fatalism1It’s the old question: “Que sera, sera” vs. “Where there is a will, there is a way.” Or in psych speak, fatalism vs. future orientation. Surrender or fight? Which dominates your thinking?

Harvard psychologist Daniel Gilbert, author of “Stumbling on Happiness,” has a personality survey on his website (danielgilbert.com) that may offer some interesting insights. Here are my results.

Decisions and Personality Survey

Through this survey, we are studying the relationship between the tendency to sacrifice for others and the tendency to sacrifice for one’s future self (to give up something now to get something better later). To see whether altruism and caring for one’s future self are related in other ways, we asked you a range of questions related to your tendency to sacrifice now for the future and for others. Please note that the feedback provided is not a clinical assessment, but is simply calculated directly from your responses, similar to the feedback from the self-tests found in popular magazines.

FUTURE ORIENTATION: High scores suggest a strong focus on striving for future goals and rewards. You scored in the 90th percentile. You have a high future orientation; around 90% of people to score below you on future orientation.

FATALISM: High scores on this scale reflect the belief that the course of one’s life is largely dictated by forces outside of one’s control; low scores mean you believe you can impact your life. You scored in the 10th percentile, i.e. you strongly believe you can make a difference.

IMPULSIVENESS: Your score was a 1, i.e. you are less impulsive than the average of score of 2.

ALTRUISM: You scored 70th percentile on the Self-Report Altruism Scale, i.e. based on previous research, we would expect around 70% of people to score below you on this measure.

EMPATHY: Your Empathy score was a 4, suggesting you are more empathic than the average. The average male score is 2.5, female 3.

EPICUREANISM: High scores suggest a strong focus on enjoying the moment, as compared to focusing on what needs to be done for the future. You scored in the 70th percentile; i.e. 70% of people have a greater orientation towards present pleasures than you.