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August 18, 2016

You are NOT Your Personality

“Character is fate.”
(Heraclitus)

Most of us like personality tests. In just 12 minutes or so, we can answer a few questions about ourselves, and voila, an email lands in our inbox with an amazing picture of who we really are.

We believe these are helpful because they give us a clear cause and effect. “Oh, that’s why I tend to avoid parties…or direct others…or volunteer so much…or get so freaked out by terrorist attacks…or need so much time to be alone…”

Take this line of thinking further, however, and suddenly we’re justifying everything we do. “Well, I’m an 8/7, so I can’t be expected to follow the rules,” or “I’m an EN, so you know I can’t turn things in on time,” or “with my Golden Retriever-ness, I need security and stability in a mate.”

So, while it’s fun getting a quick snapshot diagnosis, let us not forget we are decisional beings. We are all in charge of our choices, regardless of our tendencies. Is your personality profile determining your decisions? Well, what’s determining your personality profile? You guessed it, your decisions. It’s a chicken/egg conversation.

I believe your character is far more powerful than your “personality.” Your character is informed by your personality tendencies, and so getting feedback from a test, from a friend, from an affinity group, or from an expert can be very valuable information. But information about your tendencies doesn’t determine your next choice.

You do.

Peace begins with pause,

 

 

(For those curious, I score as a Lion/Otter, an ENTP, a 7/8/4/5 type, and a bit of a mess on the MMPI, depending on when I’ve taken the tests. I’ve scored quite differently at other times.)

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