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What shape are you?

I bet you read that and thought this was going to be a fitness post. Couldn’t be further from it!

I attended a conference in Florida last week for work. It was such a great experience; it’s been a hot minute since I’ve traveled for work by myself. I enjoyed making completely autonomous decisions, I enjoyed interacting with new people, and mostly I enjoyed putting food in my mouth without a small voice “can I hab a bite a dat?”

The opening speaker for the conference was Connie Podesta, I hadn’t heard of her before but she was great. She’s a therapist and a comedian. Genius, the amount of material she must gather in just a day’s worth of patients! I have to believe the whole HIPAA thing is real hard to follow in this unique career.

She was discussing personality tests, and how the average test takes well over an hour, is hundreds of questions and the bottom line: we all know what the “right” answers are. We know how to answer so that we DON’T sound like a psychopath. She claimed to have invented/discovered the most accurate test and it only took 5-7 seconds to complete. I’m going to give you this test; I want you to be honest and don’t read further until you’ve done it! It’s 5 seconds guys, you can do this.

There are 4 shapes: Square. Triangle. Circle. Squiggle.

Picture them – biggish, like the size of your head. Now take your finger, and draw one of those shapes in the air. Did you do it? Honest?

Okay. Now I’ll tell you that I drew a triangle. I first considered the circle. Circles are beautiful, perfectly symmetrical, I’m an engineer and this is appealing. But then I thought it’s impossible for a human to draw a perfect circle unless you’re using a compass. It doesn’t matter how careful you are, your hand-drawn circle is lopsided or oval and this annoys me about circles. In fact I go out of my way to avoid drawing circles because of this. Then I considered the squiggle and immediately moved on because a squiggle is NOT A SHAPE. 

That left me with a square or a triangle. I almost went with square but the more I thought about the triangle the more I liked it. I like how pointy they are, I like that it’s easy to draw one and I like that there are many types of triangle. You’ve got your isosceles, the right triangle, equilateral, obtuse to name a few. And the final factor was that it only takes 3 lines to draw a triangle and a square is 4. I like efficiency.

I know reading this makes it seem like I had lots of time, but the human brain is amazing and capable of processing quickly, so yes, I really thought this all through in five seconds.

Then the speaker started describing the different shape categories, beginning with squares. 

Squares are organized, they are resistant to change, they like lists, they do not like group work, they like to be in control, they are loyal and they think “fun” is more of a luxury than a need.

I was listening to this thinking “shoot, I’m totally a square, I can’t believe I drew the wrong shape. Oh well, it’s a five second personality test, did I really expect it to be accurate?”

And then she described a triangle and oh my goodness, am I a triangle.

Triangles are very similar to squares, they like to take charge and move fast, they are organized, and they work well alone. HOWEVER, they are very competitive, love to argue, are impatient and efficient, they want to get to the bottom line fast and are prone to having a bit of a temper.

Ha! I was grimacing and laughing simultaneously, because I am all of those things and I reflected on the pointiness of triangles and how I liked that and how I had pictured it as charging into a pane of glass and shattering it.

Circles are great, they’re caregivers and helpers, they love to have fun, enjoy being with people and are very extroverted, they tend to over commit and worry too much about things because they try very hard to please. They tell very long stories that drive triangles crazy. They’re usually disorganized and this makes squares even more of a square. (J just came over and read my post title and said, “oh yeah, the shape test. I was a circle, right? That’s the best one, the fun one, the good one.” And then she walked away and rallied the other kids to go play a game outside. That’s a circle for ya.

The squiggles did not get a lot of respect, sorry squiggles. But let’s be real, it’s not a shape so it’s really your fault for choosing it. Squiggles are creative, high energy, and incredibly flexible or spontaneous. They are easily distracted and often act or speak without thinking. 

It was a great opening segment and she called up people who were various shapes and asked them questions. We all had a good laugh. She used the analogy of a party to frame the mindset of the shapes. Circles are the party, always. Squares planned the party and spent weeks building up to it but don’t actually go to the party. Triangles want no part of the party but go if they have to and only to accomplish a specific task, such as networking, meeting someone specific, acquiring some information, or competing in an event. And squiggles, they’re like “what party? What time? Where is it?” And then just find some random party on their way and go to that one.  Connie asked a rhetorical question to think of a time you took a personality test that was dead wrong. A woman raised her hand to answer and Connie actually gave her the microphone. She rambled a bit about buying a new car and her husband won’t let her negotiate and prints out a script for her to use….Connie finally interrupted her to address the audience, “it’s not her fault guys, she’s a circle and she doesn’t even realize her story has nothing to do with my question. Bless her, she doesn’t even realize it was a rhetorical question. But we need circles, we just need them without microphones.”

My colleague and I chatted afterwards and I asked her what shape she was. She told me to guess and I refused because that seemed like a very dangerous game. She was a square, which I knew. I told her I wouldn’t make her guess what I was but we said it at the same time, “triangle.” 

Here’s a link to Connie’s website, I haven’t looked her up on Youtube to see if I could capture a video of her shapes test but it’s probably worth the extra effort. If I do get around to it, I’ll do a separate post with that.

I’ve been trying to post this for a while, but everytime I log into my admin site for the blog I get a message: Sorry, you are not allowed to access this page.

Which is somewhat troubling as I am literally the creator of it. If you’re reading this, then I guess I figured it out! I’m envisioning getting better about my scheduling and having a weekly Saturday AM post. Stay tuned!

5 thoughts on “What shape are you?”

  1. This is great. Really nails it. I think I was once a triangle but morphed into a square at about 60.
    Did she give tips for how to deal with/work with each?

    1. I was thinking there might be some shape shifting as we go through different life stages. She did give some tips! Unfortunately, I received a phone call right when she started that topic and had to step out. So I probably missed the most critical portion! But as a classic triangle I figured it was everybody else’s problem and not mine 🙂

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