I've been looking inwards in an on-again/off-again fashion in the last few years, and while I have come to some conclusions about personality types, I have some questions that I think a general consensus will do well in answering.
First, in all my most recent personality tests my results come out INTP 95% of the time. When I find some time on my hands to look inwards I tend to take the test many times over the course of a week (sometimes a month) and change the answers of the questions that I am unsure of. This is a result of my lack of understanding the context of the question being asked...i.e. are they asking about when I am with my family or out in public? With a binary answer (either/or ... mutually exclusive), I sometimes find that the context of the question changes the answer. That being said, it is an eye opening experience to see that the questions that I spent so much time agonizing over only changed the outcome 5% of the time. More often than not, the only thing that changed was the distribution of the INTP percentages.
However, I now find myself wondering how much change in ones life is needed to change a person's perspective so much as to change his or her personality type. The reason being that the last time I found myself looking inward and taking personality tests was about 4 years ago. Strangely enough, I took the test often and had the same experience of getting hung-up on the context of questions, which lead to taking the test many times over and changing answers just as I do now. The result back then was consistently INFP rather than INTP as it is now. Not so much has changed over the last 4 years other than a slight perspective change after having changed careers (maybe more change than I thought).
Finally, and this is the oddest part of it all, everything I've done in my life up to the age of 30 indicates that I am an ISTP rather than either of the other 2 results over the last 8 years, given the fact that in my younger years I consciously made the choices that I pursued, as opposed to my mature years when responsibility dictates my actions. I was INFP at least 4 years ago and INTP now. 2000 to 2004 was a time of monumental change for me as I started University at 30 on my G.I. bill. I have no doubt that this is what led to my very different perspective that I have now; however, things will become more clear as I give more information about myself, that I do not fit into the results of my current (and older) personality tests (as you will see).
In spite of the consistency of the INFP results 4 years ago, and the INTP results now, I still believe I am an ISTP at my core. I will lay out the details and would like to get a consensus as to what everyone else thinks about a couple things.
1.) Played sports my entire life. Football, Baseball, and Basketball in my early years; then Football through my teen years. I remained a scrapper until I matured.
2.)While in high school, when forced to think about what I was going to do in the future, I decided I wanted to be a pilot.
3.)I joined the Army as an Aviation Structural Repairer to pursue that goal, then decided not to pursue it during the Gulf War after seeing my choppers come back with combat damage...while some never returned. I soon found myself enjoying the combat soldier role more than the mechanic role (odd isn't it)...
4.) I injured my back in the Army, leading to the next 6 years struggling to rediscover my place in the world.
5.) Left the military and after many, many different jobs found myself driving trucks cross country as it was about the only thing I was both qualified and capable of doing with my back injury (chronic problem).
6.) After 3 years on the road I decided to get in on the big money in I.T. and left trucking to go to University. Half way through, the dot-com bubble burst and I wound up quiting school during finals the first semester of my last year (with a 3.8) as I thought (and still do) that an MIS degree is useless at 34 yrs. old with no experience and no training in the specific knowledge end of I.T. that would enable me to start at the bottom.
7.)Finally, after working for Dell in tech support for just over a year, I was deeper in debt than ever before and getting paid peanuts ... so I went back to trucking.
I know this is getting long in the tooth, but I'm getting to the point...
Perspective is formed by life experiences. The previous story line is, in fact, the life experiences that have molded me to be who I am and how I view the world. I would also submit that my perspective shapes my personality (or does it?). Since life experiences occur on a daily basis, our perspective is constantly changing. Granted, there are experiences that can be rated as having a much higher impact on our perspective than others; life changing experiences as it were. While all of this is quite simple as I have laid it out, it leaves a great many questions concerning the personality test itself, as well as a plethora of other things related to who we are at our core when compared to who we are in everyday life...and which of those is being shown in our typology.
If we accept the premise that perspective shapes personality, then we must conclude that personality, in and of itself, is not who we are at our core. While I have always claimed that I have done everything I have ever wanted to do (which is true for the most part), I cannot say that I have done everything I have set out to do. In every step I have taken towards a goal, my perspective has changed along the way. Every goal I have ever reached did not feel like I thought it would upon achieving it due to my perspective changing along the way. Once I realized this, I would quit working towards a goal as soon as I saw that the changes in perspective along the way made the goal unworthy of accomplishing (to high of a price to pay for what you get out of it). As much as I would like to think that I have dictated my own place in the world, the fact is that life has pushed me in the direction I have gone every step along the way. Bills must be paid, commitments to family members and employers must be met, and jobs that pay a living wage are fewer and farther between than ever. In the end, my perspective was created by external means and cannot possibly be who I truly am at my core...and if perspective shapes personality, then personality cannot either.
Is the personality test contextually specific enough in its questioning to give a valid result of one's personality?
Given the results of having taken the test(s) many times and the consistency of them, there is no doubt the test is well designed. However, if the questions are ambiguous in their context then what exactly is the result reflecting? Unless the test can be taken with a clear context, the results can be skewed to one side or the other depending on how it is interpreted by the one taking it...or the result can be a hodge podge of answering some questions under one context and others with an opposite context. That is to say, If I decide to look at the questions as they pertain to my relationship with my family as opposed to my relationship with the rest of the world, the typology would then reflect my personality when I am with my family rather than when I am out in public. To be sure, while my family is made up of individuals, it operates as a unit (for better or for worse). Would that context give a result that reflects MY personality, or that of my family (or me fulfilling my role in it)? That said, the consistency of the results is remarkable nonetheless (in my case anyway).
Is a life changing experience required to change a personality, or can it change over a relatively long period of time as one matures though the common stages of life?
This is one that I can't put my finger on. Can it be true that one's personality SHOULD stay the same from childhood, through puberty in the teens, on into our most productive years, then into retirement? If so, then personality as it is perceived in this context should reflect who we are at our core...while this point can be argued, the one at hand is whether or not it changes at all...and what is being reflected by the typology test. I have read many things on the forums that try to communicate the undeveloped XXXX in its youth...as in, before that person matures and how the typology will mature with the person. I think my typology when I was younger was ISTP, but that has never shown up in my results as I never took the test before 2004. Yet, everything about my life up to the time I started University screams ISTP. My University years were INFP, and now 4 years later INTP. Schizophrenia? ... or does the test only show who we are on the surface? ... or do life changing experiences change who we are at the core? Etc...
What is the relationship between perspective and personality and how do they affect each other?
I have made the proposition throughout this convoluted thought process that perspective shapes personality. Perhaps personality actually shapes perspective, or it could be that there is no relationship at all. Given the context in which we are speaking, perspective and personality are so closely related that one must affect the other. Perhaps it goes both ways. Perspective is borne under experience and forms the lens through which we see the world. Personality is borne under ??? and is the tool set we use to interact with the world. Before we can interact with the world, we must first understand it. We do not act the same way in every situation, we act...accordingly. So certainly, the way we view the situation is monumental in how we decide to handle it. Since perspective is dynamically evolving, then too, so must be personality. I stick to my presumption...even though I can't determine where personality comes from.
Finally, after reading all of this and hopefully gaining some ability to see through my lens...what is my personality type?
OH and um...Hi Everyone