Exploring Personality

Exploring Ourselves

People are naturally curious about who they are. Research in philosophy, psychology, anthropology, and other social sciences has been fuelled by that curiosity. More recently, people turn to horoscopes and personality tests as a way of understanding themselves. What is the appeal of horoscopes? How do they compare differences between introverts and extroverts, and how are personality types used to predict behaviours in work and social settings? This article aims to explore common personality theories and assist you in self-reflection.

Looking for Ourselves in the Universe

Horoscopes are one of the most popular forms of introspection. Astrologers believe the time you were born plays a significant role in your personality because humans are “one with the universe.” The sun, the moon, and each planet has a “push” or “pull” on our daily lifestyles. Each person’s thoughts, actions and feelings depend on the relative position of the “ten planets.”

Predictions in newspapers, magazines, and websites tend to simplify readings by focusing on the sun’s influence to encase a broader audience. However, according to astrology, the sun only represents a fraction of your personality — our life’s desires. Originally, horoscopes represented ten separate aspects of a dynamic, constantly changing personality.

Searching for Deeper Connections

Another popular way of reflecting on personality is by identifying whether one is introverted or extroverted. Classically defined, introverts focus their energy inwards and tend to be more comfortable in smaller circles. Extroverts are externally focused and are energized by spending time with people.

We tend to exaggerate these characteristics by picturing introverts as awkward, reserved bookworms and extroverts as charming, social adventurists. However, we often forget that both types need a form of social connection.

Introversion and extroversion are both on a spectrum, with most of us being a combination of both. Despite this, many of us will identify as one of the personality types we feel most suited to as a means f of understanding why we think or act in specific ways. It can also be relieving to see these common tendencies reflected in our relationships or be reminded that other people “recharge” differently. Most importantly, understanding that introversion and extroversion are not solidly set, can inspire additional self-reflection and assist us in maximizing our full potentials.

Predicting Behaviours Using Personality

When you work closely with others, recognizing and understanding their personality traits can take complicated relationships and simplify them. Although personality tests are only snapshots of traits someone is temporarily displaying, identifying personality types in both yourself and others can improve your connections.

Successful duos such as John Lennon and Paul McCartney, Steve Jobs and Steve Wozniak, Eleanor and Franklin Roosevelt, and Rosa Parks and Martin Luther King Jr. have developed from an individual’s recognition of both their own and each other’s strengths. But, is it possible to maximize someone else’s strengths while downplaying your own? Typically, the strongest teams have a combined awareness and appreciation of each individual’s unique strengths. It’s nearly impossible for a team to reach its maximum potential if each member’s unique personality is not recognized.

Understanding Our Roles

We are guilty of judging ourselves regularly. I’m too anxious to public speak, I’m too reserved to be in sales, or I’m not charismatic enough for politics. We opt out of entire careers because we don’t believe our personalities are suitable for certain roles. But our personalities are malleable. There are ways to push ourselves outside of our comfort zones and pursue roles unnatural to us. We naturally push ourselves when we believe our actions are necessary to improve life for others or ourselves. Changing our personalities to accomplish tasks outside of our comfort zone, or “self-monitoring”, refers to expressive behaviour and nonverbal displays.

Self-monitors try to understand how individuals and groups will perceive their actions. Typically, people who frequently act spontaneously are low self-monitors because they choose to act before considering how their actions may be interpreted. High self-monitors prefer controlled actions so that they can reflect, and consciously adjust their behaviour accordingly.

High self-monitors can assess situations and adjust their behaviour accordingly. Due to this, they are often viewed as open-minded and are recognized more frequently for their achievements.  

Contrastingly, low self-monitors are better at knowing exactly what they want and how they feel. They do not bend themselves over backwards to fit into social situations and will opt out of activities if it does not agree with their character. Some strengths can be utilized by both high and low self-monitors. To maximize this potential, recognizing our natural states and reflecting on which strengths we naturally emphasize is crucial.

Summary

Astronomers understand our personalities are fluid. Horoscopes and personality tests have grown out of a curiosity to find our true selves, and build stronger relationships by identifying traits in ourselves and others.

However, it is important to remember that personalities are dynamic. While understanding our personalities is not a perfected science, reflecting on and exploring our emotions and actions can help us to better understand ourselves. The greater we are at knowing our strengths, the more capable we are of helping others find theirs.

Stephanie grew up in a small town and has enjoyed adjusting to life in Vancouver. She like to keep an open mind and learn about other people’s lives. When Stephanie is procrastinating from her studying she can be found falling at ice rinks or attempting to ride tandem bicycles at Stanley Park.

sbohn12@hotmail.com