In fact, alot of “knowledge” what we’ve gotten comfortable with relative to social interaction — learning styles, brainstorming, authenticity, nonverbal communication, to name a few — is mostly myth-making passed on over time. Why? Probably since much of it feels true. And, because they’re so entrenched, trying to get folks to disregard or even just reconsider these faulty disciplines is usually a waste of time. That’s the bad news.
The good news is, we have sites like FiveThirtyEight, which actually examines these placebos. Last year around this time, they made a promise to look into the most suspect wisdom about habits and hobbies. Now, a year later, they’re at it again, showcasing the most [only] reliable personality quiz on the market, the Big Five. You can take it here. I did and my results are in the above graphic.
One of the reasons I value this “challenge mindset” concept I’ve been writing about is because the nature of social science seems so elusive. It’s great to write about research and get tips from some leadership coach who is rewriting the same key concepts they got from another leadership coach. But, we shouldn’t forget why we’re likely reading this stuff in the first place: (1) we want to know ourselves better, and (2) we want to know what others respond to most, so we can use it to develop our skills of influence. Only one of those two things is really in our control, however, and the rewards of challenging ourselves are not external. And they aren’t necessarily even “social”. They’re unsexy, sometimes solitary things like awareness, experience, empathy, perspective, accomplishment, and if we’re lucky, achievement.
Personality isn’t some sort of character fulfillment exercise (I’m a “Driver!”) and it isn’t a label or a judgement or a “brand” or a final resting place. It’s just a reminder of where you’re starting from on your journey.
Founder, The Idea Enthusiast. Speaker, Trainer, Facilitator, and writer about all things creative consulting. DC-based consultant to individuals who want to be more creative, teams who want to collaborate without fear, and anyone who wants to deliver the best pitches and presentations.