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Me, Myself and Us

The Science of Personality and the Art of Well-Being

By Brian R. Little
  • Read in 13 minutes
  • Audio & text available
  • Contains 8 key ideas
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Me, Myself and Us by Brian R. Little

Me, Myself and Us (2014) is about what it is that makes you you. These blinks outline the different aspects of personalities, what influences them and how they determine our behavior.

Key idea 1 of 8

Our first impressions are based on personal constructs, which also determine our behavior.

Everyone knows the saying, “don’t judge a book by its cover.” But actually following this advice is not always as easy as it sounds. Over the course of any day, we regularly make judgements about other people based on our first impressions.

And there’s more than one kind of first impression. Imagine, for example, that you overhear a customer in a restaurant being very rude to a waiter. How would you feel? You might dismiss the customer as a tactless or abusive person, or you might construct a narrative explaining that he’s just had a bad day at work and doesn’t usually act so aggressively.

Most people go for the easier explanation – he’s just an inherently rude person. It’s simpler to label people than it is to come up with stories that might explain their behavior.

These quick judgements aren’t objective, either. They’re based on our personal constructs.

The term “personal constructs” was first coined by the psychologist George Kelly as a way to describe the complex emotional lenses through which each person views the world. Personal constructs are different for everyone; they might prompt you to think of the restaurant customer as obnoxious, or think of him as authoritative and masculine.

Personal constructs also determine your behavior and ability to face challenges. The more limited a person’s worldview is, the more difficult it is for them to cope with unexpected problems.

Imagine you have a friend who’s unable to move on after a bad breakup, for example. If he becomes very pessimistic about humanity and starts viewing everyone he meets as untrustworthy, he’ll have a hard time committing himself to anyone in the future.

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