As I’ve blogged previously, I learned that our daughter is a major extrovert when she stayed with us working from our home for two-and-a-half months earlier this spring. I always knew she was a talker and outgoing, but I never realized just how much. I’ve also learned that all this staying at home is actually pretty easy for me and quite cathartic. I’m a nester and just this week took a test that confirmed I’m also a major introvert.
The test, conducted by bestselling author/life coach/podcaster/Masters in Counseling Holley Gerth, showed that out of a total score of 100 percent, I’m 85 percent introvert. Yikes! Somewhat surprising is that introverts make up half of the population and fellow introverts include Joanna Gaines, Abraham Lincoln, Albert Einstein, Jerry Seinfeld, C.S. Lewis, Max Lucado, and Michael Jordan. I’m impressed!
Gerth’s posts and her eye-opening “The Powerful Purpose of Introverts” book also emphasizes that even though introverts have strengths, gifts, and skill the world needs…and maybe now more than ever…our strengths aren’t always heard over all the chatter out there. We may quietly go about our way, but we do make a difference.
Gerth stresses that being an introvert isn’t a struggle, it’s a superpower and many of the traits of an introvert have my name all over them. I relish time on my own but I also love people…just not all of them and not in big doses. I’m a good listener…but will speak my mind if pushed. I think (sometimes overthink) before I speak and my active mind is always thinking (again, sometimes overthinking). I’m very observant and notice things others might miss. I listen and learn and I pay attention. I like to focus on my work or activities and I value quality over quantity in relationships. On the downside, we introverts can get stuck comparing ourselves to others (we’re kinda perfectionists) and we allow fear to sometimes get the best of us.
If you’re wondering if you’re an introvert or extrovert, want a measurement of how much you are of one or the other (none of us BTW, are 100 percent either or), check out Gerth’s test and book at holleygerth.com.
Of course taking that test made me think (and overthink?!) about other personality tests out there and ones I’ve taken. Two of the most popular ones are “The Five Love Languages” and The Myers-Briggs Indicator. I’ve taken both, as well as “The Four Tendencies,” a “Tibetan Personality Assessment,” and just today I saw a post on “What’s Your Play Personality” and took it. Needless to say, I love this stuff!
Myers-Briggs Type Indicator
Take a look at the above photo. Look closely. What you may have perceived as the runners is actually the runners’ shadows. How we see things and our perception is what’s behind perhaps one of the most prevalent and popular test is the Myers-Briggs. Many moons ago my coworkers and I took the test as a tool to reveal and enhance ways to work more efficiently and effectively as a team. Developed in the 1940s by Isabel Briggs Myers, the indicator is taken annually by millions since its publication in 1962. It’s proven an effective method to discover personality types but doesn’t measure traits, abilities, or character but rather the different ways individuals prefer to use their perception and judgement. Perception is described as all the ways we become aware of things, people, happenings, and ideas while Judgement involves the ways we come to conclusions about what has been perceived. Briggs and her mother Katharine Briggs identified 16 distinctive personality types:
Favorite world. Do you prefer to focus on the outer world or inner world? This is called Extraversion or Introversion (I).
Information. Do you prefer to focus on basic information or do you prefer to interpret and add meaning. This is called Sensing (S) or Intuition.
Decisions. When making decision, do you first look at logic and consistency or at the people and special circumstances? This is called Thinking (T) or Feeling (F).
Structure. In dealing with the outside world, do you prefer to get things decided or stay open to new information and options? This is called Judging (J) or Perceiving (P).
My results showed me as an ISFJ, short for Introversion/Sensing/Feeling/Judging. Personality traits of ISFJers and pretty aligned with my personality include factual, sympathetic, detailed, dependable, organized, thorough, conscientious, conservative, realistic, caring, practical, stable, and helpful. Yep, pretty much me to a T. Capital T.
It’s important to note that all types are equal; there is no “best” and the goal of knowing personality types is to understand and appreciate differences between people, to facilitate information about teams of people, and to foster communication and cooperation. Sounds like it has 2020 written all over it.
Have you taken Myers-Briggs? What were your results?
The Five Love Languages
Another popular “test” is this one, which was developed around the fact that everyone gives and receives love differently. In his bestselling book of the same name, Dr. Gary Chapman offers tools based on the idea that relationships grow better when we understand each other better. When we’re not on the same page, he writes, keeping love alive can be intimidating and often impossible. This is the case not only for spouses or those dating, but siblings, friends, and coworkers.
My Primary Love Language is Words of Affirmation. To me, actions don’t always speak louder than words. Unsolicited compliments mean the world to me as is hearing the reasons behind kind and loving words. Insults can leave me shattered and are not easily forgotten. I can hear my daughter saying “Mom, don’t get so butt hurt” in the back of my mind as I write this. I get butt hurt. I do. If you wanna make me happy though, offer kind, encouraging, and positive words, which are truly life-giving to me. If that’s not possible, give me gifts, as Receiving Gifts was my second most important Love Language followed in order by Acts of Service, Quality Time, and Physical Touch.
What about you? What is your Love Language?
The Four Tendencies
This test was developed by author and speaker Gretchen Rubin and asks the simple question “How do I respond to expectations?” The premise being we gain insight into ourselves and when we know how other people respond to expectations, we understand them far more effectively. Again, this is beneficial in so many realms of life: families, schools, coworkers, teammates, and the like.
The test’s framework reveals Four Tendencies: Upholder, Questioner, Obliger, and Rebel and works around the fact that we all face two kinds of expectations: outer and inner and how we respond to them determines our Tendency. Outer expectations may be deadlines while inner are things like keeping New Year’s resolutions. Being aware of our Tendency can help us achieve our goals, make better decisions, keep promises and commitments, reduce stress, and engage more deeply in others. Knowing how others respond through their Tendencies may reduce conflict, increase productivity, and increase significant and lasting change.
My Tendency is Upholder. Shocker, right? Upholders generally want to know what should be done, do what others expect of them, and do what they expect of themselves. In other words, they meet both outer and inner expectations. They wake up thinking “What’s on the schedule and to do list today?” So. Very. Me.
An Upholder hates letting both others and themselves down. Others can rely on them and they often rely on themselves. They know what’s expected, avoid making mistakes, and hates letting people down. They want to understand rules, have a strong instinct for self-preservation, embrace habits and form them fairly easily as they find habits gratifying, are self-directed, have little trouble meeting commitments, keep resolutions, and meet deadlines, which came in especially handy back in my TV news days. Two huge deadlines every day that you did not want to miss!
On the downside, Upholders may struggle in situations where expectations aren’t clear, feel uneasy when they’re not obeying the rules, or when they’re asked to change plans at the last minute. Others may find them rigid and relentless. Hashtag raising my guilty hand.
The other three Tendencies are:
Questioners, who want justifications and do what they think is best and according to their judgement but if it doesn’t make sense, they won’t do it. They resist outer expectations but meet inner expectations.
Obligers is the biggest group, with just over 40 percent falling into this category. They need accountability and do what they have to do. They don’t want to let others down but they may tend to let themselves down. The meet outer expectations but resist inner expectations.
Rebels want freedom to do something their way and in their own way. If you try to make them do something, they can tend to be less likely to do even if they try to make themselves do so. They resist both outer and inner expectations.
When we understand ourselves and how our Tendency shapes our world perspective, we can adapt our circumstances to suit our lives and when we can see the perspectives and Tendency of others, we can engage with them more effectively and their actions make sense.
To take this short, free quiz; purchase the book; or enroll in a video course, visit gretchenrubin.com.
What’s Your Play Personality?
This test is all about unleashing the inner child in us. It reminds us of when we were kids and would spend hours playing carefree and without distractions. Research shows that active plays is essential to a child’s development in that it improves important life skills like emotional intelligence and problem-solving prowess and we continue to learn that playtime is also beneficial for adults as it keeps us stronger, healthier, reduces stress, deepens our relationships, and expands our creativity.
Sadly, we grow up and forget how to play. Not workout. Not compete. Truly play. So, take a minute to remind yourself of what inspired you to play when we were little and what makes you most happy when we play, then take this fun quiz to access your play personality. It’s all based on Dr. Stuart Brown’s book “Play: How It Shapes the Brain, Opens the Imagination, and Invigorates the Soul” and defines eight Play Personalities: Joker, Kinesthete, Explorer, Competitor, Director, Collector, Artist, and Storyteller.
No surprise here that I tested for The Storyteller. Most people have multiple Play Personalities and I feel I have a bit of Director in me as well as I like to plan and organize events, as its description details, but Storyteller is what I tested at. Storytellers play through stories and imagination and love to create stories, novels, movies, plays, and performances. I’m not much of a performer as I don’t like attention, but I do enjoy reading novels, writing, or watching movies, which are also part of a Storyteller’s Play Personality. Additional traits include getting lost in a story and feeling the thoughts and emotions of characters in a story and gravitating toward book clubs and writer’s groups. Hmmmm…yes, that’s me but in reading it I’m hearing “you need to get out more Carla!”
Check out this fun quiz at reimagineplay.com
Tibetan Personality Assessment
Another fun test I want to quickly touch upon is the Tibetan Personality Assessment. It’s a simple four question quiz said to reveal a lot about how you see your life on an innermost level and your attitude towards certain people. It’s hard to describe here or reveal my results because you are asked to put certain items in order not knowing why and by revealing my answers I’d give away conclusions , but trust me, it’s fun and it’s very revealing. I did it at work some years back and learned a lot from it. Many sites offer it so just search for it online if you’re curious.
Another popular personality test is the Enneagram. I’ve never taken it but know many who have. It is based on the ancient enneagram symbol and reveals patterns to describe how people interpret and manage their emotions. It consists of nine personality types and uses the ancient enneagram symbol that can be traced back as far as the work of Pythagoras to illustrate how the types relate to on another. Using Virtues, Passions, Holy Ideas, and Ego-Fixations, nine personality types are described. They are: Reformer, Helper, Achiever, Individualist, Investigator, Loyalist, Enthusiast, Challenger, and Peacemaker. My guess is I’d be a Reformer, Individualist, or Loyalist. The test has long been used in both business and spirituality contexts as a way of helping participants gain self-awareness, self-understanding, and self-development. Have you taken this test? What did it reveal?
Much of all of these is the old right brain/left brain thought process. I know I am very left brain dominant but I’ve never understood how or why letters and numbers are on the same side as I am horrible with numbers but love all things letters, language, and grammar. I also think way more long-term than short-term. Guess no one is perfect after all. But we already knew that.
The beauty of all these tests are they highlight both strengths and weaknesses. I’m the first one to tell you I wish I wasn’t such a planner and could be more spontaneous so if you’re reading this and are any of the opposites of me, give me a call. This Introvert/ISFJ/Upholder/Storyteller needs a little prodding! Test me. I just might pass.