The names are different, the passports are different; they eat different food and have different traditions. And yet, from Poland to Portugal they have two things in common: First, they are pessimists, realists or optimists. Second, they are either introverts or extroverts.
Based on more than three years of experience with public speaking seminars I’ve created my own Personality-Positivity-Matrix (PP-Matrix). The PP-Matrix has two dimensions. The first dimension – Personality – distinguishes between introversion and extroversion as two major personal traits of people. The second dimension – Positivity – shows three levels of positivity: minus (negative), zero (neutral) and plus (positive).
In total, the PP-Matrix consists of six fields: Black Hole, Bad Apple, Bee, Captain, Volcano, and Star.
Where are you currently in the PP-Matrix? More importantly, where can you go and who can you become (based on my personal experience)?
Black Hole – Introvert/Negative
Black Holes are introverted and constantly negative people. Their glass is always half-empty and they tend to be cynical and bitter. They taste like an espresso without sugar. They suck off your energy. From all six personality-positivity combinations this is the only one, which is really difficult to cure. Changing the attitude of Black Holes requires a long-term process of self-improvement in a super positive environment. Joining a Toastmasters club or an improv theater group are definitely great options for them.
Bad Apple – Extrovert/Negative
Bad Apples can be sarcastic. They tend to take pleasure from the misfortunes of others. But not like Black Holes, these people have a voice. They are extroverted and speak up. One bad apple spoils the bunch. If they manage to change their attitude, get rid of their sarcasm, become more empathetic, more positive, and more optimistic, Bad Apples can turn into good Captains. What they need, though, is tons of genuineness and sincerity. Bad Apples grow in a professional environment based on positivism and constructivism.
Bee – Introvert/Neutral
The ever working bees. They avoid confrontation; they prefer to keep their mouth shut. It’s the gray mass with soft voices and indifferent faces. They have a neutral level of positivity. They don’t hurt anyone and are a very important piece of the puzzle because they are reliable employees. Bees can turn into great Captains once they stretch their comfort zone. Public speaking seminars, Karaoke sessions, Toastmasters – these platforms help them tear down the gray walls they built around themselves. I have seen so many Bees turn into sparkling Mayas. Inspiring.
Captain – Extrovert/Neutral
The Captains, the managers. Captains are extroverted realists. They build the base of business management. They are good communicators and great doers. They manage processes and businesses well thanks to their analytical, fact and logos-driven attitude. If the Captains manage to focus on the positive side of life, they can turn from good managers into great managers – or even into Stars in the long run.
Volcano – Introvert/Positive
Beware of the Volcanoes! They are the hidden champions of this matrix. Mostly, these people limit themselves thanks to negative experiences in life. Yet, these experiences couldn’t break their positivity. Once they erupt, once they speak up, once they scream and sing and dance – it’s the Volcanoes who take the most impressive evolutionary step. When they leave their comfort zone and enter the magical zone of extroversion, Volcanoes turn into Stars. I’ve seen them erupt. Goosebumps.
Star – Extrovert/Positive
The Stars, great leaders. Full of charisma, full of smile, full of empathy – Stars turn the dark sky around them into a field of sparkling diamonds. Their glass is always half-full, they motivate and inspire others. They are the role model of personality and positivity. They are genuine networkers, they have many friends, they are the ones who cause a smile on other people’s faces. If you spot Stars in your organization, promote them. They are born leaders – authentic and sincere. Surround yourself with Stars! They can and will have a positive impact on your life.
And now what?
Whoever we are in this matrix, wherever we are currently stuck – we all can become more positive and more outgoing people. I did it “my way” thanks to countless karaoke sessions, years of Toastmasters and years of public speaking trainings.
On the path of self-improvement I learned an important lesson. If I’m a Bad Apple, I don’t know it. If I’m a Volcano, I don’t know about the great potential I could activate. If I’m a Bee, I think it’s fine. What we need in life is feedback. We need others to tell us where we can go and what we can reach in life. We need mentors and people of trust around us who can help us grow. We must ask for feedback. We must be willing to accept open and honest feedback.
Are you ready to change?