MGU 212 | Personality Tests And Classifications

Organizations use personality tests and classifications to identify how candidates behave at work and predict job performance and interaction towards a team or individual project. The accuracy and reliability have been questions to these examinations, and candidates are being labeled without digging outside the generated results. In this episode, hosts Jason Wrobel and Whitney Lauritsen talk about the vulnerabilities and opportunities for improvement for these tests. Male classification and what is called the Sigma male are also issues that need to be addressed with an eye that is open to multi-views. Learn in this discussion as we dive into various concepts and the possible end results for improper use of labeling.

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The Questionable Reliability Of Personality Tests And The Sigma Male

There’s an interesting aspect to social media, YouTube in particular, where I feel like when I’m on YouTube and I go on YouTube knowing that I’m going to watch one specific video that inevitably, even though I know this has a likelihood of happening, because of the suggested videos that pop up in the right-hand sidebar, I find more than any other platform. I have a tendency to go down the YouTube rabbit hole because of those suggested videos. Their algorithm is intelligent that I will, an hour later, often look up and go, “How did an hour go by and where even am I?”

I’m deep down that rabbit hole that I don’t even remember what video I started on. I was on YouTube looking for some guitar instruction videos and I was purposefully going on there like, “I’m going to look for these different chord structures for acoustic guitar.” That leads me down a rabbit hole of the new Mortal Kombat movie and I’m watching trailers for that. The rabbit hole continues to go down, and then in the suggested videos, one of them popped up and the title was something like, “Are you a sigma male?” The thumbnail was like one of the Spartans from the movie 300.

It’s like this old warrior and it said, “Are you a sigma male?” I thought, “I’ve never heard this terminology before.” I click on this video and that video leads me to a whole bunch of articles on the internet. It’s interesting when you find a terminology you’ve never heard before and it piques your interest. It’s like, “Interesting. Where is this going to lead?” I had never heard this terminology before, Whitney, of a sigma male. As I’m going down this rabbit hole, which I want to discuss with you, I found out that there are some psychological frameworks that say there are six different male personality types.

The only ones that I had ever heard of were an alpha male and a beta male. That was my only experience. There are definitions in these articles. My viewpoint of an alpha male was aggressive, confident, and a person who always wanted to or needed to be in charge. The kind of person that their aggression was directed in such a way that if you look up the #AlphaMale or there’s another one called #AlphaMaleShit, it’s like lifting weights, hunting, shooting guns, and driving crazy cars. This ultra-masculinity being displayed for people is how I viewed alpha males.

Betas were more submissive, didn’t talk as loudly, and didn’t necessarily feel that they needed to be a leader or be the person in control. That’s my basic understanding of what I thought were the only two types, alpha and beta males, but apparently, there are six. I want to dive in with talking about this sigma thing because it was a curious thing to me. We’ve talked about Myers-Briggs and we’ve talked about The Four Tendencies. We’ve talked about a lot of personality tests. I want to go on record to say that I don’t necessarily believe that there needs to be a hard-fast rule as I’m reading through this like, “I’m definitely a sigma male. I’m definitely an omega male or a delta male.”

It seems like as I’m researching this with a lot of those personality tests that there’s almost an amalgam or a combination of different aspects that I’m not specifically in one nonetheless. Sigma males, Whitney, do you want to know about them? I find this fascinating as hell. As I’m saying this, it will be interesting for you to say, “I wonder which one Jason is.” With gender non-binary, we talk about these as male personalities but it doesn’t necessarily mean that since I identify as male, I’m the only person that’s going to align with these characteristics.

It may be that you shake your head, Whitney, or some of our female readers and go, “I Identify with that, too.” Sigma males, why are they so popular? I brought up this article on a website called Bright Side. It’s lengthy so I don’t necessarily want to read the whole thing. We’d take up tidbits and discuss. Before I pass the baton to you, Whitney, I want to set the sub for some of the characteristics of a sigma male. Sigma male apparently is defined as a man who doesn’t need external validation from other people. He’s not necessarily loud or brash but tends to be calmer and more collected.

Sigma male is defined as a man who doesn't need external validation from other people. Click To Tweet

Sigma male is introverted but confident. They’re outside the usual societal norms and don’t necessarily look for groups to fit into because they themselves are uncommon. That’s another aspect of the sigma males. I’ve read some articles saying that in terms of the population, they tend to be a much lower minority in terms of these masculine traits. It says sigma and alpha males are equal and they share many common characteristics. They’re both super confident, their life choices, and they aim high, but the main difference is in their attitude and how they see life.

Sigmas choose to live and operate outside of the societal hierarchy while alphas want to be at the top of it. Alphas achieve success by climbing the hierarchy ladder and trying to be better than everyone. Sigmas, on the other hand, don’t care and they don’t belong to any tribe. They do everything on their own and they’re self-motivated. Sigmas don’t care about expectations. They’re rule breakers and rebellious. They don’t want to fit into molds. They don’t care about hierarchies or norms and trends that alphas set. They want to be outside of those rules and those structures. You can’t tell them how to dress or how to act. They do what they want. They struggle with authority.

They’re usually self-employed and hold peace and flexibility in high regard. It’s better for sigmas to work on their own because they have no trouble managing time and organizing themselves. There’s a lot of other things. I want to stop there before I go a little too crazy. It’s interesting to think about this idea of being a rule breaker or living outside of hierarchies. Whitney, if I think about certain alpha males, whether some of the entrepreneurs we talked about, actors, or celebrities, it seems that they have gone to the top of the hierarchy in their given field than operate inside of that hierarchy.

Apparently, the sigmas don’t care at all. That was the first thing to me. I was like, “I’m rebellious. I don’t like hierarchy and I don’t like rules. Maybe I’m a sigma.” It’s interesting. Before I talk my face off, I’m curious if you’ve considered this in the context of either men that you have worked with or you’ve dated, or you even considered what type of man you are magnetically drawn to in different contexts. How do you feel about this? I want to read more in the article, but I want to gauge how you’re feeling about this whole thing from the gut.

I feel like based on some research that I’m doing behind the scenes that there’s a big issue with these categories for men. First of all, trying to reduce ourselves into this type of category, in general, is a slippery slope. The thing that I’m coming across here is that there’s a whole backstory behind the idea of alpha, beta, and now sigma men that is based on discrimination and misogyny. I don’t know if you come across any of this, Jason, but it’s interesting to me because it makes me pause in terms of why these categories are even being used, how they’re being used, and what they stand for.

That’s what I’m looking into, so I’m not that interested in discussing this until I understand the roots because it can be a tricky subject matter when we don’t know the history behind the development. For example, I was talking about, on one of our episodes, an HBO documentary called Persona that gives the history of the Myers-Briggs test. It opened my eyes to the fact that a lot of the categories that we put ourselves in are not without their flaws and they can do more harm than good in a lot of ways. In fact, I also pulled up a Twitter post, and apparently, the idea of the sigma male got a lot of flak on Twitter.

People were debating this whole concept on there that I haven’t fully dug into yet. That’s what I’m doing behind the scenes, so if you want to continue sharing some things, Jason, and can better summarize some deeper perspectives on this. Mainly because I don’t want to feed into the subject matter if it does have roots in discrimination or misogyny. That’s not okay and I don’t want to perpetuate these classifications in that case.

Fair enough. To your point, before I read a few more of these aspects on this list that I find interesting, the danger you’re talking about is that sometimes, if we identify too closely with one of these personalities or categories that we can often use it to justify behavior that is not beneficial or good in the sense that, “I’m an alpha male and I do alpha male shit. I’m aggressive and I’m dominant. You either like it or you don’t,” as an example or, “I’m a sigma. I don’t like hierarchy and I don’t like rules. I don’t follow anyone.”

There can be a justification when we identify too closely with what we think we are, and then we operate in a box in a framework where we don’t allow for any other type of behavioral shifts or perspectives because we think we are so much of this thing. That’s the big danger in any of this like, “I’m an ENFJ. I’m an INFP. I’m this and this is how I am in the world.” That’s almost the same as something like even astrology. I know this is tangential, but I had a mutual acquaintance/friend of ours one time be like, “I can’t date Cancer men.”

MGU 212 | Personality Tests And Classifications

Personality Tests And Classifications: Sigma males, which are in the lower minority, are introverted but confident. They’re outside the usual societal norms and don’t necessarily look for groups to fit into.

 

I was like, “What do you mean you can’t date Cancer men?” “You can’t date Cancer men.” I was like, “What the heck is that?” “You guys are so sensitive. You’re so much of an emotional handful and you feel too much.” Fast forward a year later, she’s like, “I started dating a Cancer and I like it.” Her idea was like, “I’m going to put all of you guys in a box and label you as too high maintenance, emotional, and sensitive, and therefore, I’m never going to date you.”

She dates one and she’s like, “I like this.” The danger in this labeling to your point, Whitney, is we put things in a construct that doesn’t allow for growth and evolution. Sometimes, we don’t even allow ourselves to experience another person because we’re prejudging them. “You’re a Cancer. You’re a Sagittarius. You’re this. You’re that.” My feedback on what you said is I’m taking all of this with a massive grain of salt as I’m reading through it.

We have to look at the roots. What immediately gave me a red flag is that it seems like this hierarchy or this categorization was created by the men’s right movement, which is an openly misogynistic group. It also seems to be mostly comprised of white, cisgendered, heterosexual men, and even Southern, perhaps right-wing, extremist white men. To me, I have little tolerance for anything that is racist, sexist, and ignorant. It seems to me like there’s also some ignorance around this idea of the sigma male, Jason, that you might not have come across.

This is a great example of it’s important to do your research before you come to conclusions and cross-referencing things. When you go and type in sigma male, look at a number of different sources and be mindful of the sources. I found one on Forbes, which can be a little iffy as a source sometimes, but there’s an in-depth article about this on Mother Jones, which tends to be well-researched. It’s got a super long article on the history of things like this, and then, of course, there are all these Twitter conversations where you can read different perspectives.

One, there’s a random website I came across, but it does have documentation of all these conversations. It’s ComicSands.com. It’s not a website that I can recognize or trust, but it does have embedded all the Twitter conversations around this. Apparently, the men’s rights movement is a hate ideology under the umbrella of male supremacy. This is part of the conversation, too. For you being a white, straight man with a lot of privilege, you’re an open-minded and inclusive person. Even to your point, you came across this through YouTube. One of the big problems with social media and the content creation world is that anybody can post anything.

If they’re smart, they can create a clickbaity video and they can convince you into believing that this makes sense. If that appeals to some part of your white male heterosexual brain that you’ve been programmed through our society, maybe you’re going to believe it without even questioning it. That’s incredibly important here. While something created like this made with ignorance, another clue for me is that apparently, the alpha male concept was based on a now-debunked theory of wolf packs.

There’s this idea of this wolf pack, which maybe you’ve come across more as you’ve been researching this, Jason. Apparently, those concepts are based on theories that aren’t even fully accurate anyways. We have to check ourselves and be mindful of what we’re subscribing to. That’s why these conversations are so important. It shows how susceptible we are to believing something because it seems to make sense to us, but sometimes, we have to question what makes sense and why.

I’m grateful for your diligence to do the research, Whitney, because, for me, it’s one of those things where I took the bait on YouTube and was like, “What’s this?” That led me to a bunch of other articles. In a way, if we blow this out to a larger discussion, does this framework exist? Since we’re talking about male personality types and the origins of it as you had talked about where you’ve seen these come from. Is it a way to subjugate people to believe something about themselves to keep them stuck in a role or think that they have to play a specific role?

Alpha males achieve success by climbing the hierarchy ladder and trying to be better than everyone else. Click To Tweet

In the sense that if you get labeled as something like a beta male, and then you think you have to subscribe to whatever that framework is of subservience, quietness, taking a backseat, and letting someone else lead. It’s almost like you’re not allowing the fullest expression of who you are to come through and live because you think you have to subscribe to this thing because it’s what you believe you are. You talked about the wolf pack. I feel like there’s a parable in here about certain species being raised by completely different species.

They take on the mannerisms and they take on the behavioral patterns of the different species they were raised by. I know that’s a bit tangential, but I feel like it’s the same. If you believe you are one thing so strongly, it’s almost like you don’t allow yourself to be who you are. You talking about the roots of this makes me question, are structures and personality constructs like this created to keep people stuck and to keep people in a mode where they don’t question what they are? What is the level of subjugation behind these things to your point?

Because to me, it’s almost like if you have hierarchy and you have people constantly believing they need to be better than what they are or greater than what they are or subservient and not question, we’re talking about mind control. We’re talking about getting people stuck in a mode. Before we go on, it’s interesting as I’m reading through some of these articles, if I scan these, Whitney, with every single one, I can pick out aspects of myself. Why then do I feel the need and why did I click on that YouTube video? What’s going on with me psychologically that I feel like maybe I will feel safer and more in control if I have a succinct tight definition of myself?

“I’m a sigma, Cancer, INFJ, Enneagram number seven. What are you?” We put all these parameters on what we are. The question is why? Is it because of safety? Do we want a level of certainty about what we believe we are in the world? If we believe a certain thing, is that a true north that guides us through life because I believe I’m all these things? Maybe it is safety, security, and certainty. Maybe that’s why I did, too. Maybe this will help me define who I am. Why do I feel the need to do that? That’s the real question.

This brings me back to that documentary, Persona, I was talking about. I pulled up an article from Refinery29 about this. This Refinery29 article is summarizing the Persona documentary. A great point that they make in this article is that while personality quizzes seem harmless and fun, they can be racist, sexist, and generally discriminatory. Not only tests are by and large based on norms devise by college-educated, straight white men who don’t have any known disabilities. That’s part of my point here. I haven’t finished the documentary yet. I got a little bored with it, to be honest.

From what I took away from it, that was a mother and a daughter that created that incredibly popular test. I’m going to read a little bit more to remind myself of the history of that. That’s a great point. It doesn’t necessarily have to be men. White people, in general, are responsible for many of these personality tests, which is, first of all, concerning because racism is a huge issue. It’s not inclusive in that case. People that are “traditionally educated.” If you have access to a certain level of education, you might feel like you know better. Is it cisgendered? Is it heterosexual?

All of these other factors are excluding other people. Anybody who’s coming up with this and thinks they have all the answers, they’re biased if they’re not inclusive of others in the process of creating these tests. The red flag that I have is we have to understand who created this. They’ve become such a big part of our culture and the way that we identify ourselves. To your point, Jason, we start to put ourselves in these boxes. We’re drawn to that for a sense of security and for a sense of trying to understand ourselves.

It’s like, “If I know who I am, then I feel safer and more comfortable in the world because then, I can come out and be super confident in myself because that’s who I am.” Astrology is similar in a lot of ways. I’m someone that’s intrigued by astrology. Think about how many times we use our sign as a way to define ourselves. To your point, Jason, how much is that boxing us in? I remember reading horoscopes and depending on the source because some horoscopes can be in-depth. You could read any of them regardless of your sign or chart and all of them could apply to you.

Who’s even writing this? I remember growing up being intrigued. They were rolled up pieces of paper. Do you remember these, Jason? They were your horoscopes but they were in tube shapes. I haven’t thought about this in so long. It’s all coming back to me. I remember unrolling them and reading my sign. They must have been something you could buy for $1 at the checkout counter. I’m going to have to look this up. I distinctly remember them. There were also books that you could buy.

MGU 212 | Personality Tests And Classifications

Personality Tests And Classifications: Sigma males can work on their own because they have no trouble managing time and organizing themselves.

 

I was thinking, as a teenager, “Who has the time to write these so quickly? They’re churning these out. How could they possibly be accurate?” That was when I started to question the validity of it. It’s like, “If this is true, that takes a lot of knowledge and awareness.” Certainly, I suppose some people could channel it and some people are so experienced, but how can you predict someone’s day? I remember as a kid being drawn to that because it felt safe, reassuring, and I was less responsible. That’s part of it, too.

There’s almost like, “I can’t help it because I’m an Aries,” or for someone else, it’s like, “That explains your behavior. You’re an Aries. Of course, you would do that.” It’s a quick way that we can make judgments, excuses, or explanations for anyone’s behavior, but it can be damaging at the same time, to your point, and it can also perpetuate sexism, racism, and all of these different issues that we’re facing. That’s why it’s incredibly important that we evaluate the roots of it.

These things exist, too, maybe because on a primal level, as human beings, we’re constantly trying to assess benefit versus threat when we meet a person as innocent as it might seem. If we go out on a date with a person and we find out they’re a Scorpio and we have a belief system that we’re not compatible with Scorpios. Our ex-girlfriend, boyfriend, or partner is a Scorpio and things ended badly. We have this preconceived notion or judgment of, “This person is probably a threat, so I won’t give them a chance.”

“If I see someone who’s classified themselves as a sigma male, then I expect that they’re going to be rebellious and that’s going to be too chaotic, so I ought to not give them a chance.” Let’s get to the nitty-gritty. Why do we have a division in the world between humanity? If you go back not that long ago in human civilization prior to industrialized agriculture and the civilization boom, we were living in small tribal communities. We didn’t have the level of society and certainly not close to 8 billion people on the planet.

I wonder if all of these things arose, Whitney, not simply to “try and understand ourselves” but to label people based on nationality, ethnicity, gender, religion, personality type, etc. to compartmentalize people to assess if we perceive they’re going to be beneficial or they’re going to threaten our livelihood. If you come down to it and you think about how these labels and these buckets that we put ourselves in as human beings, we do use them to assess whether we want to get closer to a person or further away from them.

On a basic level, I’m holding myself accountable for this, too. If I perceive someone as having a certain political affiliation or perspective on gun laws. There are many examples here. I do it, too. I prejudge people all the time. It’s important to check ourselves before we do that because we’re not allowing ourselves to engage with a person on a human level because we’re already judging them. “I’m not going to like them because they believe this and they do this.” We do this constantly as human beings. The question is, why have we done this?

I wonder what the world would be like and how humans would treat one another if we were to get rid of these labels in these boxes. How would we engage one another truly? Maybe there’d be a lot more openness. There’d be less judgment. There’d certainly be less prejudging people. The point is these judgments can be dangerous in the sense that because we assess a person in a certain way. Whether that’s through social media or direct contact, we initiate a lot of aggression toward people that are too different than us.

“If you’re too different than me, you must be unsafe and you must be untrustworthy. Therefore, you’re the enemy.” At the foundation, why else do wars continue? Why is there mass violence and mass hatred? As humanity, we can’t seem to stop the war. We can’t seem to stop killing each other. The question is why. This deep level to subjugate each other and put each other in categories is a big part of it. “You’re too different. You’re not worthy of the same rights, protections, and love that I am. You’re less than me because you’re X, Y, Z.” At a level of language and belief, this is critical to examine.

I’m not sure that human beings can operate without that. We haven’t figured it out thus far. Maybe we haven’t been around quite as long as we think we have, so there’s a lot of shifts in our consciousness. Who knows if we have enough time? Who knows how long human beings will even be a species given the state of the environment? I’ve been watching this series on HBO called Raised by Wolves. It’s fascinating because the concept of it is that Earth has been destroyed by war and that’s separated by religious people and atheists.

Sigma males don't belong to any tribe. They do everything on their own and are self-motivated. Click To Tweet

This far into the future, there are now Androids that live amongst us that are helpful and some are dangerous like Terminator. Of course, the Androids can be programmed to be religious or atheist. They try to start over humanity. It’s a little confusing. Once I make it through the series, I’m going to go and do my research on it. I’m afraid to do research to see any spoilers. This is all based on my viewpoint. The religious people create an ark, which is a spaceship but similar to Noah’s Ark. It’s elitist, classist, or based on religion that only certain people can go on this ark to survive.

The people on the ark are the religious people, so I imagine all the atheist people supposedly are left behind, although there are twists to that I won’t get into. Their hope is to go to a different planet and start over, but it doesn’t go that way. That’s all I’ll say. That shows this realization that just because you’re religious does not mean that you’re full of peace and harmony. We certainly know this. It seems to be the belief system that’s rooted in love, connection, and support.

You and I both know, Jason, after our experiences in Christianity and Catholicism that it’s not always like that and it’s unfortunate. Certainly, in the United States and other parts of the world, we see corruption happening from money, sex, and violence. It doesn’t solve it. It doesn’t bring peace to everyone just because you all believe in a similar religion or the same religion. That show is highlighting that and even that desire to try to start over. “Let us escape this war. We’ll start over.” We can’t escape it. That’s perhaps what it is to be human. That might be part of our experience.

Similarly, if we look at nature and the violence that happens within nature, that’s part of the animal experience. We see these lessons over and over again. We, as human beings, even try to tame animals, and then we blame them for their natural tendencies, natural aggression, violence, or behavior, and we try to control them. Honestly, that’s part of what this all is, Jason. It’s control but it still comes down to a root in safety. We’re all scrambling to feel safe all the time and whatever we can do to create comfort, a sense of calm, or control.

I almost see over and over again that the more we try to control something, the less it’s controlled. Eventually, it will be out of our control again and that seems to be the ongoing lesson in movies, TV shows, and books. One of those classic storylines is the people that thought they had it all together and controlled are often as susceptible to ego, violence, corruption, and all of these issues. Once we fall into those traps, everything falls apart again. Maybe it’s more a matter of acceptance, Jason. Even the act of trying to achieve peace feels forcing if that’s against our nature to have peace.

It reminds me more of the Buddhist way of life, which is, from my perception, all about acceptance. It’s not trying to control and stop things or prevent things. One of my favorite examples is the story of the man who spits in Buddha’s face. That is one of my favorite stories because the reaction was not what the man who spit thought that he was going to get from the Buddha. The Buddha just sat there and didn’t react. He’s not trying to control the man, shame the man, or get the man in trouble. He’s just letting that man exhibit his behavior and his anger.

Through that process of acceptance, what happens, in the end, is that the man recognizes it himself and that’s how they worked through it. That’s one of the biggest lessons. Even when we are talking about that Alan Watts quote, Jason, “The reason you want to be better is the reason why you aren’t.” We need to stop trying and we’ll achieve either what we want or what’s better for us. It’s also the Rolling Stone song like, “You don’t always get what you want, but you get what you need.” We, as human beings, tend to strive and control.

We want things and we think we need them. We think we’re right about them, but if we relax and let go of control, we would be in our natural state and get more of what we need. I did want to share some more research that I found and because I didn’t finish the Persona documentary, I likely missed this part of it where the women who were a mother and daughter as I remembered named Isabel Briggs Myers and Katharine Cook Briggs. They developed the test together and Isabel had written a wildly racist novel.

People believe that the test contains traces of her racist, sexist, ableist, and classist ideals, which is disheartening to hear because here we are saying, “I’m an INFP,” or whatever because some racist, classist, sexist, ableist woman labeled you as that? Are you a sigma male because some white heterosexual man said that you are? Who are any of us to label each other in these ways? That’s part of the issue, too. It goes back to the control and putting each other in a box. It makes me want to start erasing that language from my dialog. Not a judgment because certainly, by me not talking about it, it’s not like I’m not going to come across it.

MGU 212 | Personality Tests And Classifications

Personality Tests And Classifications: People believe in something because it seems to make sense to them. But sometimes, they have to question what makes sense and why.

 

In our lifetimes, Jason, we’re going to continue to see astrology come up a lot, all these personality tests and categories, and all of those things. We’re in the habit of calling ourselves rebels and questioners, etc., and all of those different philosophies, which even The Four Tendencies Quiz was written by a white woman. Granted, my assessment of her is that she doesn’t come across as racist or sexist, etc. Who am I to know? I’m trusting this woman that I only know through her writing. Who am I to say that she doesn’t have any of those qualities of herself? I need to be mindful not to overly trust the quiz results that I get from these tests.

Lastly, I would say, Jason, that it’s not just about my decisions. I see the ripple effect and I don’t want to participate with the knowledge of the history of these tests because for me working on being anti-racist. Once I identify that something’s racist, I don’t want to have any part of it because then, I’m part of the problem, not the solution. It’s not like I can brush it under the rug like, “It doesn’t matter that that woman was racist. These are helpful.” They can be helpful, but knowing that it’s racist makes me uncomfortable, I don’t want to be part of it.

You bring up interesting points, Whit. To me, what I want to endeavor to do is to be more aware not only of the origins of these but beyond that, be aware of how I’m unconsciously judging people based on a lot of these things in so many contexts. Judging people based on their religion, horoscope, or political beliefs. It’s happening a lot. Judging people on their stance on vaccines. It’s interesting to think about when we spot a difference in a person, we seem to shut off any possibility of appreciating or acknowledging the other aspects of their humanity.

It’s interesting that as soon as they bring up something that doesn’t sit with our worldview, it’s almost like, “Can we have a better level of interaction and respectful communication with people that believe completely different than us?” To that point, as a potential teaser, we got a wonderful email from a reader who is a small farmer in the Midwest. We invited her to come on and talk about what it’s like to have a production that kills animals for food. We’ve never had a guest like that on here. Could we have, as people who identify as vegans, responded to that email with vitriol and anger?

“There’s no way we’d have you on. You’re evil.” No, because she’s a human being with her own thoughts, perspectives, and belief systems. To Whitney’s point, we have a lot of conversations behind the scenes about the direction of this podcast, what kind of guests, what kind of conversations, and what uncomfortable subjects we want to cover. To learn and grow and also, walk the talk of, “Let’s be inclusive and talk to people who have wildly different belief systems and practices than us.” It’s going to be uncomfortable as hell. Of course, it is.

I don’t certainly care to surround myself, Whitney, with only people that are in perfect alignment with my beliefs and viewpoints. That’s dangerous to a degree because it isolates us. It puts us in silos of thinking that’s the only worldview there is. My worldview is the worldview, but it’s also dreadfully boring at a certain point, isn’t it? If you’re just surrounding yourself with people with the same religion, beliefs, and sexual orientation, it’s a myopic way of living life. I use this example as a potential future guest.

We haven’t officially booked her yet, but she sent us the sweetest, kindest email. It’s a wonderful email. It was like, “I want to talk to this person as a human being. Even if I completely disagree with her ethics and her worldview, I can still engage her in a loving, respectful, and receptive way.” I want to practice that. I want to practice talking to people that I might say, “Respectfully, I completely disagree. I understand what you’re saying and why you believe what you believe.” I can still love you, respect you, and honor you as a human even though I disagree with you.

If there is any hope of humanity surviving, environmental catastrophes aside, we have to do better at respecting and loving one another, even if we completely disagree with who they are. It’s not easy. I told you when I got that email, I was like, “I don’t know if I can do this,” but then I sat with it and I was like, “No, this is a human being with a beautiful heart, who wrote an eloquent sweet, honest message. Let’s talk and be open.” To me, I want to do better at doing that. Not just here on the podcast but in life.

Dropping the judgment and the barriers I put against people, and say, “They’re a human being. They’ve suffered and they’ve loved. They feel things. Likely, they just want to be healthy and safe, protect their family, and live a good life. Their definition of that is maybe drastically different than mine.” At the core, most people want safety, health, protection, abundance, and know that their families are safe and healthy. Most human beings want that. They might go about it in different ways and that’s where we hung each other up.

The danger in labeling is we put things in a construct that doesn't allow for growth and evolution. Click To Tweet

This show wouldn’t be called This Might Get Uncomfortable if it didn’t get uncomfortable at times. We say might because some episodes feel comfortable to us. A lot of times, we’re talking about things that we feel ignorant in or things that we’re questioning and it goes in different directions. Certainly, when you brought this subject matter up, Jason, you probably weren’t anticipating it to go here. That’s why it’s important to talk to other people and to verbalize when you don’t fully agree with somebody. Doing it kindly and respectfully is my preference.

It’s not always going to go that way. Tough conversations are tough because we’re all bringing our viewpoints and sometimes, our viewpoints clash and it’s scary. It’s threatening. That’s human nature. We are threatened when we don’t feel like we know where something is going and when we feel like something is different and going to change course. As human beings, we’re mostly terrified of doing things the wrong way. There’s so much shame in getting things wrong. We are encouraged to try to get things right.

The more I explore the subject matters, the more I realize it’s gray. It’s not black and white. I tend to be repelled by belief systems that are based on something being right or wrong, black or white. That open-minded look and that acceptance are important because oftentimes, our viewpoints are based on past information, not present. To your point, Jason, to acknowledge another human being standing in front of you and recognizing that we could completely change our worldview at that moment is exciting to me.

We talk often about how uncomfortable it makes us when the vegan community gets in the ego about doing things the right way. Talking with somebody like this woman is important for us because as much as you and I, Jason, identify as compassionate, open-minded vegans, the fact that we’re triggered by someone like that shows that we still have a lot of growth to go. We have a long way to go in our thought processes. It’s also scary because we run the risk of other vegans judging us, putting us on blast, and trying to cancel us because we’re open-minded.

It still brings me back to the show Raised by Wolves. For anyone who hasn’t watched it yet, it’s on HBO. There’s a lot of interesting philosophical viewpoints of the show. The religious side of it is interesting because I’ve been watching it thinking, “Does this show have an atheist agenda or does it have a religious agenda? I’m not sure.” The fact that I’m not sure if it has an agenda is exciting because that shows that it’s perhaps trying to be in the middle of that gray area and showing different perspectives. There are some scenes where people are questioning religion.

The religious people are like, “If you don’t do this, if you don’t believe that, then you’re wrong,” or whatever else. It reminds me of the vegan way of thinking where it’s like, “If you’re kind to somebody who kills animals, you’re not a good vegan.” I don’t believe in that. That does a major disservice. There’s this woman that was on TikTok who got banned, Jason. I don’t know if you’ve ever heard of her, but she’s called That Vegan Teacher. Have you heard of her?

No.

In some ways, she’s similar to the style of your friend, Gary Yourofsky.

In terms of her presentation?

MGU 212 | Personality Tests And Classifications

Personality Tests And Classifications: Because we assess a person in a certain way, whether that’s through social media or direct contact, we initiate a lot of aggression toward those that are too different from us.

 

Yeah, she’s intense. She’s like, “This is the way.” I also know based on your experience with Gary. My limited experience with Gary is that he’s got a good heart, well-meaning guy. It’s just his presentation around veganism is intense. She has that intensity and she also doesn’t seem to have an open mind about anything other than the rigid rules of veganism. She’s publicly shamed people. I saw something that she did. She’s in that shaming mentality. Unless you’re 100% pure vegan, you’re doing it wrong. That’s my interpretation of her.

She got kicked off of TikTok because people were not having it. They were like, “This is extreme.” She’s continued on, of course, and she has the freedom of speech to be that way. It’s not my cup of tea, but I’m not going to blame her and I don’t know her personally, like I’ve had the experience with Gary to see the different sides of her beyond how she is on camera. I bring that up because it reminds me of how there’s this unfortunate stereotype that’s perpetuated with vegans of being that way. Jason, we do a service by showing that not all vegans are that extreme.

Some vegans can be open-minded and willing to engage in dialogues, even with people that they don’t agree with. That excites me as well. We’ll see if that happens. It’s a good reason for the reader to subscribe if you are willing and you’re open-minded. I imagine if you made it this far in our episode, you’re fairly open-minded. Just because you’re interested in personality tests, it doesn’t necessarily mean you share the same beliefs with us, and that is completely okay. A place that I’d like to move into in my life is to accept the fact that not everybody is going to agree with me and that’s okay. Accept the fact that some people might be angry with my beliefs and that’s okay.

It is okay for us to feel those feelings and have those opinions. We’re all at different stages in our consciousness and our life experience, and we’re all being shaped by many different factors. If you would like to voice any of your opinions and your thoughts, you can email us or you can send us a message on social media. As Jason would say, you could send a carrier pigeon or whatever works, but maybe if you’re vegan, you wouldn’t want to send a carrier pigeon. I’m not sure. Typically, people reach out to us via email or social media.

The men's rights movement is a hate ideology under the umbrella of male supremacy. Click To Tweet

You can find all of that information easily on our website, Wellevatr.com. If you search for it and you go directly to the website, you’ll find that along with our social media links and our email. There are also instructions if you would like to subscribe or leave a review for us on Apple Podcasts. There’s one other podcast player that allows reviews but I forget what it is. We’d love to hear from you. There are also all different podcast platforms and websites you can go and leave reviews on. If you’re on any of those and you’d like to help us spread the word, send us some positive love on your experience. We’d love to hear it.

If you want to share any criticisms or voice any opinions that aren’t in alignment with us, we prefer to receive those privately so we can have a safe dialogue with you, but you are also welcome to post those publicly because we don’t have control over how you do things. It is a lesson that we are reminded of all the time. Thank you for reading. We appreciate you and we look forward to having a dialogue with you on either one side with our next episode or together through some communication. We have new episodes every Monday, Wednesday, and Friday. We will be back. Bye for now!

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