These Are the 3 Personality Traits Shared by “Everyday Saints”

Photo: Getty Images/Tony Anderson
Some folks you meet are basically the human equivalent of a rainbow. They seem to have their own gravitational pull, make finding new friends look as effortless as breathing, and appear to have extroversion coded into their DNA. Now, researchers have pinned down three specific good personality traits (the so-called "light triad") that define unbeatable charisma.

The "dark triad of personality" is a cluster of characteristics—Machiavellianism, narcissism, and psychopathy—that make you unlikeable, whereas the "light triad" is a more amiable set of traits that make an individual an "everyday saint," reports Scientific American. Scott Barry Kaufman, PhD, a psychologist at Columbia University, combed through past research and settled on three factors that represent good personality traits:

  1. Kantianism: following Immanuel Kant's belief that each person should be seen as an entire person, not just a means to an end
  2. Humanism: valuing each person's individuality
  3. Faith in humanity: believing that people are "fundamentally good"

While the two groups of traits appear to be opposites, Dr. Kaufman writes that all of us possess characteristics of each (you can take a quiz to find out your current make-up). Even if your score plants you more on the side of Machiavelli than Kant, you can evolve into a better human being. As the psychologist points out, our personality traits are malleable and ours to shape at will. "In my view, it’s best to view those who score extremely high on the dark triad not as a separate species of human (after all, to have a dark side is to be human) but as magnified and unleashed versions of potentialities that lie within all of us," explains Dr. Kaufman.

Even more promising, when Dr. Kaufman and his associates studied the participants of past dark triad research, they found that the average person tends to lean into the lighter side. (Which is reassuring in this day and age, am I right?) "[W]e hope our research helps balance the force in personality psychology," says Dr. Kaufman. "Yes, everyday psychopaths exist. But so do everyday saints, and they are just as worthy of research attention and cultivation in a society that sometimes forgets that not only is there goodness in the world, but there is also goodness in each of us as well." I'll second that.

Because you can never know too much about yourself, learn if you have the traits that make up a "healthy personality." Plus, your sleep spirit animal

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