Welcome to our new guide on examining personalities! If you've read our guide on how to be happy, you'll know that we emphasize a lot about personality throughout the process of discovering happiness.
If you haven't checked out our guide on happiness yet, do give it a read!
Happiness is intrinsically linked with the things we do in our day to day life and the choices we make. However, it can be hard to decide what we want, and figure out a direction to progress towards, making it hard to find happiness.
In this guide, we will explore the various aspects of personality, examining your own strengths and weaknesses, as well as how personality can help shape our decisions and aid us in finding a direction to work towards in life.
Chapters in this guide:
Part 1 - The Importance Of Personality
Part 2 - Introversion Vs Extraversion
In this first part, we will be looking at the importance of personality and why we need to understand it, setting the foundations for the rest of this guide.
What is personality?
How would you describe someone's personality? When we say the word "personality", we inevitably think of how a person acts. What would this person choose, under different situations? What are this person's preferences and values as a person?
In essence, a personality can be said to be the encapsulation of what makes a person, well, a person. A unique human being like no other.
As such, it embodies our world views, our attitudes and behaviors, and impacts how we view and treat both ourselves and the people around us.
Why is personality so important?
For most people, there tends to be two different kinds of personalities within us - an inner personality, which is who we really are and want to be, as well as an outer personality, which is the side which we want to show other people and who we want other people to think we are.
For maximum happiness, we want to reconcile these two personalities. That is to say that we want to be ourselves, and do the things we love doing, but we also want the people around us to appreciate us for who we are, and not who they think we are.
We've talked about the convergence of human behavior before in our how to be happy guide. In essence, people who like similar things tend to end up interacting more with one another. Makes sense, right?
Therefore, your personality, as an encapsulation of who you are and what you like to do, determines a lot about the kind of people you attract towards you. If you want people to appreciate who you are as a person, you need to be doing things that reflect you as a person.
This means that instead of choosing and doing the things you don't like to do, things against your personality type, you want to be doing the things that you like to do in terms of your personality to meet people who will appreciate you for who you are.
In simple terms, this means not setting up a fake facade of yourself to make yourself seem more attractive or more hip than you actually are.
Firstly, it takes a lot of effort and gives you a lot of stress to do so. Secondly, this will only attract people who like your fake personality, and will make you less happy in the long run, doing things that don't match your interests or habits. It's just not worth it.
Understanding our personality helps us in knowing which choices to make that will lead towards the things we like to do, and the way we react in certain situations.
Specifically, it lets us know what things we like and dislike, giving us a clearer direction in which to work towards.
In the process of understanding our personality, we also become more acutely aware of our own strengths and weaknesses. We know what to work on, as well as what we should improve.
This aids us in becoming a better, more well rounded person who is able to stand for their own values while being more accepting of others.
Understanding your personality is the first step towards learning to love and appreciate yourself for who you are. This helps in laying down the road for others to accept you for who you truly are.
If you do the things you love to do, and people love you for you, then that's two big things to be happy about, isn't it?
As the saying goes:
Personality makes the person.
Don't shy away from who you are - embrace it, understand it, and refine it. At the end, you'll become a better person, and attract people who like you for being you.
What is the MBTI?
Personality is something that is very hard to quantify. How would you describe the myriad of personalities out there?
Often, we describe people with a simple word, like happy, reserved, or simply insane... but that doesn't really say much about their personality other than a superficial representation about it.
Luckily, there have been much research into personalities, and the most popular way today to determine a personality type is through the Myers-Briggs Type Indicator (MBTI).
Created by Isabel Briggs Myers based on the research of Carl Jung, the MBTI is essentially a four letter code that represents four aspects of a person's personality.
The four aspects are namely:
- Introversion/Extraversion (I/E)
- Sensing/Intuition (S/N)
- Thinking/Feeling (T/F)
- Judging/Perception (J/P)
Using the abbreviations shown on the right, you'll get a four letter code describing your personality, such as ISTJ or ENFP.
All four aspects of the MBTI function like a scale. They measure whether you lean towards one side or another in terms of your response when facing various situations.
Note that you can have no preference towards either side, meaning that you can switch between your choice at will. This means you are flexible enough to switch your tendencies to adapt to situations when you're required to.
The first letter of the MBTI basically measures your response to social situations. If you're more introverted, you prefer introspection and privacy, and if you're extraverted, you prefer interaction and.
The second letter describes how people perceive and interpret things. People who lean towards sensing generally prefer tangible things, learning through interaction and concrete means. Those that leans towards intuition are more open to abstraction, valuing meaning and future possibilities.
The third letter relates to decision making. The thinking type tends to make decisions rationally, leaning more towards realism and logic. The feeling type, on the other hand, values emotions more. They tend to make decisions based on their own values and how things relate to them.
The last letter examines how one's life is structured and how they interpret their surroundings. People who lean towards judging prefer structure in their lives, keeping things organized and within control. Those that prefer perceiving have a more relaxed view, making impromptu decisions or doing things on a whim without a clear plan.
In addition to these four letters, there's also a fifth final letter that corresponds to your identity.
The final letter basically relates to how you view your own self. Assertive people are generally more confident in their decision and in themselves, believing in their own choices.
Turbulent people on the other hand often question themselves and are more dissatisfied with their current situation, often seeking to change or improve themselves in one way or another.
Note that there are no "better" or "worse" personality types. Whichever four letter word you end up with, they are all equal. The key point here is to acknowledge how we respond to certain situations and identify our strengths and weaknesses. That is how we improve.
Why is knowing your MBTI important?
The MBTI is not a measure of trait, ability or character. As mentioned, personalities are hard to describe and are not fixed.
Instead, the MBTI aims to map out the behavior of a person. What are your preferences in different situations? How would you react, or what is your preference in your response to various triggers?
This is because while a person's personality in the general sense of the word is hard to describe, a person's behavior is much more consistent and observable. How a person behaves give us key insights into a person's personality.
The MBTI has become popular due to it being quite accurate in determining a person's thoughts and personality consistently. This means that even as you repeat the test, you usually end up with the same result if you follow your instincts.
This makes it useful in using it as a base to understand yourself, how you approach different situations, and how you tend to make choices. You can then gain a better understanding of where to improve.
It is also useful in understanding other people. With a preliminary knowledge of someone else's MBTI, you'll know their subtle preferences and how they tend to think, allowing you to approach others with more care.
Where do we go from here?
Find out your MBTI type by taking the test below.
We won't be going into detail on each of the 16 possible personality types, because the website already does that in detail.
Do read through your report, including the strengths and weaknesses as well as how you approach various stages of life and relationships, including friendship, romance, family and work.
Determining your profile is only the first step in the process. Throughout this guide, we will not be going over things specific to your profile - there are simply too many combinations and that website probably does a good job already.
What we'll do instead is take a macro view on each of the aspects of the MBTI. We'll examine how most people act within each of the four letters, the general strengths and weaknesses, as well as how to work on them.
We will also explore some societal trends, common pitfalls, and building up your personality to be the best version of yourself you can be.
Remember, no personality type is better than the other. Embrace your own type, and seek to improve on yourself. After all, we are always dealt with a start hand, and it's up to us to make what we can out of it.
In the next part of this guide to understanding your personality, we'll examine introversion vs extraversion and how to cope with being either.
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