Upholder, Questioner, Obliger, Rebel?

September 11, 2017

Revised 23 September 2017.

The Parade newspaper supplement, September 10, 2017, on page 4 introduced The Four Tendencies, a book by Gretchen Rubin. This book is said to explore the ways we are “hard-wired” to act or behave as we do. By following this exploration online at  Parade.com/tendencies, further introduction sets up a quiz to “get a clearer reading on yourself.” Even though “this quiz isn’t dispositive” (that is, directed toward or affecting disposition – temperament, character, personality – it means to gain greater understanding of yourself and relationships with others and their tendencies.

The quiz consists of a four part series of parallel situations that intend to focus on the type or tendency that best describes you. I am always curious about the outcomes of such quizzes in coming to grips with my own typology. The diligent consideration of tendency statements helps determine which ones most clearly fit oneself.

Rebels resist all expectations, outer and inner alike. Here I agreed to one statement: “I do what I want to do; I’m true to myself, not other people’s expectations.” Personally I’m high on self-examination to better understand myself and to do what is in my best interest. I cannot imagine doing something that I do not understand, regard as marginal, or is contrary to the best interests of myself and others. I even deplore supposed jokes that depend upon denigrating others to get a laugh. I am committed to seriousness to the extent that I understand and accept the worth of beliefs and actions.

Obligers respond to outer expectations, but struggle to meet inner expectations. I do experience obligations in a couple areas. “People often turn to me for help.” These are usually family members, close friends or other associates with whom I have bonding and shared relationships. Over the years, I have tried to drop or cut back on what I regard as social responsibilities in order to prioritize and accomplish more projects of my own interest. Failing that, I think about moving away to separate myself from others’ expectations. Accordingly also, “I’ve adopted some good habits, but I often struggle without success to form others.” That is, I do not always or often carry through with matters or projects that I really and deeply want to accomplish.

Questioners question all expectations, but meet only those justified, that is by inner expectations. I am generally a thinker, primarily a theorist: I want to do those things that I understand as valuable to myself and others. In short, my decisions are carefully considered, not automatic. I thereby agree to two statements. “I like to hear from experts, but I decide for myself … according to my own judgement.” And, alas, “I question the validity of the Four Tendencies framework.” I question the limitation to four areas which seem to have overlap and in this presentation do not follow from necessary evidence.

Upholders respond readily to both outer expectations and inner expectations. In this tendencies quiz, the four areas have five or six determinative statements. Of the five for upholders, I agree in some measure with three. “I feel uncomfortable if I’m with someone who’s breaking a rule.” Yes, I am for law and order and appreciate rules, regulations, and social mores when they make sense, provide consistency, and benefit the common good. “I can meet a self-imposed deadline.” Actually, deadlines take priority for me even though I long for getting my own interests satisfied first: alas, I feel a losing struggle against time. “It’s just as important to keep promises to myself as to others.” Well, perhaps more to my self, but here the obligation to others overlaps with my own interests and prevails.

In the upholder category, I could not agree with a statement on fulfilling New Year’s resolutions because in past experience resolutions persist to turn out beyond my satisfaction in accomplishing them. Also, I could not agree that others are annoyed over my self-discipline. Everyone else seem ignorant of my level of discipline, therefore no one accuses me. Rather, I’m the one who is annoyed with myself. Basically, I found these two statements internally conflicted because of stated conditions that may or may not be pertinent to the issue.

Rubin’s book may give a better explanation of the tendencies and our alignment with them. Otherwise, I remain with Meyers-Briggs that I am your 100% INTJ which convincingly encompasses my conjunction of tendencies.

I (Introvert): I tend to live within myself, renewed in strength from day to day, a life of constant examination that mulls and decides how I should focus, believe and act. I do not follow ideas, values, behaviors or routines unless they make sense and satisfy me. Most of my waking hours are mental, reflective and rooted at being home.

N (Intuitive): I live by principles that I find basic, trustworthy, and fundamental to profitable and beneficial common interest.

T (Thinking): Thought and the formation of theory are the core of my active life,  dependent upon constant pursuit of inquiry and knowledge, as I endeavor to widen my intellectual reach and form foundations for rational (if not accurate) bases for action and practice.

J (Judging): I come to closure on most things with the proviso that further experience or information may lead to reexamination and revision. Also some areas remain tentative or open where decisions are largely based more on valuing than evidence.

Alas, these are my expectations, the ones I try to profit from the most.

© Copyright 2017 by Roger Sween.

I welcome comments on this article.


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.

 

 


At Home With Yourself

February 26, 2016

AtDesk