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”.


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