In this episode, we discuss the basics of the Big Five Personality Aspects Scale and how to use it to understand personality. We also talk about why understanding personality fits in to the Emotional Embuffination framework.
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All right, hello, everybody, and welcome to another episode of the Emotional Embuffination podcast. I'm your host, David Enevoldsen, and here on Emotional Embuffination, we are training to become emotionally buff enough to overcome any conflict in life. And just as importantly and at the same time, we're also trying to discover new levels of success and happiness and figuring out how to optimize those. This podcast is just one of a number of resources have available. If you want to learn more about any of that, check out the emotional Embuffination website, which is embuff.com. That's E-M-B-U-F-F.com. Also on the website, you can sign up for the newsletter which gives out weekly emotional embuffination tips. All right, on today's show, we're going to be talking about something that I've been sort of making reference to for a little bit now in a few different episodes, and that is the big five personality aspects scale. Now, I personally have come to really like this as a personality model and as part of the Emotional Embuffination framework. I think it's really important to understand what's going on with personalities, because it seems to me that that's a huge source of contention and conflict. Because very often people have different personality constructs and they sort of come together and they have different agendas based on those personality constructs or they have different ways of trying to interface with each other. And there's misunderstandings because each one thinks each person thinks that they're supposed to just do whatever based on the way that they're perceiving the world.
And when somebody else comes in and they're perceiving the world in a very different way, you run into conflicts. Just an example of this that I actually just saw a bumper sticker yesterday on this that said it's something I forget what the exact quote was, but it was something along the lines of, you know, all you have to do is be nice. That's the only rule. Just spread kindness. And I hear this this theme a lot, this idea that why can't people just be nice? I've heard people ask me that in the family law attorney context and I just want him or her to be nice. Why can't they do that? Why can't they just be honest and nice and good people? But they won't. If everybody would just do that, the world would be a better place. I run into a real problem with this thinking because what we run into when you drill down to what you mean by nice is often it's just you want someone else to see the world in the same way you do because you have to get down to what exactly does nice mean? If you are giving tough love to your kid, that might not sound nice to your kid, but maybe it's nice because your kid needs that in order to learn how to deal with the world.
Now, that could go too far, but defining what is nice is really difficult. Now, when you bring into the mix the fact that there are so many different personality constructs and the fact that people are filtering and perceiving the world in very different ways, you can run into tons of misunderstanding and that misunderstanding can translate into resentment. It can turn into frustration and hatred and anger and lashing out and people going into persecutor mode. So, it becomes very important to understand what other people are doing and what's motivating them. And having a framework for personality psychology is a great mechanism by which to do that. Another really common Emotional Embuffination theme is that we want to try to understand what's motivating people so that we can speak to those drives. And if we can speak to those drives, we can more effectively resolve our problems. And if we can more effectively resolve our problems, then that in turn is going to make us feel better. So, if you want to actually feel better in the midst of conflict, then understand what somebody is being motivated by.
All right, let's let's kind of jump into a little bit of what the Big Five is. So, as I said, this is a personality theory and there's a lot of different personality theories out there. And this I've subscribed to different ones at different points in time. For example, there was a while where I was really obsessed with the Myers-Briggs, the whole MBTI framework and looking at what's there. I won't explain what all that is.
If you're familiar with Myers-Briggs, you should know it's an extremely personal, extremely popular personality theory. And I was very obsessed with that for quite a while. Another theory that I really liked for quite a bit was attachment theory. Attachment theory is another great one. There's all sorts of them out there. There's the Enneagram kind of constructs. There's just a lot there. But for me, the Big Five has really just subsumed all of them. And this doesn't necessarily mean that any of these other models are wrong. I just feel like the Big Five has become more useful and seems to have more of a scientific grounding that makes it have actual predictive utility. That is to say, I can I can take the big five and realistically predict how somebody is going to behave based on their typology within the Big five in a way that I can't really do when I'm looking at some of the other personality constructs. Now, I think understanding where this came from and I'll just kind of briefly touch on this is important because it sort of gives you the scientific origins of the Big five. So, in essence, where this is all coming from is what's called factor analysis. And that's been made possible because of the advent of computer technology. And what we've done in the Big five is we've taken all this information from different fields of psychology, things that psychologists have been hovering around for a long time, and we've kind of spit them into a bunch of survey questions.
And then using those survey questions, we ask tons of different people. You know, how do you rate on this? Like, where do you fall on this thing? Do you totally agree with this statement? Do you disagree with this statement? Then you start generating correlations with things. And so you find the different questions that seem to correlate with each other for any given person. Then you try to see, okay, what can you eliminate? What can you reduce so that we can kind of reduce this down to the fewest number of variables possible? And what they found was the big five. So there's five different factors in this personality construct, and these are kind of the core building blocks of personality. At least that's how this theory goes. And this is about as reduced as we could make it using this factor analysis. So there's a mathematical origin to this using computer technology, in essence, to generate a model that we is built on what psychology was already working through. And that's kind of what makes it so interesting in terms of subsuming some of the other models. Because with some of the other models, sometimes you would have something, but you'd be missing something else or there might be too many things like the Enneagram, for example.
I think that has way too many elements in it. Now contrast that with like attachment theory. Attachment theory generally just looks at for anybody that's not familiar with it, like how people attach, whether they become secure or they become anxious in later life. And that's all sort of a result of how they were attaching to their parents in childhood. And in effect, then Neuroticism, which is one of the big five factors, is really all attachment theory is about, but it's ignoring some of the other factors of the Big five, like for example, Extraversion, which is another big five, is not really covered in attachment theory. Myers-briggs is kind of the opposite almost. It doesn't have neuroticism, whereas attachment theory does. And so there again, Myers-Briggs has other stuff, like it has extraversion, but it seems to be missing something. The Myers-Briggs only has four factors. All right, so let's talk about what the actual factors are. There's a few different mnemonics you can use. I can speak. There's a couple of different mnemonics you can use to remember these. One of them is Ocean O-C-E-A-N. Another one is Canoe C-A-N-O-E. It doesn't really matter what mnemonic you want to use, the various factors are, and you'll probably figure out from the order I'm going through. I usually use Ocean as my mnemonic, but they start with openness, conscientiousness, extraversion, agreeableness and neuroticism. So Openness. Conscientiousness. Extraversion. Agreeableness. Neuroticism. Now, just very briefly, and we'll go into a little more detail about each of these. Openness is kind of a combination of intelligence and artistic thinking, thinking out of the box, thinking creatively, like being open to new kinds of experiences and new ways of thinking. Conscientiousness, the second factor is kind of like how self-disciplined you are, how regimented you are, how able to control yourself and kind of get on task, that sort of thing. That's conscientiousness. Extraversion, interestingly, is not exactly what I used to always think of extraversion as. I always thought of extraversion as you're running around and just being loud and getting in people's faces and having no fear and thriving on interactions with other people and being in group settings. And there's an element of that. But the extraversion under the Big five, what we're looking at is actually the pursuit of positive emotion. It means that you are it's a measure of the extent to which you are driven by seeking out positive emotions. We'll come back to that in a few minutes and kind of explain more. Agreeableness is another one of the factors, and that is the extent to which you are willing to work hard to get along with people around you. Neuroticism is the last factor, and that is sort of like the flip of extraversion where you are essentially just driven, the more neurotic you are, the more driven you are by the avoidance of negative emotions.
Now we can go either more granular or broader with any of these categories, and I'm going to try to stick it to essentially just the big five. In the interest of time and simplicity, I'm just going to mostly talk about the Big five here, with one exception. But just so you're aware, you can break each of these into two subcategories. Meaning that openness is subdivided into both openness proper and intellect or conscientiousness breaks down into industriousness or orderliness. Extraversion breaks down into enthusiasm and assertiveness. Agreeableness breaks into compassion and politeness and neuroticism breaks into withdrawal and volatility. I'm just kind of throwing this out there so that you have that point of awareness, at least. Again, I'm not going to dive too much into this, except we'll talk about it a little bit with openness. You can also go the other direction. So each of these can group together into two categories, and these are called plasticity and stability. So plasticity, plasticity is extraversion and openness clumped together and stability is agreeableness, conscientiousness and neuroticism. All right. Now we'll kind of drop all of that. Each of these factors goes along a spectrum. So it's not that you're just either you are an extrovert or you're not. It's kind of you fall somewhere on a spectrum of extraversion or you fall somewhere on a spectrum of agreeableness.
You're more agreeable or you're not. Now, just for purposes of the discussion here, we'll kind of talk in terms of either on or off. But just remember, these can they're not just binary combinations. They fall all over the place, which gives you a ridiculous number of potential permutations of what somebody's personality can be like. The extremes have advantages and disadvantages. This is another interesting point about the personality constructs is that no matter where you fall on any of these, one of the major themes that you find with some of the Big five personality psychologists is they perceive each one as having an advantage and disadvantage. And we're going to talk about that more when we get into each of these. But it's fascinating because the the idea is that all of this stuff has sort of evolved over time to kind of make sure that there's some sort of personality construct that can deal with any type of situation. And what exactly the situation you might want to deal with is going to be different depending on what's going on in the environment. And our world is constantly changing. The environment is constantly changing. The people around us are constantly changing. The one constant thing in life is change. And so as social creatures, if we have different people in the environment that can kind of deal with different scenarios, that's best, right? So somebody at any given point is going to be most fit for, this is evolutionary theory, in essence, is going to be most fit for the circumstances.
Okay, so what I want to do is just kind of talk a little bit more about each of these categories that you have kind of an understanding of this. And then I want to briefly talk about how this fits in with the Emotional Embuffination framework to whatever extent I already haven't done that. So, let's start with openness. Now, again, openness is kind of this thinking out of the box thought process. It's it involves being imaginative, being capable of thinking of new solutions, being inclined to think out of the box, having an ability to perceive all sorts of different possibilities that somebody else might not think of in the same sort of situation. One of the and this is one of the places where I will talk about some of the subcategories. So, Openness breaks into openness proper, which tends to be more of like a creative thought process. How artistic are you? How inclined to engage in poetry are you? But the other subcategory is IQ. And that's I think most people know what IQ is. That is probably one of the most established and well-documented, well-researched areas of psychology that we have. And so when you have IQ is one of the subcategories. This really breaks into a lot of how intelligent you are. There are I'm going to go through a couple of sample questions just so you can get a sense of what some of the questions that get asked and gives you, I think having the questions gives you a little bit of a feel for what this category is like. So, this is not breaking into openness or IQ, but it could be things like agree or disagree. I understand things quickly or I use difficult words. My imagination is very vivid. I am full of ideas.
Now each of these sample questions, they'll they'll usually present them in the questionnaires with either agree with the statement or they'll flip it. Like instead of saying, I think I understand things quickly, you might say I have a difficult time understanding things quickly. And so you use those measures to kind of figure out where on the spectrum someone falls within this category. IQ is really important because it's a major predictor of academic and work success. There is a lot that we can do with IQ proper and in fact, in some contexts we're not even allowed to use it. Like there are certain places where it's illegal to use IQ as a filtering system, but IQ is a major predictor of success, and how intelligent someone is can be extremely insightful in terms of how they're perceiving things, how they're going to succeed, that kind of thing. And that's why I wanted to break this into the two categories. But this can also be a reflection of how artistic someone is, just in a more general sense, if we look at the category more globally.
Now, as I said before, each of these sub categories has or each of these categories rather has positives and negatives. So the positives of being kind of higher in openness, this this broad umbrella category is that you're more likely to be able to come up with solutions when somebody else might not be able to. You're more likely to figure out how to solve a problem when everyone is stuck or you might otherwise feel stuck. You're going to come up with creative solutions. You're going to think outside of the box. The downside of being higher in openness is that a lot of times people with higher IQs or people who tend to be more creative get really bored in kind of mundane roles. So I hear this, I've heard research on this before where people who seem really intelligent get bored in school or people who are very artistic go to a workplace that's just very routine in nature and just have a heck of a hard time trying to get through the workday and then kind of want to slit their own wrists after a while because it's so boring. So one of the negatives of being high on this is that it might be very difficult to get through mundane tasks that everyone else might need to do.
On the flip side of that, if you're lower in openness, that could make it such that you're not nearly as easily bored and want to just kill yourself in the middle of a workday because you can't stand it, that that could be a positive. Now, on the other hand, the negatives, I think, could be a little more obvious there, especially with openness in particular, and especially when we're talking about that sub category of IQ. If you have a low IQ, it can be a rough life. It's again, when we're taking IQ as a potential predictor of general success, if you have a low IQ, it can be very problematic. You often won't understand what's going on around you. You might not be very successful, might not make as much money as other people. So there are definite negatives to being low in openness. But the idea here again is that we have negatives and positives on all of these.
Next category is conscientiousness. Now conscientiousness is this idea of being very self-disciplined. It's like acting in a way you think is right. Being just, preparing for the future, planning ahead, investing, you know, stocking away something into savings. Just making sure that you're doing all the right stuff. You're working hard. You're, this is higher in conscientiousness. Couple sample questions you might run into with the conscientiousness framework are I do my chores immediately. I'm diligent with following schedules. I'm very orderly.
I make sure to stay prepared. Now, there's some interesting stuff about conscientiousness that just a couple highlights here on some of the data on this. It seems almost obvious that a conscientious employee is the sort of person you would want as an employer. You want somebody that's going to do the right thing, work hard, you know, do their job, kind of be regimented about it. There's some research talking about how this relates to marriage as well. So specifically looking at men. Men who were lower in conscientiousness so they were not as conscientious had an increased likelihood of divorce. This was coming out of a long term study on marriage. There was also data indicating that someone who was lower in conscientiousness has a much higher likelihood of getting into drinking problems or having financial irresponsibility. So there are definite taxes on not being conscientious, and there are obvious positive affects that come out of being conscientious. If you're high in conscientiousness, you are going to be ready for catastrophe. You're more likely to retain your job. You're going to have something stashed away such that, you know, the bad times might be easier. Those are positives about being high in conscientiousness. Now, on the flip side of that, there are also negatives that go along with conscientiousness. Somebody who's always working hard might not have a lot of time. They might be stressed out, They might always be working. There's this idea, the curse of the diligent employee.
You know, if you're always working and always proving yourself frequently, employers will reward you with more work. And so now you're even more taxed. And sometimes you have somebody in a comparable place who is not working hard but getting paid the same with less work. So there are definite negatives associated with being conscientiousness as well, or with being conscientious as well. Now positives of the low, you know, I think of the Aesop fable to kind of precede this about the grasshopper and the ants. And if you're not familiar with it, the basically the story that all throughout the summer there's a grasshopper and some ants. The ants are diligently going out, collecting food, putting it in their den or ant colony or whatever it is. So they're collecting all this food, stashing it away for winter, collecting food, stashing away for winter. Meanwhile, the grasshopper is just running around and goofing off, having fun, not doing anything, not prepping for the winter. And then the winter comes around and the ants are set. They got all their food and there's no food outside. And meanwhile the grasshopper is starving because he wasn't preparing all winter. Now, that seems to be a reflection of the positives of conscientiousness here, because in that scenario, the ants got saved because they were being conscientious. But what about, let's flip the story around a little bit. And I think this sort of illustrates the potential positives of being low in conscientiousness.
What would happen if the ants had spent the entire summer stashing away food, and then all of a sudden this huge flood came along and destroyed their food and they had zero food supply. And then the winter hit. Well, now the grasshopper spent all his time having fun and capitalizing on what was out there while the ants just completely wasted their time. They have no benefit for all their hard work, like they were slaving away for nothing, in essence. Now, on the flip side of this, also just to go to the negatives of being lower in conscientiousness, your life is often chaotic because you don't have this sort of regimented structure. While you might be better at kind of flowing through and living in that chaos, you're going to be facing disaster a lot. And it's it's unpleasant to kind of live in that sort of highs and lows roller coaster. And that's actually one of the things in Emotional Embuffination I kind of talk about is trying to level some of that out. So you're not on this perpetual roller coaster because I don't think that's fun. But we'll come back and talk about that in just a minute.
Next category is extraversion. Now, extraversion is, as I said a few minutes ago, that's this idea that you are going to be chasing positive emotions. It's this idea that you're going to go out of your way to do things, to put yourself out there in ways that will make you feel better.
And oftentimes that means you're going to jump out and interact with other people. And that's why we have this correlation between those who are kind of the life of the party going out and living. You're more likely to go have adventures. There's actually some data showing that people who are higher in extraversion are, on the whole, going to have more romantic and sexual partners than somebody who is less extroverted. Some sample questions that you would have on the Big five test are I talk a lot. I'm outgoing at parties. I'm comfortable around people. I like to be the center of attention. Now the positives of being high in extraversion are you're probably more likely to engage in behaviors that are going to lead you to success. You're much more likely to be able to find the romantic partner that you're looking for because you're willing to go out and take those chances to get the things that you really want to have. The downside of being more extroverted is that you're also more likely to take risks that could lead to damage or injury. And somebody that's lower in extraversion is a little more conservative in their approach to things, and they're not going to be as likely to just throw themselves out there. Now, I've always been an introvert.
I feel like I've been kind of a hard core introvert for the majority of my life, where I have a tendency to sort of stand back and say, Whoa, whoa, what's going on? And by doing that, I frequently have benefited. Now, I've seen many times where I did not where somebody who was just jumping out there and seizing the thing that they were after benefited way more than I did. But I've had a lot of times where I've avoided catastrophe because I stopped and I took pause and went, hold up, what's going on here before I jump in and go crazy? And that's my impulse. Now, the extrovert is more driven by that success point that that thing that they're after. And so I think of this meme that I saw a little while back that kind of had this expression about all those super motivated people that died on Mount Everest are kind of a reflection of why you shouldn't be highly motivated. You know, all those dead people that tried to hike up Mount Everest. They're an illustration of how you can fail at being motivated. So that's the potential negative of having that high extraversion, being highly motivated being highly driven for success is that you might face an experience the harm that you're being subjected to as a risk by chasing that stuff down. It's also it can be a little harder to hear other people because you don't want to listen to those negatives.
On the flip side of this, you're looking at the positives of being lower in extraversion. Like I said, just as I had always been, it's easier to avoid the pitfalls if you can take a pause and not be kind of I'm not saying mindlessly, but if you're just not as driven to kind of chase those success points, the positive emotions, the great feelings. On the other hand, the negative of being lower in extraversion is that it can be a lot more frustrating. And this is something here again I've experienced in trying to overcome challenges, trying to overcome some of your limiting beliefs, trying to overcome some of your fears and things. You know, being able to walk into a room and just go talk to people can be more challenging for somebody that's lower in extraversion.
All right, next category is agreeableness. Now agreeableness is, in essence, how likely someone is to try and get along with another person. Now, agreeable people are often more inclined to self-sacrifice. They will often bend over backwards trying to be cooperative. They tend to be more trusting. They tend to be more considerate. Remember earlier I was talking about the people who say, Just be kind. You know, somebody that is more primed to jump on to the just be kind bandwagon is more likely to be driven by agreeableness or be higher in agreeableness. Some sample questions that are reflections of agreeableness are I'm soft hearted. I'm Very interested in people.
I am sympathetic to others. I take time for others. I want to make a side note here, something that has occurred to me since I started reading about the Big five, and that is that there's a seeming correlation here to one of the Drama Triangle roles. And if you don't know what the Drama Triangle is, please go back and listen to my Drama Triangle podcast. I explain that in a lot of depth, but one of the problems that you run into is with one of the roles called a rescuer where the rescuer wants to come in and save a victim from whatever plight the victim is suffering. And the theory is that the rescuer is going to save the day, in essence, and but also deprive the victim of the ability to save themselves and become empowered and that sort of thing. So there's a danger, I think, for agreeableness or somebody who is high in agreeableness to kind of slip into that same role, the rescuer. The rescuer role in the Drama Triangle feels very compelling to somebody high in agreeableness. Positives of being high in agreeableness are you, we're social creatures and it's extremely important to be able to get along with other people, at least to a certain extent, if you want to thrive in our society because you have to get along with other people and if you don't give people at least something, you know, some advantage in cooperating with you, they have low incentive to cooperate with you.
There's all sorts of literature out there that's entrepreneurial in nature that talks about kind of being cooperative with people. Just as an example Think and Grow Rich by Napoleon Hill is one of the kind of staple entrepreneurial books of of the last century. And he coins this phrase in the book. He says something along the lines of I believe this is actually the quote. He says, Gone are the days of the go-getter. Now is the time of the go-giver. And his theme there is that if you are constantly giving, if you're trying to offer value to other people, make other people feel good, make other people feel valued, make other people receive something, they're way more likely to give something back to you and to help you out and to kind of work forward to to push your business forward and push your career forward or whatever it is. So one of the big positives of being high in agreeableness is you're going to get along with these other people and you're more likely to have some level of social success. Now, the negative of being highly agreeable, the obvious one is that you can be taken advantage of, you know, especially when we get into the realm of like, psychopaths or, you know, high narcissism or anything like that.
We run the risk of somebody coming along and taking over a highly agreeable person. There, I often see this in domestic violence situations where you have somebody that might be like hyper narcissistic, very self-absorbed, and they connect with a partner who is highly agreeable and is sort of bending over backwards to save or help or assist this other partner who's just taking and taking. And that dynamic falls apart inevitably. So the real negative of being high in agreeableness is that you are ripe for the picking for somebody who wants to just take and won't give anything back. Now, on the flip side of this, the positive of being lower in agreeableness is the exact opposite of that. You're not going to be taken advantage of or you're way less likely to be duped and, you know, coerced into doing stuff that you didn't really want to do. Just sacrificing yourself for somebody else. But obviously, the negative here is that life can become utterly miserable if you are just forever disagreeable. If you are low on the agreeableness spectrum, your interactions with others are generally going to suck. And so, you know, that's that's the tax on it. Alright our last category is neuroticism. Neuroticism is how driven you are to avoid negative emotions. So again, this is kind of like extraversion but flipped. And that is to say, you're almost always on guard for scary stuff.
You're always hyper alert. You're always like thinking about where the dangers that are lying right around the corner. High neuroticism is characterized often by emotional instability. It has a lot of correlates that are potentially problematic in the long run. We have there's data showing that someone who is higher in neuroticism is also has a much higher likelihood of having depression, anxiety, sleep disorders. They the people, higher in neuroticism end up visiting doctors a lot more, having lower overall health. There's long-term marriage data showing that they have less satisfaction in marriage, they have less satisfaction in work. They're, it's a neuroticism is a predictor, a higher predictor of divorce for either gender for male or female. It kind of makes you wonder, like what could possibly be the positive of being neurotic, right? Well, the reason that we have neuroticism in the first place is that you are way more likely to notice threats because somebody who is higher in neuroticism is going to be amped up to a level that if some bad thing comes around, you're going to spot it when somebody else might not. And so you're just constantly think about the saber tooth tiger is floating around out there. If you're just constantly jittery and going, oh my God, where is it? Where is it? Where is it. It's out here somewhere. Even if it's not there, it doesn't matter if it's not there, you don't get eaten. If it is there though, you want to make darn sure that you see it.
And so if you're always like jittery looking for the threats, you're way more likely to spot the threats. The downside of that is it's really tough to live like that and actually advocate for trying not to live like this. And the Emotional Embuffination framework, just physiologically, it's very taxing on your body. When we're in that sort of perpetual stress state, we are just exuding cortisol throughout our body. Cortisol in the long run, I mean, it's okay when you have it occasionally when there's a periodic threat, but when you have it perpetually coursing through your system, it is very toxic over time. And it's just a miserable way to live, to always just be running around and being anxious and jittery and seeing threats in everything you see all over the place. Now, on the flip side of that, the obvious positives of being lower in neuroticism are that you're, well, your body's going to feel better, your relationships are going to be better. You're way more likely to remain married and way more likely to have job satisfaction. Et cetera. Et cetera. The only real negative in my mind of being lower in neuroticism is that you are less likely to spot those threats. Which raises interesting questions in our modern environment about how neurotic do you need to be. If you're having an absolute meltdown about what the judge might say in your civil suit or what the teacher is going to say about your paper, is that really benefiting you to to flip out? Obviously, it does in our lineage when you're talking about the saber tooth tiger around the corner because if you've missed that you're dead.
But that's not really the case with some of our modern concerns. So, raises some questions about the utility there. So that's the big five in a nutshell. We could go into way more depth than this, but I wanted to keep it kind of simple. We have the five factors, as I said, which follow whichever mnemonic you want to follow. I like Ocean. You could use canoe however you want to do it, but it's openness. Conscientiousness. Extraversion. Agreeableness. And neuroticism. Well, that all begs the question. So, okay, we know that these are here. Let's assume for a second that we're going to embrace this model. So what do you do with that? Well, one of these things is I think it helps you to understand yourself. Because actually just today had a conversation with a client who had made a legit mistake, was dealing with some consequences from that. But her comment was, "I am so stupid, I can't believe I did this. I am just a complete idiot." And then she proceeded to just berate herself. And I think that if you have an understanding of yourself and where you came from, it's a little easier to kind of back off of that because if you start to say, okay, here are some of the advantages in the way that I am, maybe you can learn a lesson about it.
And I talk a bit, I know I've said this in other places, but one of the books that I wrote, it's called Finding the Door, which is a fictional story in which I'm talking about a lot of different symbolism related to Emotional Embuffination topics. And one of the major themes in that book is all about guilt. And I think that what we need to do is say, okay, I need to understand how I am and how I can adapt to my strengths. It doesn't mean we don't need to change, but it means that there are implicit strengths, implicit things that I'm good at, and figure out how we can best optimize our strengths under any given circumstance. But when we get sucked into just I suck, I'm a terrible person, I made mistakes and I'm an idiot. That is not useful. That does not serve you, that does not benefit you. And going down that road is going to be really problematic. Now, part of the reason that I spent so much time here talking in the Big Five framework about the positives and negatives of each of these is that I want you when you're looking at yourself and trying to identify what you are and how you are acting, to be able to recognize that there are positives in your personality.
So if the habit that you have that's resulting in certain consequences might not be as desirable as you want, you can also recognize that there's positives there. And so take those. And by the way, if if you have any questions about where you are in the big five personality aspects scale, just Google Big five personality aspects. There are a ton of like free tests out there that you can take and it'll give you an assessment of how you fit into each of these categories. You can take that understanding then and say, okay, look, here are my strengths. Here's what I'm already good at. How do I adapt to those things? Maybe I can push myself a little bit in some of these areas where I'm weaker. Maybe I can create boundaries, maybe I can optimize the jobs that I want to take on to maximize my benefit based on what my personality construct is. But don't go in and bash yourself. Understand yourself. Understand where you are coming from and why you are coming from certain places. This has been immensely beneficial to me, just understanding what I'm doing. And even though there's certain things that I might not be good at, that's okay. But how do you become better while working within the things that you are good at and simultaneously trying to improve on some other stuff? This also is extremely useful in your interactions with other people and understanding them is a huge part, in my opinion, of kind of moving forward with the Emotional Embuffination framework. If you understand what's driving someone, you are less likely to just think that they're a jerk, they're a narcissist, and all they want to do is just engage in pure evil. Because if you can change your thinking about that, then you are less likely to feed that negativity back. And if you're not feeding that negativity back, it's not going to be coming back at you and snowballing the whole situation out of control. So understand where someone's coming from and acknowledge it. You know, speak to their motivators, speak to their way of understanding, and you're going to go a long way in reducing the conflict. One kind of final thing that I think of with respect to the Big five is change of some of the underlying behavior patterns. So, I mentioned earlier that some of the stuff like Neuroticism is something that I don't personally feel great about being more neurotic. And I think that I used to be much more neurotic than I am now. And that's been a big part of the Emotional Embuffination framework, is trying to change that. Now I don't think you can change all of these categories very much. A couple of them, I think that you can. Neuroticism in particular is one that I personally believe you can modify.
Now some of the others are hard. Like for example, openness to experience involves IQ I, there's research showing you can't really change your IQ very much. You can change it a few points, but not a lot. And much of what you can change is related to things like education, diet, but there's sort of a threshold because your body creates an intrinsic limit on what you can, how much smarter you can become. So, some of the stuff is hard to change, like openness to experience is tough to change. I've never seen somebody who's gone from being a hyper introvert to becoming a hyper extrovert or the flip. I've seen some changes like some moderate changes. You can get an introvert to become a little more outgoing. I feel like I've had that experience myself, but that's a category that's really tough to change. Neuroticism and agreeableness are the ones that I focus on the most in terms of trying to make some changes in my life. Now, Neuroticism, I think it's super important if you're high in neuroticism, start to examine why you're so high in neuroticism. Because a lot of times it's not necessarily just that it's an intrinsic personality construct, it's that you've been engaging in mindset practices that are going to feed you into this very anxious, depressed, whatever state. So, there are so many things, and that's a lot of what Emotional Embuffination is about is learning to temper a lot of that stuff.
So, Neuroticism is one I think you can work on if you are high in neuroticism. Agreeableness is another one where I'm not sure how much you can change this, but you can at least kind of alter the degree to which people are receiving your messages that and try to get along at least civilly with other people. And if you don't, if you have a tendency not to be very agreeable, this is this is something to work on. Because, again, if you're feeding out negativity to somebody because you just are intrinsically low in agreeableness, that negativity will come flying back at you. And that has a tendency to escalate problems out of control. But I'm going to leave it there for right now. That is kind of my summary of the Big five. Again, this could get way more complicated. There's a few interesting books out there. There's lots of there's a million videos. There's so much material on the Big five and there's just a large amount of data that's been collected in terms of research articles and all sorts of stuff. So this is just very superficial surface level of what the Big Five is and why I think it's relevant to the whole Emotional Embuffination framework. I hope that's useful, but I will wrap today's show with that. Hopefully all of that made sense.
I know this was a little bit more academic in nature, but take it away. Take some tests online. Go see where you fall on this and kind of think when you're interacting throughout your day where people seem to be falling and think about what behaviors are becoming an output of their personalities. And what does that mean? Analyze people. That's a big part of this. That's the psychology aspect and that's part of what's so fun is trying to understand what's motivating others and yourself. Don't forget, sign up for the newsletter on the website embuffed.com. You can get some weekly pointers about embuffination. Also, remember, we want to keep becoming more emotionally embuffed and that means you got to keep working on it. You don't go to the gym one time and say I'm buff forever because I worked out that one day you keep going like multiple times a week all the time, like on a regular basis. You put it as part of your routine and you keep doing it. Same thing with Emotional Embuffination. You keep working on these principles, you keep learning more, you keep doing more to become emotionally embuffed. At the end of the day, I want you to be emotionally strong enough to go from saying things like, "The struggle is real," to saying, "What struggle?" Thank you all for listening. Thank you for your attention. Have a great week and I will see you in the next show.