I have taken just about every possible personality test available. I believe these tests have a place in helping to understand ourselves. But they are only maps of our personalities - not who we are. You have to be careful not to wall yourself in and hamper your personal development because you took a personality test. Especially just a single test.
What is Meta?
In simple terms, "Meta" denotes an aggregate of something. You can have data sets that describe specific facts about something. Metadata describes the attributes of categories of those datasets. If I have a customer database of all the people who have done business with me, then the metadata describes my customers in aggregate. One example would be grouping all customers that buy blue curtains from my store to understand the greater purchasing habits of that customer set.
The purpose of meta-modeling is to create context and understanding around particular data points. It aids in predicting behaviors, trends, and outcomes, but it never guarantees the results you are trying to predict with any level of certainty.
This is also true of trying to understand your personality.
There are plenty of personality frameworks that attempt to predict the behavior of people - including yourself. Like astrological signs, some are poor predictors of actual behavior, but they are written so that our brains associate the generic truth of what they say about us. Humans are incredibly complicated, and it is naive to think that the prominate constellation of your birth is the end all be all of what makes you - you.
I've taken a lot of personality tests over the years. I've mainly used them to understand better myself and less for understanding others. I believe they are accurate only on the meta-level and can never be used for anything more than the guidance of thought processes or behaviors. They reveal our overall strengths and can be helpful in showing our blind-spots. To attribute more to these tests than at a meta level is prime for misinterpretation and the stunting of your human experience.
What am I?
MBTI - INTJ
Enneagram - Tie between: Type 9 & Type 1
IQ - 129
EQ - Overall 79
- Agreeableness - Very Low
- Conscientious - Very High
- Extraversion - Moderately Low
- Neuroticism - Low
- Openess - Moderately High
What does this tell you about me as an individual? Absolutely nothing. It can however tell you about who I am at the meta-level.
- How I think and process information.
- General trends on how I react to external stressors.
- My tendencies to take on leadership positions.
- What I prefer to spend my time doing.
All of these frameworks try and explain the human condition from very different perspectives. From these perspectives, we create a more holistic view of how we operate as individuals in the aggregate; yet are still very distinct and unique people.
Bring them together
Personality tests describe you at best - they cannot and do not define you. They are a map of your human patterns. You have agency. Because we share the same human condition, we all have a little bit of each personality in us.
On the topic of nature vs. nurture, I noticed that my Enneagram tie between Type 1 & 9 shows a clear distinction between nature vs. nurture. I completely relate to the Type 1, The Reformer, to my inner world. On the other side of the coin, I see the outward expression of myself as the Type 9, The Peacemaker.
My default wiring is to be rational, orderly, and perfectionist. I'm highly driven and motivated to be my best self. I've spent countless years studying and perfecting who I am. I want the most out of life. I have strong opinions, and I see the way that things could be. I focus on the bigger picture and less on the minutia. I probably won't remember your name if we were to meet, but I seldom forget a face. I cannot remember phone numbers, but I can visualize complex systems like global IT networks.
I project my outer world to be very organized and serene. I was raised in an introverted household, so my childhood was one of quiet and orderliness. We never really fought or argued. We avoided conflict as much as we could. It wasn't a kumbayah childhood, but it was highly disciplined and emotionally flat. Combined with the fact that my inner world is so chaotic, the need to keep my external world peaceful created my external reality.
The Path for Growth
By understanding your personal patterns, you will figure out when you are the healthy version of yourself. Conversely, when you are unhealthy. Too often, when people take these tests, they treat them as a rigid set of constraints of how they should behave. They default to the lowest common representation of something so incomplete that they hamper any growth or understanding about themselves.
Let me put it to you this way; there are approximately 7 billion people and 16 MTBI types. I'm an INTJ, which is roughly 2.1% of the population. That means that there are 147,000,000 other INTJs on this planet right now. As unique as you think your personality type is - it isn't. If everyone tries to be the best INTJ based solely on the description, you will never be unique. It's like trying to live the "no true Scotsman" fallacy.
For growth, I would suggest looking at the descriptions of the unhealthy version of your personality. I've struggled with expressing my feeling adequately. I used to allow anger and frustration to build inside of me. I resented feeling so much; I chose not to feel. That is the paradox - I felt deeply but made sure I never showed it. I never developed the strategies and systems to describe my feelings. I was like a child with a wet diaper with no words to express my emotional state.
I created strategies to ensure my external world was always free of conflict and stress. This made me extremely passive and conflict avoidant. I couldn't get what I wanted from life because I didn't have the tools to struggle for them. My spirit wasn't fortified for doing the hard things. I had no boundaries, and every violation was a siege to my inner harmony.
The personality meta-framework describes you. Don't rely on a single test to define yourself. You are more than what can be classified by 16 MBTI Types, 9 Enneagram Types, or Big 5 Personality Traits. These tests simply cover psychological concepts that describe the majority of human behavior. Don't place more value on them than they justify.