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Methods for Changing Perspective on the Present: Understanding Your Basic Personality Profile

Mark Dombeck, Ph.D.

Understanding your basic personality profile also helps you to understand what sorts of people you are likely to be compatible with. If you are highly extraverted and desire a lot of social stimulation, for example, you may have a hard time living with someone who is highly introverted, finds it difficult to socialize, and prefers solitary activities.

Basically, the more you know about your own personality, especially with regard to how you fall out on the five factors in relation to average personalities, the more basis you have for understanding how you are likely to be perceived by others, what sorts of characteristics in other people you are likely to mesh well with, and what sorts of vulnerabilities you are likely to have that you need to watch out for. Knowledge of the ways in which you are extreme makes you capable of knowing what to work on and what to watch for.

  • Do you have a tendency to be anxious or depressed easily (low emotional stability), or do you have a more even, sunny disposition (high emotional stability)? People who are more easily anxious and depressed have to take extra good care of themselves, particularly with regard to making sure their basic needs are met if they are to maintain a good mood and positive outlook during stressful times.
  • Are you impulsive (low conscientiousness), for instance, or more of a cautious and responsible person (high conscientiousness)? Too much impulsivity can cause you to jump into situations without fully thinking them through, which can sometimes cause problems. Too much caution can keep you from taking advantage of opportunities for making a better life for yourself.
  • Is it easy for you to be with other people, or do you require time alone in order to recharge yourself? Extraverted people (who get energy by being with others) will generally find that they do better in work situations where they can interact with other people such as sales. Conversely, Introverted people (who need more space to regroup when stressed) often find it easier to pursue work that can be done while alone (such as writing or engineering).

  • Are you stubborn and persistent, or are you more easygoing? Are you a generous person, or do you tend to watch out for yourself mostly? Easygoing, generous people run the risk of letting other people take advantage of them. Conversely, stubborn, more disagreeable people run the risk of not fully respecting the needs of the other people around them. Easygoing, generous people may find themselves becoming resentful of others, while stubborn, more self-centered people may find that people are resentful of them.

Basically, you are often best off working for a balance between extremes of personality attributes. When any given personality tendency causes you problems, a good solution is to work towards incorporating more of the opposite tendency into your personality so as to balance yourself out.