The ultimate personality test
Do you like being put in a box and labelled?
You love it. We all do. We’ve all paused while scrolling over the latest buzzed quiz and wondered “what kind of penguin am I?”
Personality analysis has been wildly popular ever since printed media had front pages, (about the late 19th century). It’s been around from Hippocrates' four temperaments, (sanguine, choleric, melancholic and phlegmatic) right through to JK Rowling's four houses of Hogwarts.
Humans across history have never gotten tired of finding out who they really are. Whether you’re a macaroni penguin melancholic, philosopher, ESFP, type 2 on the Enneagram or even a Sagittarius, there’s something weirdly satisfying about belonging to a clearly defined group.
I mention Sagittarius because personality quizzes, and their classier older sibling personality tests like the Myers Briggs test and the Enneagram, have pretty much all been proven to be as bogus as the zodiac.
Yes, personality tests, even the ones you pay for, are mostly malarkey. This is because personality is a messy mix of behaviors, habits, beliefs, coping mechanisms, practised mindsets and more that is influenced slightly, but not much, by genetics. Not only that, but neuroplasticity and epigenetics says you can change pretty much anything about yourself over time - not just your lifestyle and attitude, but your actual, fundamental biology.
Think you’re a free-spirited extrovert who goes with the flow? Have a baby and watch as you become a punctual “A-type” who believes in vaccines and never sees their friends.
Basically, all of us have many sides to our personality and almost all traits show up in everybody from time to time. Shy, confident, friendly, harsh, efficient, easy-going, punctual, late, generous, selfish, compassionate, empathetic, curious, ambitious, flirty, loyal, fun-loving, serious, passionate, skeptical, and on and on an on. I’m pretty sure you can recall at least one time when you’ve shown each of these traits. Sure, you’ll tend towards some and not others, but you were not born that way and you have every ability to change if you want to.
So why is Thought Catalog still flooded with articles like “The four steps to getting a date with each Myers Briggs personality type” or “What each Myers Briggs type does at a music festival”?
The answer is simply narcissism. We love the idea of being deeply understood, even if what’s being understood is false information.
But don’t worry, if you ever feel lonely, just remember that there's one who knows you even better than your own mother; where you live, what you do, where you want to travel to, your strengths, weaknesses, habits and hates, desires and dirty secrets, and that, my friends, is Google.