How to Know If You Are a Swayer or Not

In my experience, many people develop some sort of shorthand to understand how they relate to one another -- will you like them, will they like you? Several years ago, a bunch of friends and I created our own method that seemed to provide absolute clarity as to the fundamental aspects of one's personality and style. According to our tried and true method, you can clearly divide the world into 2 groups: swayers (people who sway) and non-swayers (people who don't sway). While this hasn't been widely used yet outside our immediate family and friends, I wanted to allow you to take your own diagnostic to better understand this method. Just ask yourself a few "yes" or "no" questions:

  • If you are in a restaurant with friends and a fabulous song comes on, would you be overcome with a desire to jump up and dance?
  • Would you put your arm around someone you didn't know well if there was some sort of group dance at a wedding?
  • Are you a joiner -- games, parties, conversations, clubs, and spontaneous experiences?
  • When you meet a friend of a good friend, would you be likely to hug them rather than shake his/her hand?

If you answered yes to all of these questions, then you are a swayer. If the thought of engaging in any of those activities is nauseating, then you are likely a committed non-swayer. Please note that there is no judgment as to whether you are a swayer or a non-swayer. Some swayers are best friends with non-swayers. Some non-swayers are married to enthusiastic swayers. Your swaying status has no impact on your success in life, as a parent, in your career.

So full disclosure, I am a swayer. If there is an occasion to celebrate, I am in. If there is a new activity, I am willing to try, even if I have no skills and experience and quite honestly, no business trying (think going on a trapeze, not bungee jumping). I will join any competitive activity -- even if my athletic skills are a rapidly fading memory. And by the way, I actually believe I am going to win. If someone starts a spontaneous hulu hopping contest, a cartwheeling competition (one-handed is my specialty), serious limbo -- I am at the front the line. I have been known to start conversations with strangers (much to the dismay of my children). I tend to make new friends easily in a variety of personal and professional settings.

Last week, I had the privilege of attending Arianna Huffington's Thrive conference in NYC. Named for her newly published, NY Times bestelling book, Thrive, the conference was described as a "two-day journey of learning how to live a Third Metric lifestyle...with personal stories, inspiration and many daily practices..." FYI, non-swayers need not attend.

I listened to many panels, music performances and discussions, all ably moderated by Arianna Huffington and Morning Joe's, Mika Brzezinski. We heard from scientists, business people, journalists, comedians -- you get the idea. And I actually heard and learned some inspirational ideas, things that I should incorporate into my life.

I did have some personal highlights.

Ali Wentworth: "Napping is next to godliness."
My POV: That totally works for me as I am a big fan of any activity in which wearing cozy pajamas is encouraged.

Dr. Dan Siegel, physician educator and researcher: "There are two fundamental circuits of the brain: those that allow you to do and those that allow you to be."
My POV: It is pretty illuminating when you try to evaluate your day, week, life through this lens. This awareness forced me to see how often I think I am in the moment, when I actually am not.

My favorite was from Arianna: "Did you notice how the assumption is that when someone else is walking and texting on the streets of NYC without looking, that somehow it is your responsibility to get out of their way. Clearly, if you are only walking and not texting, then you can't possibly be as busy and important as the other person you need to get out of the way for.'
My POV: Shame on me. I will stick to walking as a solitary exercise.

While I enjoyed the speakers and learning, what really struck me was that I came smack up against my significant personal swaying limitations. Turns out that as open as I like to think I am to swaying (with all that entails) I apparently do not want to do yoga, practice breathing, or do stretching exercises next to people I don't know in a room with hundreds if not thousands of people with my eyes closed in a dimly lit room.

So where does that leave me. Do I have to alter my view of myself as a swayer? Am I really a non-swayer in a swayer's clothing? Do I have to learn to do downward dog in large groups?

Quite honestly, it is very hard for me to totally re-evaluate my world and personal view at this late date. So I think I will happily go on swaying and joining -- BUT ONLY IN GROUPS OF LESS THAN 100! Live, learn and sway!