I have mixed feelings about personality testing. Sometimes I think it’s just a waste of time. I mean honestly, what does it actually tell you? Plus I hate the idea that people, with all their complexities, can be stuck into little boxes and told ‘this is who you are.’
But then there are times when I start to think it’s actually quite interesting. Sometimes, you actually get some insight, and think, ‘hey, maybe I really am like that.’ So still possibly a waste of time, but a quite interesting one.
I’ve done a bunch of different personality tests, mainly in the context of my work (or as I prefer to describe it, the full-time hobby that pays me – writing is my real work). I can’t remember the specifics of all these tests, but there is one that stands out. The daddy of all personality tests – the Myers-Briggs Type Indicator.
Anyone who’s been in the professional workforce for any length of time will have encountered the good old Myers-Briggs. As for me, I’ve actually done it three separate times, in three separate jobs.
The first time I did it, it was an interesting experience. I can’t remember the exact type I was given, but I didn’t like it. What it seemed to be saying about me was that I tended to be a bit delusional and didn’t see myself as I really was. I complained to the person giving me the test, and he agreed that I was actually quite borderline and could probably be slotted into an alternate type. I can’t exactly remember this type either but I reckon it was INFJ – and one of the hallmarks of INFJ is that people tend not to understand you. So I went from being a type who didn’t understand himself to a type who understood himself better than anyone else. Win-win as far as I was concerned.
Since then, I’ve taken the Myers-Briggs test a couple of additional times. And now that I have a better idea of how it works, I’m much more careful with my answers. I want to be sure that I get slotted back into the INFJ category. And why shouldn’t I? After all, we INFJs are pretty special. Apparently, we’re the most rare of all the types, and we possess a bunch of the qualities that I hold most dear – creativity, introspection, and sensitivity to others. So I may not particularly believe all this personality test hokum, but if it tells me what I want to hear about myself, I’ll be a willing participant.
I suppose it’s a bit like my stories. Like me, they defy being pushed into a single box. But if people say nice things about them, that’s all right with me.
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