Happy Types


I’ve always been attracted to the positive end of psychology. I don’t share my daughter’s fascination with fly-on-the-wall documentaries hunkered down in prisons, police stations and courts. Even Broadchurch only appealed to me when there were sweeping atmospheric shots of the Dorset coastline, which thankfully appeared every few minutes. My bar for gore cannot extend to One Born Every Minute or All Creatures Great and Small. The psychology of crime and getting underneath the bad, mad, dangerous and evil people only appeals to me when they comprise the politicians sitting on either side of Fiona Bruce during Question Time.

I’ve lapped up positive psychology as it has flourished over the past twenty years or so. It has become so much more than posters bearing inspirational platitudes beneath pictures of icebergs, tigers and elite sports stars.

I’m delighted to present some of the best research in the field and link it to personality type at the upcoming BAPT Conference. When people are asked in surveys what they want most from life; happiness is usually at the top of the list. It has now been studied. But what is happiness?

I will explore seven components of happiness in the Conference workshop. One component can be defined as pleasure: fleeting hedonistic, altruistic or sensual or intellectual experiences. We all experience this kind of happiness eating or drinking something pleasing or enjoying a hobby, interest or pastime. Is type important here? Is pleasure about Extraverting and/or Introverting? Consider the SP’s insatiable lust for lived experiences.

I would like to explore pleasure preferences through the lens of type during the Conference session. Is there a match up? There are times when we can indulge and luxuriate in our preferences and times when we gain pleasure from our inferior function. As an ENFP I can enjoy much of what I’m predicted to enjoy when my preferences are massaged thoroughly. Feedback from courses I’ve led tends to confirm pleasure is derived mostly when our preferences are satiated.

I remember once suggesting fishing as something Introvert preferences are more likely to enjoy than Extravert preferences. An agitated ENTP delighted in sharing with the group his love of fishing. I asked him to describe a typical fishing trip. He said a group of five good friends head off for a fishing weekend together. They spend more time in the pub than on the river bank. The fishing part was competitive too, with a series of elaborate social forfeits that seemed to have little to do with fishing.

I think we can all find pleasure in most activities but it will be interesting to consider the impact of personality preferences. This is only one of seven components of happiness we will consider. I hope you will be able to join me to share your own experiences of what happiness means to you.

PS You don’t have to self identify as happy to attend; miserable and grumpy people are also welcome.

About the Author

David HodgsonDavid Hodgson is a training consultant and author. He mostly works with teenagers, teachers and careers advisers in schools and universities across the UK. He uses his own version of personality type, the buzz, see https://icould.com/buzz-quiz/, to help motivate and inspire children to make more informed decisions about their future. He is ENFP and writes for BAPT’s Typeface on education.


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