Happy Go-Lucky Go-Broke
Why do some people do absolutely nothing to take care of their futures despite the fact that they know better? It’s a puzzle.
It’s not an educational failing since some of the most well educated people don’t plan. Nor is it a difference in upbringing since two people from the same family can have markedly different attitudes toward money. So what makes the difference? What creates the need or the lack of desire to plan? What drives some to look beyond the immediate, while others can see only today?
If you’re trying to figure out why your partner, your children, your best-friend has no sense of what they need to do for the future, let me introduce to a book I read about a million years ago. Please Understand Me by David Keirsey and Marilyn Bates is based on the Myers-Briggs Type Indicator test that seeks to identify the ways in which people are different. Its premise is that people believe different things and therefore perceive and react to life differently. And since their wants and beliefs are the natural fallout of the different ways in which they understand and think, it is only natural that these wants and beliefs also be different.
One of the things that Keirsey and Bates point out in their book is that 38% of the population is what is termed “SP” or of the Dionysian Temperament, referring to the Greek god whose mandate it was to teach man joy. The thing about SPs is that by their very nature they are free, impulsive, and action-oriented. They don’t want to plan. They don’t want to be tied down to a purpose. They just want to be and to do. They have to act on their urges and they thrive on situations where the outcome is unknown. Sometimes they even create their own crises. They believe resources, like money, are to be expended. They have no interest in the future because they are simply too busy living in the present.
The Type Indicator is one explanation for the fact that so many people have no plan for the future, and no desire to do anything about it. But if you have those people in your life and are at your wits end trying to understand how they can blithely go through life without a thought for the future, rest assured they are just being true to their Type.
So what can you do if you’re partnered with an SP? Recognize the limitations of the person you’re working with. Discuss how their happy-go-lucky attitude is fabulous in some ways, and terrifying in others. Come to an agreement as to how you will make decisions together so that you feel safe and they don’t feel stifled. Talk about it. Respect each other’s needs. Make a plan for how you’ll deal with money together.
I believe we are true to type. But I also believe that we can overcome our instinctive behaviour by changing our habits. I’ve always been an incredible worrywart and planner. But I like the joy and spontaneity my daughter has. And I’m using her as my example to become a more spontaneous and not worry so much about how things will work out. Hey, the idea of being stuck in old and self-destructive roles is anathema to me, so I’m willing to push out of my comfort zones to create new realities for myself.
How about you? What do you wish you could change about yourself? What are you going to do about it?
Do you have an SP in your life? How are you coping?