You Won’t Think About Personality Tests The Same Way Again

You Won’t Think About Personality Tests The Same Way Again

We’re all obsessed with personality tests. Below is my favorite Myers-Briggs adaptation… go on, find your cinnamon roll status:

We love the idea that we can fit snuggly inside a type. It’s comfortable.

And life threatening…

My room is better than your room

Personality tests have been the cultural rave in the past few years (and for good reason).

But, something keeps disturbing me about the way people are using personality types. We’ve been groomed inside a culture lacking identity so much we seek a “type” to find solace.

We look at personality like a warehouse lined with rooms that reflect different personality characteristics.

Inside each room are all the different “types” of people. We keep passing by all the “types” until we find the room.

The room with our people. The people you don’t have to explain yourself to. They get you.

You don’t have to explain your faults or quirks… you surely don’t have to explain that weird thing you do with your hands when you get nervous.

The room that is the perfect place for where you’re at right now. Because it’s filled with different versions of you. (or so you think…)

We choose the room that fits us best depending on what we’re feeling that day. And we live the rest of life in that room.

The problem here is that typing ourselves and others is deadly to our potential as a culture because:

Identity is not about who you are. It’s about who you can become.

I was right there with you

Ok, I should be honest. I was right there with you. Sitting in that room.

I’d learn a new personality typing system in and out and own it. I could take an educated guess at your numbers, or letters, or animal (yeah… that’s a real typing test. Better hope you’re not a walrus on that test) based on your Starbucks order.

Even the fact that you went to Starbucks pretty much narrowed down the personality types you could be (because single-origin, black coffee is the only true coffee, right?).

I took a system made by a couple mystics and teachers and psychologists and placed a canvas over everyone.

And told them who they are.

Re-read that. Because you might do the same.

Are you a builder?

The broader, more-enveloping question here isn’t even “am I placing myself in a room” but “how am I limiting the potential of everyone I meet by placing 4 neat, eggshell-white walls around them.”

I was a master builder. Seeing people and defining them. Building perfectly aligned walls around others to contain the very essence of being I overlooked.

Do you do the same?

Who do you see?

Let’s throw away personality tests for a second… when you walk down the street, who do you see?

Do you see goths and thugs and business people and feminists and parents and homosexuals and ___________ (fill in the blank, there’ll be a quiz at the end).

These walls are comfortable because they place a nice piece of brick between our sensitive, self-consuming egos and the potential outside dangers.

Although, those walls do more harm than good…

When you throw a wall up around someone else you prevent:

  • creative collaboration
  • gained insight
  • expanding knowledge
  • defined experience
  • deepening of soul
  • strengthening of heart
  • development of courage
  • __________________

Escaping the cycle

Know that right now you have the unlimited freedom to shatter the walls you’ve built around people.

Take a moment to recognize the ego inside of you that’s seeking to constantly build itself up and categorize everyone else to hide its faults.

Because your relationship didn’t fail because your partner was an ISFP.

And you’re not friends with someone because you’re both type 9s.

You and everyone you meet is expansive and buoyant and far more complex than our egos can project into our conscious minds.

How I stopped placing people in rooms

I know what it’s like to search for years for an identity I can be a part of.

And try to find which type I fit in… to find my people and where I belong and find meaning.

And then I found I couldn’t really fit in anywhere so I started placing everyone else in types and boxes and rooms. And I limited them.

I know the struggle of feeling like I can become more than what someone else wrote down in a dusty book or typed in an online article.

I know how damaging it can feel to your potential when all you get is a number or a collection of letters that are supposed to define you.

In our search for who we are and where we belong and who our people are, we can discover two things:

  • the depths of our humanity cannot be limited to a type
  • rooms starve the life-giving power of community

For yourself

You aren’t one type. Open the door and walk out of the room. Personality types are simply just a map.

A map that guides you on your journey to become a myriad of potential.

A map that gently corrects and consoles you as you travel.

Types aren’t who you are. Shrink them down to their real size and then use them as tools to get where you’re going.

For others

Try to find the walls you’ve placed around your friends and family.

And recognize the walls you continue to place around the people you see.

We think we’re protecting ourselves, but we’re really limiting everything we can become.

Our experiences with others are the only true things that shape us into the people we want to become.


Identity isn’t something you’re going to find in a system.

Your identity is the perpetual process of who you’re becoming.

“For success, like happiness [and identity], cannot be pursued; it must ensure, and it only does so as the unintended side-effect of one’s dedication to a cause greater than oneself or as the by product of one’s surrender to a person other than oneself” — Victor Frankl

Victor Frankl had this realization when imprisoned in a concentration camp. Where everyone was forcefully stripped of the walls they came in with and left with bare humanity.

He discovered that our search for success, happiness, fulfillment, and meaning aren’t things that we can achieve. They’re simply things that happen as a result of our pursuit of something greater than ourselves.

The pursuit of becoming connected with the bigger picture of what god (love, the divine, collective unconscious, etc.) is doing in the world.

So, today, remove the walls you’ve placed around people and the walls you’ve confined yourself in.

Begin the search for what the divine is doing in the world and how you connect to it.

And simply use personality types as tools to get you there. Don’t give them more credit than they deserve because…

Identity is not about who you are. It’s about who you can become.

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