Have you ever taken a personality assessment? I remember the first time I completed one; it was during my college Psychology class. I recall struggling with many of the questions, trying to decide which one was the “right” answer. That alone should give you an idea of my dominant personality type. When I got the results, I failed to understand them or grasp the broader application, so they got tossed aside.
It wasn’t until many years later that I came back to this topic and began to uncover the benefits of understanding personality types. I used a simpler assessment and my mindset was much more open, and those two things made a world of difference.
I’ve recently had the opportunity to work with a friend on a curriculum he’s developing. He asked me to do a module on personality and it was a great reminder of how beneficial personality study can be. Let me explain what I mean.
All Personalities Are Good
One of the things that I remember most from my second run at personality study is coming to see that all the personality types are good, including mine. Because I didn’t have some qualities which I recognized and admired in others, I felt like I was lacking or deficient. But what I realized was there is no good/bad, right/wrong when it comes to personalities. It is just who we are, how God wired us. And if that is true for me, then it is true for you as well.
Know Your Strengths
There is so much that goes into who we are, but I believe we are wired from birth to have certain tendencies which can be traced to personality type. Take a simple introvert/extrovert example. Some children are more outgoing and need to play in groups, while others prefer to hang back and play by themselves. Although our culture often celebrates the extrovert, neither is better. They just are.
The more you understand how you are wired, the better you can approach life from the position of your strengths. Of course, not everything will play to your strengths. And just because something isn’t your strength, doesn’t mean it can’t be developed. But your enjoyment and fulfillment will be higher if you can play to your strengths.
The real advantage of studying personalities is being able to better understand, relate to, and communicate with others. Understanding personality types from a learners mindset helps you learn about others—their strengths, their tendencies. But it is what you do with this knowledge that matters. As an example, working with someone whose communication style is direct and to the point, when yours is not, can be frustrating. Recognizing this allows you to make adjustments in how you approach them and reduce the frustration. Or how about your spouse who is frequently late, disorganized, or forgetful? Personality trait doesn’t excuse poor behavior. But it may indicate their strengths are elsewhere, such as creativity, optimism, or motivating people. The key is to leverage this understanding to improve your relationships.
If you’ve never taken a personality assessment, I highly recommend the time investment. There are many different options to choose from, but if you looking for simple and a little fun, try this one: http://smalley.cc/images/Personality-Test.pdf. Remember, this is one test you cannot fail!
If you do have a good grasp on your personality, I challenge you to use that understanding in a way that improves your relationships. They are part of every area of life. And the better your relationships are, the more likely you are to be fulfilled and successful in your endeavors.
PS – If you take this assessment, I’d love to know your thoughts and results. Can you guess my dominant type?