Personal development can be intimidating. You aren’t the only one who finds walking through the self-help section in a bookstore confusing or daunting, with its countless titles that promise to improve your life, outlook, and health. Although it’s not a bad idea to pick up a self-help book once in a while, you may find your personal growth will get the best boost from personality testing. Testing requires less time than a full-length book, and you’ll find a wealth of information at your disposal for further reading once you’ve received your results. And let’s face it, it’s kind of fun taking tests, right?  

Whether you’re new to personality testing or you’re familiar with options like the 16-type system or the Big 5, personality testing offers rich benefits that can enrich your outlook, give you an idea of which habits to work on, and lead you toward the best version of yourself in confidence. 

If you’re on the fence about diving into some personality theory, read on for these six benefits of personality testing to help your personal development. 

1. Improve your habits

Sometimes people need some help when it comes to self-reflection, and that’s okay! Everyone has areas of their life that could use a little work. Although you may recognize your habits, when you read your personality test results, you might find you have a new sense of understanding for why you do certain things and how you can make significant changes, even if they’re small ones. 

For example, if you’re one of the 16 types who give too much of yourself at the expense of your wellbeing—such as the INFJ or the people-loving ESFJ—you might not recognize it. When you’re so busy paying attention to others, it’s easy to forget your own needs. However, when you spend time reflecting on your caring ways, it might make you realize how you’ve neglected yourself. If you need reminders to put yourself first once in a while, the 16-type test can bring those imbalances to light. An easy fix for ESFJs and INFJs who give to the point of exhaustion is to schedule time for yourself to enjoy a hobby, journal, or complete a simple self-care ritual, such as taking a bubble bath. 

2. Personality testing helps with intrapersonal and extrapersonal communication

Communication is hard work, and some of the 16 personality types have a tough time balancing intrapersonal communication (communication and awareness within yourself) and extrapersonal communication (your communication with others). But, in truth, everyone favors one type of communication over the other, and when you take a personality test, it may open your eyes to those strengths, as well as areas that could use improvement.

For instance, INFPs and ENFPs are great at recognizing and practicing awareness regarding their thoughts, behaviors, and goals, but they often idealize others and hold them to high standards. While standards are a good thing, INFPs and ENFPs might want to spend more time accepting people for who they are for less turbulent relationships. Additionally, their sensitive nature can sometimes overshadow someone’s true meaning in a conversation, especially when an ENFP or INFP views constructive criticism as a personal attack, so learning to accept feedback would also give their communication skills a boost. 

Likewise, some types are much better at communicating and maintaining peace with others than they are within themselves. This simple task of recognition and a desire to improve your communication skills is also possible when using personality testing to discover your Enneagram type or other personality tests like the TypeFinder Temperament Test.

3. You could find new life goals

Although it’s easy to feel set in your ways, there’s nothing like a personality test to bring attention to those aspects of yourself you were ignoring or neglecting. Some people find they’ve been blind to particular traits or habits, and that’s okay, too. Either way, an outside source—whether it’s a friend, family member, or personality testing—can be the easiest way to bring forth a sense of enlightenment and help you set new life goals. 

Not everyone will have an “Ah-ha” moment, but those who do may discover small facets of themselves simply by reading and self-reflecting. These traits or habits may be great strengths when you allow them to blossom, whether you’ve ignored your artistic side for years or found you haven’t been putting your interpersonal skills to work. When you embrace these talents, they may change small parts of your life or help you create the building blocks for a life plan, whether that includes your work, personal life, or overall contentment with who you are. 

It’s not uncommon for adults to be unaware of facets of their personality, and whatever life goals you create can be as simple as taking more time to acknowledge gratitude or as complicated as shifting your focus to a new path you never thought you’d take. 

Luckily, no matter what you have discovered about yourself, there’s an answer to how to improve your life in little steps because the more you know about yourself, the more you understand how to address your future.

4. You might develop a better understanding of others

Communication is a significant factor in relationships, but being a great talker doesn’t mean you understand other peoples’ perspectives. Understanding and empathy are both separate and intertwined with communication—you can’t communicate with others and take in their feelings without offering some level of understanding. If you have trouble with this, as many people do, you’re not communicating as effectively as you might if you spent a bit more time recognizing your habits. 

Although it sounds odd, most people understand others better when they better understand themselves. When you know yourself, you may spend more time pinpointing your reactions, emotions, and the driving forces behind your decision-making as your self-awareness grows. It’s also easier to have some level of empathy for others when you’re cognizant of your problems and dreams on a human level. 

Plus, personality testing and assessments may make you want to understand your friends’ and family members’ types, and thus you may seek out further knowledge about how they tick. Not every person is the same, of course, but most people enjoy the process of seeking out similarities and differences when they discover more about themselves.

5. You may learn to practice acceptance

Perfectionistic types may greatly benefit from personality testing in such a simple way. Although it isn’t always easy to practice the act of acceptance when you’re upset about something, you may feel acceptance comes a bit easier once you’ve familiarized yourself with your personality type. 

INTJ, the Mastermind, for one, struggles with impatience when it comes to others sometimes. So if you test as an INTJ and recognize impatience is one of your traits, you’ll likely do a couple of things. First, you might vow to work on being less impatient. Second, if you feel you were impatient with someone recently, you might allow yourself a moment to reflect, but remember personal growth is a journey, and you aren’t going to get to the finish line by beating yourself up over your mistakes. 

6. You can discover like-minded people

Thanks to the internet, personality testing opens up a whole new world of virtual friendships and connections—and truly, one of the coolest ways to work on your personal development is to do it with others who share your goals. Often, people who are very into personality theories will share their results with you in an online conversation, connect in a forum, or post their types on their social media profiles. In the virtual age, this means you may have endless opportunities to make friends with others who share similar traits and ways of thinking. 

In real life, you can also use personality results as a lead-in to a conversation for a date, when meeting a new co-worker, or reconnecting with old friends and family members. Although not everyone will know what you’re talking about, if personality testing is a subject you’re passionate about, your friends may take a test to see what you’ve got in common. Bonding and growing with people is an important part of personal growth, and other people can also help you discover yourself on a deeper level.

The takeaway

If you’re pursuing your path of personal development but don’t know where to start, personality testing may be one of the quickest ways to discover your strengths and habits that you might want to improve. Tests like the 16-type system, Big 5, and The Enneagram can offer you an objective insight into how you function, and you may find your results affirm your beliefs about yourself or surprise you. Whatever your test results are, everyone can benefit by using personality testing to develop a greater connection, understanding, and drive within yourself to be your best self.

Cianna Garrison
Cianna Garrison holds a B.A. in English from Arizona State University and works as a freelance writer. She fell in love with psychology and personality type theory back in 2011. Since then, she has enjoyed continually learning about the 16 personality types. As an INFJ, she lives for the creative arts, and even when she isn’t working, she’s probably still writing.