A personality is a feature, not a bug

We all face the choice of where to spend our time. Some roles make us happy and push us forward, others make reconsider are very existence and desire change. At the end of the day, we are who we are and while we can pursue change, there may be some lag in how quickly we can do so and no guarantees we won’t discover the desire for more change once we get there.

Over the past several months I’ve been exploring my role in my business and trying to figure out where I fit in best. In the process, I decided to check out a few personality tests to see what they had to say.

I think it’s fair to be extremely skeptical about personality tests and what the results actually mean. However, I also find the process of going through them a bit therapeutic and enjoy comparing the various approaches.

Here’s what I’m told about my personality by the three assessments I found most interesting:

The Big Five Personality Test #

The Big Five Personality Test measures what many psychologists consider to be the five fundamental dimensions of personality. It also lets you rate the personality of another person as you answer the questions for yourself.

I took the test a few times, comparing myself to different people in my life. While I was pretty stable in my scores for Openness to Experience/Intellect and Neuroticism, some people I compared myself to affected my level of Conscientiousness, Extraversion, and Agreeableness in interesting ways.

Openness to Experience/Intellect - High scorers tend to be original, creative, curious, complex; Low scorers tend to be conventional, down to earth, narrow interests, uncreative.
My percentile: 80

Conscientiousness - High scorers tend to be reliable, well-organized, self-disciplined, careful; Low scorers tend to be disorganized, undependable, negligent.
My percentile: 64

Extraversion - High scorers tend to be sociable, friendly, fun loving, talkative; Low scorers tend to be introverted, reserved, inhibited, quiet.
My percentile: 48

Agreeableness - High scorers tend to be good natured, sympathetic, forgiving, courteous; Low scorers tend to be critical, rude, harsh, callous.
My percentile: 38

Neuroticism - High scorers tend to be nervous, high-strung, insecure, worrying; Low scorers tend to be calm, relaxed, secure, hardy.
My percentile: 43

16 Personalities #

16 Personalities uses a model that combines popular type-based theories with trait-based theories of personality types: We use the acronym format introduced by Myers-Briggs due to its simplicity and convenience – however, we have redefined several Jungian traits and introduced an additional one, simplifying our model and bringing it closer to the latest developments, namely the dimensions of personality called the Big Five personality traits.

I took this test a couple times and fell into two profiles - flip flopping on Introversion vs. Extroversion and Thinking vs. Feeling and staying more consistent on Intuition over Sensing, Perceiving over Judging, and having a more Turbulent than Assertive identity.

ENTP-T - “The Debater”
The ENTP personality type is the ultimate devil's advocate, thriving on the process of shredding arguments and beliefs and letting the ribbons drift in the wind for all to see.

INFP-T - “The Mediator”
INFP personalities are true idealists, always looking for the hint of good in even the worst of people and events, searching for ways to make things better.

Strength Finder 2.0 #

Strength Finder 2.0 is not focused on trying to measure psychological constructs as much as it tries to help you understand and pursue opportunities that fit your personality. They say: The instrument is based on a general model of Positive Psychology. Positive Psychology is a framework, or a paradigm, that encompasses an approach to psychology from the perspective of healthy, successful life functioning. Topics include optimism, positive emotions, spirituality, happiness, satisfaction, personal development, and well-being.

To take this assessment you need to purchase the book to get a unique code that allows you to take the test online. After taking the assessment you are presented with the top 5 of the 34 total strengths that are measured. If you wish to see the rest of your results you have to engage them in paid consulting.

Aside from the slightly annoying process to acquire the code and receive your partial results, the results presented do a good job at emphasizing priorities and providing several considerations in how to take action to pursue roles and environments that fit your strengths better.

My top 5 of 34 strengths.

  1. Learner
    You love to learn. The subject matter that interests you most will be determined by your other themes and experiences, but whatever the subject, you will always be drawn to the process of learning. The process, more than the content or the result, is especially exciting for you. You are energized by the steady and deliberate journey from ignorance to competence. The thrill of the first few facts, the early efforts to recite or practice what you have learned, the growing confidence of a skill mastered -- this is the process that entices you. Your excitement leads you to engage in adult learning experiences -- yoga or piano lessons or graduate classes. It enables you to thrive in dynamic work environments where you are asked to take on short project assignments and are expected to learn a lot about the new subject matter in a short period of time and then move on to the next one. This Learner theme does not necessarily mean that you seek to become the subject matter expert, or that you are striving for the respect that accompanies a professional or academic credential. The outcome of the learning is less significant than the "getting there.”
  2. Ideation
    You are fascinated by ideas. What is an idea? An idea is a concept, the best explanation of the most events. You are delighted when you discover beneath the complex surface an elegantly simple concept to explain why things are the way they are. An idea is a connection. Yours is the kind of mind that is always looking for connections, and so you are intrigued when seemingly disparate phenomena can be linked by an obscure connection. An idea is a new perspective on familiar challenges. You revel in taking the world we all know and turning it around so we can view it from a strange but strangely enlightening angle. You love all these ideas because they are profound, because they are novel, because they are clarifying, because they are contrary, because they are bizarre. For all these reasons you derive a jolt of energy whenever a new idea occurs to you. Others may label you creative or original or conceptual or even smart. Perhaps you are all of these. Who can be sure? What you are sure of is that ideas are thrilling. And on most days this is enough.
  3. Relator
    Relator describes your attitude toward your relationships. In simple terms, the Relator theme pulls you toward people you already know. You do not necessarily shy away from meeting new people -- in fact, you may have other themes that cause you to enjoy the thrill of turning strangers into friends -- but you do derive a great deal of pleasure and strength from being around your close friends. You are comfortable with intimacy. Once the initial connection has been made, you deliberately encourage a deepening of the relationship. You want to understand their feelings, their goals, their fears, and their dreams; and you want them to understand yours. You know that this kind of closeness implies a certain amount of risk -- you might be taken advantage of -- but you are willing to accept that risk. For you a relationship has value only if it is genuine. And the only way to know that is to entrust yourself to the other person. The more you share with each other, the more you risk together. The more you risk together, the more each of you proves your caring is genuine. These are your steps toward real friendship, and you take them willingly.
  4. Intellection
    You like to think. You like mental activity. You like exercising the "muscles" of your brain, stretching them in multiple directions. This need for mental activity may be focused; for example, you may be trying to solve a problem or develop an idea or understand another person's feelings. The exact focus will depend on your other strengths. On the other hand, this mental activity may very well lack focus. The theme of Intellection does not dictate what you are thinking about; it simply describes that you like to think. You are the kind of person who enjoys your time alone because it is your time for musing and reflection. You are introspective. In a sense you are your own best companion, as you pose yourself questions and try out answers on yourself to see how they sound. This introspection may lead you to a slight sense of discontent as you compare what you are actually doing with all the thoughts and ideas that your mind conceives. Or this introspection may tend toward more pragmatic matters such as the events of the day or a conversation that you plan to have later. Wherever it leads you, this mental hum is one of the constants of your life.
  5. Restorative
    You love to solve problems. Whereas some are dismayed when they encounter yet another breakdown, you can be energized by it. You enjoy the challenge of analyzing the symptoms, identifying what is wrong, and finding the solution. You may prefer practical problems or conceptual ones or personal ones. You may seek out specific kinds of problems that you have met many times before and that you are confident you can fix. Or you may feel the greatest push when faced with complex and unfamiliar problems. Your exact preferences are determined by your other themes and experiences. But what is certain is that you enjoy bringing things back to life. It is a wonderful feeling to identify the undermining factor(s), eradicate them, and restore something to its true glory. Intuitively, you know that without your intervention, this thing-this machine, this technique, this person, this company-might have ceased to function. You fixed it, resuscitated it, rekindled its vitality. Phrasing it the way you might, you saved it.