Tuesday, March 29, 2011

How to tell a person's true nature

Source Website:
Geoff Tan, my paper, Mon, Mar 28, 2011

PHOTO: So as it is written in all that is conveyed to script, love thy neighbor, do unto others as you would have them do unto you, good forward, good backward. (Posted: Tuesday, May 25, 2010)

PHOTO: Geoff Tan
The writer is a senior vice-president of Singapore Press Holdings’ marketing division.


RECENTLY, I went on a six-day trip with a group of friends. It was the first time we were holidaying together.

During the trip, a member of our 20-strong group remarked that one can tell the character of a person by observing how he interacts with others in unfamiliar situations.

That reminded me of what my father once said: There is nothing like a round of golf to bring out the best or worst in a person. My aunt holds the same opinion but with regard to a totally different game - mahjong.

Whether it is playing 18 holes with someone new, or stacking and throwing tiles across a square table, it puts someone in a situation he is not accustomed to.

Organisational-behaviour consultant Robert Sutton said that "the best test of a person's character is how he or she treats those with less power".

Indeed, it is easy to see why someone would go the extra mile and put on a certain persona for a superior.

So, how someone interacts with those who are lower in status is most telling.

The self-centred ones may pretend to put others first if they stand to gain but, as soon as there is nothing of benefit to them, they treat others like dirt.

What else reveals a person's true nature? Some say a good test is to look at what a person finds funny or how he treats a waiter.

PHOTO: The Perils of a Catholic Upbringing Recalling my old pastor, Father Mike, who always admonished me to 'care for the sick, feed the hungry and clothe the naked,' I was moved by some powerful inner urge to reach out to this unfortunate person.

Then, there are some who say that the true test is seeing how a person behaves when he is pulled over by police while driving.

The funniest test I have heard is to look at how a person treats his parents or, better still, his in-laws.

Someone once told me that "you can tell a person's character by how often he uses the bcc function in work-related e-mail".

And how about this one which you have probably heard often - a person's true character is revealed by how he handles good fortune or unplanned wealth.

I make up my mind about a person's character in a few ways.

Firstly, I tend to want to check out who the person's friends are, and social-media networks like Facebook makes this easy.

PHOTO: The intension of mindfulness meditation is gain insight as to the true nature of reality and therefore also called insight.

Secondly, actions speak louder than words, so I observe what the person does, instead of just listening to what he says.

Lastly, I find that it is very helpful to look at a person's attitude to life.

For example, I would steer clear of a person who gravitates towards blaming the world, instead of taking responsibility for his actions, and are always pessimistic.
By Geoff Tan, my paper, Mon, Mar 28, 2011

我的字典: Wǒ de zì diǎn

Character: 人品 - rén pǐn
Self-centered: 自私自利的 - zì sī zì lì de
Unplanned wealth: 横财 - hèng cái
Attitude: 态度 - tài du