Every Baby Boomer, including you, needs to take a personality test.
As a young Baby Boomer, I remember friends ditching society in an effort to “find themselves.” They went out into the world embarking upon a journey of self-discovery but got lost.
This idea of striving to “know thyself” is an ancient one. Historians cannot agree on the origin of the phrase but over ten different Greek sages are pointed to as the original source. Regardless of the source, it is Plato who made the phrase famous.
Socrates, in Plato’s Phaedrus, explains why he has no time for mythology or other trivial topics. He says, “But I have no leisure for them at all; and the reason, my friend, is this: I am not yet able, as the Delphic inscription has it, to know myself; so it seems to me ridiculous, when I do not yet know that, to investigate irrelevant things.”1
Plato and Socrates knew the importance of knowing yourself. That single activity took a place of prime importance in their philosophy. The implication is clear. Once you know yourself, everything begins to make sense.
Did you launch out into the unknown to discover yourself? Were you one of those Boomers who believed life would be better if you could only figure yourself out? It’s true. If you know yourself, things begin to make sense and fall into place. And when things fall into place there is a peace which surrounds your life.
After wandering through five or six decades on this planet, isn’t it time to figure out who you are? Wouldn’t it be nice to come to terms with who you are? If you are able to know yourself life will start to make sense. And, as an added benefit, you will be able to predict how you will react in certain situations. This will help you make better choices, resulting in inner peace. And when you find inner peace, the energy level increases because you stop fighting with yourself.
Finding ways to increase energy is part of the ReFIRE process. If you want to know about this process which prepares you for the best years of life click HERE. I’m so passionate about this I offer coaching for Boomers in transition.
But it’s not as easy as it sounds. Benjamin Franklin was right. Finding yourself is as hard as steel and diamonds.
Many Boomers, because of the difficulties on the road to self-discovery, abandoned the quest. Life happened and they reacted to the circumstances of the moment. Marriage happened, followed on the heels by the birth of sons and daughters. The career screamed for attention. Through the decades all energies focused on keeping all the balls in the air.
As a result, we still wonder why we do what we do. We find ourselves saying, “I don’t know why I react that way. It’s just how I’m wired.” Most of us are still trying to figure out life.
When we fail to figure ourselves out, there is an ongoing sense of frustration. We want to know why we are drawn to certain types of people or why we react the way we do when facing criticism.
Until we know ourselves, life is a mystery and peace remains just out of reach.
The good news is you have access to a tool unavailable to Plato, Socrates, and Benjamin Franklin. You can take a personality test. This is the beginning of knowing yourself.
The history of personality tests is a fascinating subject beyond the scope of this article. If you are interested in a fun read about the subject you should check out THIS article.
The are many different types of personality tests. If you are a Facebook fan you might have seen a few simple tests popping up. “What famous historical person are you?” is an example. And maybe you’ve had a job interview where you were asked if you are a Golden Retriever or an otter.
But the industry of personality tests is big business. The Economist reports that it generates $2 to $4 billion every year. Many people recognize the importance of discovering themselves.
At the end of this article I will show you how to have your personality tested for free. But here’s a list of the top personality tests used in the industry today.
- The Five-Factor Model of Personality focuses on openness to experience, conscientiousness, extraversion, agreeableness, and neuroticism.
- 16PF5: 16 Personality Factor focuses on these factors: warmth, reasoning, emotional stability, dominance, liveliness, rule consciousness, social boldness, sensitivity, vigilance, abstractness, privateness, apprehension, openness to change, self-reliance, perfectionism, and tension.
- Personality Assessment Inventory focuses on 4 different scales: validity, clinical, treatment consideration, and interpersonal.
- The Myers-Briggs Type Indicator is based on psychology. It reveals how people make choices and how they view the world. It places each person into one of 16 groups.
- The Rorschach Test is the name of the personality test which uses word association to ink blots.
- The Personality and Preference Inventory. Asks participants to rate how little or how much you agree with statements about yourself.
- The Holland Occupational Themes (RIASEC) is based on occupational interests which focus on these themes: realistic, investigative, artistic, social, enterprising, and conventional
- The DISC Assessment focuses on the following behavioral traits: dominance, influence, steadiness, and compliance.
- The Minnesota Multiphasic Personality Inventory is a widely used test which measures hypochondriasis, depression, hysteria, psychopathic deviate, masculine or feminine interests, paranoia, psychasthenia, schizophrenia, hypomania, and level of excitability.
- The Wechsler Adult Intelligence Scale consists of an intelligence test to measure the cognitive ability of adults.
If you are interested in knowing more about these tests please read THIS excellent article from which this list was culled.
As you can see, a personality test can be complicated and confusing.
I’m no expert in which personality test you should take. But I have taken a form of the Meyers-Briggs test and found the accuracy to be uncanny. I read the results and thought to myself, “So this is who I am and why I do what I do!” After taking the test I felt, in some measure, I had found myself at last.
Here’s a line from the test results, “this personality type wants to lead the way to a brighter future, whether it’s by leading a nation to prosperity, or leading their little league softball team to a hard-fought victory.” Spot on. And it didn’t stop there. It went on to give my strengths and weaknesses. Let me say this one more time: reading a description of myself bordered on being spooky.
For example, the test revealed I have a personality type which abhors the thought of letting people down. When I realized the truth of that statement it became clear to me why I can’t tolerate people who let me down.
Knowledge is power. Once you know yourself a whole new world opens up.
You are able to capitalize on your strengths. If you are nearing retirement, for example, you can use the results of your profile to find the perfect encore career. You will be able to tap into how you are wired to find the job which will feed your passions.
You will be on guard regarding your weaknesses. The results of the test will point out the potential pitfall areas of your personality type. This is powerful information to possess as you head into the next stage of life.
If you’ve never found yourself, it’s time. Knowing yourself will help give you peace of mind and added energy to conquer life.
Totally LOVE this stuff! While obtaining a Master’s in Counseling, I took a psychometrics class. Favorite class ever! Shoulda been a Psychologist! Have taken the MBTI about a dozen times. But the one that really blew my mind was the MMPI. That was amazing. So spot on it was scary!
Well, Randy, thank you for sharing and taking me back. BTW, MBTI shows me to have moved from an ENFP to an INFP, which from what I understand is common. That is, to move from a tendency toward extroversion to introversion. It can be somewhat fluid over time.
p.s., Just a quick something to consider Randy. Take it or leave it, as we have our preferences. The internal links can be set up to open in a new page. I tend to appreciate that as I like to read along and click on a page rather than clicking forward then back and so forth.
Thanks for your insightful and helpful comments. You make a great point about the external links. I’m an ENFJ which I guess is rare. BTW, I’m glad you went into the art world. You do a fabulous job.
Thanks Randy, very kind of you sir!
Excellent article. I will pass this on to those in my sphere of influence. Thanks for your help with this very important topic
Problem is, that if you take all of the various tests you mentioned, you will get some varying results. How to reconcile all of those to figure out what you really are can be difficult. Some are more accurate than others. I studied this area while working on a Master’s in Counseling, and felt that, although helpful, people should not view these results as set in stone.
I fully agree. I can say, however, when I took one of them I was astounded at how accurate it was. I’m sure everyone’s mileage will vary.
I cant remember mine! I know it changed from extrovert to introvert…..