In college, I was, in part, a psychology major. One of my favorite classes was simply titled Personality. Obviously we studied personalities but we also studied theories that describe them and how to affectively negotiate the diverse personalities that make up mankind.
I had the opportunity to hear a great speaker named Paul David Trip speak this weekend. He made a strong point that no one talks more to you than yourself therefore you are most responsible for what you’re being told. He suggests that your inner dialogue is most profound in convincing you of reality. Thinking through this and what I know about personality I was stuck with this question, If I am the person I talk to the most then how do I avoid feeding into negative aspects of my personality (lying to myself) and make affective changes to my thoughts and actions? How do I cause growth instead of starting fires?
As with anything we write I won’t pretend to have an answer but I do have a direction to point us in. Know yourself. Have a tangible way to define your personality. Not a wishy-washy, loose definition but a concrete one that can be communicated and that allows you to make informed decisions. I’m not saying pigeon hole yourself into a category. Take the time to actually learn who you are and what your personality pre-disposes you to do and think. Let me give you an example.
As a Young Life leader part of my responsibility is to be where high school guys go which often means going to football or basketball games and hanging out in the student section. A large crowd of people + being an introvert + being 25 in the student section at a high school game = lots of stress for me. I know my tendency is to avoid this exact scenario so I have to plan ahead and set up ways for me to be successful. For me this looks like setting manageable goals or deadlines.
Let’s explain it this way, if you have virus in your blood can you heal someone else suffering from the same virus with a blood transfusion? Clearly you can not. You would just reinfect them. It’s the same with ourselves. If I’m the one speaking the most to myself, I can’t talk myself out of my own personality but I can be aware of it and avoid the negatives in my personality through a cognitive firewall that filters out the things that don’t contribute positively to my life. Does it work every time? No, I make mistakes or buy in to things that don’t set me up for success but it does over time help me to make better decisions.
Here are some resources to help you start exploring your personality.
- Myer’s Briggs – Defines 16 personality types and give great definitions of each. Comment below with your personality type. I’m an INFJ.
- DISC personality test – Not as detailed as the Myer’s Briggs but short and good starting point
- Personality test – A very thorough personality test based on the Big Five
Tells us your thoughts on your results!