An ancient proverb says, ‘Everyone looks normal, until you get to know them better.’ And the reverse is also true that is, ‘Everyone looks abnormal until you get to know them better.’ On our planet a very large percentage of people exhibit characteristics of being tough, highly independent, stubborn, impossible to please, restless, perfectionists, etc., and they continue to lead their entire life like that. Practically everyone would have definitely experienced or heard true stories of such people who drive others nuts through their irrational behaviours. The traditional methods of interaction that works for normal or sweet people just don’t work for them. So how do you deal with such tough people?
The simple answer is you cannot in most of the cases. Nor can you fully blame the other person for acting irrational, as there is usually a scientific reason for such behaviour. And that reason is biological in nature as man is not a uniformly programmed species like animals and birds. As you would have observed, animals and birds of a species behave in exactly the same manner. For example, a sheep has been biologically programmed by Mother Nature to be a timid creature, while a tiger has been programmed to be ferocious. You don't see tigers give up their ferocious nature even if you breed and train them under captivity. And a sheep cannot be trained to become a ferocious creature. But no such rules apply to human beings. Man is not uniform in his behaviour and each person is unique in his or her own inborn ways. For example, even in the case of identical twins one can exhibit a rough nature while another can be sweet. This is why it is rarely possible to effectively lead people, unless you use some unconventional methods. Or it is better to gain the specific knowledge that teaches you how to understand why people act cranky. Coming back to the original discussion people who are restless, impatient, irritable, tough, perfectionists, demanding, etc., normally belong to a category called Type-A personality, or in some cases can be a higher version called Type-A+, the kind you see in dictators or extremely tough and dangerous people.
In fact, Type-A/A+ personality develop right from childhood and this is why we see why many kids are difficult to handle. It is not easy to deal with Type-A/A+ people for the simple reason you could be one yourself. Most people don't know they are Type-A, unless a doctor or psychologist tells them. It is this lack of knowledge that causes a great deal of grief both ways when dealing with such people. Nevertheless, it is important to recognize that a mysterious thing called a Type-A/A+ personality exists in many humans and learn some ways to deal with it effectively. Given below is a layman's guide to understanding the characteristics of Type A and A+ people.
1. Type-A people suffer from an exaggerated sense of urgency for everything. For example, they hate being late or kept waiting. They periodically experience bouts of anger, restlessness, irritability, impatience and general hostility for everything. Due to this they get angry for simple or even trivial reasons without realizing why.
2. Such people don't know how and when to relax, and are always in an endless state of internal turmoil, often uncontrolled and unknowingly. Their thinking and thoughts will normally be very intense. They are usually very independent and direct to the point. For example, they don’t take insults or criticism lightly.
3. They will always be on the lookout for perfection (of their definition) in everything they do. Such people demand that perfection even from others and want everyone to rise to their level of thinking and working. They expect other to read their mind and act accordingly thereby making others uncomfortable and often exhibit dictatorial behaviours.
4. Facial calmness is different from internal turmoil. Internally they will experience enormous amounts of personal stress that they cannot release easily or share their problems with others. Such people don't realize their effect on others as they simply do not see the ugly picture they portray to others.
5. Type-A people also experience higher degrees of heart troubles than others.
If you are a Type-A person yourself: The most important knowledge in life is to constantly be aware of your own behaviours. Before criticizing or grumbling about the qualities of others, it is important to test if you belong to a Type-A/A+ personality yourself. For this you need a candid discussion with yourself or perhaps a doctor to see if our have any of the qualities mentioned above. Secondly, there are some psychological tests available free on the internet that can determine if you are a Type-A/A+, provided you answer the questions honestly. If you discover you are a Type-A/A+, then you should take immediate steps to create an internal calmness program before you go bust. The change will not happen overnight, but now that you know a beast exists inside you, it is time to take charge of your behaviours and not let it run amok. For example, the next time you start getting impatient when waiting for someone or something, you can realize the nasty agitation that is brewing inside you is because you have a Type-A personality. Then you can start calming down and stop getting agitated further. Gradually, you will understand why you are stressed, why you are always agitated, why you blow your fuse, why you can't relax, and so on. Soon for every irrational behaviour you exhibit, you can have an immediate self realization gently thumping you on the head to steer you to a calmer behaviour. Armed with this knowledge you can now gradually learn to relax, be lazy, cultivate the power to let go, and enjoy life better.
If you are dealing with a Type-A person: Except for a genuine mental illness and certain types of personal problems, it is usually the intense biological forces of Type-A/A+ that make people act cranky for anything and everything. But if you are knowledgeable about the characteristics of a type-A/A+ persons it is easy to understand the irrational behaviour of others. So if a person is acting impatient or fussy you now know exactly why they do that. Instead of agitating the person further you can think of ways to help him or her if possible. And you can also educate them to realize they are a Type-A/A+ person so that it enlightens them and others.
There is another personality called a Type-B personality, or a socializer type who has the following characteristics.
1. They are relaxed and have a cool attitude.
2. They are friendly, patient, easy to deal with, and generally content with life.
3. They will be at peace and harmony within themselves, and look at life in a positive way and are not too concerned about losing.
Finally, your objective is to gradually become a Type-B person to a large extent in your life, while retaining the Type-A behaviours to areas where it is absolutely necessary. It is not easy to make the jump from A/A+ to B, and may take several months of conscious effort, but it is possible if you take small sustained steps towards it.
Finally, we conclude this chapter with a beautiful quote from Lau Tzu who said, ‘Nature never hurries, yet everything is accomplished.’