Rose wrote in and asked, “I liked your Test for Personality, but I want a test to see if someone is nice. Is there such a test? If people act in their own best interest, what do they get out of murdering someone? If so, can you write an article on that? Thanks for the personality free test you provided!”
Sure, but first we have to agree on what our definition of nice is. For this article, I’ll qualify people as nice, if they are reliable. For the most part, we say someone is nice because they are always acting in others self interest. If your satisfied with my definition of nice, I have the test for you.
How we Make Decisions
I’ve documented in the Test for Personality and Meta-Programming series, how a person makes a decision. There is another part of a persons personality, however. Everyone always does that which is in their own self interest. So, the only difference between people that are nice, or not, is whether they make decisions based off of short term, or longterm gratification.
Short Term Gratifiers:
Long Term Gratifiers:
What Does Someone Get Out of Very Bad Acts?
Rose referred to murder. If everyone always does that which is in their own best interest, why would anyone ever perform an act that would land them in prison? Studies have shown that over 75% of people that perform terrible acts, witnessed those terrible acts repetitively as children.
Also, it has been found that criminals often perform in certain acts to reduce the pain of a past trauma. For example, over 80% of prostitutes were sexually abused as children. Psychologists have found that they reduce the meaningfulness of sexual relations to help them to reduce the importance of the sexual abuse. Terrible, but true!
How Self Esteem Effects People
Many people believe that the easiest way to tell if someone is a good person is based on how high their self esteem is. People with high self esteems are those that see the bright side of things.
So for example, if they lose their job they immediately are excited about their new prospects, rather than lashing out at their former employer. Research has shown that indeed these people have a much better chance of being nice healthy people.
How to Discover Self Esteem
How would you then figure out if a person has high self esteem? Just ask them what they would do if they lost their job. If they have positive responses, they have high levels of self esteem. If they immediately start shooting out negatives, they have low self esteem.
People with Low Self Esteem, also have trouble admitting they were wrong. They constantly fight to deflect all negative messages. Meanwhile, those with high levels of self esteem, will except all criticism as feedback that they can use or not.
People with low self esteem, are so caught up in deflecting negatives, that they never act in their own long term interest. With each short term gratification (over eating, ignoring friends, drinking) they also compound their negative thoughts on themselves.
As their world starts to focus totally on creating one short term gratifying moment after another, they start to feel as if their choices are limited. And, when a person doesn’t think their decisions through, because they don’t see any, they make even worse choices.
I think you can see now, why this type of person would not qualify as nice or reliable!
Why Should you Inspect Self Esteem in New Employees or Relationships
If I haven’t given you enough reasons, think about (work / relationship) performance. Over time, people with low self esteem will start to justify their actions, good or bad.
We are also heavily guided by what is called the Consistency Principle. I wrote a great deal about it in past articles such as Theory Negotiation. Basically, the Consistency Principle drives us to both continue doing that which we did in the past and also to justify that which we did in the past.
So for an employee, they will justify the importance of drinking on work hours because:
You no doubt see how a person with low self esteem would also not be the type of person to start a personal relationship with.
Testing for Self Esteem
Ok, self esteem is important, so how do I find out if someone has high self esteem versus arrogance?
Don’t Judge Self Esteem Based On
That’s All Folks
I hope this article helps you improve your personal and work relationships. If you have any questions or comments, leave them below.
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