Humans have a natural inclination toward privacy and personal boundaries, and this can lead to the act of keeping secrets. Whether it’s about their personal lives, their relationships, or even their professional decisions, people often choose to keep certain information hidden from others. While some secrets are kept harmless, others can be more damaging and lead to feelings of guilt, shame, and isolation.
Today we’ll explore some of the more common reasons why people keep secrets. From the fear of judgment to protecting themselves, these reasons can help us understand why someone might choose to keep information hidden. By recognizing these motivations behind secrecy, we can foster more open and honest communication in our personal and professional relationships, which leads to stronger and more trusting connections.
We’ve all had those moments when we’re awake at 3 am and recall a totally embarrassing interaction we had years ago. For some people, the immense embarrassment is more than enough reason to keep what happened all those years ago to themselves.
Being embarrassed, or ashamed of a secret is natural. Although, it can really eat at you over time. Sometimes it’s worth building up the confidence to confide in a trusted friend and spill the beans in private.
Fear is a strong emotion and warrants some pretty intense reactions from people. So much so, that the fear of repercussions, judgment, and backlash can lead you to keep your lips sealed and your secrets locked up tight.
Some who know your secrets may even use fear as a form of intimidation towards you, ensuring you keep it to yourself. If you feel as though you’re ready to open up about secrets you’re afraid to reveal, being brave and speaking to a trusted source, or therapist may be the best option for you.
What They Did is Illegal
The reality is sometimes secrets are kept for more sinister, or serious reasons. It’s no surprise that individuals who have done wrong in the past might want to keep the information and details from being released to the public, or to people they know and love.
Covering up, a legal nightmare is a common reason people keep secrets, whether it’s due to shame, embarrassment, or their secret is rather incriminating on their behalf, or someone else’s. It may be frightening and stressful to hold onto these secrets to protect yourself, or others.
You see it all the time within cancel culture and people of high status, keeping your reputation clean and clear of any and all drama is extremely important to those who believe that their reputation can make, or break them.
People will go to extraordinary, sometimes illegal, lengths to keep their deepest, darkest secrets from coming to light. It seems as though any past mistakes, poor choices, or distasteful actions and words can ruin an individual’s reputation overnight. It could very possibly be one of the biggest reasons why a person will keep a secret hidden for many years or even their entire lifetime.
To Respect Privacy
Occasionally, the secrets we hold aren’t ours to tell. There may be times when someone we care about, or someone who cares about us, divulges personal information, not to be shared with anybody else.
It’s important to understand the level of trust and respect someone has for you when they share something incredibly personal and private. Holding onto someone else’s secret is highly commendable and shows you’re a trustworthy friend or family member. This is an essential foundation for any relationship, and telling someone’s secret can ruin that trust and end the relationship.
A good majority of the population has no problem being able to speak to one or two people at a time, but when you get into a large group, it can be difficult. Many get nervous when they are part of a larger discussion, and it’s completely understandable. Others feel comfortable in front of several other people, but don’t know the right times to get involved throughout the conversation and end up being unwillingly silent.
If you’re one of the millions that are looking to sharpen their group discussion skills, there are some ways in which to get more involved and have better talks. Let’s take a look at the art of group discussion, and show you how to inspire, engage, and include.
One of the worst things that you can do during a group discussion is make yourself look like you’re not interested at all. Throughout the discussion, you’re likely to be ignored based on your body language because those around you might not think that you’re taking things seriously. When you’re being attentive, a lot of the conversation is going to end up flowing through you as you’ll be looked at as someone that can help lead.
You may already be listening to everything that’s being said, but if your body language is off, it can fool some people. The trick to having attentive body language is to keep all of your focus on the person that’s speaking. Make sure to show active interest by nodding your head and affirming with small noises that you’re interested in hearing the person talking. These subtle things show that you’re 100 percent part of the discussion.
Getting Others Involved
It’s a good thing to take the lead in a group discussion, but you want to make sure that everyone is included. When you get to the end of a good point, you should ask someone that hasn’t been included just yet how they feel about that topic. This helps to pass things around as a good basketball team would, and nobody will walk out of the discussion feeling jilted or that they didn’t get their two cents in.
We’ve all been in that situation where we’ve had a lot of things to say and waited for the right opportunity to chime in, only for it to never come. When you command the room and make sure that everyone gets a chance to speak, everyone will wrap up the discussion feeling satisfied that their opinions were heard.
We already talked about body language when it comes to being a listener, but body language is also important when it comes to the speaking aspect of group discussion. When it’s your turn to speak, you want to command attention, and the best way to do that is through good body language. A lot of people are shy and tend to raise their shoulders and lower their voice, but those that are constantly moving and speaking at a higher volume will demand attention.
While using your hands as part of your speech isn’t always the best thing, it can be good for a group discussion since it keeps all eyes on you. This is something that every public speaker is trained on, from the head of a small company all the way up to the President of the United States. You don’t want to be mousy or monotone when talking, or else people can tune out quickly.
Keep It Civil
Group discussion can get off the rails pretty quickly, especially if there are multiple people there that share opposing viewpoints. When they start to get off topic and are exchanging verbal barbs, it’s important that you veer them back on the right path. You can do it in a comedic way that eases the tension, or you can firmly tell them that any off-topic conversation is not allowed.
It’s not always easy, and those that are getting off-topic may want to ignore you, but discussions will go nowhere if this happens. For those that don’t want to stay on-topic, you can even boot them out of the group to show that your discussion is to be taken seriously
In the end, there are a few key points that you need to take away from being part of a group discussion. These points are that you should show great body language, listen to everyone that’s speaking, keep the conversation on-topic, and show respect to everyone in the room. If you follow these steps, even the most novice of public speakers will be able to feel more comfortable and effective in a group discussion setting.
Ever since the internet really started to take off, we’ve all done quizzes pertaining to how we act or feel. From finding out what superhero we are to possible mental illnesses we may have, there are plenty of tests online that range from lighthearted to ones that can lead to a diagnosis. There are thousands of different tests out there, but all of them can end up leading you to discover the “real” you.
While you may adjust some of the answers to get the results you want (especially when determining what superhero you are), answering very truthfully actually has a lot of benefits, even if it’s a sillier personality test. Let’s take a closer look at personality tests and how they are able to help you gain insight into yourself.
Early Days of Personality Tests
There was a time where personality tests were nothing more than researchers assuming your personality based on the physical structure of your skull. Needless to say, we’ve come a long way in the past couple of hundred years. It wasn’t until the late 1800s, though, that a personality test was developed based on cognitive function rather than physical attributes.
The 20th century saw a boom in both personal uses for personality tests. Even militaries around the world started to get on board, using these tests to determine if a soldier was ready for active duty. In more recent years, with the development of the internet, personality tests started to become more casual, accessible, and free to take in most cases.
What You’re Learning About Yourself
It doesn’t matter what type of personality test you’re taking, you can always learn something about yourself when taking one. This is because questions will often pop up that you tend to not think about very often. This is especially true for the work-related personality tests before you get hired or even get an interview.
These tests ask you to assess yourself in certain situations like “I’m good at a small talk at work” or “I’m more willing to confront my boss if I don’t agree on a new policy change.” These are very specific to work, but can be translated into a more broad picture. Think about those assessment statements in another capacity. “Am I able to engage in conversation with a stranger?” or “Am I willing to stand up for myself against something I don’t believe in?” are the true questions that you’re answering.
Personality tests, whether self-administered or professionally monitored, give you a ton of insight into yourself. They show your strengths and weaknesses, your tendencies, your relationships, and even how much you crave power and attention. For some, it’s eye-opening while for others it can be reaffirming.
Popular Personality Tests
There are certain types of personality tests that people flock to the most. Some of these are popular with psychologists, some with employers, and some for those that want to get some more insight into themselves. Here are some of the more popular personality tests:
- 16 Personality Factor Questionnaire
- Caliper Profile
- DISC Personality Test
- Eysenck Personality Inventory
- HEXACO Personality Inventory
- Myers-Briggs Type Indicator
- NEO Personality Inventory
- SHL Occupational Personality Questionnaire
Among the most popular personality tests are the ones that tell you your personality type. There are several tests that attempt to find this out, placing people in certain categories. Some are more analytical while others are more emotional. Here are the personality types according to the 16 Personalities.
- INTJ (The Architect)
- INTP (The Logician)
- INFJ (The Advocate)
- INFP (The Mediator)
- ISTJ (The Logistician)
- ISTP (The Virtuoso)
- ISFJ (The Defender)
- ISFP (The Adventurer)
- ENTJ (The Commander)
- ENTP (The Debater)
- ENFJ (The Protagonist)
- ENFP (The Campaigner)
- ESTJ (The Executive)
- ESTP (The Entrepreneur)
- ESFJ (The Consul)
- ESFP (The Entertainer)
We’ve all heard someone comment on our personalities, saying that we have an “old soul” or “young at heart.” It turns out that these might not just be expressions that are anecdotal but could even be backed by science. There’s a concept that has gained a lot of traction in recent years called mental age. Determining both mental and emotional intelligence, mental age shows how far ahead or behind someone can be of the expectations at a given age.
While many consider mental age to be a newer concept, it actually goes back for a few centuries. Earlier scientists theorized that intelligence was based mainly on skull size. In their eyes, the larger the skull, the larger the brain, and the higher the intelligence. There have been studies that suggest that there’s a link, but it’s not as strong as first believed.
Once science began to develop, there were more scientific ways to actually measure intelligence. With more modern testing, someone’s mental age is calculated and then divided by their actual age with a maximum of 18. Test makers believed that mental age no longer increases in adulthood, therefore making 18 the cutoff line. The result is multiplied by 100, which is then considered their intelligence quotient (a.k.a. IQ).
Those with an IQ of at least 145 are determined to be very gifted, while those that are in the 90 to 109 range are considered average. The lowest possible IQ score is 40, with 80 being the baseline for being below average.
The concept of mental age being put into an identifiable number comes from a French psychologist named Alfred Binet. Binet studied the human brain and psychology all the way up to his death in October 1911. He and psychologist Theodore Simon created the intelligence test in the early 20th century and tweaked it multiple times before Binet’s death
Testing for mental age then made its way to the United States, where it was again tweaked at Stanford University, hence the Stanford-Binet intelligence test name. In more recent years, a mental age has been given to someone by taking someone’s score on an IQ test and dividing it by the average score of people that age. The end result is then multiplied by the person’s real age until the age of 14.
For this reason, you see a lot of children that are either placed into advanced classes during their elementary school years or possibly held back. About one percent of students skip at least one grade due to their mental age and testing, while roughly 10 percent of children are held back at least one time before high school.
There are other mental age tests that don’t measure IQ, as well. A more recent test that has garnered a lot of attention lately is the Arealme mental age test. In this test, users are asked questions about their own personalities that include their fashion sense and quickness to come to anger. These are mostly “yes or no” questions that will determine your mental age based on your responses, gender, and real age.
At the end of the day, there isn’t a finite way of determining how old you are, mentally. Since it’s a concept, you can only be defined by your physical age. For now, it remains a psychological state of mind. You can be much more advanced in terms of intelligence than people in your same age bracket, but determining exactly how much more you know can be next to impossible.
“A person may be a moron or an imbecile if he is lacking in judgment,” Alfred Binet said. “But with good judgment, he can never be either. Indeed the rest of the intellectual faculties seem of little importance in comparison with judgment.”
The Myers Briggs Type Indicator (MBTI) is a personality test that classifies people into 16 types, based on four pairs of indicators. These pairs include the following:
The MBTI is one of the most widely used personality assessments, with about two million test administered annually. It’s most common use is in predicting career preferences, rather than ability. The MBTI provides the following five benefits.
1. Improve Decision-making Skills
The MBTI shows that people use distinct mechanisms to make decisions, which often occur at a sub-conscious level. The way you make decisions can shape your life, so understanding this process can help you make the choices that are better for you. This is especially true for important decisions like forming relationships, getting married and having children.
- Understand Yourself
The use of only 16 personality types means a lot of people will share your results, providing a strong defense against feelings of insecurity. Once you get your results, you should conduct an online search of your type and read the many articles about it. You may be surprised to see how accurately they describe you and help you understand yourself.
3. Awareness of Preferences
Personality type can greatly influence your preferences for certain situations or ways of accomplishing tasks. For example, some MBTI types experience a strong sense of satisfaction after completing a crossword puzzle. Knowing your personality type can also help you identify your stressors, allowing you to handle them more effectively. Similarly, the MBTI can help explain why you’re attracted to certain people and careers.
- Improve Relationships
Each personality is unique, even within the same MTBI type. As a result, similarities and differences in personality can affect relationships in unexpected ways. While some relationships naturally become deeper and more satisfying over time, others require more work. Knowing your personality type can help you make a better effort to consciously strengthen your relationship. For example, you may learn that you need to come out of your shell more or tone down your naturally bubbly personality.
Arming yourself with this knowledge can also help you select partners that are more likely to be compatible with you. Professionally administered MBTI tests often include this type of advice in the results.
5. Increase Emotional Intelligence
Some people just don’t feel things as deeply as others, often because their feeling function is lower than their thinking function. Increasing emotional intelligence can help you understand the feelings of others, even if you don’t experience these emotions as strongly as they do.
Opinions on the MBTI vary greatly with regard to its utility. It’s important to remember that it’s primarily useful for overcoming relatively small, specific obstacles in reaching your goal. For example, it doesn’t address mental issues like personality or mood disorders.
Your personality influences many of the choices you make, from your friends to the political candidates you vote for. Understanding your personality traits can provide insight into those decisions, along with your strengths and weaknesses. Most psychologists today accept the "five-factor model," which was developed into its current form during the 1990s. This system rates a person according to the following five traits:
- Openness to experience
1. Openness to Experience
People who rate high on this trait have a vivid imagination and broad range of interests. They prefer routines that are flexible rather than rigidly structured due to their creative and curious nature. People who are open to experience also tend to pursue self-actualization through experiences like living abroad and meditation. Openness is the only trait in the five-factor model that consistently predicts political behavior. For example, people high in this trait are more likely to vote for a liberal candidate. Avoid investors who are high in openness, as they may be more prone to excessive risks due to overconfidence.
Conscientiousness people are well-organized, efficient and dependable. They prefer to plan their schedule in advance and have a strong desire to achieve challenging goals. However, people who are low in conscientiousness may regard those high in this trait as obsessive and stubborn. Your own chances of workplace success increase when your partner is conscientious, since that person can boost your productivity.
Extroverts gain energy from social activity, so they’re outgoing and talkative. They’re comfortable in the spotlight, which introverts may view as attention-seeking or domineering. Men with strong handshakes are more likely to be extroverts and less likely to be neurotic. However, this tendency doesn’t apply to female extroverts.
People with a high agreeableness rating are affectionate, trustworthy and kind. They often exhibit social behavior such as volunteer work and other altruistic activities, but others may view them as overly passive and even naive. Financial investors who are agreeable are less likely to lose money, especially from risky trades.
Neurotic people have a greater degree of emotional instability, which others may view as insecurity. They’re more likely to experience strong negative emotions like anxiety and irritability, making them excitable and reactive. Neurotic people tend to publish more photos on social media as a means of gaining acceptance. However, they’re less likely to post comments that could be viewed as controversial.
Most people have a personality that develops at an early age and remains relatively stable throughout their lives. For example, the traits you exhibit by the age of seven usually predict much of your adult behavior. It’s certainly possible to change these traits, but it usually requires a sustained effort over time.
Personality profiles generally group people into types based on the traits they share. The Myers-Briggs Type Indicator (MBTI) is one such test that’s often used for career advancement. While any profile can lead to success, it’s helpful to pursue the right career for your profile. However, you can also take steps to align your profile with your dream job, even when they don’t appear compatible.
The MBTI sorts people into 16 personality types based on the following four pairs of opposing elements:
The extroversion-introversion pair describes how you spend your energy, and the sensing-intuition pair describes how you receive information. Thinking-feeling describes how you make decisions, and judging-perceiving describes how you see the world.
Associating your personality type with your actions can provide insight into your behavior in the workplace. For example, introverts must expend greater effort in communicating with others, which can present a challenge when they need help. Sensing types are able to gather facts from their environment, while intuitive types look for meaning in patterns and connections. Thinkers try to find logical solutions to problems, but feelers make decisions based on emotions, needs and values. Judgers look for structure in their organization, while perceivers prefer to remain flexible with respect to structure.
Jobs by Personality Type
Many jobs naturally align with a particular MBTI personality type. For example, Introverted, Sensing, Thinking and Judging (ISTJ) types are often attorneys, civil engineers, dentists, loan officers and software developers. Introverted, Intuitive, Feeling and Judging (INFJ) types are well-suited to be animators, designers, HR managers, professors and school counselors. Extraverted, Sensing, Thinking and Perceiving (ESTP) types are compatible with professions like acting, paramedics, entrepreneurs, sales managers and stockbrokers. Extraverted, Intuitive, Thinking and Judging (ENTJ) types are likely be art directors, editors, executive assistants, real estate brokers and sociologists.
Find Your Career Passion
Discovering what you’re passionate about requires time and self-awareness, especially if you want to make it your career. If you already have job, start by identifying the high and low points of your work day. This information can help you decide to apply for a different role or even promotion that better suits your personality type. If you’re still in school, you should learn which subjects and classes are your favorites, and why. This type of inward thinking can help you select your major and career.
Align Your Career with your Passion
The Specific, Measurable, Actionable, Relevant and Time-based (SMART) framework can help you align your career with your passion. Begin this process by outlining your career goals as specifically as possible. You’ll also need to determine what you can reasonably accomplish within set timeframes. You must then identify the actions needed to reach goals that align with your personality types. Finally, the SMART framework requires you to prioritize these action items.
Fear is an important human emotion. It protects us from dangerous situations. It increases our readiness for fight or flight. But fear can also be destructive, keeping us from doing the things that could make our lives better.
There are right ways and wrong ways to deal with fear. Here a five mistakes people make when confronting what frightens them.
Mistake #1: Denying That the Fear Exists
You can’t confront a fear if you don’t admit that it’s there. You not only need to recognize it; you must examine it and understand it. It’s like looking at a person. The longer you look, the more you notice and the more ideas you have about what to do.
It can be helpful to keep a journal or make notes. When is it worst? What sets it off? What are the physical symptoms: tight stomach, sweaty hands, etc.? Something that’s captured in words may not seem as insurmountable.
Mistake #2: Not Taking a Break from Fear
Unless you’re in immediate danger, take a few minutes and calm down. Do some deep breathing. Take a short walk. Have a cup of tea. Taking a break will help you think more clearly.
If your face feels flushed or your heartbeat has risen, don’t worry about it. Just let if happen. This will give you practice in confronting fear. Anything you can do to feel calmer in the face of fear will make the thing that you’re anxious about less foreboding.
Mistake #3: Not Harnessing Your Imagination
Don’t let your imagination rule you. If your fear is, say, public speaking, you’re probably painting mental pictures of the worst that can happen. You see yourself visibly perspiring and losing your words while the audience stares at you sternly with arms crossed.
Instead, make your imagination work for you. Get alone and visualize success. Close your eyes and let the mental video role, from the moment you confidently take the stage until the audience erupts with applause at the end.
Mistake #4: Keeping Fear Inside
You don’t have to do this by yourself. Talking out your fears can make them smaller. If you don’t have a friend or family member you can confide in, try a clergy person or ask your doctor. An MD might recommend an expert who can help you. Depending on your specific fear, there might even be hotline help.
Mistake #5: Disrespecting Yourself for Being Afraid
Even courageous people experience fear. A person with no fear is an oddity. The truly brave people are those who work through their fears and overcome the thing that had them scared.
Sometimes fear is our friend. It warns us to avoid dangerous situations and proceed with caution. Fear can be a counselor. Listen to it when there’s true danger, and confront it when it stands between you and a goal.
Imagine a fairy godmother comes along and offers you a delicious cookie that is magically free of calories. It smells so good! Your mouth is watering. Just as you are about to take it, she says, “Wait! I have another offer. You can either take this cookie now or wait until tomorrow. If you wait 24 hours, I will give you a cookie every single day for the rest of your life.”
It would be very tempting to take the cookie that’s right in front of your eyes (assuming you like cookies). But it would be a much better deal to wait a day and get cookies for the rest of your life. This is the principle of delayed gratification.
There’s a famous experiment in psychology known as the “marshmallow test,” that was conducted at Stanford University back in the 1970s. The researchers, like fairy godmothers, made offers to preschool children that tested their ability to delay gratification. In one variation, the children were able to eat a marshmallow as an immediate reward, or if they chose to wait, they would get two marshmallows instead of just one.
Researchers conducted follow-up studies on the children for decades. They found key differences in the two groups, between those who waited for the better reward and those who didn’t.
When the children were teenagers, researchers found the “waiting” group had higher SAT scores and were described, by their parents, as more competent. Later, they had fewer mental health, drug use, and weight problems. They were more likely to graduate from college and earn more money.
It seemed like their being able to resist temptation when they were kids was a strong predictor of their success in later life. But was it really?
A new follow-up study casts doubt on that idea. Scientists found that the kids’ choices in the original experiment did not predict their success when they were in their 40s. There was no difference between the two groups in income, net worth, education, or weight.
This is good news if you were a child who did not have the self-control to wait patiently for rewards. Your impulsive behavior as a preschooler doesn’t doom you to a life of poverty.
Being able to exercise self-control is still an important skill and one that is learnable. Parents can model this trait for their children by keeping their promises and having negative consequences for bad behavior and positive consequences for good.
People of any age can teach themselves to be better at delaying gratification by becoming mindful of their impulsive feelings, setting goals, journaling, and looking for opportunities to practice self-control in their daily lives.
Neuroscience also has some lessons. Two areas of the brain appear to play a major role in delaying gratification – the prefrontal cortex, associated with self-control, and the hippocampus, associated with memory, in this case, the “memory” of the future. Both areas become activated when people merely imagine a bigger and more distant reward. So, when you are faced with a choice between a tempting immediate pleasure and a later reward that is even better, deliberately focus your imagination on the later reward to fire up the supporting parts of your brain.
There’s no such thing as a perfect parent, and those that already have children will be the first ones to admit that. Everyday you learn something new about yourself, your child and how to improve on how you’re raising them. If you’re planning on starting a family, there are some key factors that you need to consider. Tap into your brain and learn these psychological principles to set yourself and your child up for long term success.
Many people that end up having a child may not be ready, and there’s a long list of factors that come into play. One of those factors is environment, which includes the physical aspect. You want to make sure that your child has everything tangible that they need to be successful in life. It doesn’t have to be the highest end children’s toys and whatnot, but they should have at least the minimum to develop intellectually and creatively during their younger years.
4. Don’t Be Afraid to Praise
There are some parents out there that no matter what their child does, they tend to not praise the kids. This can set a child up for a lifetime of feeling like their accomplishments aren’t worthwhile. When your child does something noteworthy, make sure to tell them that you’re proud of what they’ve done. That type of validation helps their development tremendously. It’s not a short term thing, either, as their professional and personal accomplishments as adults will boost their self esteem.
Did you ever feel awkward telling your parents something while you were growing up? It’s likely because they weren’t proactive in conversation. When you start a discussion with your children and get the dialogue rolling, you’re going to learn a lot about them in every way. From what makes them tick, to their likes and dislikes and how you can be there for them in times of need. Talk, listen, and enjoy a deeper connection with your child.
They say that respect is earned, not given. That is all well and good when it comes to the office or professional sports. When it comes to raising a child, though, you have to show them respect from a very early age. You should respect your child in all aspects. Physically, emotionally, mentally, etc. When you show your child respect, that means that they’ll show respect to others and make healthy lifelong connections. When they become adults, they’ll have earned respect from their peers because they know how.
The absolute biggest problem that all parents face is trying to find that balance between being too aggressive when raising a child and too passive. Aggressiveness makes your child not want to open up to you and can cause a multitude of mental issues down the road, while being too passive makes your child think they can just take whatever they want. That’s also going to be a hard lesson for them to learn down the road. It’s important to be assertive, engage in conversation with your child and make sure that they understand consequences on a deeper level, and don’t allow them to walk all over you.