Hey there and welcome to the BigAppleSchool podcast – the weekly English show where we speak about everything under the sun. The major goal of this show is to help you improve your English and of course learn something new. My name’s Katya, I’m your host, and today with me…
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We are now pretty close to being in the top 5. So come on, help us on this now! Is it my vanity kicking in? No it’s not. So how is it going? How do you enjoy the lovely fall weather?
I love the wind. It blows my hair.
Well if I had the hair I would love the wind too. It’s only a fun memory of hair. Wind I can still experience, yes, right, direct, pretty directly.
Do you feel sad about the summer being over?
No, never. I love autumn pretty much.
I don’t know, the colors, I think. The colors, the wind again.
Oh do you mean the grey, the grey and the grey?
No, no! They are so bright and beautiful. Last weekend my family and I, we went to the village where my grandma grew up and we went to the forest. Guys, it was so beautiful! It is… It sounds so beautifully because there are no insects almost and just everything is bright because of the autumn. Green, red, brown and other colors.
Cause you know, I walk here in Novosibirsk and all I see is grey and grey and puddles and mud, you know.
It’s just halfway to Barnaul, right.
Okay, so this is… Ew, south, Gary, what was it?
No, no, I mean, it’s just south it should, you know the geography of it.
Do I have to explain? Well, in the North I would think it would be changing faster, right, cause it’s getting colder.
Or is it in the mountains? Is it high?
It’s… The region is highlands and the lowlands altogether, so in the lowlands there are pretty many bushes with different berries and so on, so they look really beautifully. So because of that when you see the colors in the forest, for example, the pine trees and altogether, the birches and so on, so they are different and if you look down into the lowland…
But I guess you have to go somewhere, you know…
Yeah. To enjoy this. I have to be honest, while living in Novosibirsk and in Yakutsk, I never understood, you know, the beauty of the fall. You know how you read Russian poetry and it’s all about the fall and beautiful colors and, you know, the gold of it.
And I was just reading and thought what? What are you talking about? This is now what fall looks like. And then I went to Moscow in October once, oh and I understood what they were talking about, it was just so beautiful in the parks. And then I went to Massachusetts and I saw all the foliage.
Yeah, that’s really beautiful.
Oh my goodness, I fell in love with the fall. Not in Siberia. Yeah. But yeah.
It does it here too. It’s just, it’s short time, but it’s…
And you have to go somewhere, you know, that has trees I guess.
Yes you do. That’s a problem.
We have our tradition and we go to the village in the beginning of September just to enjoy, to enjoy the views, to maybe pick up mushrooms. This time there were no mushrooms at all.
Seriously? I’ve seen all the pictures.
Of my friends and people I know and like, you know, on social media. People just picking up so much.
No. We weren’t that lucky. So we found a few big mushrooms I think, that’s all. Just I don’t know. I have fingers on two my hands to count how many mushrooms we found, that’s all.
So what do you usually do in the fall? I mean, do you have any plans? Are you getting ready for the winter? So what is your typical fall?
I don’t know, enjoy the weather if it is good, yeah. If it’s not that windy as it is today, I woke up actually at 6 o’clock in the morning because of the wind. Yeah. I can’t say I don’t enjoy it, but it’s too strong to my taste.
Barbara, Gary, thoughts on the fall?
Oh October in the South in the United States is my favorite cause we do have those turning leaves. We didn’t have that in California, so I didn’t know. Just like you, I did not know what that meant. But in the South we have that, I love October. And then it’s the start of our holidays, Halloween.
In the south. Oh, I miss the summers in the south because of the smells and the katydids.
Katydids. The grasshoppers, the crickets.
Bugs, bugs, yes, right, yes.
Right. The south is great for bugs.
You’ve seen… They rubs their legs together I guess and they chirp somehow. And they are so beautiful.
Is that when they do it like you know, like that, like, what are you planning, insect? Like, what kind of an evil plan do you have?
Yeah, I don’t know how they make the noise, I will have to google it.
That’s how we find information these days. Yeah. Alrighty, and Gary?
Well, what was the question? The fall.
Well, as long as the weather is good, at least there’ll be a couple more days I might go… I might think I will go to Akademgorodok and the leaves will be turning later there. That’s very nice, very beautiful.
Very beautiful even if they don’t turn, cause it’s just always beautiful.
Yeah, I agree, agree. Alright, and we are here today to talk about ourselves. Well, no, we are here to talk about personality and character traits and everything. But well, I wanna ask you first how would you describe yourself? So how would you describe your personality?
I have two personalities.
You and your evil alter ego?
Actually, I didn’t know that this podcast was about personalities, I somehow get my podcasts mixed up. So this is a pleasant surprise I guess.
Okay. Barbara enjoys being surprised by things.
I love the surprises. But don’t we have a personality that we share with other people when we among other creatures and then we have a certain personality when we are by ourselves, a little deeper in deeper thought? Aren’t we like that?
That is a good point. I would go deep and say that sometimes we have even more personalities then, depending on who we are around.
Depending on your particular problem, conditions, yes.
Well I mean let’s be honest. Unless you’re not, unless that’s a part of your personality that you’re not honest.
Of course I’m going to be honest.
And it’s for us to decide.
Well, then I won’t be honest. I’ll make a point of not being honest.
But we still have some certain personality traits that are unchangeable, that are always there with us no matter who we are around. So and how would you describe it? Who are you?
Well I am very serious and I think because I’m very serious, I think bubbleliness and when I’m around people, but really truly my deep down I’m very serious.
How does that show? I mean…
By I think being by myself and I guess self-examining, maybe the past, what the future is, who I am, my thoughts about things. And to me life is serious, but we’re not supposed to be serious we’re supposed to enjoy it. But for me it seems to be very serious.
Does that mean that being serious, you are also very responsible, reliable? A person like that?
I am and I think… I have a lot integrity, I will really.. I might lie to you on certain things, but for the most part my character trait is great integrity. I feel like that’s really important for me.
I would say that I have that.
Barbara, you used to be a ballet teacher. Well, you still are, right, you still…
I don’t teach ballet, but I still do a few exercises and it’s a part of me. And that is a very serious, you have to be serious in class. Especially with teachers that are very strict and thing have to… very critical, I would say that’s a very critical cruel world. And I think that’s how…
And I want to ask you because of that – have you ever been very bossy and, you know…
Yes, I’ve been very bossy and I’ve been told not to be bossy. But you know what I do. We women tend to be more timid because we’re told that we are certain way, we are aggressive or… What’s the word… Assertive.
And so I would study men ballet teachers and I would listen to what they’re saying to students and I would okay, let me try that. And so I would act like a male teacher and I couldn’t get away with half the things, anything that they would say. So it’s… I have to control my bossiness cause I probably… I like things my way and…
You know… I’m sorry, it’s not really on the topic, but I always wanted to ask you about your thoughts on Russian school of ballet, cause if you’ve ever seen videos, if you ever attend a ballet class in Russia, oh my god, the aggression you get from teachers there is unbelievable.
So, you know, they would say something like oh I thought I was teaching ballet to girls and not to hippopotamuses, you know, something like that.
Yeah they say things like that.
Or you are not even a person, you’re not a human being until you learn how to do this properly. So and these are just the kindest things you can hear in a class, you know.
Yeah and it’s not just in Russia, I mean it’s all over. It is definitely a cruel world.
So it is a part of being in ballet.
It is.. So you have to be thick-skinned and tough, yeah.
Alright. Oh wow. So we can add then to your list of character traits, you’re thick-skinned. Like you are trying to insult me? I was in ballet for so many years, you can’t insult me. Okay. Alyona, Gary, how would you describe yourself?
I don’t know. Being serious it is part of my life as well, but because I’m the eldest child in the family.
Does that mean that you are also very responsible then again?
But you’re the eldest child in the family, I would expect you to.
Wait a minute. What kind of family is this?
Yeah. So I think half-responsible, but serious, yes. It was really funny even being flirty with a guy, yeah, so talking about something and I’m really straight, I see that the conversation is going well and everything is fine, so we are really in a friendly mood, so and then somebody tells me like my sister or somebody, like, he was flirting to you.
And I was really? Really? That was flirt? So really serious and sometimes I even can’t control it.
Yeah, yeah. I can’t notice that trait sometimes being on. And the other thing is I think that it’s kinda head in the clouds, yeah. Yeah, being a little dreamy.
This is a very interesting combination, you know.
So as Barbara said, we I think have plenty personalities, yeah, so depending on what the situation is or who we are communicating with. And I don’t think it’s hypocritical, yeah. It’s just the way the human being reacts to the situation and so how we feel as comfortable we feel in definite situations and with people we interact. So yeah, head in the clouds.
Being serious, dreamy at the same time, so head in the clouds. How else would you describe yourself?
I don’t know. I’m most part of my life I think I’m a true introvert. Yeah, even being an English teacher, so it’s supposed to be the profession... The person must be more open, yeah, to people, to the situations and so on. But when you come home, yeah, if you just lie down, if you stay there, an hour on your sofa, not talking to anybody maybe...
Well, you know, people tend to only differentiate extraverts and introverts, but we tend to forget about ambiverts. So do you know who ambiverts are?
So they’re both? A little bit of both.
Exactly. So ambiverts, they are people who have a tendency to be rather extrovert, you know, they enjoy talking to people, they enjoy socializing. But at the same time, they need quite a long time to, you know, recover from all that socializing after that. So they enjoy socializing, but at the same time they enjoy being alone and they enjoy time with themselves.
So and that means that very often before they, you know, go out or something, which they enjoy, they might need some time, you know, to recharge, to just be in a quiet space. Not, you know, touched, not talked to. So these are ambiverts.
That would define me better I think. So being sociable, yes, but for just some part of life, some part of the day. But then I need some time for myself, because it’s really so resourceful, I think, be an open person, being an introvert.
Very often. Well it also depends on who you’re with of course. You know, sometimes we have to deal with people who are just, you know, those people who are like energy vampires. You spend some time with them and then you are just emotionally drained, you’re exhausted. Which is unbelievable, like I just spent an hour with you, why am I feeling so bad? Yeah.
Well I would fall in… I think if you say you’re an introvert, that’s not a great thing to say. I think it’s fine, I think it’s true.
I don’t think it’s not a good thing to say, I just…
Yeah, I don’t think it is either, but I think for some people it’s got, I don’t know what the associations are, but not great. But I am an introvert I think. But I can function extroverted, so maybe ambivert, I never even heard the term. But then again, I didn’t know that my foot was as long as my…
So you have to come out of your little cavern to learn things.
I do have to come out, right, that’s right.
Today’s edition of things Gary learned is getting larger and larger.
That’s right. But no, so I would say I’m truly an introvert, and but, because life requires you, right, to do things and I enjoy it actually, but it does seem not consistent. But it does drain me. If I’m, you know, doing whatever, I want to not do that for a while.
Well introverts have a bad wrap, but it’s not fair. Because we introvert should be able to be one if we want to be one. Or we are what we are and we can’t help it.
I think it’s just some kind of misconception so some people have this wrong assumption that introverts are like sociophobic, but it’s not true.
Yeah, but that’s absolutely not true. But I also have noticed that the world is becoming easier for introverts, you know, how earlier for example you had to deal with every single problem by talking to people, you had to call, you had to go and talk to people. Now you can avoid this contact, you know, now thanks to technology…
I know. I mean, I’m not an introvert, I’m a rather extroverted person, but even I, whenever I have an opportunity not to talk to people when dealing with a problem, I’m gonna do that. Online, you know, when you order things, like order a pizza, you don’t even have to talk to people anymore. You just do everything online, you don’t get a call. I love it! It’s just so great!
So I can relate. Yeah. And I think the other idea is that dealing with the problem, if we talk about the problems, it’s you… It’s distant, yeah, so you can put it off, put it away for just a little, your phone probably, maybe your computer, you can turn it off.
So the problem is being decided. So somehow, yeah. And you okay, you state it, state a problem and you know that it’s gonna be reacted somehow, some day. So okay! I’ve done everything.
Yeah, I’m waiting for the result.
Leave it and walk away, yeah.
I love it actually, really.
Alright. So, Gary, you are an introvert. How else would you describe yourself?
Yeah, right. Well, I would say, I would say some things like methodical.
That one is wonderful. It’s a wonderful treat, being methodical.
Okay, what does that mean? I mean, how does that…
Well it means that let’ say you have to deal with something, right, whatever it is. Some kind of a little problem or a challenge as they say, you can kind of try to approach the problem and figure out how to go about it and first thing to do and then another thing to do sand then another thing to do. And then persist and I would say I’m pretty persistent.
But would you take too long?
Yes. I would say I would. The other part, the downside to it, the negative is that it’s a bad combination, I’m a little bit, not a little bit but probably a lot indecisive and kinda weak. Just in general I would say.
But you could see two sides of things, that’s the positive if you’re indecisive, doesn’t that mean?
It’s supposed to be sort of a good thing also. Alright, yes. Yeah, I can almost always, a lot of times anyway, see both sides. Which doesn’t make it easy to decide between them, right, because you can really understand the other point of view and tatatata. And so it makes it a little more complicated.
If you only see one side of it, which I think more impulsive people, right, they just see it one way and they act on that and it’s all sort of in one motion. And if you divide it up and say well what is this? And, you know, is there another way and then it gets more complicated, because you can see some nuance.
So with this you either… I see it two ways, you either have to hire a decider for you, so they just decide or…
A decider, right, right. Hh.ru, решитель, a decider.
Or you’ve got to listen to your gut, cause you can have all sorts of things wrapping around your brain.
Right. I finally do on some..
Listen what does your gut say.
Well and on some level you finally do cause you do have to make a decision and it finally probably comes to your gut, out of your gut more than out of your thinking. Right. But getting there, right, is… can take too long.
So you say that you see both sides of, you know…
So does that mean that you tend to be more open-minded than other people because of that? Like, you try to understand the other side.
Yeah, yeah. I mean, yeah. I would say.
Okay, alright. Well speaking of, you know, character traits, actually I have a question. So sometimes I hear people describe themselves as ambitious. Now, do you think that’s a good thing or a bad thing? Being ambitious.
Well it depends on whether you’re a woman or a man.
Oh wow, okay, in what way?
Well, we women shouldn’t be ambitious. Well I’m talking about old fashioned, yeah. Because it’s the man who is ambitious, he’s going out, he’s getting it. And we’re supposed to be a homemaker. And I say this like you’re not around people like that but there is a whole chunk of American society that still believes that.
Yeah, I’m nor around people like that.
You can see it by my face.
You’re like women can’t be ambitious. Says who? Okay. What do you guys think? Is it a god thing or a bad thing to be ambitious?
I would, you know… That’s one of those qualities that is so far form me, right. I am a non-ambitious person. I mean which is another character defect. But whatever it is that makes somebody ambitious as such, I don’t have any of that. I’ve like zero, which is bad.
It could be negative for instance if someone does want to get things done and another person doesn’t want to see them get that, those things done. They can say oh, he’s very ambitious as very negative.
Yeah I don’t think that is negative in people who are ambitious, right, it’s just very strange to me, because it’s not how I work.
I would say that ambitious can be very negative when people are ambitious and while trying to work on achieving their goal, they are ready to hurt other people. I think in this way ambitious is a negative trait.
But if you are ambitious, you have your goals and you are ready to work hard to achieve them, without, you know, hurting other people, then it might be a positive one, you know, depending on how you act.
No I think it’s necessary, right, that people would build things and do things and that, you know, takes ambition.
So and what about your family? So do you have the same kind of personality as your parents or your siblings if you have siblings. Alyona, you have a lot to say on this I guess. Having…
There are three of us and I think we are all different but as the proverb says birds of a feather walk together, right, so all our family, so I think we share 1-2 qualities.
Being open, like, at least to each other, right. And I haven’t noticed that much in many other families of my friends and maybe colleagues who I interact with quite closely. But I think being open to the world, being open-minded as well and stubborn. Stubborn, we are all stubborn.
I love it how you missed that when I asked you to describe yourself.
It’s a great combination, open-mindedness and stubbornness.
Yeah that’s also kind of paradox.
Hell of a mixture. So I think being stubborn it’s, if we talk about zodiac signs and so on, so many of them and many of our family members, so have that personal trait in their zodiacs, like Capricorns, Aries, Leos. So if we talk about that. I have no idea if the zodiac influences people as much as it says, but anyway, we can’t but notice that thing.
So and that’s you and your siblings. What about you three and your parents?
I included my parents already.
Oh, so you all share the same…
My both parents are Aries, my grandma that is with us still, so she is an Aries, so imagine how burning mixture we make it all together – two Leos, three Aries and one Capricorn, poor thing, poor brother.
Oh wow, okay. Barbara, do you have any siblings?
I do, we were born so far apart that we weren’t really close. The first two, well the first three kids were closer, and then the net kid was like 5 years later. And then I was 5 years later. So yeah we are very much, very different.
Okay. And what about you, your siblings and your parents, do you… does anybody share some kind of character traits?
I’m like my mother of how she would’ve liked to have been. She was a free thinker and she had this free spirit about her, but she was unable to really put this into practice. And so I’m very much like how she would’ve liked to be. I think she’d be pretty proud of me.
Aw. Alright. I’m looking at Gary.
I am.. I have some character traits that are from my parents.
Well my dad was pretty methodical and he was… He… If the family had money, he might have become an architect. But the family didn’t, we didn’t, they didn’t have any money, so he had to quit college after a year.
And so he didn’t do that, but he went into business and accounting, and that’s an exact kind of thing. And so he’s got… He was very persistent and methodical and also extremely even tempered which I basically am. Although I do have a little bit my mother who is not so even tempered. So that’s from my dad.
And from my mother, she is quite… Especially now that’s she quite old, she is quite reclusive. Not… Genuinely not social. And she’s fine. I mean she lives by herself, she’s almost 94 years old. And she lives by herself absolutely fine. And she…
I mean she has just enough contact. You know, I call her twice a week and she’s got a neighbor that looks in and talks with her maybe for an hour a week and that’s plenty.
That’s enough for her. Any more than that she can’t handle. Which is odd because strange thing is my mother in high school was super outgoing, into everything, I mean she was a member of every club and she was a majorette. You know what a majorette is?
Majorette is a baton twirler, she takes a baton and she goes, she leads a marching band under the field. And so she was a performer. I mean, basically she was kind of a performer. And it was a big high school and it was during the war and so it was a thing that you did.
And I mean she was absolutely into everything to the max, which I can’t even imagine, given her reclusive tendency.
And I mean, my grandmother was the same way, she was quite reclusive.
Maybe by a certain age you just get tired of all the people and their mundane things that they wanna talk about. You just… Just leave me alone.
Maybe it was, yeah, maybe it was just too much of that. And maybe her mother was pushing her, I don’t know what the dynamics were there. I mean she was…
Yeah, that’s interesting because sometimes we need to prove something to ourselves and this is why we are ambitious or do something. And then once we’ve proved it to ourselves, it’s like well, what’s the deal now?
Now I can be what I wanna be. Now I can do what I want to do. Yeah. There might be different reasons, yeah. Also sometimes, you know, we might change a little bit, you know, we change what we do, we change our occupation, our surrounding, people around us change, you know. And that, you know, can reflect on us and our character as well.
Yeah. I mean people do change. But that seems to me to be… I can’t even understand it, given… Well as soon as my parents went into business, then my mother had to be social with people that maybe she didn’t wanna be social with or didn’t feel adequate maybe. Even though she was. I mean, who’s adequate? Who’s not adequate, right? I mean…
Right? Who’s any of that? But that somehow, I don’t know… How I went from… It was not that many years, I don’t know, something changed there, but anyway. I don’t quite understand it. But the tendency to, you know, like Covid, if I’ve got to kinda change how I relate to people, you know, the number of people, I’m fine.
I’m fine. I’m fine. You know, I’m fine. I came to Russia, you know, I came to Novosibirsk anyway by myself. It’s fine, it’s fine. You know, and I go about what I’m doing, it’s fine. You know. I mean, it’s better with more people and you know, all of that, but it’s fine. But I’m okay, you know. And not everybody’s okay in that…
I remember a book I read which is I’m fine and other lies.
Right, yes. What are you trying to say?
Nothing. Just remembered the name of the book.
I’m telling the truth, it’s all the truth.
I completely relate to that. I think I like to, I don’t know why, but I always try to prove to myself how strong I am, how courageous I am. That I came and get things done and then I’ll go back into my little cavern and shake, you know, like a little poodle or a chihuahua, like, I don’t have the strength, okay.
Well chihuahuas are 50% of anger. So you know. 50% fear and shaking and 50% anger.
Alright. You know, it’s always interesting to see how, well let’s say, how different people are form their parents or how similar they are to their parents. You know, cause sometimes there is absolutely nothing children and parents have in common and sometimes it’s the other way around.
What does that depend on? Cause I sometimes I try to, well, look at my family. And let’s say my sister is in a way like my mom in terms of character. You know, she’s quite narrow-minded, she’s very stubborn, god, she is very stubborn.
But I, for example, am just like my dad, cause my dad was, you know, he was very sociable, but at the same time, you know, quite reserved. So whatever he thought, really thought, he kept to himself. So and we share that.
And then we have like two pairs – my mom and my sister and then me and my dad. Cause I’m not in any way like my mom and my sister is in no way like my dad. Like halfsies, really.
That’s interesting. We have a family of 6 now and we are… We share some character traits common to all of us, but everybody says that I’m like my mom.
I don’t know. People say it’s like who judges better? The other person or you personally? I don’t know. But the idea is many friends of mine, they tell me that I look like my mom at least. That the voice is similar, that the, maybe, appearance, how tall we are, how slim and so on.
And in some way I think I look, not I look, I think I’m more like my grandma from my father’s side, his mother. Being open, being sociable and at the same time being that opposite to a party animal, so just close in your, in your world. And when a lot of energy is necessary just to find another resource to…
So when you’re talking about other people saying oh, you are like your mother. And you are saying, no, I don’t see it.
I don’t see it, but if we talk about, you know, the way the people behave, not about the character or maybe appearance, but sometimes the movements…
Right! Like, I might sneeze or cough and I’ll say that sounds just like my mom. Have you ever done that?
I think yes. And maybe the laughter, maybe the way…
Yeah, some little sound. Right.
The way we talk and so on. Sometimes, when we used to have a landline, yeah, sometimes people couldn’t differentiate who was talking, me or my mom if we talk about the voice or maybe the…
Intonation or maybe rhythm and so on.
Even the handwriting. Sometimes I’ll write a certain letter and I’ll go that looks like my mom’s handwriting.
I tried, when I was a kid, I tried to copy my mom’s handwriting, but no.
Right, please excuse Alyona from school today, she’s very sick, right, yes, right, yes.
So that kinda brings a question, so is our personality the result of nature or nurture? Is it genetics or is it the upbringing? What do you think?
I think genetics influences that, if we talk about temper, yeah. But the other things it’s more like nurture, yeah. It’s brining up or the society that surround you that influences. And your development as a person, yeah. So.
Yeah, it’s definitely the environment, because my mother was in the old-fashioned, and she had one foot in the old-fashioned world and one foot in the women’s movement. And something she would say to me, I’d go it’s so old-fashioned.
What a horrible message to give to your daughter! And I’d say nothing, but just some horrible sexist kind of thing about women. So it’s the environment that shapes you and combination of those things. And sometimes also if you look at someone and you’d like to not be like them, and so they’re a great example of what not to be like.
Yup. Agree, agree. Gary, what do you think?
I’m thinking maybe like both, right. Are you surprised that I can see both sides. I know you want to come down on one or the other.
Oh you don’t, I can be in the middle on this one, alright. Yeah, I think it has, I mean, there’s obviously something that nature gives you, right, that’s your basic, some basic characteristics there. And then there is a lot that is determined by your experience, right, and depending on how close…
As far as how one might resemble or not resemble your parents, maybe it depends on how much time you spend with them, right, and your attitude towards them and things like that. And I think it’s just a general impress.
I would never have thought when I was younger that I would end up it’s not the right word, but end up like, you know, like my parents. But to some degree you do, right. Only… But in my case because I spent a lot of time, I worked with them and so forth, you know, for years.
And so that made more of an impression probably on me than if I’d had another group pressing something else on me, right. I think we do, we are formed by people round us, right. Whether it’s our parents or other group that we choose or that is kind of chosen for us, who we end up. So let’s say both.
Yeah. I absolutely, I totally agree. I would just say that the extent to which, you know, they determine our personality might be different. Cause I can’t deny the fact that I was surrounded and, you know, people we spent time with affect the way we act and affect our personality.
So and then, you know, you might be lucky to be surrounded by people who make you, you know, improve, who make you a better person or you might be unlucky, you know. As you, Barbara, have mentioned, you know, sometimes there are people who you see and you realize you don’t wanna be like them.
But sometimes if you are, well, I don’t wanna say weaker, but sometimes these people affect the way you behave and you change for the worse. But it’s been proved that genes do affect and genetics do affect what kind of personality we have.
But it’s not just one single gene, but rather a combination of those. And of course they do not, you know, determine what kind of personality we are going to have to the full. They might just slightly affect.
And what’s interesting, and I want to read this if you allow me, but there was a study in Minnesota which studied 350 pairs of twins between 1979 and 1999. And participants included both identical twins and fraternal twins. And in these 350 pairs some of the twins were raised together, but some of the twins were raised apart.
And what was interesting is that personalities of identical twins were similar, no matter if they were raised together or if they were raised apart. So which shows and which means that to some extent there is a genetical element that determines what kind of a personality we are going to have.
But I have not found any research on whether, you know, that has been further researched, so that’s kinda interesting to look up.
I think there’s a lot of twin studies.
Yeah but that’s about twins. But I mean what about not twins?
Yeah well twins take the genetic part, they make it something that you can compare cause twins have the same genetic… identical twins do the same genetic makeup, right. And so you can say okay, that’s that and if they end up similar, despite being in different environments, then that’s pretty persuasive anyway.
But it would be good to have it duplicated, like in, you know, done many times over to prove that it’s really the case.
But I’m really curious about, you know, not twins at least. Whether that will be researched or whether that is being researched, yeah, but I haven’t found anything yet. So maybe there’s just…
I’m sure they’re studying that. I’m sure they’re studying it, but I don’t know the literature as they say.
Okay. And what about… Alyona has already mentioned this and touched upon this, so we’ve talked about genetical side, surrounding, what about our zodiac sign and the day that we were… Our birthdate. Does that affect our personality? What do you think?
I don’t know. When I was a kid in my maybe 12 years, 13 years old, I was really fascinated by all that and I was really interested in zodiac, in different horoscopes, the hand…
Palm reading, right. And Pythagoric squares and so on. It was so exciting just to examine, just to study and to see if you have some character traits that are given in the descriptions of these zodiac signs. And sometimes it was really fun when you read the zodiac sign, for example, I don’t know, Sagittarius, so you read it and you see, I have pretty much the same characteristics in my own.
But you’re not a Sagittarius.
Of course. I’m a Leo. Yeah, according to the… So what’s that? But sometimes it was fun to read, you see all the people who share that zodiac sign and you see, for example, Napoleon. And you’re like oh, of course. When I grow up, I will become the one of the greatest people of the world.
Oh that’s a questionable desire, but okay.
You and 1/12 of the human race. Right, yes. All these little Napoleons.
So what zodiac sign are you? Alyona, you’re a Leo.
And I’m an Aries. So and what things have you heard about, let’s say, typical personality traits of your zodiac sign?
Mine is kinda unique, cause mine has the low base Scorpion that will sting you if you, you know, say something or do something that we don’t like. And then we have this high-flying eagle symbol to symbolize our loftiness.
Okay. I heard actually that wow, we actually are, four of us, represent the zodiac signs that usually people don’t wanna deal with for some reason.
Because people are like… I actually have heard girls saying that oh, this is not gonna work out, you know, in their relationship. I’m like why? Well you know, he’s a Libra or, you know, he’s a Leo. Okay. So Gary, what have you heard about Libras?
The only sign I know anything about is my.. Is my sign. And what I know is minimal. So the opposite I have no interest.
You deserve your sign. Cause the Libra is the scale. And you can’t decide certain things.
So it’s exactly like a Libra.
Yeah, that sort of fits, that’s the problem, cause I think it’s gotta be rubbish.
Cause I heard… I heard… There is like you know a stereotype that all Leos are very vain, and that all Aries are very stubborn. I’m not stubborn, I’m not conflicty, I’m not aggressive. Like, come on. And when I say that to people, you know, they say like oh, actually zodiac signs do determine what kind of personality you have.
They’re like all the Aries are stubborn and conflicty and aggressive and moody. And I say I’m none of those things. I hate conflict. I would do anything to avoid conflict. And they say yeah, what’s your birthdate? I’m like 16th of April. They’re like kinda close to the Taurus then, maybe Taurus is affecting your zodiac sign. I’m like right.
That’s being on the cusp, on the cusp of that, that’s like a week before and a week after or something.
I’m like okay, but isn’t Taurus also supposed to be like, you know, very arrogant and stubborn?
Stubborn, yeah, the bull, stubborn bull.
They’re like maybe your… Remember we talked about this, maybe it’s your rising sign and moon sign and whatever. So you don’t believe in any of this?
I don’t. I mean it’s interesting, you know, cause my… Everybody in my family is Libras also. So I’m like Libras all the way down. Except my mother is not.
Well Libra. Second, yeah, second generation. Just the immediate family.
I have seen a video on Youtube where several people were asked… It was some kind of an experiment. So and they were asked to provide their birthdate, the city they were born in and their favorite color. And then they were given results, you know, about their personality.
And then there were four people and they were given, you know, this list of… the description and they would read that, you know, and the camera would shoot them. And they were all in separate rooms.
And they are like oh, how would they? It is something I would not even admit to myself, but it’s so true. So one girl said it says you tend… your aspirations tend to be unrealistic, but you’re afraid to admit it to yourself, you know, and something like that. And she’s like that line kinda struck me to my core.
And you know, and then they were all asked to, you know, to come out of the rooms. So what do you think? And they said well, you know, sometimes it was like ah, yeah, okay, it’s kinda like that. And some phrases were just so true, I didn’t even tell about it to anybody.
And then the woman said do you wanna maybe to quote something, to read something out loud? They’re like yes, yes. There was this line, and the girl for example reads this line and the guys look at her like I have the exact same phrase! So they were all given the exact same description.
And the woman, the psychologist and sociologist who was conducting this experiment, said we tend to believe these descriptions very often because they are very general. They are written in such a way that it can be appliable to absolutely anyone.
I mean, who doesn’t have aspirations that sometimes tend to be unrealistic? I mean, no one’s gonna say, you know, read the description and something like well, you are rather smart, but you tend to put some effort into it and you tend to be lazy sometimes. Nobody’s gonna say oh no, I’m dumb! Like that is absolutely not true.
I’m dumb and I’m never lazy.
This is just very-very general, yeah. I also have a friend who works in a newspaper and she just creates these horoscopes and everything.
I guess she has a list of phrases and puts them kin different columns.
I have unrealistic aspirations, well, who has realistic aspirations? I aspire to work at MacDonald’s. I hope I can make it before I go. Right, yes.
So and do you think that let’s say…
No offence to our listeners who…
Whose aspiration was to work in…
Especially, yes, my apology.
So and do you think that let’s say our job can somehow or a person’s job can reflect their personality?
In what way? So, can you give an example.
Well depending on how much freedom, you know, we have. Now we have a luxury that we can choose work based on what we want to do. I mean, go back a couple of generations and it was like well, what kind of work is there, right. What kind of job can you actually get?
And so you didn’t have the luxury, call it a luxury of making these choices that now we can say well who am I? And based on that I’m gonna find a work that I’m gonna enjoy, you know. I don’t know if my grandfathers enjoyed their work and found it fulfilling, they just found it necessary.
And that was farming, right?
Yes. Well, no, it wasn’t farming.
Thought that was your history.
No, no. City people yeah, my grandfather was a tool and die maker and we call that машиностроитель here.
Yeah, that’s my poor mother in the days of the Depression, in the 30s I guess, must’ve been in 1930s, tried to have a job somehow. And be independent in a world where the woman’s aspiration is to find a great catch and get married cause you’re economically dependent on men and so she was able to get some training of secretary, go to a secretarial school.
And so she got some skills and she was able to do this throughout her whole life. Not that she wanted to be a secretary, but she was good and you know, she made a living.
Now we can be expressive, you know, we can… which is just… It is a luxury compared to earlier generations.
My grandma worked as a crane driver at a factory.
Yes. Not a factory, at a plant, one of the plants in Novosibirsk for 40 years, guys, for 4o years she’d been moving the objects.
We call ‘em operators, crane operators.
Operators, right, so operator. So for 40 years she had day shifts, night shifts, so…
And I doubt that she really wanted to be a crane operator back then.
Do you know what she might have wanted to be?
She wanted to be a teacher, she wanted to be a teacher.
What made her be a crane operator then?
Necessity I think, the need.
No, it was later, it was late 50s I think already and so the world needed constructors, the world needed engines and she worked at the plant that provided, that manufactured the engines, big machines.
So she had to be the part of all that and…
My grandmother was an exceptional woman, through hard times she actually built her own little cabin and of course my mother would live in this cabin cause she was a little girl. She was a hairdresser, she ran a boarding house, she did so many different things. And it was kind of that free spirit pioneer spirit kind of way.
Is that the grandmother, the family that’s in Mansfield, Ohio?
Yes, in the frontiers. That wasn’t necessarily just in Ohio, that was one of her many places. It could be Tennessee, the Ozarks, I mean wherever she was.
Arkansas, cause I remember seeing the Ozark mountains and that was in Arkansas. Alright. Oh wow. And since we’re talking about personality, I can’t but ask you what do you think about all those personality tests? So the Myers-Briggs personality test, all the numerous ones that there are.
I like doing a few from time to time just for fun, just for fun, to see how wrong they are or how right. It’s so just fascinating. But I don’t believe them of course. But you know, all those horoscopes or something, it’s just entertaining I think.
But horoscopes, they tell you some things based solely on your birthdate, whereas personality tests, they tell you some things based on your answers on certain questions.
When I used to work for one of the big companies, we had to pass such tests from time to tie, to see the… to make the climate of the group or the department better. So I don’t know how they actually…
I can just imagine. I’m sorry, we have to fire you. Oh no why? Well your personality type just does not fit.
Yeah number seven. But then I think if you knew that you are being graded on your personality, you might fudge a little bit and say, what answer would they like for me to give?
Sure. So there were answers given so you should see clearly the outcome of some and because of that probably you would give the answer that the company needed, that the HR manager will see and evaluate the way that was necessary.
Set goals, do you set goals and achieve them? No, no.
Right, yes. I’m completely indifferent to everything.
In fact I just want pick up my paycheck and not come in.
Just mail it, mail to my home.
So in some ways I think such personality tests or the tests that evaluate your job, experience and skills, sometimes they are quite clear to see.
Okay. So one time I took a test and it came up that I should be a clerical worker with, you know, we’re talking about typing. Okay, that’s gonna be… That would be a mess.
Have you ever heard about Myers-Briggs test?
I googled it before the podcast.
I might be wrong, but I think Gary has listened to a podcast about it.
I started to listen to it. I’ve hear the story before, I had heard the story before. It’s kind of a… It’s… And I only had time to listen to like half of this series which was about Myers-Briggs, which is really a big deal now. I mean, serious company, you know, I don’t know what company they were working for, hey really use…
I mean, they really use the test. And so it probably if people would be honest, I mean, but like you say, you can tell what companies want. You know they want self-starting people, you know what people want.
You know, team players. I mean, who wants some guy that’s gonna be, you know, doing his own thing and can’t work with anybody and don’t’ take orders and can’t… Not a listener. I mean, right. Yes. Antisocial.
Are you describing yourself right now?
Went through my Myers-Briggs self-test that I just got on the way over. Fail.
You can’t fail a personality test Gary!
Yeah, maybe most people can’t, but Gary.
Yeah, the man failed the test. Right, yes. He broke the test.
Well for those who are not familiar with the Myers-Briggs test, the thing is that there are four categories that later make up a combination, so and then these four categories are extroversion/introversion, so you know, which side you lean on. Sensing/intuition, thinking/feeling and then…
Yes. Sensing/intuition. So which side do you lean on, are you more of a sensible kind or the intuitive kind.
I don’t think so. Like, intuition, you trust your gut, sensible, you trust your common sense.
Then there was thinking/feeling and judging/perceiving. And then each of these categories has, well, has I think like 15-20 questions or something like that. And then at the end you get a combination of letters, so for example like ISTJ, for example. And then each of these 16 types has a certain name for example, the Protector, or the Architect, the Mediator.
I heard that thing, but it’s socionics, if that’s English for it.
Gorkiy, Dostoevsky, Esenin and other, I heard that. And so on, yeah.
Well, that would give some kind of a personality type a name like…. Well in Russian they give names of certain…
What is interesting is that some people kinda take it to the extreme and you know, and well, at those times when I was on Tinder there were some people who were like what type are you? I have no clue.
And then if you take the test and you say like oh, I’m ISTJ, they’re like oh, I’m sorry, I’m not compatible with this kind, so nothing’s gonna work out, I’m sorry, good bye. Have a good life. What? Like…
I don’t know how I could take this test because I think I would tend to put the answers of how I would like to be, the better version of me.
Yes, there is always, yes!
Yeah, oh I’d like to be like that.
I mean you don’t wanna be honest because you’d break the test, you’d fail the test.
So you fail the personality test.
Yeah and then you’d come out as an angel or something.
This man has no personality. Right, he got a zero score on the personality test.
Well, that is also true, all these tests, we want to be a little bit, you know, better than we really are. Even if we’re just doing it for ourself.
That would really lead to some bad results. You know what I mean. It’s too bad if people… It probably is useful. This podcast, I did listen to the part of it, and it’s really-really interesting, I think. But it was Myers and Briggs, I’m probably not gonna get the information correct even though I just listened to it.
It was this… Can I tell this story? It just takes a second. This woman was, this was beginning of the 20th century, right, not terribly long ago, 100 years ago now. But she was married to… She was a hyper-achiever herself, she married an achiever husband. But because of the times, she couldn’t really, you know, she was limited to the marital roles and it’s gonna be life in mother.
So she ended up, she had one child and she was a daughter named, it was Briggs, she ended up being Briggs. I think. And she put this woman, highly motivated woman, put her herself entirely into raising her child.
And who, you know, just tried to perfect her behavior and make her curiosity and her creativity and she became this incredibly talented multi-ability type of person who is I think the Briggs. One of them is mother… It’s a mother-daughter pair.
It’s not psychologists, professional psychologists, but this mother poured herself into her daughter who became extremely unusual, very accomplished in a lot of things. Who then, the mother became fixated on how to influence the world through training, because she had been so successful in training.
She wrote a column that was syndicated and so a lot of people were reading it. So she had a pretty large circle of influence for the time and the daughter then of course left the nest and went to make her own life and all of this.
And so the mother somehow made connection with Carl Jung who was a very famous psychologist, no, psychiatrist, psychologist of the Freud, same time period as Sigmund Freud. And she was completely fascinated with his views and became like this say an acolyte, almost a worshipper of Jung.
And because he had come up with this theory of personality types and basically through the influence of Jung, she developed this typology, right. Which she then made into a system to try to make her impact on the universe, on the world you know.
And she ended up being the creator of the Myers-Briggs personality test. And the part that I got to listening to it was in the daughter’s life, she went to college and she met a guy that she fell in love with and she married.
And it turned out that he was completely different from her. He was like a farm boy, you know, and all of this kind of stuff. And she’s this very hyper-hyper, you know, person.
I don’t know what the exact differences were, but they had a lot of conflict because they were different on these four parameters, right, these four things that Katya just mentioned, right. I mean they were different on three of them, they were like opposite on three of them.
It sounds like a really good guy. I mean, it could be like a basic guy.
Well what it did was they went through a marriage, they were having… They were in constant conflict because they were so different, you know, basically.
But because this whole system was able to explain, okay, this is just how a person of this kind of temperament or views, you know, how they see the world and here’s how you see it and how… They managed to, you know, they were married for 60 years or whatever.
I think that shows the difference between generations or, you know, the difference between the attitude to it. Cause they found out that they were different on three out of 4 categories and yet, they used that to understand the differences and to work this out.
Whereas nowadays people just say oh you’re too different, oh no no no no no, I don’t wanna deal with you. Which is a totally different approach. And probably not even a correct one, like…
Right. Well this was the old school, right, they feel in love, they got married and mama, who was this high powered woman, who had raised the daughter to be this super child, you know. And now she’s disappointing mama, you know, but now, you know, big time.
But they both wanted to work on their marriage. They both wanted to do that. And that’s a generation thing that Katya what you were saying. Cause a lot of times you’re thinking we don’t wanna waste our rime, we’re just too different, let me just, you know, move on. But they were investing. Yeah.
They would consider it, you know, and that time was such that you would try to work it out, you know. And they did. And they amazingly apparently they did cause she was now I think 79 years old and they’d been married for 60 years.
It’s like those circles that are put together and part of the circle shares the part of another circle and so you find common ground if you can let that person have their space and then you find some…
Right, if you cannot understand that this other person is just coming from a really different place.
And they probably wont’ change because that’s who they are.
Right, that’s right, that’s their nature.
Actually I have a question which is gonna be my last question, but you said and they probably won’t change. So does that mean that we can never change our personality or can we?
I think we can, I think we can work on it with the things that we want to change.
That’s a good point, that’s a good point.
No, I think you can change anything you want to change and I will agree that but you have to really really want to change.
It takes a lot of effort, but it is possible. Most of things can be changed.
So we unanimously that we can change our personality only if we want to.
But nobody can change anybody without their consent in this case. Alright. Oh, that has been very-very interesting. Now I really want to read a little bit more into the… You should send the link to that podcast.
Should’ve mentioned, put it in the notes to the thing.
You could just leave a comment. You just resist it, you know. Gary, you can leave a comment. No.
That’s how he is and he’ll never change.
Cause he doesn’t want to. Alright. So and what about you, dear listeners? What do you think about personality tests, zodiac signs and all that? Feel free to, you know, send your comments in our vk group under the podcast, we are always there to chat with you.
Alright, so that was the BigAppleSchool podcast and today we discussed personality traits. Thank you for listening and remember if you struggle to understand our conversation, you are always welcome to our website, which is BigAppleSchool.com/podcast where you can find full scripts of each episode.
And you can read the script and listen to the podcast, and that’s just amazing. And also you can check out the website itself which is Bigappleschool.com cause you can find a lot of interesting stuff over there - articles, videos, pictures, you name it.
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