• Sharise

Of Protagonists and Peacocks

This is not a Steinbeck novella, rather it is confirmation that I am not who I always thought I was. Let me explain. Today I was asked to take a personality test administered by 16personalities.com. It's based off the Jung-Briggs Myers theory. It's often used to assess suitability for certain types of jobs, or predict whether one has traits to perform well in a particular role. You might also take it to determine for yourself what type of work you should be doing (in theory). Of course that suitability also depends on what an employer is looking for in a particular role.

Fortunately, it turns out that I have only one personality, and for this test it's that of Protagonist. I've always known I was a strong personality, especially in work situations but the results of these tests always surprise me a little.

In my day-to-day life I don't see myself this way. I do see certain aspects of myself in the results, after all we're all a little bit of this or that but one aspect has to be dominant. I consider myself more of an introvert, I get my energy from within, whereas extroverts (modern US spelling) feed off group settings and the energy of others.

I also consider myself shy but whenever I tell ANYONE, and I mean A-N-Y-O-N-E whose known me for a minute this, they don't believe me. Period. There's no convincing them otherwise. I will concede that perhaps it's that I am simply no longer shy and am just stuck on days past where I would never stop and ask for directions, like a man (tee hee) and would rarely initiate conversation with a stranger. Thing is, once you read the details of each category it's really interesting to see just how accurate an algorithmic test can be. The majority of the in-depth explanations do in fact apply to me.

And I can pinpoint exactly when I stopped being shy and became more assertive. Living in Prague, where English is not common outside the touristy city center, I HAD to ask for help in stilted Czech no less, to find my way around and just learn stuff. Once I had the experience of having to ask--and understand--in a complex language, it was easy-peasy coming back to the States and having to ask a stranger something. In fact, I reveled in it for the shear joy of being able to understand. But I digress.

So taking the 16personalities test reminded me of a similar test I took a while back as part of a workplace team-building activity. That one uses bird personalities and has the eyebrow-raising name D.O.P.E. Is that a drug reference? Intelligence reference? Or street lingo for something good? Nope. This test categorizes your results into Dove | Owl | Peacock | Eagle and it's geared more toward understanding who your coworkers are and learning how to communicate and work better with that personality type. Again, surprisingly I am a Peacock.

D.O.P.E test results

I embrace these assessments and to be honest, I think I am these things (mostly the positive stuff) but I still stick with being introverted as far as my energy source goes, and even still shy in certain situations like networking events (OMG, I'd rather have a tooth extracted). But over my professional years, I've learned to flip a switch. I turn on the extroverted side of me as needed and it's served me well. And, I'm in pretty good company; Barack Obama, Oprah Winfrey and Ben Affleck are all considered Protagonists and I'd be happy to take a seat at any event with them.

What's your take on these personality tests?

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