Personality Growth: Are You Ready to Expand Beyond a Personality Type?
August 25, 2022 |
Who doesn’t love taking a personality assessment and reading about the traits that are their favorites? Reading about our preferred traits and how that contributes to the way we are is fascinating, and the allure is surely understandable. In your early years, we recommend taking any credible personality assessment you can find. The Myers-Briggs Type Indicator (MBTI), DiSC, and Enneagram all have extensive popularity and are fun to take. By using these particular assessments, you will learn valuable information about yourself because the authors of each of these assessments observed human patterns that can be put into dichotomous pairs (known as preferences). And largely without realizing it, your personality growth was shaped during your first twenty (or so) years of life by a combination of inherited and nurtured traits. Your magnificent brain recorded certain behaviors as “the right way to be,”. And these traits you repeatedly enacted during those early years somehow served the reward centers in your brain.
A complex world requires an evolved mind.
But as you move into a much larger world beyond your family and early community, these same traits may or may not serve you in the world you now find yourself in. What if knowing your preferred traits is actually limiting your beliefs about yourself in important ways and impairing your outcomes in life too? What if people are making decisions about your career based on the outcomes of your “personality type” and limiting your advancement without you knowing? It happened to me; it still happens every day and you should be aware of how your own mindset may be the obstacle to your best self (and even to your full potential). The traits you inherited and bring with you are only one way of seeing things, and we live in a vastly diverse world where one set of traits will not suffice or bring you success. Most of the time, those traits polarize people and divide them. Clinging to them could even prevent you from contributing to your organization or society in a meaningful way.
Extremes can be useful, but don’t camp out there.
What you might not know is that having extreme personality traits can (and will) prevent you from maintaining effective relationships and advancing in your career. Indeed, the more you believe certain personality reports, the more you might tend to exaggerate and repeat those traits (or even use them as an excuse to be a certain way). Personality can create personal growth challenges when it becomes a false “face” we present to the world without really digging under the surface to find out why we unconsciously or subconsciously do what we do. Too often, that “face” is there to protect you from vulnerabilities you’ve previously encountered. Extremes can be useful in protecting you or getting your needs met in the short run, but don’t camp out there. Otherwise, you will find yourself losing more relationships than you can replace.
Your identity drives your choices.
The point I am trying to get across is that the more you fall in love with your personality construct, the more you may have a tendency to rely upon it, reinforce it and act upon it, even when it isn’t getting you the results you want in life or work. Undoubtedly, as you engage with the world, your brain will look for patterns that prove you are right and reinforce your belief even more. Case in point, the more you read about being introverted, the more likely you are to think of yourself in that way--“I am a strong introvert”--and look for reasons to continue being that way instead of challenging yourself to express yourself in important situations when it matters. Then you might end up being ignored or overlooked in meetings or social groups and one day notice you have constructed a fairly isolated life. No one is an island and we don’t thrive much alone, so this belief is what is constructing your experience of life.
The reverse is true for the person who sees themselves as extroverted. The more they identify with being extroverted, the more they are likely to keep talking when the best thing to do is be silent. Speaking without thinking first can crush a career and send you reeling after being fired for expressing opinions that don’t serve the entity that is paying your salary. Or speaking your mind about everything that arises and dominate conversations in a way that also drives others away often has similar outcomes. Extremes in either direction result in the same outcome. You can find yourself alone and left behind.
Does your personality have you, or do you have it?
Here’s the reality: You are much more than your personality. Everyone has a multitude of personalities within them. Try taking a personality assessment from the perspective of work and then again from the perspective of home. Most people are very different in their personal lives than they may be while at work. That’s just the beginning. Early in my own life, I lost a promotion because my supervisor was relying on my MBTI results and decided that I made a great individual contributor, but not a leader. Wait, what? You read that right. This is when I decided to study all of the MBTI types and as I studied them, I began to realize that all of them resided in parts of my psyche. I could relate to every single one of them in certain ways. This is the reason I decided to do research on whole-person psychology based on character development and spent decades exploring an expanded version of identity that could help all of us see ourselves differently. Not as one set of traits, but as a collection of useful traits applied in the appropriate context. Enter the Generative Personality, that is agile and shifts from one set of traits to another with ease and grace. Yes, we have a favorite set of traits that represent our top set of character strengths, but we can ALSO be all of the patterns and shift into them at will. Not one or the other, but both. This is a much more inclusive way of thinking about individual identities. By thinking of ourselves as more diverse internally, we can be more open to diverse perspectives externally too. This opens up a deeper exploration into the question - can personality types change? We believe yes, personality types can change, and we address this further here.
Our team at Tilt365 emphatically believes that the best way to behave is almost always dependent on the situation. We have evidence that the most advanced minds are more balanced and well-rounded in terms of traits and personality growth and contribute to their social groups and teams in ways that can produce more creativity and innovation. People who have more balanced identities are often more thoughtful about which traits to exhibit in a wide variety of situations. We call this a “balanced whole self-concept” and what it means is that you are sometimes one trait and sometimes the opposite trait, depending on what is appropriate contextually. (We are doing ongoing research on this topic and you can participate here).
You can take the True Tilt Personality Assessment here. Unlike other personality assessments it will show you your preferred character strengths PLUS the path to development of all four of the primary patterns that produce generativity in life and work. The True Tilt Personality Assessment is a great tool for those looking to learn how personality development can create transformative growth.
We also offer books for personal growth, which poses a thought provoking method for building strong internal confidence and happiness by focusing inward instead of being at the affect of outside forces.
Your personality is only where your identity begins, but it’s your character that will determine your destiny.
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