Science Of Self-Destruction: 8 Personality Traits That Will Kill You

by Dan Scotti

The relationship between mortality and one’s own personality is far from a new one.

Before all else, the Greek monk Evagrius Ponticus, in 375 AD, emphasized the dangers of certain human temptations and the subsequent sin that's bound to follow.

Naturally, it didn’t prove long before the Catholic Church caught on (some 200 years later), and we saw the revised, recycled version – equipped with a catchy new billing: the Seven Deadly Sins.

And while most people might be familiar with the Seven Deadly Sins – or, at the very least, the name – they’re also usually misinformed by that title. The Seven Deadly Sins aren’t actually “sins” at all, but rather specific personality traits that provoke further evils.

A more fitting title would really be "The Seven Deadly Personality Traits That Cause One To Sin," and according to recent article in NY Mag, there seems to be more than seven of them.

As reported by Melissa Dahl, certain personality traits can seemingly affect a person’s mortality. On the one hand, she explains, people who are conscientious are more inclined to live longer.

On the other hand, neuroticism – general emotional instability, as described by Dahl – correlates to an earlier death.

According to Dahl, the difficulty with drawing any connections from one’s own personality is that most people can’t accurately gauge their own personality.

This is why Donald Sterling doesn’t seem to think he’s all that prejudiced, and – judging by her Twitter feed – Amanda Bynes doesn’t believe she’s crazy, whatsoever.

That said, while we might be somewhat blind to the depths of our own personalities, our friends usually aren’t.

Making use of a study conducted by the Association for Psychological Science, Dahl provides a potential loophole to the aforementioned difficulty.

In consonance with Wray Herbert of the APS, asking the people closest to a particular subject, such as their friends, can often lead to more practical observations about a person’s personality, and subsequently, their own mortality.

By unmasking the different personality traits that comprise general mental instability, or neuroticism, and recognizing their existence in the ones near and dear to us, we can all play a role in our friends’ mortalities by pointing them out (and hoping they change).

I mean, it’s a stretch – but science supports the cause. Anyway, I’ve assembled the eight personality traits, which I felt best represented mental instability, and thereupon could truly be considered “deadly.”

Keep an eye out for them. If you see something, say something. Your own friends lives – or life spans, at any rate – might be hanging in the balance.


It’s fine to want things. That hunger can be used as the driving force force for you to do a lot of great things. Having said that, though, there’s a fine line between ambition and greed.

With greed, that hunger for things, and then more things, just never appears to be quenched. Greed is unsatisfying, and has a tendency to blind people.


Apathy is the opposite of passion, and it’s one of the most dangerous qualities to possess. Apathy is the anti-dream; it’s a lack of motivation.

Choosing to be apathetic in a world full of such marvelous things is simply wasteful, on the most grandiose scale.


Pettiness hinders progress; it burns bridges. It’s impossible to focus on the bigger things ahead in life when you can’t shake off the smaller sh*t along the way.

The thing is, petty people aren’t necessarily bad people at all, they just have their perspective skewed. There are certain things to worry about, and fuss about, and then there are other things that we all must let roll off our chests.


Jealousy is one of the most unappealing aspects of anyone’s personality. The thing about jealousy, however, is that it comes from a place of admiration.

I wouldn’t be “jealous” of LeBron James’ basketball skills if he weren’t the best basketball player in the world.

The problem with jealousy is that, often times, instead of striving to attain something for one’s own self, jealousy just exits the body in the form of hate.


Entitlement is the flip side of empathy. It’s difficult to be aware of the issues around of you -- especially when you’re too caught up being above it all.

Entitlement doesn’t allow room for hard work, and, you know something? That’s a shame. Some of the most impactful feelings in life come from reaping the rewards of your hard labor.


Racial hatred. Gender-based hatred. Class hatred. Age hatred. Any type of hatred, really. In my mind, hatred never comes from a place of logic, but rather, ignorance.

Much of the time, people will hate something without truly knowing it – like a toddler who hates vegetables until his teenage years, when he actually tries a piece of broccoli for the first time.

Closed-minded thinking

Being closed-minded is only going to limit the person possessing that quality. It will limit the choices they make, experiences they encounter and knowledge they acquire.

Ultimately, closed-minded thinking comes from a place of fear, or hubris, and both of these sources can be overcome by simply letting yourself try new things.


At the end of the day, pessimism will hold you back. Never anticipate failure, it will only prevent you from chasing dreams, taking risks and being your natural self.

Failure is unavoidable; trust me, you don't necessarily have to wait up for it. But by being pessimistic, all you're really doing is creating negative energy when it probably isn't even needed – at least not yet.

Try and see the glass half full, and if you can't, look for ways you can fill it up more.