My best friend from childhood came for a sleep over (is that still the term once you are an adult?) and suggested I take a quick, online Myers Briggs test. The Myers Briggs test is a personality test that is supposed to tell you how you perceive the world and what motivates your decision making. Offices sometimes use them to help people work together and understand coworkers’ motivations. I presumed it would be somewhat relevant, but in the way a daily horoscope could work for almost anyone on any given day. While fun I would not put a lot of stock in horoscopes.
But who cares if it is accurate or not? It’s fun to answer questionnaires like we used to do in magazines as teenagers in her basement bedroom that was decorated with Absolute Vodka advertisements. Now sitting in my living room, snuggled in warm blankets I took the 15-minute quiz. Some questions were easy to answers, others were more challenging. Do you think organization or flexibility is more important? What are they looking for? I’m compelled to be organized, which makes me more organized than flexible, but I think flexibility is more important, so I went with that. As I struggled with some questions, I started to presume this test would be even more inaccurate than I’d first assumed.
Instead when I finished and started reading about my personality, I was stunned. It felt like someone had looked into the innermost workings of my soul and knew all my motivations. How could a person be so easily definable? It was a little disturbing, but also nice to be so well understood.
One of the few points I felt it didn’t perfectly describe me on stated that I believed in Karma. I didn’t think I believed in Karma, but later that week a friend in conflict over whether to support someone who needed help who hadn’t been there when she was in need asked me what I thought and I said, “You get what you give.” Maybe I did have karmic undertones running through my blood after all.
The website we used, 16 personalities, lists some famous people with your personality. I liked 16 personalities as a resource because to get most of the information, you don’t have to hand over your email or register with them. They put a positive spin on everything, so I was listed as sharing a personality with Martin Luther King and Gandhi. That news made me feel like an underachiever. Until searching the internet and discovering that Hitler also shared my personality. Perhaps, I was doing just fine. Clearly extremes can range within one personality. An individual can have the same basic structure and use it for good or evil.
I had Matt take the test later. We laughed at the accuracy. His famous counterpart was Mark Twain. I do really love Twain.
Introvert vs Extrovert
Most baffling to me from the test is that it pegged me as an introvert. I’m not even running the border between introvert and extrovert. Apparently I am deeply introverted. Sure, I enjoy my alone time, but my energy definitely comes from others, which I thought was a sign of extroversion. Turns out my energy comes from small groups of people I know really well. That is true. I do not love big parties or large groups of people I don’t know well.
No matter how an online quiz defines me, I’m still the same person I was yesterday. It is not like learning I am an introvert changes anything about my character. However, it does provide some relief. My frustration and discomfort when attending large, loud gatherings has always felt like a personal defect in part because as a lover of people, I felt like I SHOULD like that scenario. Since it felt against my nature, it has bothered me that I would rather stay home and watch a movie than go to a concert or attend a networking event. Somehow this test felt like a load off. It seemed to explain why big bashes are not my cup of tea, but grabbing coffee with a group of good friends is ideal.
In the end, I’m shocked to discover that an online test in some ways seems to know me better than I know myself. I’m no Martin Luther King, but whether we share a personality or I read one of his quotes, he does inspire me to be better.
Martin Luther King & Civil Rights
Adjusting our perspective.
Enjoying a long hike (with a small group of people).
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