I recently took a personality test at www.16personalities.com. The results I got were pretty accurate to my daily goings on, the way I handle work, relationships, my own thoughts and feelings, and so on. If you haven’t ever taken a personality test, or if you have, you should go give this one a try.
I also requested that a few of my coworkers take the quiz as well, which helped me to better understand why some things had happened with some of our recent projects, good and bad. It also helps me to know how best to communicate with them, and really anyone if you know their personality type.
ENFP Personality (“The Campaigner”)
My results were ENFP. I can’t explain it better than they can, so this is straight from the 16personalities.com site profile for an ENFP:
“It doesn’t interest me what you do for a living. I want to know what you ache for – and if you dare to dream of meeting your heart’s longing. It doesn’t interest me how old you are. I want to know if you will risk looking like a fool – for love – for your dreams – for the adventure of being alive.”
The ENFP personality is a true free spirit. They are often the life of the party, but unlike Explorers, they are less interested in the sheer excitement and pleasure of the moment than they are in enjoying the social and emotional connections they make with others. Charming, independent, energetic and compassionate, the 7% of the population that they comprise can certainly be felt in any crowd.
More than just sociable people-pleasers though, ENFPs, like all their Diplomat cousins, are shaped by their Intuitive (N) quality, allowing them to read between the lines with curiosity and energy. They tend to see life as a big, complex puzzle where everything is connected – but unlike Analysts, who tend to see that puzzle as a series of systemic machinations, ENFPs see it through a prism of emotion, compassion and mysticism, and are always looking for a deeper meaning.
Meaning Makers Make Something Out Of Nothing
I have always wondered why I gravitated toward the creative pursuits. Actor, writer, musician, storyteller, photographer, poet, playwright, director, producer, carpenter, filmmaker, painter, cartoonist, artist, graphic designer, web designer, copywriter, content strategist…I’ve worn many hats during my 28 year life. All of my pursuits have something in common though, I am always creating something where there wasn’t anything before. Or, even if there was something, it was a loosely defined set of raw materials or data that I needed to shape into a tangible structure or story.
I tell stories because I love them. I love stories because I love the people in them and about them. I love people because they give my world meaning and experience. I love meaning and experience because they give me a reason to wake up each day.
I used to get so frustrated with myself because I couldn’t just see the world through a “regular” set of eyes. I always saw, and still see, magic in everything and everyone around me. It’s been like that since I was very young. At some point in my teenage years, there was a shift, and I started to consider myself slightly naive for having this fantastical world view that “everything happens for a reason”.
I did many things from then into my early twenties to try and silence that voice inside of me. It was a voice filled with power that was convinced that magic and meaning was alive and well in our world. I remember my Grandmother once saying to me during that period of time, “Austin, when you were younger your eyes used to have this amazing sparkle in them…and I just can’t seem to see it anymore.”
It absolutely crushed me to hear that. I knew why she couldn’t see it, but I didn’t know then how to get it back. I have taken the muffle off of that voice, and it has spent the last year or so learning how to talk to me again. I don’t know if my grandmother remembers saying that, but I hope the sparkle is back. It definitely feels like it.
Knowing that I tried to silence that voice that cried out so loudly inside of me is hard to admit. It’s hard to face. After writing the last sentence of the previous paragraph, tears were streaming down my face. Not tears of sadness, but joy. It’s difficult sometimes to convey the power of the emotions coursing through me while I write. But, I can honestly say that having that voice back has finally made me feel like I am alive again. It has made me feel a visceral sense of freedom and happiness that was gone for a long time. It’s terrifying sometimes because it is SO overwhelming. But, I have that voice back and I’m learning how to view it as a strength, and that is absolutely wonderful.
I read this interview with Oscar Isaac about his own path to becoming a creative and the release of the new Star Wars movie. He had some amazing things to say about life and art, and he has an amazing story in general. But, this particular passage really hit me hard:
And certainly his journey to acting has the quality of a calling. “I remember yelling at myself for scavenging my own life. I was having an argument with an ex-girlfriend of mine, and I was crying and she was crying, and there was a part of me that was recording it. I was like, ‘Are you a psychopath, that you’re able to be in this and also watching it and taking notes? That’s psychopathic behavior,’ ” he says. “And then I remember walking back and forth in the grass outside her house thinking, ‘You have to accept that it’s not an accident that you’ve dedicated your life to getting better at this thing. The people who do that can’t help it. And that’s why they become writers and actors and painters. Because they can’t help but comment on existence.’ ”
So, if you feel yourself having the same sort of tendency in your life, don’t get down on yourself. Realize you’re a meaning maker, a storyteller, and someone who was placed on this earth to enrich the lives of others through your gift.