Do You Know Who You Are? . . . Time to Find Out!
I’ve always been fascinated with personality tests.
I guess that’s just part of my own personality.
The first such test I took was years ago at work when my boss wanted our team to better determine our unique strengths and weaknesses, our communication preferences, and how we could bond more effectively as a unit. The test we used was the Myers-Briggs personality test, which had been created and published by two women, a mother/daughter team, Katharine Briggs, and Isabel Myers in 1943, and was based on the work of noted psychologist, Carl Jung. Today, it still remains the world’s most widely used personality tool. While the test has its detractors in the scientific community, it’s estimated that nearly 50 million people have taken it since 1962, and that, last year alone, accounted for 2,000,000 test takers.
Bravo ladies for creating such an enduring tool!
Going through the process the first time was an eye-opening experience to say the least. Suddenly all of the behavioral patterns that I had been noticing in my co-workers that I was also subconsciously modifying my interactions to fit, were explained and often translated into concrete, actionable ideas e.g., “If a person is type WXYZ, they prefer to work in large groups bouncing ideas off of each other, and regularly seeking agreement from group members as the meeting progresses to ensure cohesiveness and buy-in. They may also randomly hand out smiley buttons and chilled bottles of sweet tea. This same individual will wilt and die if stuck alone in a tiny corner cube for endless hours a day. Do not EVER raise your voice to this individual unless it’s while joining in a rowdy chorus of Barnie the purple dinosaur’s ‘I Love You, You Love Me.’ song.”
Gotcha! I knew exactly which members of my work group fit in that category. The personality test helped me better understand why team members acted like they did, and how best to interact with and motivate them. It also brought more clarity to who I was and why the above fictionalized work setting would have been, and often was, my corporate nightmare.
The full Meyer’s-Briggs test must be given by a trained individual. There are, however, simplified versions that are readily available online. Since the first time I took the test years ago, I’ve taken these shortened versions online a couple of times, and have gotten relatively similar results, which might say that, while perhaps not 100% accurate, they’re still a fairly good representation of who you are.
Have you taken one of these tests? No? Well here’s your chance – oh, happy day!
You’ll find the quiz in the link below. If you’re so inclined, take it, write down your 4-letter personality code that you’ll be given at the end of the test, and then come back here so we can chat. Remember to answer honestly: don’t answer based on what you used to be like, or what you would like to think you’re like, but rather, what you’re actually like today.
FYI, the quiz only takes 10 – 12 minutes. Piece of cake!
(If you’ve decided not to take the quiz . . . seriously . . . what the heck? Do you not have time? Do you not care? Do you already know your type? Are you a non-believer? Are you slightly freaked out about the whole categorization thing? Is it too draining to decide upon answers? Do you have blisters on each of your fingertips and couldn’t possibly stand the additional keystrokes?
End of rant.
Okay, if you just took the test, and have come back to chat, congrats on surviving the ordeal. If the test, for some reason, didn’t work for you, please let me know.
With the Myers-Briggs test, there are four basic categories with two opposite options each, which can be mixed and matched into 16 unique personality types.
The four basic categories are:
I vs. E or Introverted vs. Extroverted
N vs. S or Intuitive vs. Sensory
T vs. F or Thinking vs. Feeling
J vs. P or Judgment vs. Perceiving
Take a gander at the illustrations below. They explain what each of the various categories mean with illustrative stick figures as a bonus.
And this chart below explains the 16 Myers-Briggs personality types. You can click on it for a larger view.
As I mentioned, when you complete the quick quiz, you’ll be given a four-letter code that represents the indicators that best represent you. When you take the actual full-length test, however, you’ll see that instead of black and white answers, there are shades of gray. Most of us have aspects of each of these traits, just in varying degrees. For example, while I’m always categorized as in introvert, I actually am not an extreme introvert. On the introversion spectrum, I’m far right, heading towards a mild extravert, but not quite there. I thrive on hearing other people’s opinions, and interacting with them, I don’t mind speaking in front of large crowds, but I also crave alone time to process what I’ve heard, have experienced, and to read, write, cook, and listen to music. The full Myers-Briggs test indicates the extent to which you fit within the various categories, which, in my way of thinking, is a real missing with the short form quizzes, yet they still have merit.
Okay, now it’s time to share. Since I’m writing this piece, I’ll go first.
Hi my name is Becky, and I’m an INFJ. I used to be an INTJ when I took the full test twice while working, but now I’m showing up as more predominantly feeling than thinking. Ironic twist for this “Pondermom”, no? What that might mean is that my thinking and feeling preferences are towards the middle of the spectrum: that I’m equally comfortable in both realms. It might also be due to my switch from the business world to that of a stay-at-home mom where nurturing takes center stage.
Anyway, if you click on the link below, you’ll find a synopsis of my INFJ personality type, often called the “Confidant”, “Counselor” or “Protector”. Apparently it’s the least common of any personality type with only 1-2% of the U.S. population categorized as such. (Once again, I find myself on an island. Oy! I’m an island dweller on the outskirts of Chicagoland. How is that even possible?)
I’m an extreme observer and intuitive. Don’t ask me how I’ve reached a particular conclusion because I most likely won’t be able to verbalize it. Just realize that a lot of behind-the-scenes thought and applied observations of patterns went into it. I’m typically quiet, but am not at all afraid to speak up when my values are challenged. Integrity, family, and close friends mean the world to me. If you happen to fall into one of those buckets, I probably know more about you than even you do.
The following illustration sums up my INFJ group. And, by the way, Cate Blanchett, pictured below, is also an INFJ. Welcome to my island, Cate!
I want to touch on the concept of introversion briefly since it’s often misunderstood.
It’s so important to realize that introversion does not equal shyness. Shyness is the fear of social disapproval or humiliation, while introversion is a preference for environments that are not over-stimulating. Introversion also speaks to the way we process information. Introverts process information internally first, and while we may enjoy socializing with those we’re close to, we’re also re-energized by periods of time spent alone. Make us enter a party where we don’t know anyone, and you may just find us curled up in a fetal position in the corner within ten minutes’ time.
In the U.S., we live in a society that currently places great value on extraversion, however almost 50% of U.S. citizens are introverted. And while we may be taught to believe so, introversion is not inferior to extraversion or bad in any way, it’s merely different. What’s more, many people who have learned to play the part of an extravert, are actually introverts, but have realized that public extraverted displays reap more rewards than those of introverted actions.
Check out these famous very successful introverts:
Abraham Lincoln, our 16th president
Audrey Hepburn, actress and goodwill ambassador
Larry Page, Google CEO
Christina Aguilera, pop star who’s extroverted on stage
Eleanor Roosevelt, American politician, diplomat and activist
J.K. Rowling, author of the Harry Potter series
Steven Spielberg, renowned movie director
Warren Buffet, the 4th richest man in the world, who has given away $23 billion dollars in his lifetime.
Albert Einstein, theoretical physicist
Mohatma Ghandi, India’s inspirational leader of non-violent movements for freedom worldwide.
Rosa Parks, the “first lady of civil rights” who sat her brave ass down on that bus like a boss.
So, if you walk away with nothing else from this post, please remember that introverted is not synonymous with shy.
Alright, I shared. What about you? I’d love to hear about all of the different personality types we have floating around out there.
Don’t be shy. If I, an admitted introvert, can share, you can too!
Is anyone else an INFJ?
Did you have any “Aha!” moments while reading about your test results?
Are you perhaps one of the 50 million people who has taken this type of test before?