John's Blog

The Blog of John Gibson, PhD

Know Thyself


Why does it pay to have a clear picture of your own PERSONALITY?

1. It helps you be true to yourself.

For instance, if you are an introvert, and you know this about yourself, you will be more able to resist an extravert's attempts to get your to be more like him. (Extraverts seem especially prone to trying to change the introvert’s character.)

2. It helps you know where you fit in the world.

"Birds of a feather flock together" or "opposites attract"? According to research, it's more the former than the latter. So the clearer you are about your own personality, the easier it will be to choose a mate, an occupation, or a group of people to hang out with.

3. It helps you identify potential blind-spots.

No personality trait is all good or all bad; there's always an upside and a downside. But it helps to know what the downside is because sooner or later you’ll have compensate for it.

4. It helps identify your strengths.

Although it seems paradoxical at first glance, sometimes real growth comes, not from working on your weaknesses, but on developing your strengths. Unlike popular wisdom, which suggests people can “re-invent” themselves, it’s much more valuable to become MORE yourself. That is, as time goes on, as you mature and gain self-understanding and self-complexity, you expand those aspects of yourself that are uniquely you. The goal is not to become like your spouse, your neighbor, or even the person you most admire. The goal is to become who you really are, who you were mean to.

Know yourself truly and deeply, and you will find yourself place in the world.

(image by Leonard John Matthews)