How to Instantly Assess Someone’s Personality

The famous saying “Beauty is in the eye of the beholder,” means that the nature of an individual’s personality and state of mind is projected onto the world. Going further, the observer creates what he or she sees.

I love it when practical, time-honored wisdom is supported by science. Dr. Dustin Wood at Wake Forest University must feel the same way.

Wood has published research that confirms it: Asking someone what they think about other people reveals much about their own personality.

The way someone answers questions such as, “Tell me about the people you work with at the bank,” “What do you think about the folks you work out with at the gym?” or “Tell me about your neighbors,” is important.

The happy, optimistic and generous person sees others the same way and is more satisfied in life. The self-centered and pessimistic person views others as having the same outlook.

To be a beholder, you have to pay attention—you have to be an aware observer. Take the test. What traits do you see in the people around you?

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Lou Solomon

Lou Solomon is the founder of Interact. She is a TEDx speaker and a member of the adjunct faculty at the McColl School of Business at Queens University of Charlotte. Her articles have appeared in Harvard Business Review,,, and Fast Company.