The past 20 years have been a revolution in the world of psychology and more specifically, personality testing. Historically, you would have had to seek out a specialist psychologist or therapist who would see you over a long period in order to diagnose you. With online testing now freely available on the internet, we can now do a lot of this work ourselves.
To understand a personality test, we first need to understand what a personality is. It is a common misunderstanding that people only have one type of personality. We all have different aspects to ourselves which means we exhibit different personalities all the time. The obvious example of this is work verse family life. Are you always the same person at work and at home?
To a certain point yes, you are always the same person wherever you go, you cannot escape yourself, this is a fact. If you examine your ‘self’ more closely however, certain differences in your personality may come to light. For example;
– You are the boss and a colleague at work fails to meet a deadline…
– A member of your household promised to do the washing and failed to do so…
Would you handle these similar situations in exactly the same way?
The short answer would be no. You are far more likely to handle the work situation in a calm and professional manner. You potentially would even go so far as to plan out the way you will address the matter.
At home, you could feel more irritated, why haven’t they done the washing as they agreed? This could even be exasperated by the issue at work where you dealt with the situation more easily. Patience can wear thin after a while, and if you have been patient all day with your colleagues, home can be the place you let off some steam or pent up aggression.
Like it or not, we are different people in different situations and the good news is, so is everybody else.
Your personality is unique to you. It is a collection of your life experiences and attributes from the people around you. Nobody has the same personality as you, as nobody has the exact same experiences as you.
There are however, certain similarities between people that are inherent and cannot be ignored.
Carl Jung explored this theme with his archetypes of personality. He found that there are certain life situations, such as birth, marriage and death, that all people tend to experience. There are archetypical relationships in almost everybody’s lives that are the same, e.g. The Mother, Father, Child, Boss etc.
In every culture around the world these archetypes exist, and this is the area that personality testing explores.
Exploring your own personality, and especially the personality traits you exhibit in certain situations can open up new possibilities. You can learn more about yourself and your behaviour and using the results of the personality tests, your mind opens up to new ways of interacting with the world.
In taking a personality test, it is first helpful to learn to distinguish the differences between normal and abnormal psychology.
All of us at various points in our life will become aware of how our minds change over time. It is quite popular today to claim to have a psychological ‘disorder’, take OCD for example (Obsessive Compulsive Disorder).
On the normal scale of psychology, this can manifest as someone who is highly organised, methodical and intensely focussed on achieving a certain goal. The person will be a revelation to other people who struggle to keep on top of every day life, they seem so organised it baffles you. How can someone be so detail orientated in every matter and never drop the ball?
The person in question is very likely in our enlightened age, to be called out by someone and told they must have OCD;
“How do you do all this, you must have OCD!”
Another common theme is this person actually claiming to have OCD;
“Oh I am always organised, I am so OCD!”
These examples are not OCD in a psychological sense. I would call this functional OCD or an OCD personality trait. The main point being that you can still function in your day to day life.
With pathological OCD, or a psychological diagnosis of OCD, you would not have this kind of control over it. You would become obsessive (O) over the task in hand, be it filing in a certain order or getting ready in a certain order.
The obsession to be ordered will be compulsive (C), you will not be able to move on to the next task until it is done in a certain way. The disorder (D) comes when your entire future life depends on doing the task in a certain way, to the exclusion of everything else in your life.
If you truly had untreated OCD, this would go on to affect everyday tasks and the ability to live life in general. In a word, it becomes abnormal behaviour. The main rule of thumb in psychology and all forms of personality testing is, “does this stop you living the life you want to live?”
If the answer is yes, you might need to talk to your doctor or a psychologist as there are many therapeutic treatments available to help. If the answer is no, then we can explore our personality traits in helpful ways online.
The sheer amount of personality tests online now is testament to how our lives are changing and evolving at a rapid rate. We have become more educated about psychology through reading books, watching TV and in most cases, observing the people around us. Psychology has become central to our language and exploring ourselves psychologically is now a human preoccupation.
This can be a healthy way to live if used correctly, who doesn’t want to become the best version of themselves? By consciously exploring our traits and quirks through a series of personality tests, we can learn to identify areas of our lives that need some attention.
The main types of personality tests can be split in to 2 camps;
Personality trait tests
These are tests that analyse your personality through a series of multiple-choice questions and give a result about your general processes and behaviors.
Abnormal psychological tests
These are tests that ask a series of questions to determine whether you are functioning normally or abnormally. The tests cover anxiety, depression, personality disorders, Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD), Autistic Spectrum Disorder (ASD), OCD, Stress, Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) and more.
Both types of test will indicate areas in your life that you are excelling at and areas for improvement. We have included a variety of tests below to help you get started on your journey of self-discovery, and there are many more available online.
To truly get a good result, the key to personally testing is honesty. The joy of online tests are that only you get to see what you are inputting, and only you will see the results. Most of the test examples below take around 5 – 15 minutes and it is worth taking your time to read the questions and choose the answer that best resembles you on most days.
We can all have a bad day, and this will skew results somewhat. This needn’t be a bad thing if we are aware of this at the time of taking the test. It can be comforting to understand the subtle differences between a bad day and a bad year.
The most important thing to remember is that life changes constantly. In the same way that you never see the same stream twice as it flows past you, life is exactly the same. New situations happen constantly that force us to re-evaluate our past thoughts and perceptions of events. Irritation turns to empathy as the bigger picture emerges.
Keeping a log or diary of results
For the reasons outlined above, if you truly want to use personality and trait testing to improve your life, be it your family situation or work life, keeping a diary or log will help. In doing this and keeping links and results, you can see in real time the areas you need to bring in to focus and also track your personal evolution through life.
Using personality tests to improve your life
Taking the personality tests alone will only indicate areas that need attention, they won’t magically change your life. Whichever area you want to focus on, take careful notes as you become more aware of your personality. Be sure to recognise that you may be exhibiting different aspects of the whole personality in certain situations and know this is normal.
Finally, enjoy the process! We are incredibly fortunate to have access to these tools and used in positive, active ways, they can help us recognise our true selves and become more conscious of our daily interactions.
Getting help if needed
Discovering more about your personality can be a fun and enlightening experience and can be used for self-improvement.
If you feel like life is a struggle, or if any tests indicate you need help or if you feel suicidal, we recommend seeking help from a doctor or psychological professional as soon as possible. We all need outside help at some points and personality tests can highlight this and point the way to assistance.