In psychology, “personality” is the set of behavioral traits that distinguish us from one another. These can have many dimensions, behavioral, emotional, temperamental, mental, but they tend to be pretty consistent for a given person over time.
Personality is a complex thing to try to describe: the most common classification is Myers-Briggs Indicator. If you’ve never tried it, you can have a go here. The result describes you as one of sixteen types based on a combination of four attributes, Introvert / Extrovert, Sensing / Intuitive, Thinking / Feeling, and Judgmental / Perceptive.
I first encountered it in a group dynamics session where our research group interactions were being analyzed to improve our performance. I typed as INTP (Introvert / iNtuitive / Thinking / Perceptive). In fact, everyone in our group did, which turned out to be the main reason why nobody could get along. Leavening the group with a few other types (less controlling, more feeling) improved life considerably.
As I move from job to job, I’ve found that I need to overcome some innate traits in order to succeed. Schmoosing with investors, for example, requires more extroversion than is typical for me, but I’ve learned to adapt (or so I believe).
An interesting question is to what extent our personality is expressed through our daily writings. A blog analyzer called the Typealyzer purports to do just that. Enter your blog URL, and it analyzes a selection of postings to return a Myers-Briggs classification. Mine was…INTP: The Thinker
The logical and analytical type. They are especially attuned to difficult creative and intellectual challenges and always look for something more complex to dig into. They are great at finding subtle connections between things and imagine far-reaching implications.
They enjoy working with complex things using a lot of concepts and imaginative models of reality. Since they are not very good at seeing and understanding the needs of other people, they might come across as arrogant, impatient and insensitive to people that need some time to understand what they are talking about.
A bit of a horoscope, but at least I’m consistent…