personal

Who Am I? Exploring My Personality

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I’ve recently gotten into personality tests, in the interest of learning more about myself, learning more about how they work, and due to my curiosity about how accurate they are. My plan is to compare the results to other ways to determine traits and personality, such as astrology, lifestyle, etc. I wanted to share with you some of the results so we can figure out what they mean.

I started by looking up some of the most accurate and popular personality tests and decided to go with the top four tests. These include the Myers-Briggs Personality Assessment (of course!), the DISC Personality Assessment, the Hexaco Personality Inventory, and the Enneagram of Personality.

Myers-Briggs Personality Assessment

The MBTI uses four dichotomies – introversion vs. extroversion, sensory vs. intuition, feeling vs. thinking, and perception vs. judging – to sort people into one of sixteen personality profiles. This is probably the most well known of personality assessments and is used for jobs, learning styles, and relationships.

My results indicate that I’m an INTJ – introverted, intuitive, thinking, and judging – also known as the Mastermind. From the Myers & Briggs Foundation:

INTJ: Have original minds and great drive for implementing their ideas and achieving their goals. Quickly see patterns in external events and develop long range explanatory perspectives. When committed, organize a job and carry it through. Skeptical and independent, have high standards of competence and performance – for themselves and others.

The “I” indicates I’m introverted, reflective, feel more comfortable alone, and can sometimes forget to move past planning into action. “N” means I prefer solving problems by exploring possibilities rather than sticking to what’s worked in the past, and I like learning new things and imagining possibilities. The “T” indicates a desire to be logical, to research before coming to a decision, to be honest and fair, and a tendency to come off as cold or indifferent. “J” claims I like to appear outwardly in control, put together, organized, although internally, I am open to new ideas and new information.

I feel like this is a pretty accurate description of myself. I do have high standards (some might say too high), and I do sometimes get stuck in research mode, rather than moving into action. I’m definitely fairly introverted, sometimes to a detrimental degree (I’m working on that), and I know people don’t always find me as sympathetic as they would like.

What I found interesting is women who are INTJ are the smallest percentage – 0.8% of the population. As children, INTJ girls are often bullied by other girls (true), feel more comfortable among boys (true) due to not being as feminine, and develop coping mechanisms to better fit in. INTJ women also have issues with anxiety and depression, partly due to not fitting in, and their high standards for appearing normal, which can lead to stress in social situations. Romantic relationships tend to build from intellectual friendships more than any physical aspect, and if the relationship isn’t working, the INTJ will end it, preferring to be single than unhappy (so true!). They tend to be uninterested in children (sounds familiar), preferring pets (it’s like someone’s watching me). They enjoy books. They can come off as cold and unresponsive, although they tend to be hypersensitive to rejection.

Famous INTJs include Karl Marx, Jean-Paul Sartre, and Fredrich Nietzche, which I find ironic because all three are philosophers whose concept I understood on a deeper level than for instance, Mills or Aristotle.

I feel like this is eerily accurate. I often felt like an outcast in school or at work, and still do, and I can’t even count all of the people who have called me cold or dark. I have learned how to interact in social situations, but there’s always an underlying stress, because I feel like I could misread a situation or make a misstep at any time, and when I do, I feel like a failure.

DISC

The DISC personality test studies four factors – dominance, influence, steadiness, and compliance – and ranks each facet as to how prevalent it is in your personality.

I scored highest in dominance, at 52%, followed by compliance – 29%, influence – 11%, and steadiness – 8%. This seems to indicate You have a strong inner motivation to assertively create and implement new ideas.  You handle pressure well – you strive for excellence and expect others to do the same. You are innovative but tend to avoid risk taking.”

Personalities with such a high score in dominance are called “The Winner” and it seems that I’m supposed to be direct and decisive, although I overlook small details. Quite a change from the Myers-Briggs results, right? Winners tend to be extroverts, outspoken, and like to be in charge. They also seem to be impatient and dismissive of authority. I feel like this profile is very general and yet, still somewhat inaccurate.

Hexaco Personality Inventory

The Hexaco model measures six dimensions: Honesty/Humility, Emotionality, Extraversion, Agreeableness, Concientiousness, and Openess to experience. Results show your position on the scale for each overall dimension, with continued breakdown for certain qualities in each dimension.

My results generally said that I was honest and did not feel entitled, that I was somewhat emotionally detached, that I was pretty introverted and lacked self-confidence, that I’m stubborn and angry and unwilling to let things go (well, we all know that’s true!), that I fall in the middle of organized and messy, and that I am very inquisitive. I feel like some of these are more true than others, but the more specific qualities do change the overall meaning. Let’s go through this section by section.

Honesty/Humility

You can see that I score above the median on Honesty-Humility, which means I don’t like to break rules or manipulate people, I’m not obsessed with material wealth, and I don’t feel entitled. The sincerity facet in particular signifies the resistance to manipulation and implies that people will generally know how I feel about them. I think that’s true – if I don’t like you, I’m not going to pretend I do. That doesn’t mean I just punch you everytime I see you – I can be civil – but no one is generally mistaken about my viewpoint. I scored highest on the fairness facet, which means I won’t cheat or steal to get ahead. I know in work or school situations, I make sure I share credit with others, and I think it’s important not to push others down to keep yourself up. I scored on the low side on greed-avoidance, which indicates an increased desire for material wealth, and I think that’s also true for me. I wish I could be less superficial, but I like having things. I may not need designer clothes, but I like having lots of clothes, and don’t even get me started on shoes. Modesty is another fairly high score for me, and signifies that I don’t feel entitled or superior to others. I won’t claim to never feel superior, but I don’t think I’m better than anyone just because I’m me. Overall, I feel like this section seems pretty accurate.

Emotionality

I scored low on emotionality, meaning I don’t get overly stressed and I feel emotionally detached from others, but I believe the breakdown of the facets provides a much more accurate picture. My fearfulness is just slightly on the high side, so I’m “inclined to avoid physical harm” (who isn’t?), and my anxiety is very high, both on the test and in real life, so I become obsessed with even minor issues. That’s certainly true. My dependence and sentimentality are both very low, the former indicating that I’m not inclined to share my issues with other people or reach out for support, and the latter saying that I’m not likely to form deep attachments to people. I really wish I had taken this test years ago, because I feel like those results would have been different. I don’t often form strong relationships anymore, and I can count the people I’m close to on one hand.

Extraversion

Wow, I just scored low across the board here. Extraversion is where it says that I feel unpopular, unenthusiastic, and antisocial. My social self-esteem is my highest score here, but still well below the median, indicating that I feel unpopular and lack self-confidence. Social boldness indicates a person’s confidence in group situations, and mine is low, which I find logical as I tend to do better and feel more comfortable one-on-one rather than in a large crowd. The sociability facet reveals that I prefer solitary activities or, again, one-on-one versus large parties. The liveliness aspect indicates how optimistic and enthusiastic a person is, and I score low, which I think plays into the anxiety score from the previous section. I’m not generally a super-optimistic person – I think of what could go wrong. I don’t see this as a bad thing, per say, because I’m often prepared when something goes wrong. It’s just who I am.

Agreeableness

This is another section I scored low on, but I am not at all surprised. I’m not what you would call the easygoing, agreeable sort. I can hear you all snickering at the thought – stop it! My general score says that I’m critical, stubborn, angry, and good at holding onto grudges – all true. The forgiveness facet obviously indicates that I’m unlikely to forgive and forget, and more likely to have trust issues when I feel I’ve been wronged, and this is my lowest score in the section. I can forgive, but it’s true that if I feel very wronged, or wronged on a significant issue, I have a very hard time getting past it – it’s always in the back of my head. I have a long memory, so there are some things from ten years ago or more that I still hold a grudge about – but I do believe they were pretty significant things. My gentleness score is my highest here, and indicates how critical I am of others and how harsh I am in dealing with them. Mine is still below median, but I do try not to judge people unless I see something severe. I feel like this score may be a bit misleading, that I may be kinder than this indicates, but maybe I’m wrong. The low flexibility score may seem bad, but it seems to indicate a determination to stand up for beliefs, and not compromise or accommodate unreasonable requests. I like this score – I’m not at all ashamed about being unwilling to compromise on my values, especially because I do know which ones are my personal moral line and shouldn’t be pushed on others, as opposed to which ones are simply unassailable. The last section, patience, claims I lose my temper easily. Well, that’s true. Let’s move on.

Concientiousness

The concientiousness score determines how organized, disciplined, and decisive I am. My organization facet score indicates that I’m “sloppy and haphazard”, which I don’t fully agree with. I can be that way physically – I spread out when I’m working on stuff and can create quite a mess – but mentally, or in work or schoolwork, I tend to be quite organized. I just have a hard time cleaning up if I can’t do it perfectly, and trying to do it perfectly overwhelms me sometimes. The diligence score claims that I don’t have a strong work ethic or desire to succeed, so I’m just going to call it – bulls***. Next is perfectionism, something I have often been accused of. I scored high, indicating a focus on details and a determination to get things right. In my opinion, this is true and can be good or bad. When I submit work, it’s generally high-quality, but it may take me forever to be willing to submit it because I think it can be better – or it takes forever to start something because I know I’m unable to do it perfectly right now. I’ve been working on figuring out how to break things into smaller tasks in my head, and do things mediocre for now until I can do them very well. It’s a work in progress. Prudence is how impulsive or deliberate someone is, and I skew towards the deliberate end of the scale. I think that’s true – I’m a researcher, so when I face a major decision, I tend to research and gather facts before I will make a decision. It’s served me well so far, so I’m not mad about this result.

Openess to Experience

Last is my openess score. I scored very high, indicating an appreciation for aesthetics, a strong intellectual curiosity, and a strong creative aptitude. My lowest score is aesthetic appreciation, which surprises me, as I am a huge fan of art, music, and writing. I would have expected my inquisitiveness score to be the highest of these, as I am a voracious reader and have a strong desire to obtain as much information as possible, but instead it matches my creativity score. My highest score turned out to be unconventionality, indicating that I am very open to new ideas or processes, which I do think is true. Not that I necessarily adopt them but I am definitely willing to examine them and learn more about them before I decide how to feel. I am surprised that my altruism score is below the median, as it indicates a tendency to be hard-hearted, to not be emotionally affected by those in need. I don’t think I am hard-hearted, although I guess I may come across that way in some instances.

Overall, I think this is a fairly accurate representation of my personality, and worth taking a further look at the parts I disagree with.

The Enneagram of Personality

The Enneagram sorts people into nine different personality types – the Reformer, the Helper, the Achiever, the Individualist, the Investigator, the Loyalist, the Enthusiast, the Challenger, and the Peacemaker – with a “wing” type (or two) that influences your core personality.

My results said that my core personality type is 5, the Investigator, with wing types 9, the Peacemaker, and 6, the Loyalist. Without reading any further, the Investigator sounds potentially accurate, but I have serious questions about the Peacemaker! The Enneagram institute also claims I’m in good company, listing people such as Stephen Hawking, Bill Gates, and Emily Dickinson as Type 5s.

Type 5 – The Investigator

Investigators are said to be intellectually curious, introverted, analytical, and insightful. They prefer independence in their relationships, rather than clingy interactions. They prefer straight talk rather than sugarcoating or filler small talk before getting to the real issues. They dislike repeating things because it takes effort to speak to others in the first place, and they become aloof when feeling uncomfortable in social situations. Plus, they seem to be suspicious by nature, in that if someone comes on too friendly, too strong, too quickly, they are suspicious about the person’s motives and sincerity. The description continues on to say that they are calm in a crisis and have a strong internal sense of integrity. However, they feel guilty and defensive if they display their intelligence or if they make a misstep in a social situation, and they are often overlooked in favor of someone more socially adept.

Type 9 – The Peacemaker

Peacemakers are described as good-natured and supportive, open to mild criticism, and generally helpful. They desire verbal praise and physical affection, are caring and nonjudgmental, and have a well-developed ability to see multiple sides of an issue. They are often oversensitive, can be seen as indecisive, and care too much about outside perceptions of themselves.

Type 6 – The Loyalist

Loyalists are responsible and value loyalty to both people and beliefs. They prefer straight-shooting over prevaricating, have a tendency towards anxiety that causes a need for reassurance, and value intellect. They tend to be overcritical of themselves, which may also cause them to be overcritical of others, but it’s because they fear letting someone else down.

So after reading the more in-depth descriptions of each, my take is that according to the Enneagram, I’m intellectual, introverted, loyal, anxious and oversensitive, and overly critical of myself out of a fear of failing or letting someone else down. I don’t think that’s entirely inaccurate. I have had anxiety issues for as long as I can remember, concerns that someone I loved didn’t like me, concerns that I failed them in some way, and that’s a trait that seems to run through all three personality types. I’m definitely intellectually curious – I seek out information like it’s a drug, which is why I know a wide variety of useless facts. I do have a strong moral code, one I’ve developed through research and debate, and one that I don’t generally stray from. I think I am loyal to people as well, until I feel they’ve wronged me in an unforgiveable way – I think that aspect of my personality, my anger and lack of forgiveness, is missed in this test.

Overall, I think the Myers-Briggs test and the Hexaco were the most accurate, with Hexaco being more in depth. All of them, but particularly those two have made me want to examine my personality more, and figure out how these types affect techniques for achieving my goals. It seems that MBTI type INTJ is most closely correlated with Enneagram Type 5, so I feel like those results give some validity to the test results. The least accurate is probably DISC. I think the test is very general with what it looks for, and sorts personality traits into different categories that maybe don’t make as much sense. Generally, however, I’m starting to believe personality tests may be useful for self-assessment. As I read more about my results, I’m seeing suggestions for learning styles, approaching relationship, living life that make sense, and they are things that may help me reach my happiest point.

Have you taken a personality test before? Tell me which one and what your results were in the comments, as well as what you thought about it!

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