If you’ve taken any number of personality tests online, at some point you’ve probably wondered what’s going on under the hood. Who writes these tests? What sort of qualifications do they have? And how accurate are these things, really?
There are several languages for understanding ourselves which have evolved over time and which carry their own converts and skeptics. What follows is a translation of salient overlaps between two of those languages: astrology and the personality system created by Katharine Cook Briggs and her daughter, Isabel Briggs Myers. My aim is to show similarities between these two approaches to personality.
How do you look at life? According to the brilliant Swiss-American physicist Albert Einstein, our choice of how to live life is simple. “There are only two ways to live your life”, he reportedly said. “One is as though nothing is a miracle. The other is as though everything is a miracle.”
"Hmm," said a small voice in his ear. "Difficult. Very difficult. Plenty of courage, I see. Not a bad mind either. There's talent, my goodness, yes - and a nice thirst to prove yourself, now that's interesting.... So where shall I put you?"
Harry gripped the edges of the stool and thought, not Slytherin, not Slytherin.
It's hard to miss the developing story around Facebook and data mining firm Cambridge Analytica, who are at the center of a dispute over the harvesting of personal data - specifically, whether it was used to sway the outcome of the 2016 U.S. presidential election.
While Cambridge Analytica has denied any wrongdoing, the company has been accused of misusing data to identify the personalities of U.S. voters, a "secret sauce" it then used to influence them through highly personalized ads and campaign material.
For years, self-help gurus and mindfulness experts have been preaching a simple mantra; if you want to improve your life, you have to change the way you think. Dream big and you will have success. Visualize yourself rolling in dollars and you'll become a millionaire. Unfortunately, science suggests that positive thinking might not work. In fact, the opposite may actually be true - that if we act happy, we become happy, something psychologist Richard Wiseman calls the "as if" principle.
Whatever brand of personality test you take, the chances are you will be described as being one of two types - Extravert or Introvert. Broadly, we think of Extraverts as people who gain energy from others, whereas Introverts recharge by spending time alone. If you never refuse an invitation to the party, you're an Extravert. If you'd rather stay home and read a book, then you're probably an Introvert - or so the theory goes.
If you're an INFP, you will be horribly familiar with the concept of "overthinking." It's when your mind gets caught in a loop, and you go over and over (and over) the same thoughts again without ever deciding what to do. Sometimes the problem is so severe, you can procrastinate for years without ever reaching a resolution.
There's nothing wrong with thinking things through, but there's a fine line between ruminating and torturing yourself over details. Here are four tips to help you stop thinking and start making your ideas fly.
If you’ve been keeping up with this series, I hope you’re starting to feel like an expert in the theory of cognitive functions. At this point, you’ve learned the basics of the theory and the arguments supporting it. Supporters of the theory of cognitive functions argue that they allow you to understand why people act out of character in times of stress, and they can help you to determine which type you are.
Have you always believed in a higher spiritual power; a being who, for some reason we can’t really fathom, created and loves us and will provide a glorious home for our souls after we die? Perhaps you feel that you are seeing this being’s handiwork every time you look at an intricate flower or snowflake, or see breathtaking mountain scenery. To you it makes perfectly logical sense that the existence of such marvels in our world is evidence of a powerful, loving creator who is responsible for them.