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Are You Built for War or Peace? (Take this quiz and find out)

war or peace May 11, 2023

(First appeared in WRAL TechWire.)

We all have unique personalities and traits that make us stand out from one another. In times of war and peace, certain qualities are more valuable than others, and people who exhibit specific traits tend to thrive more in one environment than the other.

This came to light for me a few weeks ago, during my time off last month. While I was enjoying sinking into some intentional rest and restoration, I also felt… well, rest-LESS. I lost sleep, my mind was racing, and I was itching to turn my pace up by a notch or ten.

After chatting with a colleague about this over coffee, he wisely said, “That’s because you’re built for wartime. You don’t know what to do with yourself during peacetime.”

And just like that, the puzzle pieces started to click into place for me. He was right; I needed more active rest to meet my wartime energy. So I went bird watching, visited museums and engaged in low-pressure vision planning sessions. Sure enough, almost immediately, my energy started flowing in the right direction and I felt recharged.


Now, when I say I’m built for wartime, I’m not talking about conflict. I’m not aching for a fight. I don’t like chaos. What I’m talking about is climbing mountains, slaying dragons and conquering quests. Making discoveries and exploring new territories.

My colleague’s wife is built for peacetime. She likes as little on her schedule as possible, and she needs wide open spaces to breathe deeply and unwind.

And to be clear… I like to breathe deeply, too. But I look forward to the “go time” and executing on the great ideas that come to me during my breathwork, that’s all. Deep breathing without action doesn’t cut it for me.


Take this quick quiz to determine if you’re built for war or peace:

When facing a challenge, do you tend to:

A. Need a lot of alone time to process your options and rest up in anticipation.

B. Get excited about actionable items. Your mind is racing with the possibilities and you’re raring to go!

How do you respond when you have to wait for someone else to complete their piece of a project before you can do your work?

A. I’m grateful for the break.

B. I refresh my email repeatedly, hoping they’ll deliver sooner than they predicted.

How do you approach daily tasks?

A. I like predictable tasks in small amounts.

B. I’d rather have a challenge… or a long To-Do list. Productivity is my trademark.

When faced with adversity, do you:

A. Wish I had a different job.

B. Feel invigorated by the challenge of coming up with solutions and options. Let’s go!

How do you handle uncertainty?

A. I am uncomfortable with uncertainty and look for ways to minimize it.

B. I embrace uncertainty and see it as an opportunity for growth.

If you answered mostly A’s, you are built for peacetime. People who are built for peacetime tend to like low-key work environments with paced challenges. They often bring a measured and thoughtful response to challenges and play the long-game.  My peacetime compadres thrive in stable, predictable work environments.

If you answered mostly B’s, you are built for wartime. People who are built for wartime tend to be action-oriented, hyper-decisive and self-sufficient. They thrive in environments that are constantly changing and are skilled at adapting to new situations quickly.

And listen, whether you’re built for peace or built for war, knowing how you show up when the conditions aren’t ideal for you is essential. It’s in these crossover moments that sophisticated growth in leadership development occurs.

And at the end of the day, wars don’t last forever and battlefields are never quiet – but how you move in between them will win the day.


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