Wednesday, April 28, 2010

Personality test

I like to take personality tests.  I like to see how each measuring device displays my perceived strengths and weaknesses.  The latest test I discovered was the Enneagram Personality test.  I heard about it on a podcast on How Stuff and I had to take it for a test drive.  I actually took the test three times.  The first was a shortened version of the test, the second was a more comprehensive one, the third was a sample test from the official website.  Not surprisingly, my dominant personality type was the same in both tests.  My secondary types were different, as was my 'variant.'
I was not at all surprised when primary type was the Perfectionist, also called the Reformer.

Ones are conscientious and ethical, with a strong sense of right and wrong. They are teachers, crusaders, and advocates for change: always striving to improve things, but afraid of making a mistake. Well-organized, orderly, and fastidious, they try to maintain high standards, but can slip into being critical and perfectionistic. They typically have problems with resentment and impatience. At their Best: wise, discerning, realistic, and noble. Can be morally heroic.

 I relate to a lot of this description.  I am definitely afraid of making a mistake.  I am well-organized, I try to maintain high standards, but I certainly have the tendency to slip into criticism and perfectionism.
  • Basic Fear: Of being corrupt/evil, defective
  • Basic Desire: To be good, to have integrity, to be balanced
    I'm not sure how accurate these two statements are.  I don't think my basic fear is corruption.  I would relate more to feelings of failure or inadequacy.  And I think the basic desires are a little off, as well.  While I certainly do strive for integrity, I think I am more driven by the desire to accomplish my goals.
    Key Motivations: Want to be right, to strive higher and improve everything, to be consistent with their ideals, to justify themselves, to be beyond criticism so as not to be condemned by anyone
    These key motivations are pretty spot on.  I am always trying to improve things.  One of my mottos is: "There has to be a better way."  And I hate criticism.  I know that it can be good and constructive, but I am always nervous and anxious when receiving criticism of any kind.
    Famous Ones: Hilary Clinton, Al Gore, John Paul II, Eliot Spitzer, Sandra Day O'Connor, Mahatma Gandhi, Bill Moyers, Martha Stewart, Ralph Nader, Katherine Hepburn, Harrison Ford, Meryl Streep, Jane Fonda, Vanessa Redgrave, George Harrison, Celine Dion, Joan Baez, George Bernard Shaw, Micheal Dukakis, Margaret Thatcher, Rudy Guliani, Kenneth Starr
    That seems like a lot of politicians!  I'm not sure it is the company I would like to keep.
    There is a huge, long description of what typical Type Ones are like, but I won't bore you with the details.  I am just fascinated by these tests and what they can point out about how we habitually behave.  You can read detailed accounts of the nine different types on the Enneagram official website.
    In each version of the test I took, my secondary type was different.  In the first one, I scored the second highest score in Type 7.  This type was also listed as the 'growth arrow' for Type ones.
      Type 7: The Enthusiast.  Busy, productive, extroverted, optimistic, versatile, spontaneous, playful, high-spirited, practical.  Also: over-extended, scattered and undisciplined.  Constantly seeking new experiences, can become distracted and exhausted.  Problems with impatience and impulsiveness.
    In the second test I took, my secondary type was Type Three
     Type 3: The Achiever.  Adaptable, success-oriented, self-assured, attractive, charming, ambitious, competent, energetic, status-conscious, highly driven for advancement.  Also: diplomatic, poised, overly concerned with image and what others think.  Problems workaholism and competitiveness.
    The third test listed Type 5 as my secondary type.
     Type 5: The Investigator. Perceptive, cerebral, alert, insighful, curious, able to concentrate and focus on develping complex ideas and skills, independent, innovative, inventive.  Also: can become preoccupied with their thoughts and imaginary constructs, detached, hig-strung, intense. Problems with eccentricity, nihilism and isolation.
    So, those of you who know me, what do you think?  How accurate do you think these descriptions are? 
    Do you take personality tests?  Do you think they portray you accurately?  I'd love to get your ideas on this.

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