These Signs Mean You Might Make A Good Politician, According To Science
The next four years may look bleak, but Millennials are fighting the Trump administration with every tactic at their disposal, including protesting, calling their representatives, and even running for political office themselves. If you are wondering how to tell if you’d make a good politician, a recent study out of the University of California, Los Angeles (UCLA) may be able to shed some light on personality traits that indicate whether you are truly meant to hold office. While having a ton of cash at your disposal and being born into a political dynasty can certainly help a person with their political aspirations, legislators also have to have the right temperament to survive being in the spotlight.
Graduate student Richard Hanania used the framework of the well-known Big Five personality inventory to learn more about "personality differences between politicians and the general public." For the study, published in the journal Personality and Individual Differences, 278 American state legislators and 2,586 respondents of approximately the same age completed a 50-item questionnaire online. The Big Five, also known as the Five Factor model, draws conclusions by measuring important dimensions of a person's personality and psyche such as conscientiousness, openness to experience, agreeableness, extraversion, and neuroticism.
The study's results revealed that politicians differed from the average American on every single factor. "Politicians are more Extraverted, Agreeable, Emotionally Stable, and Conscientious than the general public," Hanania explains. "At the same time, they are slightly lower on Intellect/Imagination." Politicians scored lower in general on the traits of Openness and Neuroticism, meaning that as a group they are generally less imaginative and emotional.
While the sample size of politicians was fairly small, and more in-depth research is certainly required before conclusions can be made, it's fun to see if your personality aligns with Politician's findings. Here are some signs based on this study's results that you might make an excellent politician. Take the Big Five test here.
1. You Enjoy Hard Work
Hanania found that politicians scored higher than the average public on the trait of contentiousness, so those planning to jump into the political circus need to be prepared for an uphill battle. Successful politicians tend to be highly organized and thorough in their work. Paying attention to detail is key, and as we know from Scandal and House of Cards, it helps to be a good planner.
2. You're Always Willing To Lend A Sympathetic Ear
The study reveals that it also helps to have an agreeable personality if you are going into politics. Being sympathetic and kind can aid representatives in responsibilities such listening to the concerns of their constituents, comforting the grieving, and building a good rapport with the public during their campaigns. If you can remain friendly and genial when dealing with a constant flow of new people, then consider a life in politics.
3. You're A People Person
Do you love being the center of attention? The broad term Extraversion refers to specific traits such as being "talkative, energetic, and assertive" — and politicians generally scored highly on it. Because they have to deal with people all day, not to mention all that hand shaking and baby-kissing, those who go into politics tend to be outgoing and social. If you love a good party and chatting with friends and strangers alike, you were probably meant for public affairs.
4. You're Not Typically An Anxious Person
From the headlines and the setbacks to the in-fighting, we all know that a career in government is not the chillest of lives. Politicians tended to score lower on the trait of neuroticism, meaning they are less likely to become frequently anxious and are not particularly emotionally sensitive. If you can remain unflappable and maintain an Obama-level calm in the face of controversy, then go get yourself elected, my friend!
5. You're Highly Focused And Don't Mind Being Bored
"Hanania speculated that the prospect of a life of committee hearings and debates might put off people with more artistic tendencies, hence the lower Openness to Experience among politicians, which is a sign of less creativity and interest in new things," suggests Christian Jarrett in BPS Research Digest. Those who are less artistically inclined may be better suited for politics according to the study, but Democrats did score higher than Republicans on this trait.
So: Now that you know whether you're suited to politics, how do you actually run for office? Start here. You've got this.