I do enjoy personality tests even though they often read like horoscopes to me. Meaning, they often produce results that more or less apply to every human on the planet and, once primed to see yourself in the result, it’s easy to fool yourself into feeling “seen” by anything that comes out the other side. It doesn’t help that many of them are surrounded by lots of woo and foolishness.
Nevertheless, I am often very interested to know what other people think about what kind of sandwich I am, what my communication style is, and what motivates me.
On the other hand, I think some of them have more or less value.
For example, I’ve found the DiSC Profile useful at work. One company I used to work for embraced the Birkman Method, which produced similar results. Those two seem to have some value as heuristics.
The Meyers-Briggs model is often mocked for a whole host of reasons that basically amount to the fact that it’s not scientific as it purports to be. Nevertheless, I find it interesting and thought-provoking, although this one is so complex that I haven’t found it particularly useful in my daily life as I have DiSC.
In some part, I enjoy the introspective exercise that results from these tests. I often stop to ask, “Is this an accurate description of how I think, feel, and behave? Is there something here that could be a previously unrecognized strength or weakness that I can work on? Does this reveal something that will help me in my relationships with other people?”
Part of the problem with all of this stuff is that the actual science of personality seems under-developed to me. So, there are — and have been for a long time — a lot of people trying to come up with some systematic way of understanding ourselves and others.
With all that in mind, it may surprise some to know that until last night I’d never done an Enneagram personality test. The reason is because it is so often associated with straight-up fakery and magical nonsense. Crystals and “energy” and Eastern mysticism. That kind of trash.
BUT! Apparently, there has been some effort to make it a bit less woo-y.
My husband and a few of my friends have been talking about Enneagram, so last night I decided to take the test and the results are pretty interesting.
Overall, I find the results to be pretty accurate to my general disposition in life. It definitely gave me some food for thought.
Anyway, I can understand why people might turn their nose up at this sort of thing. I certainly don’t regard it as prophetic or scientific. I think you can just take from it whatever you like. But I nevertheless found it interesting and entertaining.