When I was a child, I never would have thought this way – but after studying economics and corporate strategy in college, I learned that (as odd it it might sound) there are actual methods of “quantifying” human beings. That’s right – legitimate methods exist which essentially break a person’s personality, monetary worth, and other traits down to a bulleted word document; their tangible, measurable character profile and worth if you will.
Now if you’re anything like me, your response after reading that is probably something like this: “um…what?” After all, the thought of reducing a human being down to a simple sheet of paper sounds somewhat monstrous, don’t you think?
As time went on, however, I began to understand why these metrics exist. I’ve spoken with relationship counselors who do this to aide with matchmaking, for example. I even used these methods during my career as an insurance agent, quantifying my clients monetary worth over their lifetime to determine the amount of life insurance they need. Despite how offputting it was at first, things became clear that these analytics weren’t, in fact, a way of thinking totally devoid of personal sensitivity and compassion.
Recently I’ve experienced significant changes in my life which have reminded me of these lessons. In my torturous attempts to move on after a breakup, for instance, I created a five page list of bullet points which helped me understand why I was struggling so badly. Eventually, going back and referencing that list helped me realize that the characteristics which I was so in love with actually exist in other people. It may not have switched off the lingering feelings which we all maintain after long relationships, but it certainly helped with the tornado making its way through my head. It was therapeutic, if I had to label the sensation.
With so many changes in my life both personally and professionally, I’ve been thinking a lot about this method of quantifying our reality. My main curiousity lies in the characteristics that people most commonly look for in other people.
So I’d like to propose a question:
If you had to list the top two or three traits you desire in a person, what would your answer be? Particularly when it comes to a relationship, since those tend to be our most dynamic interactions, and in my opinion surely the one that dictates the majority of our happiness.
My answer would be this: trust, open-mindedness, and depth. Trust is an obvious one; no one likes to constantly question their companions motives or actions. Open-mindedness is vital because with my personality profile, it’s a necessity. I love to try new things, take calculated risks and enjoy a diverse, sometimes unpredictable life. Depth is perhaps the most unconventional trait of the list. To me, having substance is one of the most valuable characteristics we can display. I like people who have deeply held convictions, are good critical thinkers, and who can have solid conversation about a lot of different things.
Undoubtedly there are many who have, and many who have not thought of their relationships in this manner. Despite the apprehension some may feel with what might seem to be a “cold” school of thought, I encourage you to give this a try. Think of what you value most in your relationships, and apply that to the ones you currently have. Are you surrounding yourself with those who truly mesh with you? You’d be amazed at how much you can learn about yourself if you just give it a shot.