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As John was saying in his last video, I think that we don't give ourselves enough opportunities for self reflection, and I think personality tests can help with that, but I also think they imply that there is something overly concrete about the things they are testing, and that no self is carved in stone.

We have a SciShow Psych episode about more recent understanding of the failures of personality tests here: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=JN6_K6ALeZI&t=2s

Happy New Year everyone! In Montana we are currenly being completely buried in snow!

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Good morning John. About 15 years ago I, for the first time and begrudgingly, took the Meyers Brigg's personality test. The idea of that specific personality test is to put you into one of two groups, in four different categories. The most famous one being the first one, are you an introvert or an extrovert? Are you an I or an E?

Theres also how you gather information. Is it sensing or intuition? How you make decisions, a thinking or feeling. And finally do you prefer to like make a judgment or gather more information through perceiving or prospecting? Two different P's... and it changes. You might be like an ENTP or an ISFJ.

At that time in my life I had... decided to hate personality tests. Like wha-- a great deal of my understanding of myself was like YOU CANT PUT THIS IN A BOX. This is why I was extremely pleased when my Meyers Briggs personality type came back as XNXP.

So for introvert extrovert, they couldn't classify me. I was right in the middle. And for thinking or feeling, also, right in the middle. So yeah! You can't put college Hank in a box! Take thaaaat! Test! Trying to tell me that I am like anyone else!

To be fair, to the test, I was pretty weird. Like I like loved to like go to parties and dance and like have people look at me... but mostly because of how scary that was. I love it in the way that like a parachuter loves jumping out of a plane. Like it's an extreme sport. 

But not wanting to be classifiable. It's not why I dislike personality tests now. I have a different reason. And it's much more mild. Becuase I think it's extremely valuable to take some time for self reflection and to assess ourselves and to understand ourselves and see what maybe are the right paths forward for who we are right now. But I also worry, that the idea of a personality test, leads to the belief that we are what we are and we will never be anything else.

I just took another Meyers Briggs personality test at 16somethings.com  and as I was taking the test, it became very clear to me that I've changed a lot. And that like if I answered these questions as five years ago Hank, I would be answering them differently.

I am much more of a planner. Where I used to be an improviser. And part of that's having a child but part of that's having like a team of 15 people that are not ready for me to email them at midnight and be like "tomorrow we're gonna do this new thing". That could be frustrating for an employee, it turns out.

And it turns out that I actually like working that way. It's a little less scary. And it has just kinda become the default way I operate. And also now I am not in the middle of introvert-extrovert. I am way over on the extrovert side and anybody who knows me will tell you that.

So this is the time of year when people might be setting goals for how they want to behave or how they want things to go in 2018. And what that means is changing behaviour and that is frickin hard because emphasize these neural pathway, ways that we act, things we do with our hands, how we interact with the people, what we give value to. 

All those neural pathway get more and more structured and changing them gets more difficult. And I want to make the case that it really doesn't help if we believe that we were born to only ever be one way ever. We change hour to hour, based on situations, and we change decade to decade.

Like there's something very simple about feeling like you'll never change and about taking a test and knowing who you are. But we're not that simple. I think its a disservice to the complexity of you. Absolutely find ways to live that work for you and people who appreciate you for the way you are. But also know that if you want to change, you can, and even if you don't you probably will.

So if you have a moment, I have an exercise. Can you write down in the comments, for all of us to read. Something that you changed about yourself. It could be something simple like you changed how you write A's. Or it could be more complicated like you decided to be the kind of person who listens more and talks less. I mean is there somebody here who needs to take that advice?

I don't know.

And if you want, you can also share some of the ways you hope to maybe change in the future. Because you are not carved in stone the day you were born. You are molding yourself out of clay and if you don't keep it movin, it's gonna harden up.

John, I'll see you on Tuesday.

If you ever wanna learn more about this stuff with a great deal more rigor than was in this video, check out our channel SciShow Psych. It's all about the science of psychology.