Curves and straight lines provide a workable metaphor for how different people live their lives, well, differently. Think about it. 

Curve-people look to the journey that gets them where they are going. They move with, if not always within, the context of what is going on, their focus on the moment more than on any goals they may have. They find meaning in their moments and shape their lives out of their here-and-now choices. They are creative with whatever is given them – events, relationships, talents and handicaps. They thrive on the tensions of tangents which, when they occur,  excite and challenge them, taking  them to surprising – sometimes painful, sometimes playful – places that offer them growth and more of the wide, wide world. No rigid laws or theorems; their rules ride the same curves they do.

Straight-line people believe that maintaining the shortest distance between two points is the most direct and practical way to get to where they are going. They, too, have goals and head for them with clarity and efficiency. Laws and theorems are their discipline and as long as their goals get closer and closer they know they are on the right track to achieve their meaning. They may hit a few detours along the way, bump into a few dead ends and work out some angles when they need to, but they generally toe the line as long as it keeps them moving. Straight-liners are obviously akin to Type A (notice the lines) personalities.

Of course there are those hybrid types who combine both straight lines and curves, like the alphabet, to get from A to Z. Curve people and straight-liners are rarely if ever pure types but are generally discernible. Hybrids, seemingly most people, can be closer to a more even mix.

A workable image has the three types finding their way down from the top of a skyscraper, like the John Hancock. Hybrids take the stairs (for a healthy workout and for fun); straight-liners, the elevator (for both time and efficiency); while curve people sky dive or rappel their way down just for the thrill of doing so.

This is written with tongue-in-cheek because such types have been labeled and described before, many times and in many forms. Such categories are not meant to be straight-jackets. Geometry offers another opportunity to look at one’s life. All people have telltale hearts that can let them know how they are doing with the gifts of self and time. Still, they need to listen to what their hearts are saying. Metaphors like the above can provide insights that simple statements may not, because simplicity is rarely listened to. Perhaps that is why pictures are worth at least a thousand words.