Communicating with others about one’s interests, abilities and traits requires a certain amount of common language. Some personality tests and skills profiles provide points of reference for that communication.
There are a variety of profiling models out there, from astrology and palm reading to enneagrams and Myers-Briggs surveys. I’m not persuaded by any of them, but each does provide a set of reference points. Of the examples I’ve looked at, most ask a buch of context-free questions and do some magick on the answers, then announce my character type. That’s not very helpful, because I need some context in order to choose my answers.
For example, one test asks me to rank this question on a scale between –2 and +2.
You often think about humankind and its destiny.
Um, no. I’m not even sure what that question is about. Multiply that by several questions on a given survey, and then consider that different surveys pose their questions in other ways, and each then produces a different result. I end up being an ENFP on one, INTJ on another, and INFP on a third.
So it was with some relief that I found this set of grouped questions:
Am I more inclined to Group A, or B?
Have high energy
Talk more than listen
Think out loud
Act, then think
Like to be around people a lot
Prefer a public role
Can sometimes be easily distracted
Prefer to do lots of things at once
Are outgoing & enthusiastic
Have quiet energy
Listen more than talk
Think quietly inside their heads
Think, then act
Feel comfortable being alone
Prefer to work “behind-the-scenes”
Have good powers of concentration
Prefer to focus on one thing at a time
Are self-contained and reserved
While I identify with several elements in each group, I’ve got more affinity to the Group B traits. Easy!
That still doesn’t mean I like the overall outcome. There’s still some magick going on in there. That’s true regardless of which Myers–Briggs result I get. Their personality types just don’t click for me. So I’m inclined to put aside the results and just look at the traits as identified.
There’s no point in me going round saying I’m ENFP or whatever. That’s meaningless. But there is mileage in saying I’m more self-actuated than group-minded; that I am about equally balanced between the abstract and the experiential, am much more about adapting to circumstance than sticking to routine; more about openness than closure, and slightly more analytical than intuitive, a nearly equal measure of both.
From all that, my aim is to find a bunch of traits that resonate with me, and which I can put into my own narrative context. Things like that I value autonomy, and am happy to just get on with stuff, but also enjoy working with groups, preferably in a partnership or leadership role. Teamwork is best for me when it’s shared among peers. From that, I could say something about egalitarian values. But before doing that I’d want to find a context for it: where does sharing fit in as a character trait, a skill, or a strength?
So, back to the profiling…