That irritating co-worker you’re stuck sitting by (again!) sees a decidedly different side of you than your best friend does. That’s because you have many people inside of you (no they’re not imaginary). That’s what veteran science writer, Rita Carter discovered as she began reading about bi-polar personalities for Mapping the Mind. Emerging research shows that several, “personalities are made and kept separate in the human brain” … of everyone. Want a glimpse of how many you have? Depending on the situation and who you’re are around, different people pop out and speak for you. If it is of some comfort, you do play one main character, much of the time, in the unfolding movie that is your life story.

Yet even the argumentative or otherwise darker personalities are in your life for a reason. In Carter’s newest book, Multiplicity, you can get to know your “people”, the one who plays the most likeable role and the one who keeps getting you in trouble.

In a conversational style, Carter describes the research on our multiple personality brains. In the second part of the book, find exercises to understand more about the multiple you. As a quiet child I’m still surprised at the diverse personalities that appear out of me in my multiple, overlapping careers, as a high tech exec, journalist and, perhaps most peculiarly, public speaker.

Imagine doing these exercises with a spouse, best friend of co-workers at a retreat. It would be a vulnerable time – and an opportunity to explore ways you can bring out the best side in each other more often.

Combine this self-discovery and how you relate to others with the fascinating work by Steven Pinker, Helen Palmer, Dan Pink, Marty Seligman and Marcus Buckingham and you may find that you become happier, get along better with others and get more done with less stress. (I’m stumbling along in my own practice here.)

Possible Side Benefits

• You can design a more satisfying work and life.

• You won’t let somebody else determine your behavior. With heightened self-awareness of your many roles, you’ll be more aware of your hot buttons and the type of people and situations who set them off. You can protect yourself from being “primed” to react.