Knowing Myself: Part 1 – Personality

One of the biggest benefits I’ve gotten out of getting into minimalism and meditation, is it has led me to look inwards and self-reflect. A lot of the information I was reading and listening to was talking about aligning your life with your values and cultivating your passions. That’s great, but what exactly are my values and just what am I passionate about? As I started getting rid of the excess stuff in my life and the more I got into meditation, I begun asking these questions a lot more.

So I’ve decided to share the process I went through to start finding a little bit more about myself. The first step I took was a Myers-Briggs personality test. Whilst I have done one of these in the past, I didn’t really give it too much notice at the time. I don’t think a personality test paints a complete picture, but I feel it is a good stepping off point. The best free personality test I found is over at 16Personalities. It gives you a very detailed report on your personality and it has a weighting score on each of the attributes, which I like.

I’ve run through the test a few times and each time I got the INFJ-T or Advocate personality type. So let me break that down.

Introverted (96%) – I’ve definitively known that I was high on the introvert scale for a long time. In my high-school years and early in my Army training and career, I was told a number of times that I needed to speak up and participate in group activities a lot more. Looking back, I agree with what they were saying. I did need to speak up more and I did need to participate in group activities. But it’s not something that came naturally to me. I’ve needed to work on those areas and I still need to work on them to this day. My default setting is spending time alone or in small groups with close friends and family. I get anxious and exhausted by being in large group environments and I really dislike being the center of attention. On the flip side of that though, I find I tend to listen a lot more and I think things through and plan before making a decision. Which has been a useful trait in my career.

Intuitive (60%) – This attribute defines how you receive and process information, but I’m a little bit on the fence about this one. Intuitive people process information through patterns and impressions and also value inspiration and imagination. They also see the ‘big picture’. The alternative is Sensing. Sensing people are concrete and literal thinkers, they value realism and common sense. I think I’m a little bit of both and given that I got 60% towards intuitive, this is probably about right. I like looking at the big picture and planning for the future, but I also base a lot of my decisions on realism and common sense.

Feeling (67%) – This attribute defines how you make decisions, do you use your heart (feeling) or do you use your head (thinking) to make decisions. Again I’m probably a bit of both on this one. I lean towards more critical thinking and problem solving, which is a thinking trait. But I also go with my gut at times and seek to please others, which is more of a feeling trait.

Judging (61%) – This attribute defines how you interact with the world. People with the judging trait like schedules and structure, they also stick to deadlines. People with the Perceiving trait are more adaptable and flexible, they also like keeping their options open. I certainly like structure and schedules, but I also like to think that I can keep my options open, but not at the determent of the deadline.

Turbulent (81%) – The last attribute defines how confident we are in our decisions and abilities. People with the turbulent trait are more self conscious and sensitive to stress. They also tend to be more perfectionist and wanting to constantly improve. People with the Assertive trait are a lot more self-assured and resistant to stress. They also don’t dwell on the past. I definitely align with the turbulent trait, but I will say that meditation has helped me to deal with stress and move on from past decisions.

I firmly believe that knowing yourself will led to a much more fulfilling life. And I’m glad that I’ve taken the steps to understand myself a lot more. It’s led me to fell a lot better about the direction I’m on.

In part 2 I’ll look at how I identified my values and what this means for me.