Identity | A free personality test
Some turn to personality tests to learn more about themselves. One of the more popular tests is DISC (dominance, inducement, submission & compliance). Imagine, taking 7.4 billion people and being able to place them all in to one of four boxes. Scientists, could then develop recipes for negotiating collaboration and competition between the boxes and life would become a much easier experience. The feedback you receive from personality tests shapes your belief about yourself, but is the feedback justified and true?
Now, for that free personality test I promised you.
Take the following four DISC statements and select the ONE that best describes you and the ONE that least describes you:
1. I have a great deal of will power
2. I always take notice of what other people say
3. I try to be obliging
4. I am always cheerful
Out of curiosity, what context did you use when responding to the question? Would your response change if you changed the context (e.g. work to home). What mood are you in right now and how is that influencing your response (e.g. how could you say that you are always cheerful if you have just arrived late to work after being stuck in traffic for the last hour)? How do you deal with the grey area (i.e. what do you do when you are being forced to respond to a question where there is no clear answer in your mind)? Do you always take notice of what others are saying and would your significant other say different? Are you really always cheerful; your friends might think so, but you just shouted at someone who cut you off during the drive to work? Remember the people you allowed to cut in front of you in the lunch line, are you saying you don’t try to be obliging? You have a great deal of will power, but you haven’t managed to maintain that exercise regime you promised yourself at New Year. Are you cheating; in other words, are you stating what you really believe or what you think an ‘assessor’ needs to see (e.g. are you going for a promotion, where you know they are looking for a certain personality type and, therefore you are shaping you responses accordingly)?
But you are probably eager to get your feedback and ignored all these challenges and answered the question. Then you trust someone who you probably don’t know, such as me, to interpret automated feedback and reveal to you your inner-self. But have you considered whether the expert’s view is justified enough to shape your beliefs; after all, feedback is limited by the ability of the expert to interpret your responses (e.g. their view of dominance is likely constrained by their own experiences of dominant personalities and the consequent of actions, positive and negative, experienced in collaborating/competing with that personality)?
But never mind all that, I am an expert, trust me, and using the combined power of our two minds, I am now going to reveal your inner-self.
You have a need for other people to like and admire you, and yet you tend to be critical of yourself.
While you have some personality weaknesses you are generally able to compensate for them.
You have considerable unused capacity that you have not turned to your advantage. Disciplined and self-controlled on the outside, you tend to be worrisome and insecure on the inside.
At times you have serious doubts as to whether you have made the right decision or done the right thing.
You prefer a certain amount of change and variety and become dissatisfied when hemmed in by restrictions and limitations.
You also pride yourself as an independent thinker; and do not accept others’ statements without satisfactory proof. But you have found it unwise to be too frank in revealing yourself to others.
At times you are extroverted, affable, and sociable, while at other times you are introverted, wary, and reserved.
Some of your aspirations tend to be rather unrealistic.
Rate the accuracy of my feedback on a scale of 1 to 5 – My name is Barnum, and according to the science I am likely to be around 84% accurate (in case you’re interested, it’s called the Forer Effect).
There’s much more to the science, but my hope is that this blog tickles your skepticism and leads you to think more deeply about your identity and whether that identity is stable or whether it evolves with experience and the context you find yourself in.
In seeking to know yourself better, beware of false truths and don’t let people pigeon hole you!