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You have probably seen personality tests floating around on Facebook where you take a quick questionnaire to find out which Disney Princess you are or which city you should ideally live in, but have you ever taken a psychology-backed personality test? Are you 100% sure that you know the ins and outs of yourself? Your strengths, your weaknesses, your quirks, what sets you off, your ideal career path? Personally, I think that understanding your personality in it’s entirety is absolutely critical for overall wellbeing, effectiveness at work, and navigating relationships as successfully as you can. Sure- your presence and the way you carry yourself can say a lot about who you are but your personality is what makes you shine and what people will remember you for. So, why not uncover it and really understand who you are so you can amplify your strengths while improving upon your weaker areas? As adults, we have a good idea of our personality- we know what our quirks are, we know what type of people we like to be around, we understand how we feel in certain situations, but- I challenge you to dig a little deeper and really get to the nitty-gritty of what makes you, you! After all, there are many reasons why understanding your personality can be beneficial such as: you can understand other people’s perspectives better by taking into consideration their personality type, you can figure out the best ways to manage your time and energy, you can gain a better understanding of what your triggers are, you can find a career path that is better aligned with your needs and goals, and you can understand why you gravitate towards certain people and why you steer clear of others. Understanding your personality grants you a newfound freedom in life- once you recognize all of the things that drain your energy, you can learn to avoid them. Psychology says that our personality is shaped between the ages of 4-6 and some psychologists state that our introversion and extroversion traits can be traced back to infancy!
When people think about personality types, the most commonly used terms are introvert, extrovert, and type A as they are the most widely used terms. What is an introvert exactly? An introvert is someone who is more solitary and who has a lower threshold for stimulation than others which is why they manage their exposure to over-stimulating social situations. Extroverts, on the other hand, are less reactive, more outgoing, often-times louder, and can manage overstimulating situations without getting overwhelmed which is why you can find them in environments that are likely to provide it. Have you ever heard of the term ‘extroverted introvert’? That is me to a T! My best friends may die of heart failure if they heard me say I was an introvert because in my very small, close circle of friends- I am the loudest, the wildest, and the most outgoing. However, in a social situation where I have to make small talk, I feel 100% forced and uncomfortable and would prefer hanging out at home in my sweat pants than at a social gathering where I have to force social interactions. The Type A personality type describes someone who can be considered bossy, aggressive, assertive, impatient, strong willed, intimidating, and confident. This personality type dates back to earliest human civilizations that observed the behavior of wolves in a wolf pack and were easily able to spot the Alpha Dog. This dog was the strongest, the smartest, the most aggressive, the first to take charge, and the most capable. Do you know an Alpha Dog in your own life? The Type B personality type is the exact opposite of a Type A- they are more laid back, experience less stress, more patient, and are more relaxed.
My favorite class I ever took was a graduate level Personality Theory class when I was set on being a Marriage Counselor. Once I learned not only about my personality type but gained an awareness of all of the others- it gave me a such a deeper understanding of people that I actually have a hard time getting upset with people because I can understand where everybody is coming from and take into account their personality and their worldview and can use that to understand and justify everyone’s behavior and motivations. Throughout my life, I have always been dubbed a Type A personality and felt negatively about it because of the stigma around being a Type A. I have always taken charge when placed in a group, have strong opinions, can be pushy/bossy, am very confident, and equally impatient. My husband is also a Type A so you can say there is usually a battle for control in my house! Am I aggressive or dominating? Not at all. However, my confidence and assertiveness can appear intimidating to others which is probably the main reason I have a hard time making mom friends. With that being said, I will never change who I am to get people to like me!
Why is all of this important? Because understanding yourself is important! I have two favorite personality tests that I have always loved and recommended to friends and family members. The first, the Myer’s-Briggs test claims that there are 16 different personality types that help us not only understand ourselves better, but it is a very useful tool to increase work performance and is frequently used by hiring authorities seeking specific candidates for certain jobs. You answer questions that will determine if you are introverted or extroverted (I) (E). Do you process information by sensing (S) or using your intuition (I) to interpret and add meaning? Do you interpret information by thinking and using logic (T) or do you consider people and special circumstances using feeling (F)? Do you judge (J) or perceive (P) the outside world? Once you answer all of the questions, you will get a four letter designation of your personality type. My personality type is INFJ- what does that mean? It means that I am Introverted, I use my Intuition to interpret information, I use feeling to consider circumstances, and I judge the outside world; I am also dubbed ‘the advocate’. My mission is to help people help themselves and this couldn’t be more true! My strengths are that I am inspiring, creative, insightful, passionate, and altruistic whereas my weaknesses are: I am a perfectionist, very sensitive, gets burned out easily, and always needs to have a cause. In friendships I am extremely selective and only put my time in friendships that have ultimate compatibility and am a fiercely supportive and encouraging friend. For a person like me- working a job that doesn’t serve a higher purpose would burn me out very fast. My ideal career would be as a counselor, psychologist, or a life coach but I can thrive in any environment where productive work and my ambition and drive is appreciated. I had my husband take this test and he is an ENFP and his is also spot on like mine! Want to know what your personality type is based on the Myer’s-Briggs test? You can take the free test HERE!
My second favorite test is the Big 5 Personality Test aka the Five Factor Model is a personality test that proclaims that these five factors are the underlying traits that make up a person’s personality. These traits are: Openness, Conscientiousness, Extroversion, Agreeableness, and Neuroticism (OCEAN). You take the test and get a percentage on the spectrum for each trait. The Openness factor describes how open a person is to learn and experience new things. People who score high in Conscientiousness are reliable and organized whereas people who score low in this category are disorganized and chaotic. The Extraversion category will give you a percentage of where on the spectrum you fall; do you get your energy from interacting with others or does your energy come from within (introversion)? The Agreeableness category describes people who are cooperative and friendly where people who score low in this category can be more distant and unkind. Lastly, the Neuroticism category (aka Emotional Stability) rates people’s emotional stability; for example- if you score high on neuroticism, you are more likely to experience negative emotions, emotional instability, and mood swings. Ready to hear my results? Openness=97%, Conscientiousness= 83%, Extroversion=64%, Agreeableness=73%, and Neuroticism=41%. I was a little shocked at my extroversion score, however, I am 100% an introverted-extrovert so that makes sense to me. My strengths with the Big 5 are that I am very open minded and a diligent worker whereas my weakness is my unstable emotions (not surprised there). Why is knowing your ratings on the Big 5 important or beneficial? Well first of all- it provides you with more insight in how you react in various situations which can be beneficial in choose a career path. The Big 5 is the most commonly used personality test for candidate assessments and recruiters! You can see where you score on the Big 5 test HERE.
The primary reason I think it is important to understand and explore your personality type is to gain an awareness of things you did not fully understand about yourself. It will help you understand some of the reasons you react a certain way to certain things as well as what careers you are best suited for. You will gain an understanding of your strengths and weaknesses which can be very beneficial if you are pursuing personal growth. If you want to understand other people better, you must first fully understand yourself! If you take any of the tests I included in this post, comment below with your results and if you found them helpful or not- I would love to hear your feedback!