Reflections on personality

 

The NEO PI test shows roughly where we are on the Big Five personality traits.

It is easy to think that being low on neuroticism and high on the other four is always and inherently good. After all, that is what our culture tells us. But it is fortunately not quite true.

It depends on our role. For instance, as an army officer, it may be good to be low on some of the facets of agreeableness (able to make tough decisions that harms certain individuals), and perhaps higher on some of the facets of neuroticism (more alert). A philosopher, psychologist, or artist may benefit from being higher on neuroticism as it allows more inner processing and insight. A nuclear plant operator, or anyone in a role where innovation is of little or no advantage, or where it may even be harmful, may benefit from being low on openness to experience.

It depends on how it is expressed and how we relate to it. Whether we are high or low on any factor or facet, we can find ways to use it in a constructive way, and find genuine appreciation for its benefits.

And as a society, we need all types. There are many roles that needs to be filled in a society, so it is good people come with different tendencies and orientations.

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