Sta Hungry Stay Foolish

Stay Hungry. Stay Foolish.

A blog by Leon Oudejans

Person vs personality (traits)

Despite knowing Joan since 1999, it’s not easy to explain why we established a bond. We seem to be so different on so many levels. Some could argue that opposites attract. I doubt that this argument would explain my point. I have genuine difficulty with some of her personality traits. I never believed though that these traits define her as a person. I only look back with Warm Love (lyrics, video) when I think of Joan.

Today, personality traits seem to define who we are as a person. At least that is what personality tests (eg, dating profiles, Myers-Briggs test) try to tell us. By using political correctness rather than honesty, it’s probably manageable to fool such tests. Even if completed with sincerity, these tests do not define us as a person. We act different in different situations, and no situation is the same.

This blog was triggered by a 2016 TED video which has the intriguing title “Who are you, really? The puzzle of personality”. TED: “Cambridge research professor Brian Little analyzes and redefines the threads of our personalities — and suggests ways we can transform ourselves. In Little’s view, we are as driven by spontaneous, “out of character” moments (and the projects we are passionate about) as we are by innate and learned traits”.

Brian Little is indeed spot-on. Whenever I get passionate and spontaneous about something – and it happens – then I indeed become a different person than I would normally describe myself. I do recognise some 80-90% of my default behaviour in my Chinese Western Zodiac profile. I also recognise a lot in Joan’s Chinese Western zodiac profile. Our frequent clashes and our eternal magnetism can even be traced to our – very different – Chinese and Western compatibility reports.

Our default behaviour is measured over 5 main criteria which you can easily remember through their acronym: OCEAN. These Big 5 personality traits relate to openness to experience, conscientiousness, extraversion, agreeableness, and neuroticismWiki: “No Strong Preferences (all five dimensions): are adaptable, moderate and reasonable personalities, but can be perceived as unprincipled, inscrutable and calculating”. My Chinese Rat zodiac just received a new boost.

Ultimately these default descriptions of our behaviour do not tell a full tale. We show different sides of ourselves to different persons in different situations. We may choose to amplify (or restrain) certain of our personality traits in order (not) to impress or scare others. Nevertheless, at the end of the day, we usually resume our default behaviour as it’s too hard for (most of) us to keep pretending that we are different from who we actually are.

I think, feel and believe that I have seen Joan’s true self. I am confident that Joan would say the same about me. To quote a line from a favourite Genesis song: “I know what I like, and I like what I know” (lyrics, video). Perhaps that is the essence. Do we really need to know more?

True Colors (1986) by Cyndi Lauper
artist, lyrics, video, Wiki-1, Wiki-2

But I see your true colors
Shining through
I see your true colors
And that’s why I love you
So don’t be afraid to let them show
Your true colors
True colors are beautiful
Like a rainbow

Note: all markings (bolditalicunderlining) by LO unless in quotes or stated otherwise.

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