two types of people



~2 min read


355 words

In her book, The Creative Habit: Learn It and Use It for Life, Twyla Tharp writes:1

Robert Benchley wrote that there are two kinds of people in the world: those who divide the world into two kinds of people, and those who don’t.

She follows up with:

I have issues with ambiguity, preferring my distinctions to be black or white. I don’t like gray. That’s how I am. I recognize, of course, that some people do like gray.

I love the observation from Benchley! Pithy, comical, and tautological. Really top-notch.

I also find Twyla’s response to it fascinating. I, too, appreciate clean lines and divisions. As just one example, I spent hundreds, if not thousands, of hours in my childhood organizing a music library. I constantly am trying to organize different ideas and concepts. (I am realizing that not all things can be categorized, even less so upfront. It’s why I’m taking more of a Digital Garden approach to the site lately and trying to develop my practices around Zettelkasten. Though I’m still working on making my notes more atomic)

All of which is to say I’m predisposed to believe her and to feel the same way. It’s interesting, then, that I actively resist the idea of bucketing folks.

Buckets and classifications lead too easily to divisions and frankly, I find it much more interesting and rewarding identifying new connections.

Humans are multidimensional. There’s no one defining characteristic to who we are - though certainly some traits are more pronounced and beliefs more salient. By bucketing folks into one group or another, it’s reductive. You’re either Type A or Type B and the exercise, while clarifying, obfuscates the myriad differences between all of the folks in either camp and diminishes the shared characteristics across camps too.

Any way - as I said, I like classification. It’s a useful skill. I just think a bit of comfort with ambiguity is probably also a skill worth cultivating.


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