The Problem and Power of Personality

December 25, 2012 by John Andrew Williams

I view personality as a bundle of habits around perspectives, thoughts, and actions that are so close to us that it’s challenging to see it. Like a fish contemplating the nature of water, it’s too close to parse from daily life.

When I was creating the Academic Life Coaching Program, I was like a mad scientist taking any personality system I could get my hands on and try it out with me, my friends, and with students. The results: I got a lot of different labels, and I learned a lot about which personality systems were worth it and which ones felt a little off. I tried everything from Meyers-Briggs to the color of my parachute.

It’s hard to capture the immense and beautiful complexity of a human being in a few paragraphs or label. But I found one personality test that really hits the nail on the head. I’ve used the Enneagram and added a few other concepts to create what I’ve called Core Motivation. I love the system because it’s both descriptive and proscriptive. It both describes certain patterns that usually show up and it points the way for you to grow as a person and recalibrate your response to your personality.

I love that last part. I’ve found that when students understand their own personality and start to have control over it, they start to take control of their life and decisions on a very deep level.

What’s your Core Motivation type?

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