09 July, 2008

Apparently I am as complicated as I thought...

Location: jungian psychology
Mood: voila

Well, I knew that I was not "normal", or "typical", or any of those other things that most people are. And today, I learned that I am very far from any of these things. I am a misfit. I am greater than 3 standard deviations from the mean. I am an outlier. Today, at work, we did this training course, called the Insights Discovery Seminar, or some such thing. It's a full day event where they basically tell you what your personality type is. It is based on the Myers-Briggs and all those things, but it is a little bit different.

Instead of the E/I, N/S, T/F, J/P stuff that Myers-Briggs uses, this personality test uses 4 colors that are represented in a circle, as follows: blue, red, yellow, green, around the circle. And each color represents traits, roughly, as follows:

blue = analyzer, data collector, observer, careful, deliberate
red = decision maker, leader, thinks fast, action, get things done, aggressive
yellow = motivator, high energy, entertainer, communicator, persuasion
green = collaborator, team, supporter, mentoring

Those are approximations of the actual definitions. Before the course, we had done some 25 question survey that was used to generate our personality types through some fancy statistics. And then, based on the descriptions above, we were asked to also say what we think our types are. Blah blah blah.

So, to make a long story short, nobody is just one color. We are all a little bit of everything, but there is always an order. We are mostly something, and then a little less of another, etc.

I guessed that my colors would go in this order: blue, yellow, green, red.

And I was correct. The reason I am an outlier is because this is apparently very rare. Most peoples' top two colors are adjacent to each other on the circle, because there is a good degree of overlap between adjacent colors. So, for instance, a manager who makes decisions and wants to have all the data, might be a red/blue combo. A manager who likes to build team collaborations and motivate people to do their best work, might be a green/yellow combo. A researcher who likes to build collaborations across disciplines to get the most use out of data, and to teach others new techniques for collecting data, might be a green/blue combo. And (excuse the non-sequitur) a movie producer who needs to decide what films to produce, and then motivate cast and crew to get on board, might be a red/yellow combo.

All of those combos I listed are logical pairings.

The reason the other two pairings (blue/yellow, and red/green) are not logical is because those color pairs are opposites of one another. The red leader type who makes quick decisions, and the green supporter type who likes everyone to get along... not a logical pairing in one person. Likewise, the blue introverted observer who wants lots of data, and the yellow cheerleader who likes to use broad strokes to persuade others... not a logical pairing in one person.

They said that only 9% of the population falls into these two categories, and only 3% of the population is truly in that pairing, as opposed to just testing that way due to life circumstances skewing responses.

So I guess I am an oddball, and I am pretty sure I would be in that 3% because I was highly certain that those were both my colors.

There was all sorts of other hocus pocus that came out of the testing, that said that while I consciously behave like blue/yellow, that when I am acting on instincts (as in, when under stress, or when very relaxed and not monitoring my behavior), I am then more like a red/green.

The course instructor said to me, "People like you are both unique, and difficult to handle, because under different circumstances, you might display the positive or negative traits of any of the 4 colors, and you are also going to be fairly unpredictable".

So if you've been having a hard time figuring me out, there's your explanation. I am undecipherable! I sort of suspected this from Myers-Briggs, which has shown me to be anywhere from ENTJ, to ENTP, to ESTJ, to ESTP, depending on the mood I am when I take the test.

People often say that it is very important to understand yourself, in order to find out what it will take to make you happy or successful. And these tests would seem to validate my quandary in this area. How can I understand myself, if I don't fall into a simple bucket? How can I figure out what I want in life, if I am a mixture of all these different things?


  1. Teri from Colorado09 July, 2008 12:29

    Me thinks that you want to be unpredictable. So be it. It makes you happy. Predictable is boring. You do not want to be boring. You want to be blue, red, yellow AND green. People who are only red annoy you. Mostly yellow, ho hum.
    You want it all and you always have, but somehow you have this idea that you have to choose. WHY? Choose everything. Grab a little bit of everything. Life is just one great big buffet, so why eat only the shrimp?

  2. Inman Wheelright10 July, 2008 09:22

    Pass the peach cobbler, please.