4 Great Reasons to Learn More About Your Personality Type

And 3 Reasons to Not Take Your Results Too Seriously

Taking a personality quiz
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Personality quizzes are all the rage online these days. It seems like you cannot check your Pinterest or Facebook feed without being inundated by various quizzes purporting to detect your hidden personality traits, unveil the "real you," or identify which pop culture icon you share common traits with.

If you are like many people, you probably enjoy taking these personality quizzes. Most of them are just for fun, but there are sometimes reveal nuggets of truth and wisdom that help shed light on different aspects of personality, behavior, and preferences.

Such quizzes often provide an amusing source of distraction during the middle of a tedious work day, but they can also be a useful exercise in getting to know yourself a little better, whether you are taking a serious psychological inventory or discovering which Harry Potter character you are.

In addition to these entertaining questionnaires, there are plenty of legitimate psychological assessments available online that might be able to tell you a little bit more about yourself. The Myers-Briggs Type Indicator (MBTI), for example, is one of the most popular psychological assessments in the world today and many people swear that knowing their "type" has helped them gain a better understanding of themselves and others.

The MBTI was designed to assess psychological preferences including how people see the world, how they interact with the world, and how they make decisions. A mother-daughter team developed the test based on the personality theories of psychoanalyst Carl Jung.

Since then, the assessment has become one of the most popular and widely used. Frequently used by psychologists, career counselors, and employers, the test is often touted as a quick means to learn more about what people are good at and whether they will succeed in certain roles.

So can knowing your personality type on the MBTI and other personality assessments really help?

What good can these personality measures really do?

Benefits of Personality Tests

A few things that knowing your personality type might help with:

Benefit #1: Knowing Your Personality Type Can Help You Better Understand Other People

After taking the MBTI and seeing your results, you might have a better understanding of all the different reactions and perceptions that other people might have to the same situations. We all have a different way of seeing and interacting with the world. No personality type is "better" than any other – just different. And each perspective brings something new and interesting to the table. 

People often fall into the trap of mistakenly believing that most other people share the same views, opinions, attitudes, and traits that they do. Having your own personal preferences highlighted and being able to glimpse at some of the traits that other people possess can be an eye opener for many. 

Understanding some of your core personality traits as well as those of the people you are close to is also helpful in relationships.

If, for example, you are an extrovert but your spouse is more of an introvert, you will be better able to spot the signs that your partner is getting exhausted and needs to take a break from socializing. By better knowing each other's personality traits, you can better respond to the needs of your loved ones and build stronger partnerships.

Benefit #2: It Can Help You Identify Your Likes and Dislikes

Maybe you have always hated talking on the phone, but never really understood why. Or perhaps you've always needed a little extra time to think about a problem before making a decision

By learning more about where you lie on the extroversion/introversion and thinking/feeling continuums, you might be better able to understand why you prefer certain things and dislike others. This can come in handy when you are trying to make important decisions that might have an impact on the course of your life, such as choosing a college major

Selecting a major and profession that are well aligned with your personal preferences might mean that you end up being happier and more satisfied with your choice and your work in the long run.

Benefit #3: You Can Understand Which Situations Allow You to Perform Your Best

Learning more about your personality type can also help you discover new ways to approach problems. If you discover that you tend to be high on introversion, you might take care in the future to give yourself plenty of time to become comfortable in a situation before you introduce yourself to a new co-worker, for example. Knowing what might work best for your type can give you new ideas for how to solve problems, deal with stress, cope with conflict, and manage your work habits.

Benefit #4: You Can Better Understand Your Strengths and Weaknesses

Knowing what you are good at can be important in a wide variety of situations, whether you are picking a college major or thinking about running for a seat on your local school board. For example, if you know that you are an ISTJ (introverted, sensing, thinking, and judging) on the MBTI, you might recognize that certain aspects of your personality might qualify as strengths in some situations and weaknesses in others. While your strong organizational skills and detail-oriented personality can be a major strength in your work, it can sometimes trip you up in situations where you need to let other people take the reins.

Remember That Personality Tests Have Limitations

But knowing your "type" isn't everything. Personality tests and quizzes can be informative, fun, and helpful, but even the most serious psychological assessments are never the be-all, end-all when it comes to evaluating who you are, what you can accomplish, how you might perform in certain situations, and who you might become in the future. 

Some reasons why you might not want to take the results of all these personality quizzes too seriously:

  • Knowing your type may not tell you if you will love a particular career or succeed at your job: Taking a personality quiz or assessment might give you a better idea of which areas appeal to you, but there is a big difference between being interested in a particular field and enjoying the actual work. A personality inventory might indicate that you would make a great accountant, but you might find the work boring and unfulfilling. 
  • Clinging to ideas about what you "are" and "are not" can keep you from trying new things: For example, an extrovert might reject things that are typically billed as solitary or quiet activities. This can lead to missing out on experiences that you might learn from or truly enjoy. You might even miss out on meeting interesting people because they do not seem to share the same traits or interests as you do. Try not to get too hung up on labeling different aspects of your personality or dismissing things that seem like they would not be a good fit for someone with your "type."

  • Placing too much emphasis on your personality type can keep you from forming authentic relationships with others: Clinging hard and fast to ideas about what your personality type is can make it easy to reject other people who don't seem to have the same "type" as you are. But that is a mistake because even though many of these people might have different ideas and approaches to life, you can still learn a great deal from them. Excluding certain people from your life can lead to a restricted social circle that only seems to reinforce the ideas you already hold. It might even put a damper on your love life if you refuse to give people a chance because they don't like the same things or act the same way as you do. 

Final Thoughts

Personality tests, including real psychological assessments and the just-for-fun quizzes you find online, can be thought-provoking, insightful, and even fun. The key this is to not get too hung-up on your results. Remember that while researchers have found that our overall personalities are surprisingly stable over time, our lives are not static. We grow and change as we learn new things and have new experiences, and researchers have found that our personalities can change too.

Are you ready to learn more about your personality? Here are a few fun quizzes to help get you started:

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