“Be the kind of person you want others to be.”
― Anurag Prakash Ray
In social dynamics, there are four main personality archetypes and they’re not gender-specific.
To show you each, let’s imagine you’re in a two-piece suit attending a fancy party for work.
In your hand, you’re holding your favorite drink.
The Supplicative (Submissive) Type
The room has many of your coworkers and you see one of your direct reports.
Let’s call him John.
You walk up to him and start a conversation.
You genuinely ask him how he is doing to build some rapport.
As the conversation moves on, you find that John is not being his usual self.
Constantly showering you with compliments of how great of a boss you are, he even offers to buy you a drink even though it’s an open bar.
Overcoming perplexity, you realized why he is acting this way.
John had recently mentioned to you that he wants a promotion.
He is doing all this trying to please you and win your approval.
Now John here is the classic type of the supplicative or submissive person.
If there is a sign over his head, it would be “PLEASE LIKE ME!”
This type of person has a covert contract in his interactions because he wants something in return.
Seeking external approval and validation, he begs and compliments.
His body language is inward and doesn’t take up space.
In addition, he tends to speak in high-pitched tones indicating low-status.
The proper behavior to deal this type of person is to give him acceptance.
You honestly tell John that you appreciate his work and will do your best to grant him that promotion, but no guarantees.
John will feel ecstatic hearing this and will stop trying to win you over.
After ending your conversation with John, you hear your favorite song playing in the background.
The Combative Type
You slowly move to the dance floor and bust out your favorite dance moves; mine is the Gangnam Style.
One of your coworkers walks up in front of you.
Let’s call him Steve.
Steve tells you that he has seen the Gangnam Style music video countless times and that you’re disgracing the Gangnam style dance moves.
He tells you that you’re offbeat and your body is too stiff.
Here, Steve is the combative type.
If he has a sign above his head, it would be “YOU SUCK!”
The combative type shows dominance and has an outward expansion of body language.
He thinks he knows everything and likes to brag, insult, and argue with others.
The proper behavior for dealing with this type of person is to give him approval.
This will increase his self-worth and allow him to lower his guard.
In the case of Steve, you can tell him that he is right.
That you’re doing the dance moves wrong and ask him to show you how it’s properly done.
The last thing you would want is to confront him.
To avoid that, you would either use neutral (standing side by side) or negative body language (turn your back towards him) instead of positive body language (standing face to face with him).
Most of your communication is nonverbal and the best way to diffuse a high-tension situation is to turn your body away from it.
The Competitive Type
Now after learning the new dance moves from Steve, you start implementing them as your favorite song is still playing.
During the midst of your dance, someone taps you on the shoulder.
You turn around to see who it is.
As it turns out, it’s your manager Peter.
He tells you that you have some decent dance moves.
Thinking he has better dance moves, he challenges you to a dance-off!
He immediately starts dancing and shows off his dance moves.
Peter here is an example of the competitive type.
The sign above his head says, “I’M BETTER THAN YOU!”
As the name dictates, this type of person is always competing with others.
He’s always looking for ways in which he is better than others.
His favorite food is the one-up mushroom because he constantly wants to one-up others.
The proper behavior to deal with this type of person is to give him compliments.
You can tell Peter that his dance moves are amazing and ask him where he learned them.
You wouldn’t want to compete with him regardless if you know how to dance or not.
That’s irrelevant because he doesn’t want anyone to rain on his parade.
When you agree with others and give them genuine compliments, they won’t want to argue with you.
Now that your favorite song is over.
You leave the dance floor and migrate to the bar to refill your drink.
The Cooperative Type
After you have received a refill of your favorite drink, the CEO of your company joins you.
Let’s call him Nick.
Nick greets you and starts to build rapport with you.
He starts by asking how your night is going.
Then he transitions into genuinely complimenting about your skillful dance moves.
His wife comes over and Nick introduces her to you.
To make you feel extra special, he tells his wife how much he appreciates your effort at work and that you play a major role in the company’s success.
Nick here is the cooperative type.
The sign above his head says, “YOU’RE AWESOME!”
This type of person is always looking for ways to add value to others.
He focuses on giving genuine compliments and showing interest in others.
This type of person has a positive vibe around him and exudes high levels of energy.
By putting the focus on others, he allows others the opportunity to shine.
The proper behavior for the cooperative person is to work together!
He wants to help you by adding value to your situation.
You in return do the same for him.
This is the type of person that you should strive to be!
Your Best Version
If you want to take the cooperative type a step further, you can envision the best version of yourself.
You can start by picking traits from your idols and role models.
For example, one of the traits that I idolize is Bruce Lee’s adaptability to any environment.
“Empty your mind, be formless. Shapeless, like water. If you put water into a cup, it becomes the cup. You put water into a bottle and it becomes the bottle. You put it in a teapot, it becomes the teapot. Now, water can flow or it can crash. Be water, my friend.”
― Bruce Lee
I love this quote because it emphasizes the importance of adapting to different environments like a chameleon.
You can no longer be just one-dimensional.
To be exceptional in every role, you have to step it up in every facet of life.
If you have traits that you idolize in someone, then strive to become more like that person.
You have the power to choose others’ best qualities, traits, and attributes and combining them into your ideal self.
Because perfection doesn’t exist, there will always be room for improvement.
But at the same time, your current state is already exceptional.
Improve yourself because you want to, but not because you’re not good enough.
In the past, you’ve been supplicative (submissive), combative, and competitive because of your ego which is based on your perception of self-worth.
When you feel low-valued, you seek them out externally, the reason why the supplicative (submissive) and combative types behave the way they do.
The supplicative (submissive) type seeks value by pleasing others.
The combative type makes himself feel high-valued by putting others down.
As for the competitive type, it has a lot to do with your primal survival instinct.
You compete because you want to survive and live longer.
For example, if your colleague gets a promotion and you didn’t, your subconscious mind will start to doubt your abilities at work.
If and when the company isn’t doing well financially and when the time comes to let people go, then you would think that you will be ahead of the list before your recently promoted coworker.
The likelihood of this happening is extremely low, but you subconsciously think in terms of survival.
Therefore, you’re inclined to prove to others that you’re better than them.
Being chased by a lion, you don’t have to outrun the lion to survive.
You just have to outrun the person who’s behind you.
When you’re being cooperative and being your best version, you create win-win situations by adding value in any situation.
No matter what stage of life you’re in, you already have value to give.
It’s as simple as genuinely smiling at someone.
Other forms may include providing attention, approval, and acceptance.
Despite being cooperative, you will encounter others who won’t respond positively.
But it’s in those situations, your reactions depict your true value.
Although doing your best to persuade and influence others, you can never completely control them.
However, you always have control over yourself by choosing how you react to each situation.
Cooperative people add value to others because they see others’ victories and successes as their own.
They know their relationships with others are strong.
How attractive would you be to others if you were constantly well-liked by everyone?
What kind of benefits would you experience in your life?
Wouldn’t you want to be more cooperative after seeing those results?
Now that you have taken the red pill and can see the matrix.
You understand why people behave certain ways in interactions.
This isn’t just to show the different personality archetypes when you meet them, but also to increase your awareness of the type of person that you portray in your daily interactions.
The winning formula is to give value because you will inevitably receive in one form or another.
Armed with that knowledge, go out, connect with others, and be the cooperative and high-value person that you are.
Please share this article with anyone who you think may find it useful.
If you have any questions and/or comments on being a more cooperative person, please leave a comment below or send me an email.
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