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Type A Personalities

by Dr. Sidney W. Langston

We’ve all heard of Type A personalities, but what exactly does the term mean?  Type A people are excessively competitive, achievement oriented and compulsively drawn to challenges. They have a chronic sense of time urgency, move, walk and eat rapidly and are impatient with the rate at which things take place. They schedule more and more in less and less time and often think about or do two things at once.


Type A personalities feel guilty when they are relaxing and tend to miss the more important, interesting and lovely things encountered in day-to-day life. Their self worth is based on maintaining a high level of productivity. Although they are easily frustrated in their work, they have few sources of gratification outside of the job, and they are generally hyper-reactive to emotional stimuli. In addition, they are object and thing centered rather than people and relationship centered.  They want to possess more and more things, especially prestigious, showy things that they believe will make them special.  


Because they need to feel powerful, controlling and important around others, they volunteer for all kinds of activities which put them in the public eye. They focus so much on their own accomplishments that they are easily angered and become hostile when things don’t go their way. Because they are so driven, they will make a lot of money and achieve a great deal in life.


If you find yourself in the description of a Type A personality, what can you do to help yourself relax?


•First, recognize that your worth is not dependent on how well you perform, or how much you accomplish. You need to redefine what it means to be a human being, to understand the importance of loving and being loved. This is a fundamental philosophical and spiritual shift that cannot be accomplished overnight. You may need help to get past thinking that you are only as good as what you do. This is a process that will take time.


•One primary reason a person develops a Type A personality is insecurity. Research indicates that this insecurity leads to a lot of anger which tends to flavor day-to-day interactions. Therefore, examine what makes you angry and how you talk to yourself (self-talk) when you are angry.


•Explore your expectations in life. If you are disappointed in the course your life is taking, is it because your self-talk makes it hard for you to accept what is, and move ahead?

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