In this age of self-discovery and enlightenment, personality tests have exploded and become one of the main ways in which we evaluate and learn about ourselves. And I like them. They’re good, interesting ways we can get to know ourselves better. No doubt, Carl Jung and Isabel Myers-Briggs did lots of research and hard work that helped them come up with the personality tests that are so popular today. In a nutshell, the different personality types are formed from different combinations of the 8 extremes of personalities that they discovered: extrovert or introvert; sensing or intuition; thinking or feeling; perceiving or judging. Basically each person will identify with either of the two aspects of personality in each pair.
The test is pretty accurate for me, and there are many things I can identify with. I however, have a few problems with it and others like it. They have totally changed my perception of myself. They have made me become complacent in some sense, satisfied with who I am and how I behave, satisfied with the things I do. There has slowly developed in me a lack of the desire to change, grow, and improve. Let me explain further; some behaviour is characteristic of certain personality types, for instance, thinkers “tend” to be rather cold or distant; and perceivers are too easy-going. Similarly, knowing my personality type has made me blame it objectively for me being a certain way, instead of taking responsibility for my actions. Someone may point something out about me and I’ll brush it off saying, “It’s because I have X personality type. That’s just how I am.”
And because of this, I don’t actually take time to think about what they’re telling me, and to evaluate myself and aspire to make a change. I sit back rather than deal with the issue. I think sometimes we get lost in all the knowledge, and then we forget that life is about balance between theory and practical application. This of course, prevents self-growth. And shouldn’t one of our greatest goals in life be to become the best we can be? Shouldn’t we all be trying to practice alchemy on ourselves?
Granted, personality tests help us understand a bit of why we do certain things, and in certain ways, but I believe that’s the tip of the iceberg. And yes, they have great utility, but we need to remember that they are simply tools and not the ultimate definers of who and what we are. So sure, take that personality test, but do not let what it says about you become what you believe about you. Let it be complementary to your self-discovery.
Set your life on fire… ~Rumi
Grace, peace and goodwill.