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April 13, 2017

What’s Your Personality? It Depends…

“A pessimist is a man who has been compelled to live with an optimist.”
(Elbert Hubbard)


Everyone loves personality tests, whether it’s finding out your Myers-Briggs profile or figuring out which Disney Princess you are. The problem is…it all depends. Have you ever come across a personality test question and thought, “Well, if I’m thinking about how I am at work, I’d answer this way. At home, with my spouse, however, I’d answer it differently.”

This is called domain dependence. What it means is we’re shaped by whatever environment we’re in at the moment. Serious personality tests try to account for this, and can do a pretty good job teasing out your most consistent tendencies. But no one is ever…always…anything.

Who you are in a particular setting is relative. Are you an pessimist, for instance? Well, compared to whom? And in what setting? You may have been called a pessimist, but isn’t that label always coming from an optimist?

Again, the reality is no one is ever always anything. Sometimes you are more pessimistic than someone else, but that doesn’t mean you’re a pessimist. It may mean you are very close to someone very optimistic, and your more grounded and realistic view seems pessimistic by comparison. You may even be realistic just because the other person is so optimistic, and your relationship is actually leading you to balance each other out.

Peace begins with pause,

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