Thank you for reading this Operation Melt blog update.
Operation Melt provides engaging, practical content and hands-on coaching to inspire, motivate and equip you to achieve your big goals.
Will you join me in building a world where goals never die of loneliness?
My amuse bouche for you today is a light “dad joke” to entertain your mind before we get down to business. Like any other amuse bouche, you may hate it, but it is worth every penny that you paid for it, right?
I’ve started telling everyone about the benefits of eating dried grapes.
It’s all about raisin awareness.
Goal Success by Choice
Do you have dreams that you are trying to make come true? Do you have a goal that you are trying to crush? Success doesn’t happen by chance. You don’t have to get lucky or win the lottery to live the life of your dreams.
You just have to choose to be successful. If you make the right daily choices, adopt good habits and behaviors, and approach life with the right mindset, you can make your dreams come true.
Goal Success by Choice helps you make the choices that will move you closer to your goals and keep you from holding yourself back.
I hope this post helps you get a little closer to crushing your goals.
A Moment of Silence
I will defend the absolute value of Mozart over Miley Cyrus, of course I will, but we should be wary of false dichotomies. You do not have to choose between one or the other. You can have both.Stephen Fry
Several months ago, I shared a post entitled Most Important Homework. In this post, I talked about the importance of studying and getting to know yourself better.
Out of all of the topics we can spend time studying, one topic stands out as the most valuable use of our study time. That topic: you!
Every minute you spend working on getting to know yourself better is an investment in your happiness. I shared several ways to get to know yourself better in that post, including one of my favorites, personality assessments.
Despite their usefulness, there are some hidden dangers associated with personality assessments. Over the past few weeks, I have noted several warning signals that told me it was time to share some words of caution.
Who Are You…. Who, who?
Personality tests nearly always follow the same basic process. You answer a bunch of questions about your preferences, beliefs and such. Then, some secret algorithm buckets you into some personality type that most represents who you are. Generally, the more questions on an assessment, the more science behind the algorithm, but not always.
The usual outcome of a personality assessment is that you are assigned to one personality type that represents you. The personality type assigned to you is one of a handful of types evaluated by the assessment. Some of these assessments have as few as four types and some slightly more. No matter how advanced the algorithm is, there are rarely more than a couple of dozen options to choose from.
This is where the danger lies in personality assessments. This danger was summarized well in a famous Groucho Marx quote. I know that dozens of other notable figures have also said similar quotes, but Groucho is more fun to quote.
There’s two kinds of people in the world: Those who think people can be divided up into two types, and those who don’t. I don’t!Groucho Marx
Personality assessments tend to oversimplify the complex nature of humanity. With just a few short questions, these assessments distill the uniqueness of billions of people into a single personality type. But, people don’t fit so cleanly into categories.
I Walk The Line
I am not writing this to disparage personality assessments; I actually enjoy them immensely. I have completed several of these assessments that I believe are pretty accurate descriptions of me. But, with each one of these assessments, there is a caveat.
For 16 Personalities (a free version of the Myers-Briggs Type Indicator, MBTI), my results say I am an IFSP (the Adventurer). This means that I am Introverted, Observant, Feeling, and Prospecting – see the site for more detailed descriptions of these classifications. But, this is an incomplete story.
I have taken the 16 Personalities assessment multiple times. My results actually vary between two types depending on how I feel at the time. Sometimes this assessment says that I am EFSP (the Entertainer). This means that I am Extraverted (different than “extroverted”), Observant, Feeling, and Prospecting. Digging a little deeper, it turns out that I am 51% introvert and 49% extravert. Sometimes this breakdown flips the other direction.
In other words, I walk the line between two personality types in this assessment instead of fitting cleanly into a single category. After lots of review and introspection, I believe that this untidy outcome is absolutely a fair reflection of how I tend to present myself in life.
Walking the line between personality types isn’t limited to the 16 Personalities assessment.
I am also walking the line in the Enneagram assessment, a tool that dives a little deeper into psychological motivations. My primary Enneagram type is a tie. I am an equal split between Type 3 (The Achiever) and Type 6 (The Loyalist) with a secondary type of Type 9 (The Peacemaker).
In the Clarity on Fire Passion Profile quiz, my result was Firestarter. This means that I tend to be a visionary who thrives in an environment that encourages innovation, unbounded creativity, and rapid evolution. I think this type is a mediocre summary of me, but it didn’t feel 100% accurate, so I took it again… and again, and again.
Depending on how I am feeling when I take the assessment, I often get a second result. About half the time, my result is Side Hustler. This alternative result says that the idea of focusing on just one job or project for my entire career feels too stifling. I thrive on variety, novelty, and innovation. I tend to get bored easily if I am not feeling challenged and constantly learning and growing. I’ll feel restless or frustrated.
Walking the line between these two different Passion Profile types is a way more accurate description of me than either one of the individual results. I feel comfortable walking the line between two profiles when I know that one of the creators of this quiz also walks the line between two types.
The only personality assessment that I have completed multiple times that doesn’t seek to fit me into a single category is the Gallup StrenghtsFinder assessment. This assessment does not assign one personality type to participants; instead, it determines your personalized combination of top strengths. I have completed this assessment multiple times over thirteen years. My results have changed slightly, but my top five strengths (competition, achiever, communication, positivity and woo) have been relatively consistent. They have just changed in order over the past ten years.
Given the transformational changes in my life over the past thirteen years, a consistent profile of my top strengths is quite a powerful testimonial for the non-situational reliability of StrengthsFinder!
When the Enneagram, 16 Personalities and the Passion Profile Quiz cannot consistently categorize me into a single personality type, I think this sends a powerful message about personality assessments.
Inform, Not Define
As I mentioned above, I am not disparaging personality assessments. These assessments can play a critical role when we are working on our most important homework. Unfortunately, no personality assessment can provide a completely accurate picture of who we are as human beings. We are too complex to neatly fit into a single category unless the categories are horoscope-level generalizations. And that would not be beneficial to anybody.
So, like any other area of self-improvement and personal development, the mindset we approach personality assessments with is critical. We need a strategy to best leverage the results of these assessments.
Most importantly, we need to use these assessments to inform how we see ourselves, not define it.
Can’t Eat Just One
Personality assessments are beneficial tools, so why stop at one?
There are dozens or hundreds of personality assessments available on the Internet: some free, some not free. Do a little research to know which ones are available, ensure they are reputable, and not just trying to get your personal information. Once you have confirmed that an assessment is safe, try it out. Complete as many assessments as you can because every result can be an exciting piece of the puzzle that is you.
Two is One, One is None
Once you have completed a personality assessment, don’t stop with a single result. Complete the assessment again, at a different time, so you can rule out situational influences. Then, if your second result is different, maybe try it a third time to see if you can get some consistency or some trends.
An old saying should be applied to personality tests: once is an accident, twice is a coincidence, three times is a pattern. Don’t trust a single result from any assessment.
Information, Not Identity
The next step in my personality assessment strategy is all about mindset. The result you obtain from any personality assessment is simply a piece of information. The result is another clue you can use when solving the puzzle of who you really are. But, your personality assessment results are not your identity.
All too often, people define who they are based on the result of somebody’s online assessment. They introduce themselves by saying, “Hi, I’m Tony; I am an Enneagram type 3.”
This makes me sad. Each of us is way more than the results of some online quiz. Your identity is broader than any single piece of data, so don’t oversimplify yourself. You are complex, and you don’t fit into somebody’s two types of people assessment.
Let Your Freak Flag Fly
Once you have completed a few assessments multiple times, you might be a little frustrated. Likely, you won’t fit cleanly into any of the categories. As a result, you will feel like a freak who is different from everybody else.
Guess what? You are a freak who is different from everybody else. So am I. So is everybody else. Every person is very different from every other person despite what some personality assessment says. That is good! It is what makes us unique and beautiful.
But don’t take my word for it. Here is a song from Shrek The Musical that summarizes this point much better than I can.
We spend our whole lives wishing, we weren’t so freaking strange.
They made us feel that way, but it’s they who need to change.
It’s time to stop the hiding. It’s time to stand up tall.
Sing hey world, I’m different, and here I am splinters and all!
Let your freak flag wave
Let your freak flag fly
Never take it down, never take it down
Raise it way up high! Let your freak flag fly!
Personality assessments are a great tool to help you get to know yourself better. But, you are a beautiful, unique person, and no personality assessment can give you a complete picture. Take as many reputable assessments as you can, take them multiple times and then use the results as just another piece of the puzzle that is you. Don’t worry about being a freak because you don’t fit cleanly into the results. Instead, just embrace being a freak and let your freak flag fly.
Looking for some help understanding your personality assessment? Let me help you learn to let your freak flag fly.
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