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Yes In My Back Yard

Last week I called somebody a NIMBY. And though I probably shouldn’t have, it stems from the fact that I make a concerted effort to be the exact opposite: a YIMBY (Yes In My Back Yard, as opposed to Not In My Back Yard).

I appreciate that change can be difficult for a lot of people. In fact, behavioral economic theory (specifically Prospect Theory) suggests that when people are faced with probabilistic alternatives involving risk, they tend to put more weight on the potential losses. This means that the potential benefits have to be, not just marginally better, but hugely more beneficial before people will make the change.

Because I know I’m equipped with this bias, I try and constantly remind myself that change and motion are good and that oftentimes the potential losses or negatives aren’t going to be as bad as I might initially think.

However, I also have a counter acting bias. I recently did a personality assessment (called the DiSC assessment) and I was found to be a creator. I would agree with this. What it means is that I prefer “to live in a world of possibilities.” I’m interested not in the way things are done today, but how they could be done in the future.

And when I think about all the things I’m passionate about—architecture, design, real estate development, cities and tech—there’s a common thread: each one is about imagining something new. Whether you’re designing a building or building a new internet platform, it’s all about possibilities. I believe that the future will be better than today. I’m an optimist.

But I recognize that this is a distinct personality type. I’m an early adopter. And not all people are like this. That’s why the adoption curve looks the way it does. 

What would you say is your personality type?

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