Who I am: Awesome McAwesomePantsPosted: May 8, 2011
Yeah, that’s right. I think I’m awesome. Actually, no. This essay was difficult to write precisely because I don’t think I’m that great (at least, I don’t think I’m particularly great at writing or singing, but I do like to think I’m intelligent, in an average sort of way). Luckily, I woke up with some sort of gastrointestinal bug yesterday, so I had a perfect reason to procrastinate even more on writing this thing. But I’ve finally finished it, because I said I’d write all of these essays.
When I think about who I am, or who any person is, I think of personality. Specifically personality tests. I like personality tests. The most sophisticated personality test (holy repeated phrase Batman!) I ever took was the Myers-Briggs. For those who don’t know, the Myers-Briggs is as serious as personality tests get. In order to have an ‘accurate’ solution, it has to be administered and marked by a trained individual. Your personality designation is a set of four letters, each of which is one of two possibilities for a total of 16 possible personality types. I’m sorry if that description confused you, wikipedia can explain it more fully.
What am I? INTJ, which in its long form is: introverted, intuitive, thinking and judging. I’m not going to describe the meaning of each aspect in detail, but broadly INTJs are big picture thinkers – planners – for whom logic is much more important than emotions in decision-making. They live inside their heads. They are also fairly confident in their personal abilities, yet fully aware of where their limits lie. INTJs often seem reserved and aloof to others because they are very private people. Hence why writing this essay is such a painful exercise for me.
This description of me is fairly accurate. But here’s the thing: personality tests really only measure how a person will act in a certain situation. Malcolm Gladwell wrote an article on this once, where he essentially said that personality is fluid. Our personalities change with our surroundings and are influenced by whom (who?) we are interacting with. Gladwell quotes one psychologist, Timothy D. Wilson, who explains this difficulty as a disconnect between our concept of self and our unconscious self. The unconscious aspect of personality is laid down in childhood by genetics and setting (good ol’ nature and nurture), and makes itself known in snap decisions, while calculated behaviours are a manifestation of our concept of self. So the description of an INTJ only tells you how I understand myself.
While my concept of self may tell you a lot about who I am, it won’t allow you to confidently predict my actions. Tests like the Myers-Briggs assume that people are one-dimensional, that they are either one thing or another. But this is obviously not true. I am categorized as a judging personality because I like to plan my day/month and derive a sense of comfort from that. But I am partially a perceiver as well, because I like to delay decisions and leave my options open (which is totally my reasoning behind choosing artsci). Perhaps on the day of the test I was in more of a judging mood, or perhaps I’ve changed since then. All I know is, no one can be defined so simply.
I often find incorrect results more interesting than correct results. They are hilarious, fascinating and sometimes downright puzzling. What would you think of me if the only things you knew were that my best celebrity matches were David Schwimmer, Topher Grace and David Hasselhoff? Add to that the knowledge that the movie I am best suited to be in is apparently Fight Club and you get an interesting, but likely inaccurate, idea of who I am.
So I guess my answer to the question who am I? is that it depends. If you keep reading my essays, you’ll get to know my blog self. Since I’ve never had a blog before, I suppose I’ll be getting to know my blog self as well. A self who apparently has much difficulty ending essays, so just pretend I wrote something witty and insightful to wrap this thing up.