Internet Time Wasters

on August 16, 2007

We’ve all done it. We’ve participated in the online quizzes we find on blogs and not only spent time filling one, but clicking through to a few others, and then suddenly, an hour has passed and we’ve accomplished nothing . . . except we know what kind of coffee drink we would be, what superhero, and if we were a Crayola crayon, what color we are!

Human beings are constantly trying to find out more about themselves, either to validate their own drives and desires, because they have an ego (and we all do!), or simply because it’s fun.

I took the Keirsey Temperment Sorter when I was in high school when my American History teacher was all into it. That was . . . more than 20 years ago. I was an Idealist. Keirsey swears that basic personality type does not change. There are four primary types, and each of those four are broken down into four more.

The Myers-Briggs letters mean:

E= Extroverted or I=Introverted
S=Sensory or N=Intuitive
T=Thinking or F=Feeling
J-Judging or P=Perceiving

You are one, or the other, and based on a long series of questions you are put into a category.

Four SPs [Artisans]

Four SJs [Guardians]

Four NFs [Idealists]

Four NTs [Rationals]

According to Myers, one of the pioneers Keirsey uses as the basis for his book, NFs are very much like each other, and greatly different from the other three groups (SPs, SJs, and NTs.)

I am solidly an extrovert and an “intuitive.” I land on the “perceiving” side. But I am on the cusp of one of the points–a borderline F. Sometime after college, I was pushed to the T and became a Rational. Then recently, I took the test again–just for fun. And I found myself back on the F side.

It’s close either way, but what marvels me is that all four groups are supposed to be distinctly different . . . and I’m like two of them.

An Idealist

IDEALIST NFs, being ABSTRACT in communicating and COOPERATIVE in implementing goals, can become highly skilled in DIPLOMATIC INTEGRATION. Thus their most practiced and developed intelligent operations are usually teaching and counseling (NFJ mentoring), or conferring and tutoring (NFP advocating). And they would if they could be sages in one of these forms of social development. The Idealist temperament have an instinct for interpersonal integration, learn ethics with ever increasing zeal, sometimes become diplomatic leaders, and often speak interpretively and metaphorically of the abstract world of their imagination.

The Rational

RATIONAL NTs, being ABSTRACT in communicating and UTILITARIAN in implementing goals, can become highly skilled in STRATEGIC ANALYSIS. Thus their most practiced and developed intelligent operations tend to be marshalling and planning (NTJ organizing), or inventing and configuring (NTP engineering). And they would if they could be wizards in one of these forms of rational operation. They are proud of themselves in the degree they are competent in action, respect themselves in the degree they are autonomous, and feel confident of themselves in the degree they are strong willed. Ever in search of knowledge, this is the “Knowledge Seeking Personality” — trusting in reason and hungering for achievement.

These are basic generalizations from the website, and after thinking about this for a few days, I see parts of my personality in both. For example, in all the left-brain/right-brain tests, I land squarely in the middle. Out of 20 questions that determine whether you’re an “F” or a “T”, 20 years ago I leaned “F”, then I leaned “T” while working in the legislature, now that I’m a full-time writer I lean “F.”

What I think is that when you are on the cusp, depending on what you are doing with your life, certain elements of your personality are drawn out. Keirsey and Myers would completely disagree with me, and probably suggest that either ten years ago or last week, I had “lied” on the test or not been honest with myself. Truth is, I think when you’re on the cusp sometimes, depending on your mood, you’ll answer a couple questions in a different way.

Above I linked to the online test and I’d be interested in knowing what you all are, if you care to waste time to find out! From a writing perspective, I find the PLEASE UNDERSTAND ME book fascinating about personalities, and I can see my characters as certain “types” (though I don’t use the book to develop characters.)

Some basic traits of the four groups separated by “attitude and action”:

SPs: adaptable, artistic, athletic, “aware of reality and never fighting it”, open-minded, knowing what’s going on around them, sees the needs of the moment, easygoing, tolerant, unprejudiced, persuasive, sensitive to color, line and texture, and in general “enjoying life.”

SJs: conservative, stable, consistent, routinized, sensible, factual, unimpulsive, patient, dependable, hard-working, detailed, thorough.

NFs: humane, sympathetic, enthusiastic, religious, creative, intuitive, insightful, subjective.

NTs: analytical, systematic, abstract, theoretical, intellectual, complex, competent, inventive, efficient, independent, logical, curious, scientific, research-orientated.

Anyway, I find the subject of personality fascinating, and wonder how different types–or similar types–match up. What’s yours?

Now, if this is too much to do today, take the FUN tests:

Superhero Quiz (I’m the Green Lantern)
What color crayola crayon are you? (I’m purple)
Are you left-brained or right-brained? (I’m 55% right-brained)
What personality disorder are you? (I may be a bit anti-social . . . really?)
What’s your thinking style? (I’m an explorer.)

Now, this was SUPER creepy. I took the “How Old Do You Act” quiz and it told me I was 37 years old . . . guess what? I am!!!

Okay, I could go on and on . . . and I would have had this posted two hours ago if I wasn’t fooling around at blogthings! That site is certainly the biggest Internet Time Waster I’ve discovered.