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For the first time in my life I could truly explain, through your words the way in which I experience life and myself. Brenda… It all fell into place. I had found myself and had such a moment of clarity. It felt like such a big weight was lifted off of my shoulders. Finally I felt like it was ok to be me. I was not the only one. I had found people and a little space where I fit in. … I was at work and crying on the inside. Emotions ran wild inside me. I was ecstatic, sad, confused, motivated, i…
BRENDA: thank you SO much! Your advice is exactly what I need to do. I am amazed how much you “get” me after only exchanging a few messages!… Again, I thank you from the bottom of my heart. You’ve helped me more than a year of therapy sessions! – Megan on space2live
That courage and dedication you so generously share with the world, has inspired me to push myself a little harder, persevere at each task a little longer, dig a little bit deeper to where the answers just “feel” right to both my humanity AND my spirit. Your insights have reinforced my direction and given me additional tools that help me clear my path. I’m wired into my creativity as never before and the new music is pouring out of me faster than I can record and produce it; this is the Un…
You’re so honest in your writing. It’s bold. It’s frank. It’s wonderful. I could definitely see the work you are doing here as a useful book. It could save/make a lot of relationships! — Jimmi Langemo
Jimmi Langemo
your depth of understanding, and talent at sharing it amaze me. Speechless… and for your sharing of it.. Thank you… deeply. *sigh, its like coming back into my body through acceptance….. Sherrie on space2live
I met Brenda and took the MBTI… I had a fairly good understanding of these types before the meeting but was impressed by the depth of knowledge that Brenda shared with me. She clearly has a passion for this work and a gift in imparting the information. There have been doors opened for me because of our talks… — Alan Hintermeister
Alan Hintermeister
Brenda has truly opened up a space for introverted types on the ‘net, and her self-revelations are always inspiring. Her voice is one I always look forward to. She is one of the writers that actually played a part in my return to writing.  — S.E. of Sunflower Solace Farms
S.E. of Sunflower Solace Farms
I think I want to print out your articles and hand them out as a sort of relationship waiver form. “You want to be my friend?….You are interesting in going out? Here read this first. Sign here to acknowledge that you have read and understand the enclosed material. Thank you.” Seriously. I think it would work. — Guerin Moorman
Guerin Moorman
Thank you for all the words. You’ve created the magic drug I’ve been looking for all my life. Your blog has transformed my life, and I feel like I am on the brink of a most satisfying fulfilling journey…You’ve made me see everything in a new light. I now feel calmer, able to care better for my toddler, less hateful of people around, and hopeful for my future. I am not so afraid for our marriage anymore. — Shilpa CB
Shilpa CB
During one of the harder times in my life I found Brenda’s website
and reached out to her. To say the least it has been one of the best
decisions I have made. Being an extrovert I never quite understood
what it meant to romantically involved with an introvert. Brenda does
an incredible job listening, giving in the moment feedback, and helped
me understand the how an introvert functions. She helped explain to me
that I am introspective extrovert, and this gave something to identify
with and allowed me t…
Evan H.

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Are You More Type A or Type B? Relaxed and Intrinsically Motivated Means More Fulfilled in the Long Run

In the late 1950s, Drs. Meyer Friedman and Ray Rosenman began noticing similarities in their patients prone to heart disease. It was more than their diet and genetics. It was the similar ways they led their lives. Dr. Friedman noted that these patients demonstrated:

“A particular complex of personality traits, including excessive competition drive, aggressiveness, impatience, and a harrying sense of time urgency. Individuals displaying this pattern seem to be engaged in a chronic, ceaseless, and often fruitless struggle — with themselves, with others, with circumstances, with time, sometimes with life itself. “

Drs. Friedman and Rosenman dubbed this complex personality, Type A.

Type A in car

Type A poster child

As a kid and a young adult, I remember my friends’ fathers in real life and executives portrayed on TV, as Type As. I had finance professors in college and bosses in corporate America who were the epitome of Type A. I actually thought it was the “I’m successful and powerful” personality to adopt once you make it to management. I even wished for that kind of authority and scariness. People listen to and obey Type As.

I married a Type A. My kids used to tell me to honk the horn at slow drivers “like Dad does”. I always thought, “What good is that going to do?”

Type A people seem stressed and it’s stressful for me to be around them for long periods. The foot tapping and micromanaging make cortisol shoot out of my adrenal glands. Environments that foster Type A behavior (highly competitive, fast paced, negative environments) are also antithetical to my nature.

I am a Type B with a smattering of impatience and a keen but selective sense of time urgency, so perhaps I’m a Type B+.

Type B

According to this Huffington Post article, Type B personalities exhibit the following traits:

  • More collaborative than competitive
  • Like to work on their own time, no rushing
  • Laid back but still driven
  • Averse to aggressive behavior
  • More ‘big picture’ and creative
  • Relaxed but not indifferent
  • Focus on outcome rather than details
  • Have higher life satisfaction
Shaggy is an extreme version of a Type B but the image made me smile so I used it.

Shaggy is an extreme version of a Type B but the image made me smile so I used it.

I am slightly biased toward Type Bs. I have Type As in my life that I adore but I worry about them and I no longer have any desire to be like them. At this stage in my life, I want a calm, relaxed, take-it-as-it-comes lifestyle. I am internally energized and intrinsically motivated. I don’t need or want to struggle ceaselessly with outside stimulation. I see where this could be correlated with introversion but I am not sure it is. I know some extremely intense introverts and completely laid back extroverts.

What motivates you?

What motivates you may also determine how you lead your life.

In his bestselling book on motivation titled, Drive: The Surprising Truth About What Motivates Us, Daniel Pink talks about types that are motivated by external rewards and those that are more intrinsically driven. He calls them Type X and Type I, respectively.

Intrinsic desires such as freedom, mastery and purpose fuel Type I’s. These sources of motivation are virtually limitless. Type I’s find satisfaction in the task itself. Rewards are nice but not the goal. Recognition is felt more as feedback than a required outcome.

Type Xs are driven to reach the end of a task or project in order to receive a reward or recognition.

Are we born to be rewarded or born to be self-directed?

Are we born with I or X motivation? It seems (I)ntrinsic motivation is the default. Behavioral scientist and author of Intrinsic Motivation, Edward Deci and his research partner, Richard Ryan have done countless studies and written hundreds of research papers on self-determination theory. Regardless of the field studied (education, business, medicine, sports, relationships, etc.) most point to the same conclusion. Human beings have an innate inner drive to be autonomous, self-determined and connected to one another. We’ve all seen toddlers with endless curiosity and serious drives to master things.

Do schools and corporate America dull intrinsic motivation? It sure seems like it with their compliance requirements (lack of freedom and autonomy) and the carrot and stick motivation policies (extrinsic rewards/punishment).carrot-and-stick

What type of motivation is most productive in the long run?

If an employee has an adequate salary (competitive and appropriate in the market), then his or her motivation will be based on extrinsic or intrinsic rewards.

Studies show that extrinsic rewards (money, recognition, gifts) may work with a straightforward short-term if/then situation but Type I’s and intrinsic motivation work best in the long run. Type I’s with their interest in the challenge are able to stick it out through difficult times and are able to see beyond the reward, thus giving them more patience and options for problem solving.

Who doesn’t want higher self-esteem, better relationships and greater overall well-being? 

In one study done by Edward Deci, it was found that individuals oriented toward control and extrinsic rewards showed greater public self-consciousness, acted more defensively, and were more likely to exhibit the Type A behavior pattern, thus linking Type Xs (extrinsic rewards) with Type As.

Type I’s, according to Daniel Pink in Drive, depend on autonomy, mastery and purpose to determine their behavior. They are devoted to becoming better and better at something that matters. Self-determination studies show that people oriented toward autonomy (note this is different from independence in that it could include a choice to be interdependent) and intrinsic motivation have higher self-esteem and better interpersonal relationships.

Lasting-MotivationSo, are Type I’s more like Type Bs? Both are self-directed, more intrinsically motivated than competitive, look at the work/relationship and its effect on the world (big picture) and have greater life satisfaction.

Given the link between Type A behavior and heart disease and the correlation between intrinsic motivation and greater life satisfaction, it seems like we would all want to be Type Bs and Type I’s. The good news is it has been proven that any Type X can become a Type I. They just have to fine tune their intrinsic motivation by relearning their innate curiosity and self-determination and tuning out the ubiquitous carrots and sticks that exist in our homes, workplaces and schools. As for switching from a Type A to a Type B, I am not sure that is so easy but I believe awareness and motivation adjustment are the places to start.

Do you struggle to keep up with the tempo of external life factors or do you march to the beat of your own internal drum? Are you externally or internally motivated? Are you Type A or Type B? Type X or Type I? 

If this piece resonated or affected you in a meaningful way, I would truly appreciate it if you would share it with others who may benefit.

Thank you,


** I used I’s for Type Is only to avoid confusion with the word is.

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  1. Brett de Villiers June 17, 2015 at 10:51 pm - Reply

    This is reassuring to read. I used to think that being a Type B, Type I was a weakness… I guess, like the Ugly Duckling, I was happy to learn that I didn’t need to swim, look, or quack like the ducks that surround me… Also, I think I see why I daydream about counseling others, or coaching…

    • Brenda Knowles June 19, 2015 at 7:41 am - Reply

      Not weak, worse or better for that matter, just different. Embrace your Type B/I traits. Author Daniel Pink (A Whole New Mind/Drive) sees those traits as the way to success in the future. That’s excellent news for you and me. 🙂

  2. Dawn Allred June 8, 2015 at 12:27 pm - Reply

    I sort-of apologize for the lengthy reply. : )

    This was such a good read for me this morning, after returning from an extended weekend in the Hill Country of Texas, where I solo-celebrated my birthday. I took a journal, with the intent of writing during some period of the four days I had to myself, and I never opened the journal. Instead, I let my senses roam free on the playground of nature surrounding me. My internal cup needed filling more than my brain needed to process any “unfinished business”, for which I had brought the journal.

    Several months ago, I seriously geared down an eight-month dating relationship. We each had “flags” that had begun to come up, starting around five months in. My introversion, particularly around my embracement of who I am, both in my strengths and in my limitations, was an issue (and in some instances, was used as a “whipping stick” – which I called out when it happened…another story). Another significant issue was in my choice of employment back in October. I had switched careers, from executive director of a memory care community (I loved it, but it drained my empathetic cup constantly over the course of a year) back into office management for a small commercial real estate company.

    There are few benefits, not much of a corporate ladder to climb here, and it doesn’t offer a lot of challenges specifically related to the position. My choice to pass up more challenging and lucrative roles was met with both verbal and visual disapproval. (Micro-expressions are hard to get past an intuitive introvert.) It was another thing that illustrated the professional and ambitious differences between us, things of which, in general, I have no problem. And for a good while – and like the good introvert that I am – I questioned myself over whether I was just choosing something “easy”. This has been part of the “unfinished business” I was referring to above.

    Back to *this* read. : ) (Times like this, I feel like Garrison Keillor telling his circuitous monologue on “The Prairie Home Companion”! ; ) ) When I read this, it just brought instant and settled clarity to thoughts which eventually would have gotten there. I took this less-challenging role, not because it was easy. I took it because my cup was professionally drained and I needed to fill it – and know that it could be filled again. I took it because I wanted some energy left at the end of the day to devote to the creative part of me that had been waning for way too long. And I took it because I am at a point in my life where I want to control where and how my energy is divided and devoted. Understanding myself more over the past few years as an introvert, and one who is motivated intrinsically, had significantly influenced the reasons for which I made that choice.

    My unfinished business is finished, and unapologetically so. : )

    I must be a Type B+ here too, because I definitely have a side of impatience with my relaxed and laid-back personality – especially when I get push-back for being an introvert. “That’s awesome introvert to you!” ; )

    Thank you, again, for another awesome share!

    • Brenda Knowles June 8, 2015 at 5:03 pm - Reply

      Clarity is such a rich experience, isn’t it? So glad you are figuring you and your most appropriate path out. I know you will be happier if you have energy left at the end of the day. I am. Your intuition is speaking loud and clear. Welcome to the B+ club.;) P.S. I love Hill Country!

  3. I have definite Type A tendencies: I tend to be competitive and obsessively goal-focussed if I don’t watch myself, plus I can really stress out about details along the way.

    I’ve always *wanted* to be more Type B, however, because I’m simply happier and enjoy life more when I cultivate those personality characteristics. I think the result is that I end up somewhere in the middle 🙂



    • Brenda Knowles June 8, 2015 at 5:34 am - Reply

      No stressing Tanja.;) Ease and the enjoyment of life for you.Think about eating buckwheat pancakes and back bacon in Glastonbury.:) You seem to be well balanced to me. Glad you made it home safely.

  4. Pat June 6, 2015 at 2:20 am - Reply

    Another interesting and stimulating article. Thanks, Brenda.

  5. Catherine North (@NorthCat75) June 5, 2015 at 5:38 pm - Reply

    This is really interesting, because I’ve done a few type A/type B tests, and I always come out somewhere on the borderline. I’m definitely non-competitive, co-operative and intrinsically motivated, which are type B qualities, but I can also be quite neurotic, anxious and restless, which perhaps pushes me towards the type A score?

    • Brenda Knowles June 5, 2015 at 5:57 pm - Reply

      Like introversion and extroversion, there is a continuum for Types A and B. Most of us have a little of both in us with a preference or predilection toward one. Perhaps you’re a Type B+ like me.;)

  6. June 5, 2015 at 5:32 pm - Reply

    This is so interesting! I’d bet money that most writers are Type I…

    • Brenda Knowles June 5, 2015 at 5:55 pm - Reply

      I agree. Writers, artists, counselors. All seem intrinsically motivated.

  7. lilly June 5, 2015 at 4:37 pm - Reply

    Brenda, love this post. As I have gotten older I used to believe that I was an extrovert with a few introvert tendencies but after dating several extroverts, I now believe that I am an introvert who is a Type B/I. I never knew about the “I”. Love the Shaggy cartoon.

    • Brenda Knowles June 9, 2015 at 6:59 pm - Reply

      I never really thought about there being a Type B but now that I’ve seen several descriptions of one I know that’s who I am. Isn’t it fun discovering/revealing our true selves? 🙂 Shaggy is fun nostalgia, isn’t he?

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