What's in a Personality Test?


Four simple letters, that describe a whole person, and pretty accurately. I've done the Myers-Briggs Personality Test  (linked) on three separate occasions and had the same answer each time, and it sounds like me, so I'm fairly certain that this is the one I fit into.

The theory is that everyone fits one of the 16 different combinations of I/E (introverted/extroverted) N/S (iNtuition/sensing) T/F (thinking/feeling) and J/P (judging/perceiving), and although obviously, I don't have multiple personalities with which I can test the system, I have heard other people too discuss how closely it did reflect them as a person. You receive quite a thorough report of what it 'means' to be you (an odd concept I think) and certainly as I read it, I was thinking 'YES THIS IS SO ME'.

I made this post today to kind of cover two different areas: a little more about me, and then the curiosity of human nature to have someone else define us.

Regarding me, I am extroverted, intuitive, feeling and judging, and happen to have these traits in common with Barack Obama, Oprah Winfrey, Demi Lovato, Daenarys from Game of Thrones and Martin Luther King Jr., which I personally take as such a compliment. I also feel a *little* bit like I'm not using these traits maybe as effectively as these people!

However, in an effort to judge myself less comparatively with others, I'll actually talk about the traits that I most strongly identify with. The positive ones include tolerance and reliability, as I am usually the one that my friends turn to if they feel down or have a problem, and I also like to think of myself as quite charismatic. This is where my extroverted nature comes in: I think I am a mix between introverted and extroverted in that I don't need to be around people all of the time and do quite enjoy my own company yet in a new social situation, I'll be talking to everyone and making friends left, right and centre!

The negative traits I also identify with: fluctuating self-esteem definitely being one of them, along with being too sensitive, too selfless and overly idealistic, which combined with my apparent propensity to be a leader is maybe why I enjoy debating and politics so much??? I think that I recognise these in myself, and while it is not ideal that I worry about EVERYTHING, it's always good to know your less-good qualities and work on them.

Anyway, there's a ton more, but I thought that a little insight would be enough, as it's not always interesting to hear someone else's personality dissected, but would show definitely how much I related to mine.

My other area of interest was in why we find it interesting to label ourselves so deeply by other people. I think on one level there is an element of 'ha, let's see if a machine knows me better than I know myself', and maybe even a deeper thirst for wanting to know ourselves better. Or perhaps there's just an instinctive part of human nature that wants to rationalise our feelings and know that we do fit in. This part seeks to be reassured that we are understood, and while enjoys seeing the fact that only a relatively small part of the population have the same personality type (fulfilling the desire to be unique), we aren't truly alone...