A personality type is simply a common way to classify or categorize certain dominant personality characteristics that exist in individuals. It is not an attempt to label or generalize a person by summing them up completely within any singular or over simplified description.
There are many different theories and methods for these types of classifications in use to varying degrees in modern society. Most people will find that regardless of which system they prefer to use, the combination of an individuals actual traits places them in various categories simultaneously. Furthermore, an accurate gauge of each aspect of a person’s personality must be obtained through evaluation and observance of a wide variety of factors. The over-all assessment that is based on the results must then be left up to the judgment of the evaluator. In short, it is not an exact science but it does yield useful insight to the inner workings of our personality related traits.
These classifications are based on a number of different behavioral tendencies. This makes classification complex, which is why we still to this day, have widely varying views and opinions about which methods are the most accurate and useful. For instance, some will classify people along scales of introversion and extroversion alone considering all other traits to external to this. Some consider introversion and extroversion as a part of a greater and more complex equation. In general it is currently believed that the more complex the more accurate but more difficult to conclude and understand.
Some methods simply define people’s personality but identifying prevalent combinations of various dominant traits. These methods are most widely accepted in recent times by the psychology communities. The older type methods have been falling in popularity because of their inherent nature to attempt to simplify and generalize people into categories. When personality is concerned, it seems that any attempt to simplify an assessment works against the overall goal by diminishing the accuracy. In short, diminishing complexity equals diminishing accuracy. People are simply too complicated to place under general labels.
You will find some of the many interesting and enlightening methods of classification in the articles in this section. You can draw your conclusions about which ones are superior or more useful for your specific needs.
Let us look at introverts and extroverts.
The names themselves lend information about their meaning. Extraversion or (outward turning) deals with personality traits that are more outwardly focused. Introversion or (inward turning) deals with personality traits that are more inwardly oriented. People who lean heavily toward extroversion display attitudes and behaviors that are more focused on people, activity and material things that exist in the world. Those who are tending toward introversion are aligned more closely and more focused on concepts, ideas and reflection. Most people will of course fall somewhere in between the two polar concepts.
These two opposing concepts help to define the way we make our way through life. An extrovert will focus mainly on taking action. This will be the comfortable norm. The extrovert draws energy and motivation from the active part of life. Reflection will be draining. He will reflect only long enough to figure out what actions to take next. The Introvert is more comfortable in the reflection. He seeks to understand, study and evaluate situations and concepts. For him, taking action is necessary but it is a task that drains his energy. He does it because he knows he must, and then he returns to reflection to evaluate the results and determine the best direction to proceed.
People who prefer extraversion draw energy from action: they tend to act, then reflect, then act further. If they are inactive, their motivation tends to decline. To rebuild their energy, extraverts need breaks from time spent in reflection. Conversely, those who prefer introversion expend energy through action: they prefer to reflect, then act, then reflect again. To rebuild their energy, introverts need quiet time alone, away from activity.
Extroverts tend toward action while introverts tend toward thought. Extraverts rebuild their energy and motivation from other people while introverts rebuild their energy and motivation while alone. Extroverts draw energy from others while introverts need peace and quiet. Introverts interact with others but they are more interested in substantial interaction while extroverts are more interested in frequency of interaction. Extroverts hold interest in the quantity of experience and knowledge whereas introverts are more interested in the quality or depth of understanding and knowledge.
Most people tend to think of introverts as shy or anti social. The reality is that shyness, self-confidence and self-esteem have very little or even no impact whatsoever on introversion. Those tendencies have to do with anxieties, fears and feelings of self worth whereas introversion deals with attitudes beliefs and behavioral tendencies. Introverts may not socialize as much but it has nothing to do with fear or anxiety. It is a choice. For an introvert, socializing expends energy. It is a task. An introvert’s energy is drained by others and recharges when he or she is alone.
Introverts are simply more inclined to involve themselves in the workings of the mind rather than the external workings of social scenarios. Introverts are prone to deep conversations about heavy subjects. They have little to no interest in small talk. An extrovert is more interested in the act of conversation itself, the subject matter is secondary and small talk is fine.
Aside from introversion and extroversion, another common and simple classification method attempted to place people in one of two categories. This was the Type A and Type B Personality Theory. It attempt to classify people into two contrasting personalities described as high strung or easy going. The Type A personality was prone to be high strung where the Type B’s were laid back. The basis for all of this was a study of which personality types made a person more or less susceptible to certain heart problems.
This is now a somewhat antiquated method of personality classification due to its limited scope, its narrow motive and the fact that its inception was over 50 years ago when our understanding of mental health was significantly less sophisticated. Nevertheless, it is still a popular concept and has persisted to this day. The basic idea behind it was that Type A people were twice as likely to develop coronary heart disease.
These days we have more complex and hopefully more accurate ways to try to classify personalities. You can find further information in this section about the Briggs and Meyers classification, the four temperaments and the DISC associations.
Whichever method you choose, be sure to brush up on the specific and intricate details of each to gain a clear understanding of how they compare. Find out how to determine where you stand and it could shed some beneficial insight about whom you are and why you have some of the tendencies that you have. Get to know yourself. This information can go a long way toward helping you learn, grow and become the person you always wanted to be. Keep moving, enjoy your progress and reach your goals.