Personality tests have become very popular and are taken by millions of people around the world but what can personality tests really contribute to our lives?
Every person has their strong attributes and their weak ones. We would like to believe that we know what the best parts of us are, what makes us tick and how we contribute to our families and our societies. We have a tendency to build on our strong qualities, we take pride in them and some of us might even exaggerate them. However, it’s our weakness, our blind spots, the things we do that we should do less of or do differently, that are a little harder to realize and accept.
Psychologists have spent decades researching human behavior and personalities. In 1921, a psychologist called Carl Jung discovered that what might seem as random behaviors are actually consistent and similar perceptions and judgments that people prefer to use. This means that despite our individuality and differences in regions, languages, and ethnicities, many of us are in essence very similar. Building on this research, Isabel Myers Briggs and her mother Katharine Briggs established what we know today as the Myers-Brigs Type indicator.
During WWII these women wanted to find a way to give women the chance to find work not based on their experience, because many of them had none, but based on their personalities. They created the indicator that categorizes people in different personality types outlining what their personality could be best suited for career wise. Today this is the most used personality test worldwide; it has been developed to provide both professional feedback to organizations on their employees and personal feedback to individuals on their relationship, career choices, strengths and weaknesses.
The purpose of the test is to determine which of the 16 personality types you fall under. The questions to determine this seem random and easy allowing you to confidently answer them. The results are always very interesting, both times I took this test I found myself nodding and saying “this is so me!” while going through my preferences in how I act, how I think and what I like. When I went through the section that describes my weaknesses and the things that I might do at times that get on other people’s nerves, I stopped nodding.
There are many personality tests out there from Myers- Briggs to “If you were a city, which one would you be?” and other than these tests being a great pass time at work or while you are waiting at the dentist, their results could actually help you. Understanding your own personality, what makes you you, will pave the way to becoming a more confident person, more comfortable in your own skin. It’s human nature to want to understand ourselves and others. With so many cultures, religions, ideologies, pop culture and people’s social media personalities (which I believe can be very different from our real ones) it’s harder than it’s ever been to interact and form relationships.
The science behind these tests is still very controversial, many esteemed psychologists believe that personalities should not be categorized or determined based on 60+ questions. Yet, there are also many that agree that the knowledge a person gains about his/her self from these tests could indeed help in their everyday lives. When we are analyzed based on our answers to certain questions and our views on certain topics, there is some truth to these results. We shouldn’t dwell on our weaknesses or things that hold us back, but we do need to understand these qualities. Giving ourselves the opportunity to tackle the areas in us that need improvement could have a very positive and beneficial effect.
The bottom line is, not everything you read on your personality test result is accurate or to the point, even if you do like the idea of being the City of New York. We are complex beings, that are constantly changing and evolving but we need to keep up with each other’s evolution to coexist. So maybe a personality test could be the tool we need to be more equipped with emotional intelligence and succeed further in our personal and professional lives. The more we understand ourselves, the better we can understand other people.
Whether you decide to take a personality test or not, believe in their results or dismiss them, at the end of the day the key is to strive to be the best version of ourselves that we can possibly be.
- Cunningham, L. (2012, December 2012). Myers-Briggs: Does it pay to know your type . Retrieved from The Washington Post : https://www.washingtonpost.com/national/on-leadership/myers-briggs-does-it-pay-to-know-your-type/2012/12/14/eaed51ae-3fcc-11e2-bca3-aadc9b7e29c5_story.html#comments
- Psychometric Success. (n.d.). Personality Tests Introduction. Retrieved from Psychometric Success: http://www.psychometric-success.com/personality-tests/personality-tests-introduction.htm
- The Myers & Briggs Foundation . (2016). MBTI Basics. Retrieved from The Myers & Briggs Foundation : http://www.myersbriggs.org/my-mbti-personality-type/mbti-basics/