The Condensed Guide to Understanding Your Personality
By Joshua Edison
This guide is intended to be a very brief and concise version of my full book, which I am currently in the lengthy process of writing. In this article, you will learn the following:
How you process and relay information? (MBTI)
How do you try to find fulfillment in life, what drives you? (Enneagram)
What lens do you view the world through? (Hawkins’ Levels of Consciousness)
How do you progress through levels of consciousness? (Theory of Positive Disintegration)
To complete the readings and personality tests in this article will take approximately 20-45 minutes to complete.
*When completing the quizzes within, pick the answer that describes you a majority of the time if you are having difficulty.
Part 1: The Meyer’s Briggs Typology Indicator (MBTI)
MBTI deals with how you process and relay information into the world. The first and simplest level of MBTI uses a four letter code to describe your personality.
E – Extravert; recharging your energy by being with people.
I – Introvert; recharging your energy by being alone.
S – A preference for taking in information with your five Senses.
N – A preference for taking in information abstractly through iNtuition.
T – A preference for Thinking and logic.
F – A preference for Feeling and emotion.
P – Perception; being mentally open and unorganized.
J – Judging; being mentally orderly and organized.
An example of a four letter MBTI code would be:
ESTJ: Extraverted, Prefers sensory information, a preference for logic, and mentally organized.
Here is a link to the test that I find gives the most consistently accurate MBTI results, and a link to a website that I believe gives the most informative explanation of your type:
While this is a great basic tool to begin understanding personality with, it is a bit flawed on such a simple level. There is much more to personality than four letters and traits can capture. This is where the second level of MBTI comes in.
In the second level of MBTI, functions of human thought and perception are broken down by being either an extraverted or introverted function. Put simply, there is more than one type of extravert in the world. We all know extraverts who are most outgoing when playing sports and those who are most outgoing when discussing or teaching a concept. Sensing, intuition, thinking, and feeling, are all either extraverted or introverted in a human’s brain.
A chart showing MBTI Functions Stacks by Type is below:
Se – Extraverted Sensing; these are people who enjoy experiencing the outside world by interacting with it using their senses. Typical of those who love dancing, sports, making things with their hands, and seeking out new sensations.
Si – Introverted Sensing; these are people who have a strong ability to remember sensory or factually based data about the world. Typical of those who love history, accounting, and are fond of the seeking out previously enjoyed sensations.
Ne – Extraverted Intuition; these are people who take in information through abstract connections. This is typical of those who love puns, who appear to be scatter brained but can trace the connections of their random conversations through the tangents that brought them to a new a new topic. Fond of new experiences and abstract jumps in logic.
Ni – Introverted Intuition; these are people who take in abstract data about the world and catalogue it into a personal encyclopedia of information. Typical of people who have a wealth of knowledge in great detail on any given topic they are interested in, people who are able to remember minute details and information on people that are in their radar that most will forget about. Those with Ni process much of this subconsciously and abstractly, which leads to a wealth of information that they have difficulty determining the source of.
Te – Extraverted Thinking; these are people who process logical information in the outside world. Typical of people who remember best by writing things down, who need to talk out issues and problems to come to a solution, and are often visual learners.
Ti – Introverted Thinking; these are people who process logical information internally. Typical of people who are auditory learners, who have many “umms” and pauses in conversation as they retreat into themselves to think and process before they speak, these are people who take notes in their head rather than on paper.
Fe – Extraverted Feeling; these are people who express emotions visibly and externally and are more naturally in tune with the feelings of others. Typical of people who are easily influenced by the emotions of others, who have a natural sense of what others are feeling, and whose feelings are mostly based on whom they are interacting with at a given moment. They can often pinpoint what others are feeling, but can difficulty determining what precise emotions they themselves are experiencing.
Fi – Introverted Feeling; these are people who feel emotions very deeply and internally but are not as expressive with them. Typical of people whom do not appear to be outwardly sad until tears form, those with very strong convictions to emotional causes, and those whose emotions are not as strongly affected by interacting with others.
The way that all of these functions stack in the human brain determine your MBTI type on a deeper level. In MBTI, functions are always stacked in opposite levels of Introverted and Extraverted (or vice-versa). As well feeling and thinking, and sensing and intuition are always stacked opposite on another – if someone possesses Extraverted Feeling as a dominant function, they also possess Introverted Thinking, just as those with Extraverted Sensing also possess Introverted Intuition.
Additionally, functions will be expressed in different ways based upon where they lie in dominance in any given MBTI type (as displayed in the chart above). As an example, an ENFJ and ENTP both have Extraverted Feeling. As it is dominant in the ENFJ, they take in all of their information through the lens of feelings and then process it with Introverted Thinking afterwords; expressed as, "This information makes me feel a certain way, secondly, what does the information mean?". Whereas the ENTP processes initially with Introverted Thinking and only after that does Extraverted Feeling come into play; expressed as, "Now that I have logical explanation for the information, how do I feel about it?"
These functions only begin to fully develop around the age of 21, when the frontal lobe finishes growth and development in adults. This is important to note, as children will express their different main functions at certain points of aging and mental growth. Personality for children is usually not largely set and discernible until around age 13. For more information, see the following link:
By knowing verbal/visual indicators of different functions, one can determine another person’s MBTI type rather quickly.
Extraverted Feeling (Fe) – constant forehead raising when expressing themselves, very obvious signs of their emotion on their face.
Introverted Feeling (Fi) – Very consistently flat forehead. Expression is mostly carried through the mouth.
Extraverted Thinking (Te) – speech consists of long thoughts, with a consistent and typically unbroken speech pattern. Few pauses, very few “umms”.
Introverted Thinking (Ti) – Speech consists of shorter bursts of words. Frequent pauses and “umms” as they retreat into their head to retrieve further information to deliver.
Intuition (N) – people who predominantly talk about ideas, concepts, and the future, frequently tend to be Intuitives.
Sensing (S) – people who predominantly speak and focus on their daily life, facts, and details regarding the normal world we live in tend to be Sensors.
Perception (P) – Typically open minded people who are open to various possibilities regarding information. Typically, scatterbrained, forgetful, and have messy rooms and desks.
Judging (J) – Typically people very set in their thought patterns; more rigid in beliefs. These are people who thrive on mental organization and prefer systems of organizing in their daily life. Typically always on time, and have good scheduling skills.
Example: Suzy is outgoing (E), very facially expressive (Fe), she forgets her keys constantly (P), prefers to focus on her daily life and not what “might be” in the future (S), and has frequent “umms” when she speaks (Ti). Using the chart below, we can make a fairly accurate prediction that she is likely an ESTP.
Part 2: Enneagram:
While MBTI is used to determine how we process information, it does not assign any personal values or desires in its interpretation of the human mind. To analyze what motivates a person, their deepest desires, and how they try to satisfy their ego we need to use a different tool: The Enneagram.
Ennea- is latin for “Nine”, fittingly, there are 9 main Enneagram types that an individual will fall into. Determining your Enneagram result will tell you:
- How to handle your innate character flaws and turn them into strengths.
- How you choose to interact with the world (Self-preservation, Socially, or Sexually)
- Your level of mental health as it relates to your Enneagram type.
You can take the test and view your results in detail from the links below:
A very brief explanation of each type and tips for determining Enneagram in others:
Type 1: The Reformer
The Rational, Idealistic Type: Principled, Purposeful, Self-Controlled, and Perfectionistic
Type 2: The Helper
The Caring, Interpersonal Type: Demonstrative, Generous, People-Pleasing, and Possessive
Type 3: The Achiever
The Success-Oriented, Pragmatic Type: Adaptive, Excelling, Driven, and Image-Conscious
Type 4: The Individualist
The Sensitive, Withdrawn Type: Expressive, Dramatic, Self-Absorbed, and Temperamental
Type 5: The Investigator
The Intense, Cerebral Type: Perceptive, Innovative, Secretive, and Isolated
Type 6: The Loyalist
The Committed, Security-Oriented Type: Engaging, Responsible, Anxious, and Suspicious
Type 7: The Enthusiast
The Busy, Fun-Loving Type: Spontaneous, Versatile, Distractible, and Scattered
Type 8: The Challenger
The Powerful, Dominating Type: Self-Confident, Decisive, Willful, and Confrontational
Type 9: The Peacemaker
The Easygoing, Self-Effacing Type: Receptive, Reassuring, Agreeable, and Complacent
Wings and Variations of Type:
As with all personality, there are indeed far more than strictly nine core motivations for a person to have. In the Enneagram there are two “wings” for each type, which go either a number up or down from your type. While your core motivation is based upon your dominant type, it is tweaked based upon which other type you lean into.
For example: A 3w2 (Three (dominant type) wing Two (Your secondary type)) is someone who has a dominant need to present the ideal image of them to the world (Type 3) and someone who prefers to do this through helping others (Type 2).
Conclusion of MBTI and Enneagram:
MBTI and the Enneagram cover two very different aspects of human personality, yet they complete one another when used together. If you know both a person’s type and their Enneagram type you both know how they perceive all of their information and what they value in life. From those two pieces of information you can understand someone on a deep level very quickly.
For example, if you were to meet an ESTJ 1w2, you can immediately tell they are likely outgoing, logical, thrive on organization, they are a perfectionist, and to a certain extent they are driven to help people.
Part 3: Levels of Consciousness
While the two previous tools are greatly encompassing of a person’s psyche, one element is still missing that prevents us from having a very complete picture of a person. People change with their experience living in the world. Some become gracious and wise people, just as others become terribly negative and closed-minded. Neither of these are innate qualities, but rather ways of viewing the world.
Here I will be directing you to Celes at the Personal Excellence Blog, as she explains it concisely and masterfully:
Part 4: Dabrowski’s Theory of Positive Disintegration:
Two soldiers who experience a comrade’s death experience can cope with the trauma in very different ways. One overcomes and gains renewed energy to bravely fight in his memory, while the other mentally snaps and gains PTSD. How is it that people interact with trauma differently?
To understand how individuals end up in such vastly different states of mind, we look to Dabrowski’s Theory of Positive Disintegration. In essence, as a person experience something traumatic (whether the death of a loved one, a near-death experience, or something as simple as failing a test in school) causes a person to begin to change core beliefs (commonly referred to as paradigms). Much like how your muscles can only grow stronger when you give them physical trauma from a workout and allow them to heal, your mind is much the same.
The act of trauma requires an individual to either destroy a negative value you hold (such as fear) or gain a further negative value. We will use the example of a young child being bitten by a dog and having a traumatic response. The child has two ways of dealing with this mentally, either by overcoming the trauma and positively disintegrating (eliminating) the idea of “dogs are scary” or by negatively disintegrating and gaining an anxiety and deep fear of being around dogs ever again.
Potential for Overcoming Trauma:
What constitutes as a traumatic event differs for every person and their current stage of mental development. Regardless of what that may be for each person, in dealing with it they will either grow positively or break negatively. In exploring what makes a person more likely to overcome trauma, Dabrowski started to break down what makes up potential and found three things, all largely out of any individual’s control:
1. A Good Upbringing:
A positive and encouraging family that provides adequate access to resources allows a child to grow up exploring possibilities and provides a safety net for risk-taking and personal exploration.
Over-Excitabilities (OE) are ways in which some brains are hyper-sensitive in receiving and interpreting certain types of information. These are natural variations in the brains of certain individuals that allow them to work better than the average person’s.
Creative OE: The ability for the brain to process abstract information quickly in creative ways. Common in skilled inventors, comedians, and scientists. Robin Williams provides a strong example of an exceptionally creative mind.
Intellectual OE: The ability for the brain to process complicated logical information, predominantly found in people with IQ scores over 130. A prime example of this is the brilliant Stephen Hawking.
Emotional OE: The ability for the brain to process and understand emotions in yourself and others on a very high level. This is common of Empaths (those who will experience the emotions of others just from being around them). People with this type of OE often experience emotions extremely powerfully.
Psychomotor OE: This is the ability of the brain to process environmental stimuli and react to it with great accuracy and response time. People with this type of OE are often very antsy and love movement for the sake of moving. Boundless physical and mental energy, frequently had troubles sitting still as a child. Common in high-performers in athletics and sports.
Sensual OE: This is the ability of the brain to react in great detail and intensely to sensory experiences - sight, smell, sound, touch and taste. People with this OE experience a far more extensive sensory world than the average person. This usually manifests in a strong reaction to touch from another person and fabric sensitivities, as well as an early appreciation of visual art, music, and language in childhood.
3. Agency (Entelechy):
Agency is similar to the Greek term “Entelechy” which is defined as the innate desire that some people have to be constantly improving and growing. According to Dabrowski, this is the most important factor in determining potential and whether or not someone will overcome trauma.
For example, you can have someone who is incredibly gifted with a positive and supportive family who never has any drive to succeed and goes through life miserable. Despite their natural talents and great start, without a sense of agency or entelechy they may succeed in areas in spite of themselves, but will be unable to progress to a high level of consciousness.
Progressing Through the Levels of Consciousness:
There are two primary ways for an individual to raise their levels of consciousness:
Firstly, simply being around someone of a higher consciousness level will cause you grow. A rising tide raises all ships, and a person is the average of the handful of people who are closest to them. Finding a very wise and well developed person, let alone being able to spend time with them, is a statistically difficult thing to accomplish. However, listening to TED talks, reading personal development books, and listening to inspirational talks and audios are a great way to gradually raise your level of consciousness. As such, removing people from your life who exist in a negative level of consciousness will help the speed at which you can progress. Adding more positive forces and influences into your life will greatly increase your chances of progressing positively in your personal growth journey.
Secondly, you need to experience trauma to have a chance to grow from it. As mentioned previously, what constitutes as emotional or intellectual trauma will vary with each person. In a person’s daily life, breakups, the death of a loved one, losing a job, failing a test, are all common things that will happen to everyone. In the efforts of being more intentional with your growth, l have created a list of potential activities that may help you encounter a trauma to overcome:
-Camping for three days in the wilderness by yourself
-Training to run a marathon
-Ending a relationship with a negative or toxic person in your life
-Writing in general is a powerful tool to for self-awareness and self-healing - whether story writing, writing letters, or writing a journal.
-Visualizing your funeral: Who is there, what have you done with your life, what do people say about how, how did you make them feel, what have you left the world, what legacy did you create?
-Going to see a counselor about a problem you are facing in your life
-Backpacking across a country
-Taking a pilgrimage to a place of deep significance for you
-Taking an opportunity for public speaking
-Taking the chance to ask your crush on a date
-Making a new friend with someone you normally wouldn’t have
Thank you for your time in reading this paper. I have written this for the many people in my life whom I care deeply for and want to give the tools and understanding for them to grow and be the best person you can be in life. This paper is the streamlined and incredibly condensed version of my future book. I present this to you now for free for you to give to your friends and loved ones so that they can have the resources and tools to grow.
If you have any questions or feedback, I would love to hear from you. You can reach me by email at firstname.lastname@example.org or by commenting below.
Links to Useful Resources:
While I have provided a very condensed paper to help you understand the major elements at play in the human personality, there are much more details to learn. Below are a few links that would be useful if you are looking to continue your personal study into your personality. Many problems in my life have been solved by searching “ENTP 3w2 (insert problem)” into Google.
This is a great online forum that covers MBTI, Enneagram, and a handful of other functions. There are many amazing resources here and you can chat with other people of your same type – which means there is advice perfectly tailored to you for any problems in your life.
Celes is one of my favourite authors and bloggers currently writing about personal growth and she has written many fantastic and useful guides – from discovering your purpose to improving your emailing skills.
James Altucher has some great challenging articles on our current society and your place in it. A very wise and brutally honest man who connects with amazing guests on his podcast.
David Wong is both a hilarious comedy writer and a fantastic educator on the state of the world. Spending the time to read his articles will make you smarter, wiser, and question what you are doing with your life – with some laughs to soften the blow. John Cheese, the second columnist is much along the same lines.
Personality Page is the go-to resource for learning about MBTI. They have been around for ages and offer some of the most useful explanations and guides for every type.
Dave Super Powers is a Youtuber from many years ago who has made some of the best informational videos on MBTI I have seen. There are many others that are newer but Dave is still one of the best.
The Enneagram Institute is the official site for the Enneagram, while they do not offer any free testing for Enneagram, they have plenty of information and resources on the subject.
Levels of Consciousness:
This is a website that delves in more detail to Dabrowski and the Theory of Positive Disintegration. If you are looking for more insight into the theory, this is a great place to start.
An article explaining over excitabilities in greater detail as well as learning strategies for students with these OEs.
This article is a breakdown of Hawkin’s Levels of Consciousness in greater detail.