Be wary of Personality Tests

We don’t always show our true face or personality.


The most popular and well-known personality test is the ‘Myers-Briggs Type Indicator test‘ (MBTI in short). You’ll know what I mean if you’ve ever used an online dating site and (mainly) women list some four-letter acronym in their bio.

The four letters are from the MBTI test. Invariably, it will either start with an “E” (for extraversion) or “I” (for introversion).

I’ve never really liked the MBTI test. Workplaces, though, love the hell out of MBTI testing. I also noticed women loving MBTI testing. I guess it comes down to trying to un-lock what a person is like. It’s empowering (to think) you know what makes a person tick.

But is the MBTI fool-proof? My own experience is that I’ve taken the test via the book, “Do What you Are“. (Aside: I know some who take an online variant of the MBTI, so the book version is at least more comprehensive.) I found that I can have different ‘personality designations’ depending on what day, what month and even what time I took the test!

I like Sir Ken Robinson’s take about personality tests. That you cannot boil down a person into one of the sixteen personality profiles put down by the MBTI system. In his words from his book, The Element: How Finding Your Passion Changes EverythingRobinson writes that rather than a few boxes of personality types, there are about SIX BILLION personalities. He’s riffing on the world population estimate and that each person has his/her own personality quirk.

For what it’s worth, it’s worth knowing about the MBTI personality test if only because a) your friends/co-workers will talk about it and b) you may be forced to take it as part of some management/executive training program.

But don’t let it box you in. It would stunt your path to socially upward greatness to think that you’re stuck as an “INTJ” or an “ENFP”.


When You think You know it all, you’ve LOST

Success can be painful.
Everything’s all right until you get punched in the face.

We hate the know-it-all, don’t we? It’s one thing to have a friend who we can ping in a pinch because they know something we don’t. But the Little Ms. Perfect who can do no wrong, <<shudder>>, rubs us the wrong way, doesn’t it?

Whether you are new in a job/role or you have experience in a job/role, there’s a danger in thinking you know it all. I am not sure how people can think they know it all, but they do. Call it hubris. Ego. Naivete. Or just downright lazy thinking.

Sure, it feels good to be so self-assured. But rest assured, such (false) confidence will bite you in the ass.


Lessons Learned From Movies

If you’re going to stay in and Netflix your Friday night, you might as well take lessons learned from the movies (or TV shows) you (binge) watch. Here is my take on lessons that can be learned from movies.

1) Inception – “You mustn’t be afraid to be dream a little bigger darling…”

Inception is a slight mind-fuck of a movie. Well, not totally. Anyways, Tom Hardy’s line is wicked after the Joseph Gordon Levitt character fails to achieve his goals with machine gun.

Lesson: Dream (a little) bigger; don’t limit yourself.

2) Gladiator – “AS ONE!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!”

Man, Gladiator is a man’s man movie. Guys should aspire to be Maximus (played by Russell Crowe), and women want to bang him (uh, the Maximus character that is). Didn’t Gladiator win Best Picture and nab an Oscar for Russell Crowe? So there you go, a movie riffing on Spartacus can win you awards.

But wait, that’s not the lesson.

Lesson: the real lesson is about leadership, commanding your troops, stepping into a leadership role…and teamwork.  Together you stand, divided you fall.

3) Children of Men – “No good deed goes unpunished…”

This film won an Oscar for best cinematography. I didn’t know what cinematography was/is, but when you see this film, you’ll see why it won. Solid film.

I bring up Children of Men because of a phrase Julianne Moore’s character says to Clive Owen’s character.

“No good deed goes unpunished, Theo…” 

The film takes place in 2027 where women are no longer able to conceive, leading to the imminent end of population growth and humanity itself. Theo, played by Clive Owen, gets caught up in the fight amongst competing groups (rebels vs. government vs. some mythical research group) when he has to help a pregnant (!) woman get safe.

I had never heard of the expression “No good deed goes punished” before. Indeed, I would think that good deeds are good, and should be recognized (or rewarded), not punished! But in the work/corporate world/real life/relationships, phew-ee, do I understand why people say, “No good deed…goes punished.”

You should too, if you haven’t already.

4) This is It (Michael Jackson rehearsal/documentary)

This film came out a little after Michael Jackson’s death in 2009. At the time, I saw it as profiting of the timing of Michael Jackson’s passing. Years later, and dropping the context for the film’s release, the film gives you a way different view of Michael Jackson.

The film is based on footage from Jackson’s rehearsals for his upcoming tour. Jackson had the tapes rolling as he wanted to view the recorded rehearsals privately later on. The intent was never to release it – but with his passing, the footage was cut into a documentary.

You see Jackson being the consummate craftsmen, an artist first and foremost…someone OBSESSED with detail. Whereas he had the public persona of Crazy (remember his nickname “Wacko Jacko??), This is It shows Jackson as lucid, determined and dedicated to presenting the best show.

Lesson(s): Like a swan furiously paddling beneath the water, you don’t see the hard work and sacrifice behind the scenes. The clip above…I mean, whoa, MJ is a damn pro who knows what he wants. You don’t get success slacking off or failing to know what you want.

5) Godfather – “Keep your friends close and your enemies closer.”

Every guy loves The Godfather (well, the first two of the trilogy anyways!). So many iconic scenes. The kiss of death. James Caan getting machine-gunned down. And for me, it was this scene:

Lesson: Know people’s thumbscrew. And press. Then turn.


6) American Gangster – “My man…”

Well, you’re probably tired by now…I’ll just say that American Gangster is a solid film. Ridley Scott and Russell Crowe make good films together!

If you like this, I can make more posts about movie lessons. Or if you have your lessons, let me know in the comments!

From Socially Awkward to Socially UPWARD