Dr. Frank Farley on Type ‘T’ Personalities What is a type T personality? Capital letter T, right, it’s a thrill seeking, that’s what the T stands for; risk taking, stimulation seeking, excitement seeking, thrill seeking person. Think of a continuum of human behavior. Up in this end, the big T is where I’ve done a lot of my work. You know, on these people who take risks, thrills, etc. Let me go through some of the qualities that I think characterize these big T people. They tend to be motivated by change, variety, intensity, they like an intense life, they are thrill seekers, risk takers. I define risk taking as engaging in something with an uncertain outcome. So they have a high tolerance for uncertainty. They tend to be self confident; they tend to believe that they control their fate. They are often very innovative, at one time I thought of calling them type c because they are so creative, but I didn’t. I think you’ll never do great creative things unless you are willing to take a risk. And they tend to be these creative people. T-positive and T-negative traits T positive is when your risk taking is healthy, constructive, and positive. For example, creative people in all fields, people who change the world, I believe that whenever you see human progress, you are going to see a big T standing there. You know these are the people who change the world … Albert Einstein; I believe he was a big time
risk taker, T positive. When he was propounding his theories, he was way beyond the crowd, way out there in the realm of uncertainty. That’s T positive, and creating whole new visions and it was essentially mental. So that’s the positive side. But there’s a destructive side,
which makes this a very interesting persona. There’s the T negative, and kind of destructive behavior, destructive thrill seeking, thrill crimes. I argue that a lot of delinquency in crime is connected in with thrill value, the T factor of the crime, and you don’t want your child heading in that direction. On the other hand, having a t positive child you may end up with an Einstein or a Margaret Mead, or someone like that, who is highly creative, pushing the envelope, and a risk taker, etc., We need more of the t positives to solve all of our problems in society these days. So therefore if you have a type T kid that may go this way, you don’t want that, or they may go this way, you want that. And so you have to pay attention to them. Is your child a thrill seeker? If a child is very exploratory, fearless, always into stuff, they don’t cling to your feet; they are off exploring, looking around – maybe a T type. They are the kind of kids, they are very hard
to monitor, because they are always going, and trying, and doing, and so on. The do’s and don’t’s of parenting T-types Unfortunately sometimes parents tend to treat them this way, they lay down the law. You will not do that. The problem is these are natural born rule breakers. You lay down rules; they are going to break them. So if you realize that you’ve got a type T and you understand this whole idea, then variety, novelty, intensity, those are the things that will engage them, and that’s what you got to do. You’re trying to engage them, so they go in a positive way, which is a way that you want. Laying down the law, laying down the rules, just sets up another rule to break. Some ideas to engage natural born thrill seekers… You’re going to have to guide the child, provide opportunities that are positive but exciting. Back pack. Sleep under the stars. Do something different. And your kids will love you for it. They’ll respect you because you are showing some of their type T qualities. So travel, vacations, weekends … you can do all sorts of things on weekends. Getting kids involved in creative activities of any sort. And by the way, I don’t think creativity is restricted to the arts, that’s the old view of creativity. The new view is that creativity can be everywhere. In fact, a lot of the creativity these days is in the digital world, the online world. And so you can get your child involved in creative activities, which may satisfy the type T motivation. Why the world needs risk takers To me the survival skill of the 21st century
is dealing with change. And that means risk, change. This is going to be a century of enormous change, we’re leaving the earth, we’re heading out into space, we’re going to mars, we’re talking about permanent installations on the moon with people there.