Tuesday, February 5, 2013

It's Who We Are - Personality

You might be an extrovert if you'd rather attend a party than sit at home watching tv. If you get a charge from being around crowds, small or large. If you sit down by a stranger at a conference, party or on a plane and within ten minutes they know what you do, that you're in love, your astrological sign and whether you liked War Horse.

If you prefer solitary work, avoid crowds, and plan what you're going to say on every phone call, you might be the opposite, an introvert. Granted most of us aren't entirely reclusive or totally hedonistic partiers but the fact remains that we humans differ in some obvious and not so obvious ways.

One of the presenters in a workshop I'm taking this month gave us a link to an easier online Myers Briggs type personality test. http://41q.com In less than 5 mins it will tell you your personality and at http://typelogic.com you can view a more complete description of your profile, or that of one of your family members or perhaps the heroine in your novel, as well as some celebrities with your type. The results indicate whether you are an (I)Introvert or (E) Extrovert, (N) Intuitive or (S) Sensing, (T) Thinking or (F) Feeling, (J)Judging or (P) Perceiving with many different values for each.

It's important to realize there are no bad answers. It takes all types to make this world go round, :) The more we know about ourselves, our family and friends, the better we're able to connect, build bridges and bond for lasting relationships.

My uncle brought the book "Please Understand Me" and the personality test to my mother's when the women of the family were gathered after one of Mom's cancer surgeries. Taking this test was quite an eye opener for all of us and in our family at least - the word bossy became synonymous with a certain personality profile ;) All kidding aside, it did open up new understanding between my mother and her identical twin who were the same personality type, except one was the extrovert, my mother, and my aunt an introvert.

For the first time, I saw why my mom had such a hard time understanding my father and me. We were both introverts and she just couldn't figure out why we weren't like her. Too many times to count I heard, "Oh, you're just like your father!" We were a constant frustration. As for me, I've taken this test at different stages of my life under various circumstances. My result hasn't varied much: I'm an INFP, my goal in recent years to understand myself better and learn to be happy with who I am.

These tools are fascinating whether you use them for fun, in a work setting, at a family reunion, or to design characters in your stories.  If you'd like more information you can pick up  Please Understand Me or one of the more recent takes on personality, Quiet or (I like the sound of this one) Self Promotion for Introverts I know, I'm slighting the extroverts out there like D.T. But I guess extroverts don't need therapy because when you look up extroversion on Amazon you get mostly books about introverts, :))

So, did you take the 41questions quiz? Care to share your profile and any insights or surprises? Are you an introvert or extrovert? Do you make decisions based on gut feelings or are you a 'by the numbers" planner?
For writers, there's an excellent program called Write It Now that has a character generator built in. You can choose enneagrams, archetypes or Myers Briggs style profiles to create characters.(As an added bonus it also has a name generator and history timeline.)

Do you think someone's personality can be changed?