How many personality tests have you taken lately? There are dozens that all put people into categories of colors, animals, numbers, letters, or languages. There are some good, and not-so-good truths about these tests.
My Introduction to Personality Tests
I learned about personality tests when I was 12. I went to a personal development seminar with my parents and some of our extended family. The speaker divided us into 4 different groups based on our personality type. He told each group what they tended to do, what made them tick, and how they tended to think. Now, at each family gathering we discuss what personality type we think others are, and what we are doing that’s an obvious trait of our personality type.
I learned about other tests, and realized its human nature to want to categorize people and yourself to see where we all fit in. Not all personality tests are the same. They separate and describe you in different ways. There are some that are focused on how you give and receive love, how you lead, how you learn, or how you best contribute to the corporate world. I’ve learned from every one that I’ve taken. No matter which of the personality tests you take, there is good and some not-so-good that can come from them.
Good: Understanding Yourself
Every personality type test that I take says something about me having lots of ideas and being a great starter-not the best finisher.
Before I knew this was a “thing,” I would beat myself up for having these grand plans, but not finishing them. I didn’t realize what a gift it was that I had lots of great ideas. It seemed like a curse, because they didn’t get done. I figured everyone else had lots of ideas too but they chose one and always finished them. Once I took a few tests and saw that it was a gift that others didn’t have, it just came with a struggle, I understand why I had so many craft projects half-done in the closet.
Good: Knowing You Aren’t Alone
Sometimes, those who you are closest to, don’t share your same personality or thinking style. For example, my Dad was a C in the test we took. When the speaker started describing the characteristics of this personality type, he spelled out each main word. “C’s are cautious, C-A-U-T-I-O-U-S, Calculating, c-A-L-C-U-L-A-T-I-N-G…” He did that for all 10 characteristics before pointing out that those in that group were all happy that he spelled all of the words out and wondered why he hadn’t done that all along. Every person in the group started nodding, then looked around to see that everyone else around was nodding too. They smiled and had a connection with the group.
My Dad wasn’t used to having others understand his need for accuracy in that same way. No one else in our immediate family is the same type as he is, so It is nice to know you aren’t the only one!
Good: Understanding Others
Once I saw how accurate the test described me and why I do things the way I do them, I trusted the way they described my Dad’s personality. I finally understood. My version of “no fun” was him being cautious. He did have fun, his fun was different than what I call fun.
It also helped him understand my mom and I. We are the same type in that test. We always lose things. The speaker explained that we don’t focus on details. Our mind is flooded with ideas so its not always in the present to think about what we are doing.
I could use the excuse that I am not good at finishing projects because I am an “I” personality. That wouldn’t get me very far, especially as a self-employed woman! It wouldn’t have helped in school either. So instead, I choose to use that as a clue what things are going to be a struggle for me, so that I can plan a way to succeed.
I see so many people use their personality type as an excuse… Type A’s for micromanaging, peacemakers for not standing up for themselves, D’s for not being tactful… like they are just born that way and can’t do anything about it. Everyone can choose what they do, and figure out a way to improve your interactions. Use personality tests as a guide, not an excuse.
Not-So-Good: Puts You in a Box
Maybe it is because I am an “I” so I am an out of the box thinker (see what I did there)… but I have noticed that I have traits from multiple types depending on the activity or time in my life. Growing up, I always thought I was an extrovert, which means that I get my energy from being around other people. Introverts get their energy from being by themselves for down time.
When I became a stay at home mom, I felt bad because all the time with kids talking to me, asking me questions, and touching me, was driving me nuts. I just wanted to be alone! Now I feel like I am an introvert. I need that time by myself to re-charge.
Its not that I don’t like being around people, though. That is another version of pigeon-holing one personality trait into a certain type. You don’t have to stay in one personality box your whole life.
Personality Tests: Good Outweighs The Not-So-Good
Even with these “negative” things I see from personality test results, the good out weighs the bad. I love personality tests! I recommend them all the time. Just have an open mind when you take them, and remember that you get to choose what you do with all of the information they give you. Personality tests don’t determine who you are, YOU DO! 😊