By Jeff Louderback
At any age, self-awareness is a valuable tool. For me, its importance has heightened as I turned 50 on July 1.
Life is a series of chapters, and everyone’s book has seen an array of exhilarating moments, fulfilling accomplishments and memorable adventures to accompany some regrettable mistakes and deflating setbacks.
Simply put, we are human.
Fueled by a fascination with the human brain, and motivated to gain greater self-awareness so I can enter a new decade poised to fully reach my capabilities personally and professionally, I am a firm believer in personality tests.
As humans, we have beating hearts that wage battle with stimulated brains about decisions, thoughts and feelings. Honest feedback is not always flattering, nor is it pleasant to learn. Consequently, many of us have a low level of self-awareness. We like hearing the good, but we generally dread receiving what we deem as bad. Yet self-reflection is an essential first-step to improving as a person. This introspection propels personal growth and professional development.
With our frenetic schedules and intense demands on our time, investing even a few minutes on taking a personality test can be daunting. There are so many online. Which ones are reputable, and free? Which ones offer a unique perspective?
It is clear that no test will give you a 100 percent pinpoint accurate assessment of every aspect that makes you “you,” yet these forums offer credible insight about who we are, why we think and behave the way we do, what our potential is and how we can improve ourselves. Keep in mind with any personality test to answer the questions for yourself with how you feel, and not how you want others to see you. If you can’t make a perfect match between a question and any answer, choose the alternative that is more true than the other.
Here are three of the most respected and engaging personality tests on the Internet that are no cost:
This is my favorite because it is based on Carl Gustav Jung’s study of psychological traits and the renowned Myers-Briggs test. Through 16 Personalities, you will learn about yourself through categories like Strengths and Weaknesses, Romantic Relationships, Friendships, Parenthood, Career Paths and Workplace Habits.
I am a vivid ENFP (Extraverted, iNtuitive, Feeling, Perceiving). Carl G. Jung’s theory of psychological types characterizes people by their preference of general attitude:
- Extraverted (E) vs. Introverted (I),
- Sensing (S) vs. Intuition (N),
- Thinking (T) vs. Feeling (F)
- Judging (J) vs. Perceiving (P)
In the overview, part of my description reads,
“The ENFP personality is a true free spirit. They are often the life of the party, but unlike Explorers, they are less interested in the sheer excitement and pleasure of the moment than they are in enjoying the social and emotional connections they make with others. ENFPs are fiercely independent, and much more than stability and security, they crave creativity and freedom. Many other types are likely to find these qualities irresistible, and if they’ve found a cause that sparks their imagination, ENFPs will bring an energy that oftentimes thrusts them into the spotlight, held up by their peers as a leader and a guru – but this isn’t always where independence-loving ENFPs want to be.”
A small sample of the Strengths and Weaknesses section includes:
- Curious – When it comes to new ideas, ENFPs aren’t interested in brooding – they want to go out and experience things, and don’t hesitate to step out of their comfort zones to do so. ENFPs are imaginative and open-minded, seeing all things as part of a big, mysterious puzzle called life.
- Energetic and Enthusiastic – As they observe, forming new connections and ideas, ENFPs won’t hold their tongues – they’re excited about their findings, and share them with anyone who’ll listen. This infectious enthusiasm has the dual benefit of giving ENFPs a chance to make more social connections, and of giving them a new source of information and experience.
- Excellent Communicators – It’s a good thing that ENFPs have such strong people skills, or they’d never express these ideas. ENFPs enjoy deep, meaningful conversations, and are adept at steering conversations towards their desired subjects in ways that feel completely natural and unforced.
- Very Popular and Friendly – All this adaptability and spontaneity comes together to form a person who is approachable, interesting and exciting, with a cooperative and altruistic spirit and friendly, empathetic disposition. ENFPs get along with pretty much everyone, and their circles of friends stretch far and wide.
- Find it Difficult to Focus – ENFPs are natural explorers of interpersonal connections and philosophy, but this backfires when what needs to be done is that TPS report sitting right in front of them. It’s hard for ENFPs to maintain interest as tasks drift towards routine, administrative matters, and away from broader concepts.
- Overthink Things – ENFPs don’t take things at face value – they look for underlying motives in even the simplest things. It’s not uncommon for ENFPs to lose a bit of sleep asking themselves why someone did what they did, what it might mean, and what to do about it.
- Highly Emotional – While emotional expression is healthy and natural, with ENFPs even viewing it as a core part of their identity, it can come out strongly enough to cause problems for this personality type. Particularly when under stress, criticism or conflict, ENFPs can experience emotional bursts that are counter-productive at best.
- Independent to a Fault – ENFPs loathe being micromanaged and restrained by heavy-handed rules – they want to be seen as highly independent masters of their own fates, even possessors of an altruistic wisdom that goes beyond draconian law. The challenge for ENFPs is that they live in a world of checks and balances, a pill they are not happy to swallow.
And the conclusion:
“Few personality types are as creative and charismatic as ENFPs. Known for their idealism and enthusiasm, ENFPs are good at dealing with unexpected challenges and brightening the lives of those around them. ENFPs’ imagination is invaluable in many areas, including their own personal growth.
Yet ENFPs can be easily tripped up in areas where idealism and kindness are more of a liability than an asset. Whether it is finding (or keeping) a partner, staying calm under pressure, reaching dazzling heights on the career ladder or making difficult decisions, ENFPs need to put in a conscious effort to develop their weaker traits and additional skills.”
Visit 16 Personalities to take the test.
A mirror offers the most accurate reflection of your current appearance. Based on an ancient body of wisdom that identifies nine core personality types and how each sees and interacts with the world, Enneagram is the best personality test for presenting a mirror to your body, mind and spirit.
Spearheaded by the Enneagram Institute, the Enneagram features a set of nine distinct personality types, with each number on the Enneagram denoting one type. It is common to find a little of yourself in all nine of the types, although one of them should stand out as being closest to yourself. This is called your basic personality type.
The Enneagram system determines that everyone has a dominant personality type inside that drives how we think, behave, learn, see the world and evolve. The Enneagram personality test gives you an in-depth multi-dimensional look at yourself. We as humans are complex, and so is this test.
I am Type Seven: The Enthusiast.
“Sevens are extroverted, optimistic, versatile, and spontaneous. Playful, high-spirited, and practical, they can also misapply their many talents, becoming over-extended, scattered, and undisciplined. They constantly seek new and exciting experiences, but can become distracted and exhausted by staying on the go. They typically have problems with impatience and impulsiveness. At their Best: they focus their talents on worthwhile goals, becoming appreciative, joyous, and satisfied.
Sevens are enthusiastic about almost everything that catches their attention. They approach life with curiosity, optimism, and a sense of adventure, like “kids in a candy store” who look at the world in wide-eyed, rapt anticipation of all the good things they are about to experience. They are bold and vivacious, pursuing what they want in life with a cheerful determination. They have a quality best described by the Yiddish word “chutzpah”—a kind of brash “nerviness.”
Although Sevens are in the Thinking Center, this is not immediately apparent because they tend to be extremely practical and engaged in a multitude of projects at any given time. Their thinking is anticipatory: they foresee events and generate ideas “on the fly,” favoring activities that stimulate their minds—which in turn generate more things to do and think about.
Their minds move rapidly from one idea to the next, making Sevens gifted at brainstorming and synthesizing information. Sevens are exhilarated by the rush of ideas and by the pleasure of being spontaneous, preferring broad overviews and the excitement of the initial stages of the creative process to probing a single topic in depth.
They do not feel that they know what to do or how to make choices that will be beneficial to themselves and others. Sevens cope with this anxiety in two ways. First, they try to keep their minds busy all of the time. As long as Sevens can keep their minds occupied, especially with projects and positive ideas for the future, they can, to some extent, keep anxiety and negative feelings out of conscious awareness. Likewise, since their thinking is stimulated by activity, Sevens are compelled to stay on the go, moving from one experience to the next, searching for more stimulation. This is not to say that Sevens are “spinning their wheels.” They generally enjoy being practical and getting things done.”
3. 41 Questions, 1 Personality
Also based on Jung’s personality indicators, what differentiates this test is that the questions are more black-and-white than in shades of grey. 41 Questions, 1 Personality is self-explanatory. You answer 41 questions, and it provides a personality type that, at least in my case, is eerily accurate with who I am (strengths, flaws and all) just as 16Personalities.com and Enneagram.
Do you prize in yourself a strong sense of reality or a vivid imagination? Are you more attracted to sensible people or imaginative people? In company, do you initiative conversation or wait to be approached for conversation? Those are three of the questions.
I am “Spontaenous Idealist.”
“Enthusiastic, idealistic and creative. Able to do almost anything that interests them. Great people skills. Need to live life in accordance with their inner values. Excited by new ideas, but bored with details. Open-minded and flexible, with a broad range of interests and abilities.”
Ideal careers are not surpringly:
“Actors, journalists, writers, musicians, painters, consultants, psychologists, psychiatrists, entrepreneurs, teachers, counselors, politicians, diplomats, television reporters, marketers, scientists, sales representatives, artists, clergy, public relations, social scientists, social workers.”
For lovebirds who want to learn more about their compatibility, the site has released a new feature called Relationship Compatibility Match, which calculates the relationship compatibility between two persons. To try the feature, you must have the unique personality formula from two persons. You can obtain these formulas by e-mailing yourselves the profiles from the test result page, or by copying them from there.