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Kelly Bos

From the old school Cosmo to the modern day Buzz Feed quiz, people love to do a little naval gazing, no matter how trite. The appeal? We are seeking to be understood by ourselves and by others.

In Susan Cain's Ted Talk on The Power of Introverts she talked about our society moving from known to unknown. "...we hit the 20th century and we entered a new culture that historians call the culture of personality. What happened is we had evolved an agricultural economy to a world of big business. And so suddenly people are moving from small towns to the cities. And instead of working alongside people they've known all their lives, now they are having to prove themselves in a crowd of strangers.” She was talking about how this works better for extroverts where magnetism and charisma became very important in standing out, but to me it also talks about a change in familiarity with your community as well as familiarity with your self in community.

There is a power and relief in talking to someone who really knows you when it comes to needing advice or insight. These are the people who know the full package— our history, who we were and who we became. Most of us are known in segments, like who we were in high school, our profession, or so-and-so's parent.

I think because we are so segmented in different times and spaces we are often analyzing who we are, what we share with others, and how we are unique or special.

The study of personality psychology is dedicated to this fascination. Research in this field looks at why people do what they do, their feelings, and how this all differentiates us from each other. When we take these tests shared on facebook we are often subconsciously looking for this sense of self, belonging and affirmation.

In this day and age, how do we become truly known? Stuck behind our computers it is hard to develop community. We are often living apart from those who knew us in the past, or returning to a familiar place where assumptions are made based on who we were. 

That Jennifer Anniston would play us in a movie or our 80s movie boyfriend is Nicolas Cage seems to provide some identity. We laugh when we see the results and agree or disagree. Who hasn't been disappointed with the answer and gone back to change the more ambivalent answers? I don't agree Downton Abbey quiz, I am Mary not a Sybil!

Self exploration happens throughout our life. In high school my girlfriends and I used to play this game called True Colours where you would vote who was most likely to exemplify the presented character traits and then additionally vote how you think others would perceive you in the situation. It was always a laugh and always interesting and sometimes surprising to see how you were actually perceived and how correct you were in calling it.




In my post university, early career years I remember being on a weekend away with a large group of friends. Someone had brought a book on the Myers Briggs Personality Test and everyone got super engaged analyzing themselves, enjoying the time to reflect, disagree or embrace the various types and their descriptions.

We enjoy self reflection and it is important!

Enjoy the quizzes, they are fun. But here are a few more tried, tested and generally accepted personality questionnaires. The critics would warn you to take them with a grain of salt, moods and situations can dictate a lot, but these are popular and recognized.

Myers Briggs Personality Tests: Developed to apply Jung's psychological theories and make them accessible to people. There are 16 personality types.

True Colours: I believe I did this one at a student's council conference back in the day. It has been internationally recognized since the 70s and it is simple and easy to remember, unlike the Myers Briggs, am I an E or an I?

DISC test: My husband found this test very helpful for his work team, this is great for communication, productivity, and teamwork.

You Just Get Me Test: This test was listed by the NY Times as one of the best online Psychology tests.

For the best and most accurate look at yourself, take long introspective walks, meet with friends old and new, spend time with healthy family members, and even hit the therapists couch. As Shakespeare said, “Know thyself and to thine self be true.”

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