Who Am I Really?
exploring the cult of personality and other self-related questions
I beg to be measured.
For years, I have been obsessed with self-assessments: personality tests, zodiac anything, and trivial quizzes that promise to answer my self-related questions.
Ironically, I am also averse to labels.
I understand that labels are necessary for comprehension. We name things to facilitate the process of understanding. Nevertheless, shortcuts lead to the formation of stereotypes and the perpetuation of biases, which I detest.
On the shelf behind my work desk, I found a book titled, “The Cult of Personality,” written by Annie Murphy Paul. So, I read it. Well, some of it.
Paul proposes that personality tests have become abundant in our society because of this common thread: Humans seek understanding. We want to know more about ourselves, and long to determine our place in life. Her criticism of self-assessment tests parallels my perception of labels. They fail to capture a person’s entirety. They are shallow, and though they may appease our anxieties, they fail to provide real answers.
Cultic or not, it is fascinating how personality testing has become so deeply integrated in our society. Schools, companies, and compelling titles on Buzzfeed convince us to take these tests, then categorize us based on our results. We readily submit.
Hook, Line, and Sinker
Annie M. Paul also notes that these results are often vague enough for the recipient to find relevance. Admittedly, this gets me every time. I enjoy being able to identify with my results. I find that some assessment results allow me to realize truths about myself, of which I have been ignorant.
Weighing both viewpoints, I can’t say I feel strongly toward either side. I am still intrigued by personality tests, and I do not believe they will be going anywhere, anytime soon.
On the other hand, I will not rely on personality tests to tell me who I am. Self-assessments have allowed me to better understand myself and have to an extent, shaped the person I am today, but there is more to me than the results of a quiz reading.
But Who Is She? And Who Am I?
If this post hasn’t deterred you from self-assessments, or better yet if it has intrigued you to further explore such tests, I am providing you with the opportunity to indulge. A few of my results are listed below, and I have hyperlinked the test titles so you can take them on your own. Feel free to share your opinions regarding your own results below. I’d love to hear what you guys think about personality tests, zodiac signs, and the like.
INFJ (Introversion, Intuition, Feeling, Judgment)
Sun Sign: Taurus
Rising Sign: Sagittarius
Type A, though I believe I’m more of a hybrid
If you want to read Annie Murphy Paul’s book, I have linked the title is above. I can’t provide much of a review, seeing as I didn’t make it past Chapter Three, but it has a 3.6 rating on Goodreads.com and it has inspired me to read Mark Twain. So why not?
Warning: you may become skeptical about self-assessments, but you will learn cool facts about the history of personality testing.
Ultimately, you’re much more complex than a 2-page questionnaire.