The 4th century BC Greek philosopher Socrates has, as one of many quotes, “Know thyself”.
His opinion was, that in order to be wise, first you have to have an idea of who you actually are.
That’s pretty good in theory, but how can you go about it in practice?
One way is a Myers-Briggs test. Check out free MB tests on the net, fill out about 70 either/or answers, and you’ll get a result back that puts you in one of 16 personality types. Here is an example here, and here.
Do a bit of further digging about the results for your four letter combination (for example, my MB profile is ENTP) and with any luck you’ll see a few self-revelations.
A Myers-Briggs personality test gives you understanding of yourself
That is, you’ll have a greater understanding of some of your own strengths and weaknesses, and what it is that flicks your particular switch.
Such an insight can be immensely powerful.
I was into my 40s before I came across this test – and it was sort of a relief. For example It explained why am interested in new ideas, but aren’t very good at detail type things.
In the absence of more in-depth and most likely quite costly means of ‘knowing thyself’, the Myer-Briggs personality profile is therefore a quick, dirty and simple overview of who you are.
But…take the MB test’s findings with a bit of a grain of salt.
There are many reasons for this – not the least because it attempts to put you into one of 16 categories, based on simply one of two possible answers for quite obscure questions.
It means that you could take the same test, or another test a few days later, and find you have a different personality profile.
The binary nature (one of two answers) also doesn’t fit that well with the continuum of personality types.
Another important point is that our personalities change over time. The MB test doesn’t set your type in stone.
There is a pretty good chance (impossible not to really) you’re going to change as you get older.
You also have the ability to modify and improve in certain areas that you perceive as being ‘weak’ (but be careful, when talking about personality, it simply just is). That will change your MB profile.
So – do a Myers-Briggs test as a way of having greater understanding of you. But, treat the findings with a fair degree of scepticism.