Are you a Type 3 or a Type 8? An INTJ or an ENTP? Don’t know?
Then you probably haven’t completed an online personality test yet!
There are good reasons to do a personality self-assessment, but you should also be aware of the pitfalls…
Online psychometric tests based on the Enneagram or the Meyers-Briggs (MBTI) are very popular. They are designed to reveal what type of person you are. Many tests are completely free and the results can be a good starting point for your Self-Improvement. Understanding your own personality can boost your self-confidence and motivation. But beware: there are hidden dangers, too!
What is personality typing?
The two most popular types of personality tests are based on the Jungian Myers-Briggs (MBTI) or the Enneagram. Both of these tests are quiz-based: you are asked a series of questions and your answers determine which of several predefined personality “types” you fall into.
The two tests are quite different. Speaking (very) broadly, the Myers-Briggs test addresses how you behave, whereas the Enneagram focuses on why you behave this way. This difference in approach means their results can often complement one another to give you a fuller picture.
Five good reasons to take a personality test
Even while you are taking the tests, considering and answering questions about yourself encourages you to reflect on your actions and motivations. This can be an enlightening process.
When you get your results, they usually come with a comprehensive description of your personality type. You will probably find yourself identifying clearly with several positive traits. Reading about your strengths can be highly motivational.
No-one (not even the INTJ) wants to feel completely different and disconnected from everyone else. Personality typing helps you see there are plenty of other people who see life in a similar way to you. You are not alone…
Your type description will help you understand more of your beliefs, standards, drives and motivations. Knowledge is power; self-knowledge is no exception.
When focusing your Self-Improvement efforts, a list of your potential strengths and weaknesses can be a great place to start.
Before taking a personality test, however, you might like to consider the following:
- You might not get the test results you want or expect. Discovering you are introverted rather than extroverted might not be what you want to hear, for example.
- Sometimes you just don’t quite fit the type you are given. Myers-Briggs offers only 16 distinct personality types: not everyone will fit exactly and you might be left dissatisfied or feeling like a bit of a “misfit.”
- The personality descriptions given with the test results can be quite complex and academic. And the further you read and research, the more complicated it becomes…
- As well as your strengths, you will probably find some of your weaknesses in your type description. Often, just one negative comment can outweigh any number of encouragement; you will need to actively balance your bouquets with your brickbats.
- When considering aspects of your personality that need improvement, it’s easy to fall into the trap of thinking “I can’t help it, it’s just the way I am.” This is neither accurate nor helpful. It can lead to feelings of inadequacy and powerlessness.
To test or not to test?
There are definitely several Self-Improvement benefits from taking psychometric personality tests. Provided you are willing to take the results and use them to positively impact your personal development, I would definitely recommend that you give them a try. There are some free links below to get started. But do make sure you are realistic about the potential pitfalls!
NOTE: I would not recommend personality tests to anyone suffering from a mental illness. (I’m pretty sure they wouldn’t have helped me back when I was suffering from depression.)
If you decide testing is for you, here are some useful links:
You could also read these excellent books:
IMPORTANT: Please make sure you “Leave A Reply” at the foot of this page and tell me if you decided to do the test, and why (or why not.) Maybe you could tell us what personality type you came out with and how accurate you think it is? I look forward to your comments!
To our continued Self-Improvement and success!
The Self-Improvement Guy