I have learned to do just that while still stopping to savor what I have already been able to achieve, as well as what is yet to come.

I am a very reflective person, which leads me to analyze and inspect the behavior of both myself and those around me closely. Most of the time I'm proud to say, I like what I discover...only most of the time. On the occassions when I see something I never would have guessed existed in me, I accept it for what it is and go about the business of making it more aligned with my own expectations of myself. When I discover traits in others that are at odds with my expectations for my relationship with that individual I do my best to address the issue with them as well. Sometimes, things work themselves out...sometimes working with that individual, I am able to make it work out...sometimes I find I have to say "Goodbye"...but never, ever will my reaction be one that leads me to penalize the innocent for what the offenses of the guilty. Furthermore, I refuse to give up my own natural optimism and ability to trust those who have not caused me injury... I wrote a poem about this a while back, wanna hear it? Here it go...

"Place Where Tears Hang Out"

Behind the eyes there is a place

where tears hang out until

A toe is stubbed, a promise unkept, or we face some other ill.

Over this place where tears hang out

we have on real control.

The tears just wait on the whim of fate to injure our very soul.

Ruling this place where tears hang out

are those we hold most dear.

Our hearts they break with smiles so fake but still we keep them near.

But in this place where tears hang out

something wonderful can be seen.

A sparkle, a twinkle, that indicates that we STILL have our dreams!

What about you? What would a bit of close inspection of yourself and your relationships reveal to you about you? About your relationships? About the status of your dreams? Hmmmm....


Serenity23 said...

If I had to pick one of those personalities that most reflect who I am, I would say I am the person who takes action. However, I can't say that I know anyone know really really knows me. Nor do I feel really close to anyone. I haven't always felt that way, only recently as I have given my life to Christ. So maybe he's just moving those old friends out of the way for new relationships.Anyway, great post! And I'm glad to see you are postin regularly. Someone must have lit a fire under your butt.:)

Sharon said...

"Someone must have lit a fire under your butt.." she says! A fire?? Try a towering inferno courtesy of my personal triple threat of blogging (meant in more ways than one), Ladylee, DJ Diva, and last but not least you Madame Serene!

I appreciate you stopping by as I told you before, you're my idol when it comes to consistent posting and I'm simply trying to be more like you...**should I post today or not? hmmm WWSD? ;)

Re:your comment, I'm sure you are on point when you said He's moving folks out of the way to make room for the new. Too much clutter around you, will get in the way everytime of what is truly meant for you. And by the way, there is someone who truly knows do. So in the words of the world-reknowned philosopher Beyonce, at least for the immediate future, you'll just have to be your own best friend! Let's face it, that's not a bad deal, if I needed a best friend, I'd take you in a heartbeat!

DJ Diva said...

I would have to say at different points...I have been all 3....right now I hover between 1 and 3 leaning more toward three...It can be hard because I spread myself so be everything for everybody....But the Lord is still working on me!

Don't worry ...we won't stress u too much...but we still want you to post...I mean look at the title of your blog LOL

Sharon said...

That's cold DJ...using the title of a sista's own blog against her...that's low man, real low ;)

One of these days I'll have to post a poem I wrote in my twenties which speaks to spreading one's self too thin trying to be all to can't be done so give it up and be what you can, I promise you, it will be ENOUGH!

And before Ladylee weighs in with her 0.02 cents worth on the frequency of my blog posts, I promise a post everyday this week or I'll have to post twice a day next week. (Weeks for me start on Monday!)

Anonymous said...

Hola Tete!

I think in GENERAL, I'd consider myself number three because I do tend to be a go-getter for the things I really want.

But lately, I feel more like a number two. At this point in my life, I really feel kinda lost and as far as creating plans for myself post college graduation, I really haven't done much of anything. Just moseying along, don't really have any clue WHAT I want to do with my life. I only know two things: I want to help black people and I love working in government (if my internship at the Capitol is any indicator, that is).

It's really kind of overwhelming to me and I find it easier to just put it in the back of my mind and focus on what's going on right now. Not a smart idea, I know, but mentally, it's just too much for me right now. I've applied to one program post grad and that's it. :(

Sharon said...

@ Anonymous:
Okay Miss Carmz I don't know how many times my beautiful baby god-daughter I have to tell you that the way you feel is the way that most of us feel at your age. The key is to figure out what you love or enjoy and try to parlay that into something at which you can earn a living. Stop worrying so much sweetie, I promise it will all work out for the good.

In the meantime, you might need to come home for a weekend so we can do some brainstorming together; however, go on your Spring Break trip and have a blast because afterall, this is your last one!

You know your Tete loves you and is gonna feed you whether or not you have a job after college so chill out!

DJ Diva said...

LOL Tete is funny...but she's right easy...

and wow...we get a post everyday?...i don't know if I can keep up with that I'll just be reading yours instead of posting LOL ;)

DJ Diva said...

LOL Tete is funny...but she's right easy...

and wow...we get a post everyday?...i don't know if I can keep up with that I'll just be reading yours instead of posting LOL ;)

DJ Diva said...

LOL Tete is funny...but she's right easy...

and wow...we get a post everyday?...i don't know if I can keep up with that I'll just be reading yours instead of posting LOL ;)

DJ Diva said...


Dee said...

I am a mixture of them all so to speak.........scarey but honest!!!

Thanks for the kind comment........i will be looking into all my options!!!

Serenity23 said...

I just read your comment about posting everyday this week. And uh, looks like you will have to post twice next week. B/c it's 9:15 my time and you still ain't posted.

Sharon said...

Madame Serene,
Where I come from, Monday doesn't end until 11:59pm; but ask and you shall receive and I assure you there will be no twice a day posting next week!

LadyLee said...

"Where I come from, Monday doesn't end until 11:59pm"

I know that's right... Officer S23 is a trip sometimes...

Posting everyday!! WOW! Clutch the pearls!! Oh how wise I will be!!

Why is it that I have to go think about what I am going to say, and then I come back and er' body and their Ma has been through here???

I think I am a person of action, but with a huge flaw: I get pissed because people around me can't or won't "big up" and step up to the plate and be people of action, too... Now where does that leave me?...

Oh let me know...

Help me,Obi-Wan-Sharon... You're my only hope...

*Crickets grinning ear to ear, showing all 32 teeth, and anxiously shoving the microphone in Sharon's face*

Sharon said...

Ladylee my troubled child,

You would be deemed one who takes action and a classic case at that as am I. Individuals like us are incapable of sitting around thumb twiddling and have little tolerance for others who are Olympic competitors in the thumb twiddling heats. Not to worry though young Skywalker as time mellows us all to some extent and if it doesn't happen soon enough in your case and you murder someone in an impatient rage, the resultant "unfortunate incarceration" you will face will most certainly smooth out your rough edges ;)

Re: thinking before posting a comment...thanks, so many of us have a knack for speaking now and thinking later, its nice to finally know someone who has the sequence correct!

Yes, that is accurate...I will be posting everyday...I don't know how much I'll be writing that will be worth reading, but I will be writing so we will just wait and see...of course, all y'all had better drop a sista a comment errrrrrday b/c if I get your proverbial ***crickets*** even once, I will be commissioning my boys June Bug and Poncho to roll up on each and errrrrrrone of y'all!

One more thing, I'ma havta get a damned exterminator up in here for all these damned crickets all over the place!