Are You a Red Light or a Green Light?

By | December 27, 2013
Traffic light on red, Manhattan, New York, America, USA

Are you a red light or a green light?

According to the new book Focus: Use Different Ways of Seeing the World for Success and Influence some people are red lights — prevention-focused, want to minimize loss, feel secure, and avoid failure.

Others are green lights–promotion-focused and want to maximize gains, feel nurtured, and take chances (even if it means making a mistake.)

Red lights aren’t better than green lights, or vice-versa, but knowing your own style can help. You can take an online quiz to help you identify whether you are a red or green light. The results were a surprise — I would have guessed I’m a red light, but the quiz strongly suggested that I am more promotion-focused.

In an interview with Dan Pink, the book’s authors discuss the differences between the two perspectives, using an example familiar from dentistry:

If you are selling toothpaste, for instance, you want to emphasize the white teeth and beautiful smile for promotion, and the anti-cavity protection for prevention.

Are you a red light or a green light? And how do you cope when talking to someone with the opposite perspective? Share your answers in the comments.