Social Experiment: A New Approach to Myers-Brigg

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So you know that Myers-Brigg personality test?

If not, that’s fine. I’ll explain here. There’s about 65 statements in this test and all you really need to do is agree or disagree on a scale (strongly agree, neutral, etc.). Fairly simple test – the questions aren’t hard (more like “You like to go to parties – Agree or Disagree?”). With that, the test then tells you what your personality is and the qualities that coincide with that. Here are the traits.

Extroverted (E) v. Introverted (I)

Intuitive (N) v. Observant (S)

Thinking (T) v. Feeling (F)

Judgement (J) v. Perceptive (P)

Interestingly enough, overtime, your Myers-Brigg changes. Why? Well, because you as a person change as well, and it’s not surprising to see something different. At first, when I saw my personality change between a few years, I was somewhat confused just because I didn’t think I was THAT different from the year before. What was even more surprising was the fact that I didn’t realize how much I had changed.

So today, I retook the test and got this: ENFJ. This is the “protagonist” with the following description:

ENFJs are natural-born leaders, full of passion and charisma. Forming around two percent of the population, they are oftentimes our politicians, our coaches and our teachers, reaching out and inspiring others to achieve and to do good in the world. With a natural confidence that begets influence, ENFJs take a great deal of pride and joy in guiding others to work together to improve themselves and their community.

Cool. Have no real emotions toward this other than to say, “Probs true.” However, the thing about these descriptions is that they also tell you your strengths and weaknesses, ideal romantic relationships, fit careers, etc. After reading through my strengths, I felt pretty good about myself. I consider myself to be fairly tolerant, charismatic, reliable, and altruistic. However, then I read my weaknesses, which I realized pulled out the worst in me: insecurity. Too sensitive. Too vulnerable.

A part of me doesn’t want to believe it. Four letters do NOT define who you are because every person is different and unique (which is a fact that I really want you to walk away with after this). But it’s true…and then I got to thinking. What if I took this Myers-Brigg test as the person I want to be?

So here’s my proposition/social experiment: take the test twice. The first time, take it as yourself. The second time, take it as the person you want to be. Then compare the differences.

If anything, this was a way for myself to avoid doing homework. But when I did compare these two “personas” I realized the big gap between my “real” self and my “ideal” self. When I took the test the second time, I got ESFP with this:

ESFPs are social, fun-loving, free-spirited people who live life in the moment and squeeze every little bit of excitement from everything. Naturally, they don’t spare any of this freshness and energy when dating. For people with the ESFP personality type, relationships aren’t about slowly building foundations for the future, or planning out a life – they are bubbling, unpredictable things to be enjoyed for as long as there’s enjoyment to be had.

Not that there’s anything wrong with being an ENFJ, but ideally, we would want these two test results to match. Because really, shouldn’t we be living the way we want to live? Shouldn’t my “real” self be the same as my “ideal” self? In some ways, I ended up being the exact opposite. I have too many guards up. I’m not as free-spirited as I tell people. I’m not as adventurous as I say I am.

Then another thing hit me after I read each description. There are weaknesses to every personality and every person. Being an ESFP may “get rid” of some of my insecurity only to be unfocused and conflict-averse instead.

Again, four letters do not define who we are. But as a social experiment, it’s really interesting to see how reality is never the way we want it, just through a self-reflection. What are we doing? Why aren’t we the way we want to be?

Well, we can’t always be selfless, humble, exciting, friendly, and every quality we find appealing at the same time – that’s part of being human. So what do we do? Do we accept who we are in the status quo?

Maybe we should never be accepting the status quo, because, all in all, change is inevitable whether or not it is good. I’ve changed so much and I realized a lot of this by just taking the Myers-Brigg test twice (lol). The thing is though that there is no “ideal” self because there are strengths and weaknesses to everything. Different traits make us stronger and different. At the same time, what is strength and what is weakness? We can’t define what is good or bad, because maybe being sensitive is a good thing and is considered a strength. No test can tell you what is good or bad, especially one that describes your personality that is purely shaped and molded by you.

 

               

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