What is Personality?

I’ve been a strong believer that personality is inherent in a person, that we’re born with certain general traits that do not change no matter what happens in life.

I’ve been taking personality tests quite regularly since I discovered personality typing, first in books I borrowed from the library, and later on in websites that carried personality testing applications.

Throughout these years, my personality has generally stayed the same, though there have been some changes every once in a while. Take for example the tests based on the MBTI (Myer-Briggs Type Indicator), which is itself based on Jung’s theories on psychological typing.

On these MBTI tests, I’ve often been typed as INFJ (the very first test I took), occasionally INFP, and very rarely INTP. The last result was one I got a long time ago; being such a rare event, I dismissed it as an outlier, a result so extraordinary it should not be taken into consideration.

I have experienced quite a bit of change these past few weeks; these changes have been external and internal, though it was the internal changes that led on to the external, ergo the changes should be considered purely internal.

I knew that the changes were happening, but I did not quite have proof that they were. It was entirely intuitional that I discovered my thinking about things had changed, in subtle but consequential ways. Curious as to whether my thinking had really changed, I decided to visit SimilarMinds.com to take a personality test.

I’ve alway taken personality tests using my present self to answer the questions. There are some personality tests, namely the Enneagram, that require one answers using the untainted or innocent self, the very first self you remember yourself having. You have to answer the questions as you would have as a child — in theory, your personality for the enneagram should remain the same your whole life, since the answers are based on childhood memories.

MBTI is not like that. You answer the questions in as honest a manner as possible, as long as it applies to the you that you feel you are; you answer as who you are, not as who you were.

So when the MBTI gave me a INTP, which is considerably far from the INFJ I prided myself to be, I was surprised. But upon reading the description of that personality, I have to admit that that’s exactly the way I’ve been behaving these past few weeks.

Is personality thus a fickle thing?

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