Yes, you see lots of personality tests on Facebook—you know, the ones like “What First Lady Are You Most Like?” However, personality type is a complex topic that often focuses on the influence of nature (biology, genetics, etc.) and nurture (environment, upbringing, etc.). Some experts emphasize the role of nurture; others, nature; and still others, the interaction of the two. Regardless of how a personality develops, individuals are often quick to define themselves as a certain type—loner, extrovert, giver, idealist, dreamer—and use that self-definition as an explanation, or dare I say excuse, to limit their personal growth. I’ve heard client after client talk themselves out of career, relationship, and health aspirations, blaming their personality type as a reason for their shortcomings.
Indeed, every personality type allows for some aspects of life to be easier or harder as compared to other types, but what is often overlooked is the basic truth that we’re all a varying combination of all types. Identifying your personality and understanding your collective strengths and weaknesses can enhance your ability to develop those sides of yourself that may be lacking, in order to bring you into better proportion and live a more fulfilling life.
The term “personality” is defined as a collection of qualities, including physical, mental, emotional, and social attributes, that form an individual’s distinct character and affect patterns of thinking, feeling, and behaving. Personalities are highly individualized and layered, and are described in any number of ways depending on the source. For example, the famous Myers & Briggs model suggests sixteen types. Identifying your personality in these models can be challenging and perhaps even overwhelming.
Yoffie Life looks at personality from the perspective of three types: the doer, the thinker, and the feeler. Every individual is a combination of all three types, but often there is one type that most distinctively guides you through life: this is your core type. Every type has strengths and weaknesses, that is a given. Our core type molds how we see the world: how we interpret situations, which in turn ignites emotions, which in turn triggers a physical response. For example, a thinker who finds it challenging to connect with others in social situations may feel isolated at a large party, igniting feelings of inadequacy and sadness, which translates physically into a slumped posture. Most of us rejoice in our strongest traits and shy away from the less-than-optimal ones, rather than seeking balance by tapping into the strengths within our weaknesses. To understand how to balance your type requires an understanding of the doer, the thinker, and the feeler.
Identifying your core type, and therefore better understanding how you navigate life, opens the door to bring out the characteristic of the other types that may be lying dormant within you. Bringing your types into proportion can lead to living a calmer and more peaceful life, by maintaining your balance and sense of purpose, no matter what life circumstances occur. Take time to define your type.
- You’re a Doer. As a doer, you’re focused on action, executing, and achieving. Your type concentrates on the future and is motivated by potential success. Often described as hands-on, productive, and an achiever, you’re a concrete thinker who likes to make a plan and efficiently check tasks off your “to do” list. You may often ask, “What’s next?’ and “What’s the point?” Your hunger to achieve breeds a mentality of consistent working or doing, while you make choices with a singular focus. But be aware, such specialized attention and swift decision-making can marginalize your mind-body relationship. Without this mind-body connection, you might lack the ability to rest, connect to your higher purpose, and even see the bigger picture in your professional, personal, and spiritual lives.
- You’re a Feeler. As a feeler, you’re focused on acknowledging, sensing, and experiencing. You live in the present and are motivated by pleasure, excitement, and joy. You tend to be sensitive to others, fascinated by the sensations in your body, and driven by instinct. Often described as spiritual and trusting, you’re a creative, innovative thinker who leads with your heart. You may often ask, “What is happening now?” and “How will this inspire me?” But your heightened empathy for others can challenge your ability to maintain social and emotional boundaries. Spontaneous by nature, you might need to work on following through with commitments, communicating in concrete and simple terms, and processing your surroundings objectively.
- You’re a Thinker. As a thinker, you focus on contemplating, strategizing, and envisioning. You may concentrate on the past to forecast the future, and are probably motivated by understanding yourself in relationship to your environment. Often described as insightful and intense, you’re an abstract thinker and creative problem-solver. Perhaps you often ask, “What led us to this point?” and “What does this mean?” But your focus on process and understanding different perspectives may cause you to get caught up in details, at the expense of seeing ideas through to fruition. Consider if such a logic-based approach to life ever causes you to ignore gut instincts and physical needs. And if you’re always deep in thought, you may find it challenging to connect with others on a social, personal, and physical level.