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Bridging the Gap: "The Dance of the Lion and the Unicorn" by Mark Waller

Mark Waller's "The Dance of the Lion and the Unicorn" is a thought-provoking exploration of personality types, relationships, and the delicate balance between assertiveness (the lion) and empathy (the unicorn). Beyond its captivating insights into East-West relations, Waller's book offers valuable lessons for improving personal relationships and understanding one's own personality.

Understanding the Lion and the Unicorn

Waller presents a compelling analogy by likening individuals to either lions or unicorns. The lion personality type is characterized by assertiveness, strength, and a competitive spirit. Lions are often goal-oriented and willing to fight for their beliefs and desires. The Lion personality type has a need to approach the situation when it comes to relationship fights. On the other hand, unicorns embody empathy, compassion, and a collaborative nature. They prioritize harmony, emotional connection, and are sensitive to the needs and feelings of others. The prefer to avoid conflict and tend to shut down in fights.

Applying Tips from the Book to Improve Relationships

Waller's book offers practical tips for individuals, whether they identify more with the lion or the unicorn, to enhance their relationships:

1. Self-Awareness: The first step in improving relationships is understanding one's own personality type. Are you predominantly a lion or a unicorn? Self-awareness allows individuals to recognize their natural tendencies and how they may impact interactions with others.

2. Recognizing Differences: Once you understand your own personality type, the book encourages recognizing the personality types of those around you. This awareness enables better communication and empathy, as you can adapt your approach to accommodate others' needs.

3. Finding Balance: Waller emphasizes the importance of balance. Lions can benefit from incorporating more empathy and flexibility into their interactions, while unicorns may need to assert themselves more to prevent being taken advantage of.

4. Effective Communication: The book underscores the significance of clear and open communication. Lions and unicorns should express their thoughts, needs, and emotions openly but respectfully, fostering a safe space for dialogue.

5. Mutual Growth: Waller's book highlights the potential for personal growth within relationships. Lions can learn patience and empathy from unicorns, while unicorns can learn assertiveness and self-advocacy from lions.

6. Patience: Patience is key in navigating the differences between lion and unicorn personalities. Understanding that individuals may have contrasting communication styles and priorities can help prevent conflicts.

7. Embracing Diversity: The book encourages embracing diversity in personality types. Just as the world benefits from the coexistence of lions and unicorns, so do relationships thrive when diverse personalities complement each other.

Application Beyond Relationships

While Waller primarily focuses on interpersonal dynamics, the lion and unicorn framework can be applied in various aspects of life. In the workplace, understanding different personality types can improve teamwork and productivity. In leadership roles, a balance between assertiveness and empathy can be instrumental in decision-making and team management.


Mark Waller's book offers a refreshing perspective on personality dynamics and their impact on relationships. By recognizing the lion and unicorn within ourselves and others, we can cultivate more harmonious and fulfilling connections, whether in our personal lives or professional endeavors. It encourages us to dance through life with a deeper understanding of ourselves and those around us, ultimately striving for relationships where both partners understand each other and are able to honor each other's needs so that fights no longer involve dancing in circles.


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