But the two most popular are the Myers Briggs Type Indicator created by Katharine Cook Briggs, which was based on the work of Carl Jung, one of the most famous psychologists of the 20th century, or the DISC Personality Test popular with employers during the hiring process, or to help advance the productivity of their workforce. It’s estimated that 50 million people have taken the Myers-Briggs personality test since the Educational Testing Service first added the research to its portfolio in 1962.
A complete portrait of personality covers five broad domains:
Extraversion – your amount of active engagement with other people;
Agreeableness – how pleasant and cooperative you seem to others;
Conscientiousness – your degree of reliability, self-control, and organized purposefulness;
Neuroticism – the frequency and intensity of negative emotions you experience;
Openness to Experience – your preference for intellectual and creative experiences versus traditional, practical activities.
Sure you can lie and try and give the system the answers it needs to create a desired result (e.g. you’re a kind, intelligent, driven but patient person), but firstly it’s not as simple as that. Personalities are complex and multifactorial and one obvious answer might not lead to the most obvious conclusion, so the ‘tactic’ may not even work.
Secondly even in employment settings, most people don’t lie, and even in the estimated one in seven people who do fake the answers, lying itself is key information to a person’s personality. In fact people who can lie effectively are actually more successful in several other areas of life!
My advice would be to not think too much, just go with what your heart says and don’t question it. There’s no wrong answers and every personality has both good and bad points.
I took the two tests, the DISC Classic which is the most basic for personal use and also least expensive at $59, and the 16 Personalities free test which is based on Myers Briggs theories and was at least if not more comprehensive than the test I paid for.
I did them out of pure curiosity. I have no mental blockages (I don’t think) stopping me from achieving what I want in life, be that happiness, health, or career advancement. That’s not to say I’m always blissfully happy, or that I don’t have heath problems, or that I’m a multi billionaire on a yacht, but I am content, and that’s an internal peace I’ll settle for over any amount of wealth. Life is perfectly imperfect, in my view.
What was I expecting from the results? I don’t know, I guess that’s part of the appeal – the anticipation about what revelations might be revealed about the inner workings of your noggin. Humans love answers, it’s why we’ve excelled in scientific discoveries to become the most powerful species on earth.
My reaction to both tests can be summed up as ‘Ha ha! Yes, of course!’
By which I mean, reading the descriptions of me, how I think, and the ways I may react in a given situation, was like reading a report from someone who’d been a fly on the wall since the day I was born. I didn’t learn anything new, rather the tests confirmed what I knew about myself.
The 16 Personalities test named me ENTJ – T, otherwise known as a Commander. The name itself made me giggle, as a ‘first born’ child through and through. This was broken down into:
78% Extrovert: Extraverted individuals prefer group activities and get energized by social interaction. They tend to be more enthusiastic and more easily excited than introverts.
Easily exciteable? I was the first up on Christmas morning again this year, need I say more…
77% Intuitive: Intuitive individuals are very imaginative, open-minded and curious. They prefer novelty over stability and focus on hidden meanings and future possibilities.
‘Curious’ and ‘hidden meanings’ are pretty much why I look these tests.
61% Thinking: Thinking individuals focus on objectivity and rationality, prioritizing logic over emotions. They tend to hide their feelings and see efficiency as more important than cooperation.
I’ll always try and find a logical solution to a problem rather than focus on the emotions at hand. It makes me a great problem solver, but not so good at empathy. I’ll admit, putting myself in other’s emotional shoes is tough when there’s a simple answer to an issue.
90% Judging: Judging individuals are decisive, thorough and highly organized. They value clarity, predictability and closure, preferring structure and planning to spontaneity.
Only people scoring this high (like me) would have their to-do lists structured on editable spreadsheets…..
65% Turbulent: Turbulent individuals are self-conscious and sensitive to stress. They are likely to experience a wide range of emotions and to be success-driven, perfectionistic and eager to improve.
I’ve been diagnosed as on the Bipolar spectrum so fluctuating emotions and being highly reactive to stress are a part of that, but I’m sure a certain amount is a ‘natural’ personality trait too. It begs the question where does personality end and disorder start, which is not something I’m qualified to answer, though if you’re a psychologist reading this please comment below.
Each area description is expanded on significantly to include how you may act and feel in specific situations such as when under pressure at work or when you’re handed an invitation to a party.
The DISC Test results showed unremarkably similar results. Driven, highly energetic, with strong leadership qualities and uncapped ambition. My motto in life has been, ‘It’s rarely a matter of if, only a matter of how’.
Sounds like a recipe for success? Actually it made me a rather difficult teenager, but I am who I am, and you are who you are, and neither of us need to apologise for it.
Would I recommend doing a personality test? Definitely, especially the free 16 Personalities test. Set aside 20 minutes to take it and read the results. We passed this around our family (that’s 6 siblings, 2 parents, and 4 significant others…) at Christmas and the hilarity that ensued as we teased each other over being ‘always late’, ‘indecisive’, ‘bossy’ or ‘a tidy freak’ was better than any naff telly, and made a change from playing Articulate, or Monopoly, where I have been winning since I learned to be the banker and sneak money into my socks, and is commentated on by my Estate Agent Father who likes to remind us he ‘sold a house on that street’ at every throw of the dice.
Will taking a personality test provide the gateway to happiness and health this year? Probably not. But it will likely clarify what you know about yourself, understand why you do the things you do, and definitely makes excellent conversation comparing results with others who have taken tests.