Character Strengths

June 30, 2017

Going Beyond Self-Assessment

EducationPlanner, a service of the Pennsylvania Education Assistance Agency, offers in this program an entry to career requirements and possible employment planning. Its online system asks individuals to check off positive characters they have or want to have. Once completed, the system presents related results that include descriptive definition of the characteristic, ways to think about the characteristic, ways to practice in the desired direction, and possible career examples.

Following is how I see myself relating within each characteristic in past practice. Underlying my approach in these areas is my general understanding of and attitude to the vast and divergent public that exhibit differences in need of attention and assistance. I accept responsibility to do the best I can as a citizen of this world and as a professional in the fields of education and library services, both with an emphasis on learning how to learn and thereby continuous learning.

Caring/Compassionate: concern about people and the world, and wanting to help. However individuals vary in interests, abilities, and actions, all are welcome, respected, and to be served in their needs. Their gain and satisfaction within available resources is the primary measure of successful service.

Communicative: able and eager to listen and respond to others. Engagement in conversation to be profitable requires moving beyond the phatic level. Often to be successful in answering questions and other matters at issue, speaking and listening necessarily require negotiation: that is the process of fully relating to what the other wants or seeks so that the helper understands exactly and fully what is wanted for the desired use and purpose. Part of the process is iterating the context of the question so it aligns with the problem’s resolution as needed.

Confident: trust in one’s knowledge and abilities. Since knowledge is vast and full or specialization, providing information on an impromptu level requires a peculiar professionalism. The information professional may know, proportionately, not very much out of all knowledge. Instead the needed grasp is awareness how to readily and appropriately find the answer.

Cooperative/A Team Player: the will and ability to work with others in achieving a common goal.

Sixteen Personalities

June 14, 2017

Profiling by Neris Analytics Limited

Revised 3 July 2017

Except for book length treatments on personality typology, I have never experienced a profiling assessment as grounded and explicit as the Sixteen Personalities instrument from Neris. They start with a review of theory to “fit something as complex and fluid as human personality into a well- defined model.” Though reaching that goal is admittedly some way off, current models “often predict with a high degree of confidence how we are likely to behave” while “environment, experience, and individual goals” can also influence our actions. This view translates to how someone with a specific personality type is LIKELY to behave.

Findings on personality as shown by indicators and tendencies are not necessarily definitive. Presumably, we may hold greater confidence in an 80% score than a 10% one. Profile alignment information ought to inspire one’s personal awareness and growth and better understanding of others with more likelihood than certainty.

Neris blends the typology categories advanced by Carl Jung with the further developments from the findings of Katharine Briggs and Isabel Myers, explained in Myers’ book, Gifts Differing (1980).  Neris, holding copyrights on its work since 2011, considers traits additional to the earlier established typologies by identifying five personality “aspects.”

  1. Mind shows how we interact with our surroundings.
  2. Energy shows how we see the world and process information.
  3. Nature shows how we make decisions and cope with emotions.
  4. Tactics show how we approach work, planning and decision making.
  5. Identity ranges between assertive and turbulent.

This approach shows my type (INTJ-A) with the role of Analyst (driven to understand and create while valuing intellect above all else). Consequent strategies are Confident Individualism and Constant Improvement.

Confident Individualists, like me, embrace solitude as much as possible to pursue their own interests: reading, research, and writing in my case. Self-reliance is the key. Pursuit of goals is for my own satisfaction without any need to prove myself to others. Inspiration is to be found within me in pursuit of positive substance and personal honesty. I hold to my own views without much desire or hope of convincing others on any kind of scale. Friendships for me are few, but dedicated, strong and honest. At my age, I have outlived many of my dearest friends; others have been lost to physical distance and lack of conversation.

Constant Improvement blossoms from my own habitation of space and freedom. The drive to do better often struggles against doubt: do I know enough; am I pertinent; can I express myself better; or, do I fail? I prefer ongoing projects; new knowledge, new means of self-expression for better results than socializing and other distractions in games or other entertainments. To be specific, I have not watched commercial television for decades and see only those films that promise to be most artistic and meaningful.

I took the inventory twice, a series of questions with 7 degrees of alignment from strongly agreeing to strongly disagreeing. Personality traits are expressed in resulting percentages that show the extent to which answers represent various aspects.

→ Mind: Interaction:        Extrovert 30/38           Introvert 70/62

→ Energy: Direction:        INtuitive 79/60            Observant 21/38

→ Nature: Decisions:        Thinking 64/55            Feeling 36/45

→ Tactics: Approach:        Judging 84/84              Prospecting 16/16

→ Identity: Confidence:    Assertive 92/92           Turbulent 8/8

In the first try, I spent more time analyzing my choices and often taking the middle position out of a “neither,” “sometimes,” or not sure what the question asks position. For the Neris results In both Judging and Assertive, the percentages did not vary from first to second test. In these aspects, I am the strongest in response and therefor most sure. In short, I am INTJ-A and by Neris casting fit the Architect Personality, calculated to be 2% of the population (or 1% of the U.S. population). This grouping is imaginative while decisive, ambitious yet private, curious though husbanding energy. The Architect Personality thirsts for knowledge even from childhood when called a “bookworm,” even as I was then and later nick-named “professor” in high school. I abhor games, most jokes, gossip, mass market culture, and other trivial distractions from more significant and essential pursuits.

We Architect types tend towards idealism on one hand and criticism on the other, believing that with intelligence, consideration, and effort nothing is impossible, while noting that most people lack these strengths, fail, and blame others. Another way to see this self-rootedness is that the Architect Personality exhibits wanting to achieve the best there is to accomplish within their provenance. When you travel alone, that singular opportunity makes room for more reflection regardless of others’ notice, expectation or desire.

I feel fortunate to have quit employment when I was 60. I was in a position to develop library systems to enlarge and extend services through the cooperation of libraries of different types. My approach was the invention of mechanisms to do this based on a theory of the domains under which multi-type library cooperative systems seek to operate. That approach did not go over well.

I feel more fortunate now when I have major time for my own pursuits.


Personality Type from 41 Questions

June 12, 2017

41q: The 41 Questions Personality Test Under Review

Revised 3 July 2017

41q cites various reasons for taking a personality test because, in short, different people can have differing needs or interests. At basis is knowing oneself better and thereby making one’s way beneficially into the environment. Likely, in examining the self, findings may be multiple and raise or answer or guide responses to several questions.

Who am I really? How might I change? What do I want out of life? What values do I have and want to pursue? How do I relate to others? What social connections would work for me. In what career path would I do well? What’s my best fit for satisfaction, success, happiness, or whatever?

Put simply, personality probing and conclusions derive from aligning one’s self with a series of personal inventory enquiries. Questions may seek a yes or no polarity or some response range in between strongly agree and strongly disagree with agreement neutrality or ambiguity in the middle. Often personality explorations discourage landing midway between extremes.

Over my years, I find participating in personality inventories enjoyable, ascertaining how they work and how they compare with previous examinations. While inventory directions routinely call for honest responses, the major challenge for me is determining answers by how I understand the questions. I have found too many questions imprecise. Some examples in the 41q inventory follow.

  1. Is depressed, blue? Sometimes yes, sometimes no and for various lengths of time. Therefore, between extremes.
  2. Generates a lot of enthusiasm? What do a lot, generate, and enthusiasm mean? Again, in the middle.
  3. Has an assertive personality? What does assertive mean and how is it exercised. Middle.
  4. Can be moody? What is moody? Middle.
  5. Makes plans and follows through with them. Sometimes yes, sometimes no. Middle.
  6. Is easily distracted? What do easily or distracted mean? Middle.

Of 47 questions, I strongly disagreed with 5 (find fault, careless, quarrels, lazy, rude) and strongly agreed with 12 (relaxed, curious, deep thinker, forgiving, quiet, trusting, stable, aesthetic, inhibited, reflective, cooperative, intelligent).

Based on Carl Jung’s identification of ranges in personality types, I am in rank order, closest to Judging (I organize, plan, control, and decide); Thinking (I am logical, consistent, analytical, process driven); Introvert (attentive to ideas and the inner self); and Intuitive (introspective, following patterns and possibilities, focused on meanings).

As in other inventory findings stemming from Jung, I am INTJ, this time called “Independent Thinker.” The characteristics given are independent, original, analytical, determined, and able to turn theories into solid plans for action. I highly value knowledge, competence and structure, and derive meaning from what might be and ought to be. As such, I am a long-range thinker with high standards of performance for myself and others. Such people are potential leaders at least in their field of occupation or interest.

Q41 identifies a long string of fitting careers including scientists, engineers, professors, lawyers, judges, psychologists, researchers, and university instructors. This leaves out architects, archivists, librarians, and philosophers offered in other INTJ profiles.

Q41 names persons with INTJ personality types, a few of them that I favor or could identify with: especially Sir Isaac Newton (1642-1727) English mathematician, astronomer, and  physicist, a key figure in the scientific revolution; Thomas Jefferson (1743-1826) an Enlightenment intellectual and founding father of the United States; and Jane Austen (1775-1817) champion of the novel as a critique of sensibility and shift to literary realism. Also named is Julius Caesar Augustus from which it is not clear who is meant: Gaius Julius Caesar (100-44 BCE) or Gaius Octavianus Augustus (63 BCE-14 CE), whom I think is the more likely. Among others named, I cannot see myself aligning with Donald Rumsfeld, Rudy Giuliani, or Arnold Schwarzenegger.

Generally, for an inventory that I find very problematic, I generally agree with the results and am satisfied with the profile.