As we continue the getting to know yourself series, it’s time to talk about personality.
Neurologist Paul Roe defines personality as “an individual’s predisposition to think certain patterns of thought and, therefore, engage in certain patterns of behavior.” Personality theory is a branch of psychology that studies individual differences between people, the set of characteristics that influence our understanding of, motivations, and behaviors in various situations.
Embracing your personality is important because each of us needs different things, depending on our natural predilections. I’m a hard core introvert, for example, and while I’m still discovering my limits, I need a lot of downtime at home, alone. My friend Cassandra, on the other hand, says she likes to go out almost every day of the week to feed her extroverted personality.
One of the ways you can come to understand and embrace your personality is through assessments.
Confession: I adore personality assessments!
Disclaimer: I know not everyone feels the same way. While I understand that each of the seven-billion people on this planet is unique and that assessments cannot provide a perfect model of human behavior, I still think they can be informative.
Statistician George Box said, “Essentially all models are wrong, but some are useful.” So I’m going to proceed with sharing a couple of my favorite personality assessments and you can take or leave what you will.
The Big Five Personality Test
Probably the most respected assessment among psychologists is the Big Five Personality Test. It is a trait-based assessment, meaning it places your temperament along a continuum instead of classifying you as a particular type as a type-based assessment would. The Big Five measures:
- Openness, the tendency to be imaginative and independent versus practical and traditional.
- Conscientiousness, the tendency to be organized and disciplined versus impetuous and disorganized.
- Extraversion, the tendency to be sociable and fun-loving versus retiring and reserved.
- Agreeableness, the tendency to be helpful and trusting versus suspicious or uncooperative.
- Emotional Stability, the tendency to be calm and secure versus anxious and insecure.
You can take the assessment for free here.
The Myers Briggs Type Indicator
The most popular personality assessment is undoubtedly the Myers Briggs Type Indicator (MBTI). As its name suggests, the MBTI is a type-based assessment. It measures individual preferences in how people perceive and relate to the world. Specifically, it measures:
- Extraversion/Introversion, from where they derive their energy
- Sensing/INtuition, how they take in information
- Feeling/Thinking, how they make decisions
- Judging/Perceiving, how they relate to the outside world
Your MBTI result is expressed as a series of four letters such as ENTJ or ISFP. There are 16 types in total.
As a reminder, it’s up to you what you do with the results of a personality assessment. I prefer to take what is useful and let go of anything that doesn’t seem to fit or is unhelpful. The goal in exploring your personality is to help you better achieve what you want in life by first understanding who you are and what your unique needs are.
For part six of the getting to know yourself series, click here.