June 23, 2024

In 2013, I took my first personality test – the Myers-Briggs Test – and discovered I was an INFJ, the rarest type of the 16 possible types, accumulating for only about 1.5% of the population, according to psychology researchers.

I was immediately hooked, and as I read through the description of my type, I wondered, “How do they know such specific things about me?”

For a general example, I would consider myself a pretty passionate person; I either do things all the way (110%), or I do the bare minimum to get by, with no middle ground. This can be a problem, of course, as I struggle to find the motivation to do things that I do not entirely agree with or feel are necessary. You could imagine my shock when I read that this is common in INFJs, as we are constantly seeking to find deeper meaning in absolutely everything.

But the list did not just describe my personality; it also described how I work. It takes me a long time to process things, I can explain myself better in writing rather than talking. I need space to recharge (often) and I need to have a larger purpose and goal in mind. For the first time in my life, I felt understood. There was not anything wrong with me — my brain just works differently and I have different needs.

Since 2013, I have taken the same test multiple times and I always get the same result: INFJ. I have used these results to help me perform better academically, physically and even socially. I learned what my strengths and weaknesses are, and I believe that self-awareness is the only way to grow. Some may argue the results put you in a box, but I believe being aware of the box is the only way to grow around it.

Though some may not be able to relate to their results, it could be because the tests are more applicable to introverts, people who are outnumbered in society.

About 74% of the population are extroverts, according to Psychology Today. Due to this, much of society is structured to accommodate extroverts.

A common example is in classrooms when teachers call on students randomly to answer questions. It is a simple thing, but it caters to an extrovert’s mind, someone who is quick to think and respond. It is biased against an introvert, someone who needs quiet and space to reflect before responding.

It is too easy to spot things in our culture like this, and that is why I find personality tests so helpful. It is reassuring to everyone that no matter how differently you work, you work that way for a reason, you have strengths and weaknesses that differ from others and it is not a bad thing.

Though I have only mentioned Myers-Briggs, there are many tests out there and many possibilities to find one that helps you best. I do not love them all, but I found one that I did.

Although these tests can be used in discriminatory ways (such as in hiring processes), this was not the intent of the original tests. Briggs and Meyers (mom and daughter) actually created their personality test in 1943 to help women entering the industrial workforce find jobs for which they would have a strong skillset. 

The first ever personality test was written in 1915, a result of the First World War, according to the Smithsonian Magazine. This personality test aimed to help identify which soldiers were more prone to shell shock.

Personality tests have proven to be useful and can continue to be useful if we use them positively.

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