Have you taken a personality test recently? Did you find it accurate/helpful? Share your results with us!
What are you like? If I were to ask you to take the time to stop and think for just a few minutes about a few of your friends, professors, co-workers, and your boss, what words would you use to describe them? Have you given any thought at all to the personality traits of those people around you? What would they say makes you you?
For thousands of years brilliant people have been telling us the value of knowing who we are. So much so that the phrase “know thyself” is more of a cliché than a meaningful maxim. It’s likely you will find the phrase in the opening paragraphs of any and all of those online personality quizzes that have been floating around Facebook and Twitter recently. And while the concept of self-recognition may fall under common sense at this point in history, it is clear by the number of people in my social media circles that people are still interested in knowing about and making known to others what type of personality traits they identify with. Or at very least which Twilight/The Office/Star Wars character they most resemble.
There is, at the very least, some value in knowing you who are. And there is value in knowing the behavioral characteristics of those around you. Consider the value of taking time to identify the type of person your professor or your boss is. How could “speaking their language”, or better understanding their values help you achieve their expectations of you? Atticus Finch tells us “[We] never really understand a person until [we] consider things from his point of view... Until [we] climb into his skin and walk around in it.” I pose that there is great benefit in knowing how to best communicate with and work for other people.
There are tons of personality tests and quizzes out there in the ether. Some are great and some tell me I’m more similar to Dwight than Jim, and are thus clearly inferior and useless. Being that I fall pretty squarely into the I(ntroverted) iN(tuitive) F(eeling) P(erceiving) type in the Myers-Briggs test, I tend to favor that one. If you’re interested in taking the Myers-Briggs (or an abbreviated version of it), you can take it online here: http://www.humanmetrics.com/cgi-win/jtypes2.asp. Alternatively, I would encourage you to pick up a copy of Please Understand Me II by David Kiersey. Kiersey gives an exhaustive type-by-type explanation of each of the Myers Briggs types, including career suggestions and relational pairings. The book has tons of information but doesn’t require a cover-to-cover read to gain some practical knowledge about who you (and others in your life) are.
As I said before, I fall definitively in the INFP (Kiersey’s, “Healer”) camp. Among the characteristics listed for us are: idealistic, diplomatic, loyal, independent workers, distractible, big-picture thinkers, and deeply sympathetic. And so, I am more likely prone to value and be fascinated with the personalities of others. My co-worker and fellow blogger, Alison, seemed less interested in the subject of personality types. But then, she is an E(xtrtoverted) S(ensing) F(eeling) J(udging) (consistent, practical and good at reading people) and probably has a great “sense of self” without having to bother with some test. Incidentally, her ESFJ-ness (organized, cooperative, and encouraging) makes her a great editor-in-chief of the TextbookRush blog.*
One other personality assessment tool I’ve come across is the Strengthsfinder 2 by Tom Rath. I recommend picking it up New as it comes with a free access code that will allow you to take the test online. But if you want to buy the book used and purchase the access code online, you can do that at the Strengthsfinder website.
*An example of how you can use the personality types of others to “speak their language”, i.e. schmoose.