Are You One of These Nine Idealist Types?

For some, the term naked idealism is associated with thinking that is pie in the sky, without sufficient grounding in reality. The truth is that many of us don’t do enough such thinking. We often allow ourselves to be limited by current reality before we even begin to envision the life and world we really want, let alone pursue such visions.

The true Naked Idealist is one who has exposed, acknowledged and learned to powerfully employ their idealistic elements, so that they can live more authentically and enjoyably, and improve the world in their own unique fashion. While some idealists have attained this state, many of us currently fall into one or more of the “non-naked idealist” categories below.

Although this is also intended to be humorous and entertaining, consider your own tendencies as you read through them. Doing so can be helpful before you begin coaching. Which sound most like you?

The wearing-too-many-hats idealist (a.k.a. the overwhelmed idealist)

The world seems so full of serious problems needing your attention, that you sometimes have difficulty saying “no,” or even knowing when to say “yes.” You wish to focus more, so you can see results and attain a balanced and integrated life. Keeping track of all your hats is especially difficult on windy days.

The carrying-others’-coats idealist (a.k.a. the martyr idealist)

While you enjoy aspects of your work and non-work activities, and believe they’re very important, you’re sometimes resentful. It often seems like others are enjoying life, while you’re busy shouldering others’ burdens. With ten coats, the days when the weather is nicest may be the hardest to enjoy!

The wearing-pants-that-don’t-fit idealist (a.k.a. the mismatched idealist)

While you feel you’re doing important things in the world, the types of activities in which you’re engaged don’t feel that comfortable to you—i.e., they don’t really fit your sense of purpose, talents, etc. It’s kind of like trying to run a race in pants that are a foot too long for you—ouch! Once you discover the right track, nothing will be able to stop you.

The but-I-spent-so-much-on-this-outfit idealist (a.k.a. the attached-to-the-past idealist)

Like the mismatched idealist, you’re tired of your outfit, and it’s increasingly uncomfortable—but it took so-o-o much time and effort to obtain! The cost of letting some or all of it go seems unbearable, even though you know it might be necessary for your happiness. You may not be the first to dream of leaving an M.D./Ph.D./J.D. program to become a rock star.

The dress-like-everyone-else idealist (a.k.a. the hidden idealist)

You doubt that many others around you share your undisclosed ideals, but believe there may be risk in “being different,” so you suppress them to conform. Blue button-down shirt and khaki pants are the daily routine—but you find them incredibly boring!

The wear-a-tux-to-the-disco idealist (a.k.a. the always-serious idealist)

As most idealists, you care deeply about the state of the world. You’re the one who initiates a conversation on global poverty while your friends are trying to watch the Superbowl commercials. You’d like to have more fun, “dressing down” to show your less serious side more often–it’s difficult to show off your well-executed moves when you’re stiffly dressed in a tuxedo.

The pack-clothing-for-every-possibility idealist (a.k.a. the bogged down by fear idealist)

This is similar to the overwhelmed idealist, but with an added element of pessimism. You’ve entertained visions you’d love to pursue, but limit the possibilities due to predictions of where the world may be as a result of global warming, rising energy costs, overpopulation, conflict and other issues. Survival itself may be a concern, so your actions and decisions are often governed by these possibilities. You carry an increasingly heavy suitcase, possibly full of items you don’t even want.

The I-could-never-fit-into-those-shoes idealist (a.k.a. the underconfident idealist)

You’d like to do bigger things in the world, but are having difficulty seeing beyond the seemingly small shoes you currently wear, even if your feet have already outgrown them.

The wearing-Mom’s-favorite-outfit idealist (a.k.a. the guilt-stricken idealist)

You have a good sense of what you want to do in the world, but particularly important people in your life have a very different “sense of style” and idea of what’s best for you. You may allow their subtle reminders to distract you from your visions, even after you believe you’ve moved on. You’re ready to throw out that old sweater you never liked in the first place, even though it was given with the best of intentions, and you still wish to respect those you love.

Photo by Flickr users Colin and Sarah Northway. Brightness, contrast, size, and crop adjusted. License.

Dave welcomes phone-based life, career, and transition coaching clients from around the world.

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