Everyone loves a good personality test, don’t they?!
For most of my life I pored over those silly magazine quizzes I couldn’t resist: “Which world city suits you best? and later, “Which Sex and the City character are you?” or “Which style icon are you?”
(I still have to counsel myself not to click on those spammy – but tempting! – personality tests on Facebook)
Thankfully, over time, I moved on to personality tests that would actually teach me a lot about myself, helping me understand my unique view of the world, my strengths and weakness and which careers and relationships would best suit me.
There’s nothing worse than feeling you have to fit yourself (the square peg) into a round hole (the wrong job/relationship/place). When we understand ourselves better, we can point ourselves in the direction of what will make us happy.
And my own experience is that when we understand ourselves better using these tools, we can be so much more accepting and forgiving of ourselves. (“Yes, of course I feel that way – I’m an INTROVERT, after all!”)
A good personality profile can do the work of many hours of therapy!
So let’s go….
1. The Enneagram
This was my first sojourn in the world of personality profiling….and it’s a good one! ‘Ennea’ is the Greek word for ‘nine’ and the enneagram divides us all into 9 basic personality types, with a whole pile of subtypes too!
The Enneagram distinguishes between people according to their essential view of the world and their core values. It’s all about identifying what makes you tick and what gets you out of bed in the morning. Because when we follow our strengths, everything just feels easy and ‘right’ for us.
The Enneagram is also an amazing tool for understanding other people in your life – from your partner, to your friends, to your work colleagues.
When you understand which Enneagram Type someone is, you understand how they see themselves and the world….and you stop expecting them to behave like you. It makes you much better at managing staff and getting the best out of others. And it helps you accept who you are and play to your own unique strengths and gifts.
You could be Type 4, the Individualist: Loves depth and intimacy and beauty. Strives to make the world a more beautiful and meaningful place. Famous Type 4’s include Kate Winslet, Angelina Jolie, Rumi, Anne Frank, Leonard Cohen
Type 8, The Challenger: Action-oriented people who like to get things done. Their key motivation is to be important and avoid feeling weak in the world. Famous Type 8’s include Russell Crowe, Winston Churchill, Serena Williams and Martin Luther King
And there’s more….!
You can take a basic starter test here and find out your type (and then let me know in the comments below!)
This is the mother of all personality tests, as far as I can see – and it actually works well alongside the Enneagram.
Compiled by mother and daughter team, Katherine Cook Briggs and Isabel Briggs Myers, the test divides us all into 16 personality types, based on the work of psychoanalyst, Carl Jung.
This test divides us up according to factors like whether we are introverts or extraverts and if we think or feel our way into decisions.
I’m an INFP – the idealist of the bunch (explains a lot!)
but you could be an
ESFP – The Entertainer (famous ESFP’s include Jamie Oliver, Adele and Leonardo DiCaprio)
ENFP – The Campaigner (famous ENFP’s are Russell Brand, Robin Williams, Drew Barrymore)
INTJ – The Architect (famous INTJ’s are Arnold Schwarzenegger and Vladimir Putin)
The first time I heard someone mention the words ‘Highly Sensitive Person’ in a conversation, I stopped dead in my tracks and the hair stood up on my skin. Wait….is that a thing?! Because that sounds like ME.
So some feverish Googling later and I was purchasing my very own copy of psychologist Elaine Aron’s groundbreaking book ‘The Highly Sensitive Person: How to Thrive When the World Overwhelms You”
Aron estimates that about 20% of us have this genetic trait which makes life a bit of a whirlwind!
If you’re someone who has regularly been told “don’t be so sensitive” or “toughen up” or you’ve secretly wondered why your environment and your experiences seem to affect you so much more deeply than anyone else you know, then this could be the test for you.
Other characteristics of HSP’s are:
- you tend to feel everything really deeply – from sorrow to joy
- you can feel other people’s emotions so keenly that it’s hard sometimes tell your feelings from those around you
- you find loud noise, scratchy materials or harsh words really hard to bear
- you cry easily!
- you need time alone to recharge your batteries after a busy (or noisy!) day
- you’re often artistic or find beautiful art, music or scenery very moving
If this doesn’t apply to you, then it certainly does to someone you know – whether your child, a friend, colleague or family member – and it can be useful to understand them better.
4. Introvert vs Extravert
This was another BIG game changer for me. All my life I’ve been an introvert wishing I was an extravert!
It can be really tough to be an introvert in our society. Many people see introversion as some sort of character flaw and many introverts spend a lot of their time pretending to be extravert, just to be accepted.
Susan Cain’s book, ‘Quiet: The Power of Introverts in a World that Can’t Stop Talking’ was a battle cry for introverts everywhere (approx, 50% of the world’s population) to embrace who they are in a culture that puts a premium on extraversion and tends to see quietness, shyness, thoughtfulness and sensitivity as being faults that need to be corrected.
The main difference between introverts and extraverts is that introverts gain energy through being by themselves – they need a lot of downtime – whereas, extraverts gain energy when they are surrounded by other people. Introverts are usually much more comfortable in one-on-one or small group situations where they don’t have to make painful small talk, but rather get all deep and intimate 🙂
So have you come across any or all of these personality tests before? Does anything here sound familiar or do you prefer not to delve too deep in self-analysis?! Let me know below of any interesting personality results and insights!