Every person you meet is a unique character with personality traits both similar to others and unmatched by anyone. There will be individuals you meet within your lifetime with whom you connect on multiple levels; there will be people you don't care for, and there will be those you envy. While the coming and going of relationships is a sure thing, a constant flux you can count on, your own personality among them will remain relatively unchanged.
Your personality is the complex core of your very being; it makes you who you are, though, ironically, understanding the self is a lifelong challenge. To dig deeper into the concept of personality and individual quirks and how to use them to be generally happier, I spoke with Jeanne Patti, CTS CMQOE, solution provider, trainer, and coach.
"There are 16 temperaments, we are born with one and we don’t get to choose which one we get. So this core is the foundation of all things 'you.' On a good day, we can play in many different temperament fields, but when we become stressed or are out of our league for too long, our real self comes flying out. On top of these innate preferences (temperament), we have these things called 'habits' that come from our parents temperaments, teachers, friends and all the others who have helped us along the way. These habits create our character, and together with temperament, form our personality, the one unique 'you' that no one else in the world is," Patti begins to explain via email.
Here are seven ways to use your personality quirks to your advantage.
1. Focus On Your Personality "Style" To Transcend Core Talents
"Everyone of the 16 temperaments [of which we are born and only get one] has unique innate talents. Happiness, motivation, and passion build when we focus on our core talents and careers that feed on those. Since our economy is focused on solving problems, we can look to our talents and learn not what problem we can solve, but what style we prefer to solve them with! Style is the key," Patti tells me via email.
To break it down, there are a number of categories into which your personality temperament might fall, identifying you as introspective or observant; strategic, diplomatic, logistical, or tactical, and so forth. When you get down to it, your temperament explains your natural role in most social circles or situations. Thus, as Patti says, you can dig into these temperament traits to determine your place in the world as told by your talents and subsequent style of problem-solving.
To further illustrate that point, Patti expands, "Let’s use a simple example to help understand what I mean by style. All 16 temperaments could (and do) get involved in photography (problem = people and businesses need photographs). The 'style' and preference by which they conduct photography is very different. A Rational photographer may very well be all about the technology to achieve results. An Idealist could fall in love with the art of capturing people's feeling. A Guardian photographer's goals may be to capture traditional events to preserve their memory. An Artisan? Quite likely they may prefer to capture creative, bold, and daring photographs! Once you focus on your preferred style of working, you can look to your habits and experiences to find the industry and problems you’d like to solve! This allows people to bring their best to the world, and the world will take notice."
2. Use Your Temperament To Adjust To The Temperament Of Others
"Understand the temperaments of those around you. If you don’t have the luxury of knowing their personality types, it’s easy to spot signs. For instance, let’s say you’re invited to a networking event. If you see someone hanging out in the corner, you can create a nice quiet comforting conversation and ask them to share how they prefer to network, possibly by e-mail or messaging? When is the last time someone asked you how you prefer to socialize, how you prefer to work? This is powerful stuff and can create amazing relationships with those that you never would have been able to reach. In fact, those who don’t share your own preferences have their own unique talents and many times these complement each other. You also need to be aware of your own preferences and make sure you’re keeping that emotional bank account full, too, so you can keep your energy up," Patti suggests.
In order to optimize socialization, to be both self-serving and considerate of others, first be aware of your innate abilities. Before entering a social situation, evaluate the traits exhibited by others to understand how best to approach conversation with ease and comfortability. Signs of a great conversationalist include being able to adapt to multiple personalities in order to walk away from the interaction having learned something of value and to also leave a positive impression on others.
3. Surround Yourself With People Like You
"Did you know we 'make things happen' differently? I recently had two clients who both make things happen through collaboration. If they’re not collaborating, the world stops for them. Four of the 16 temperaments work in this way. We had a group call and I was asking if they collaborated as part of the 'homework' from the last class. It came to light that for most of her life, she felt inadequate because she never could make things happen on her own, that it was a fault. The second client was so excited to hear her share that because she’s always felt the same way. What an ah-hah moment for them both. When we learn the unique dynamics that affect our preferences, we come to this peaceful place where men and women have shared things like 'I feel like I’m finally home' and 'I feel validated.' That’s why I do this. If we can make just one more person know it’s okay to be who we are and concentrate on our strengths, that’s a great day," Patti shares.
If you've ever had feelings of self-doubt regarding your deepest quirks and desires, this is where you leave those thoughts. Stop that pattern of behavior in its tracks, and replace the negative, self-deprecating mindset with uplifting thoughts of self-love. While it is fair to be inspired by other people for admirable qualities, it is unhealthy to turn those thoughts into, "I wish I were more like that," or "I'm not good enough because I don't have those qualities."
Consider this: The person you admire likely does not share the qualities that make you uniquely you; that make you the person who is loved and valued by the people in your life. Hone in on your strengths, accept the qualities you cannot change, and aim for healthy self-improvement. Such a mindset will attract positivity, bringing like-minded people and wonderful experiences with it.
4. Dig Into Your Character To Discover Your Passion
"An individual can gain great insight into an engaging career for them by looking at both their temperament and their character. We look to certain temperament dynamics that are career-related such as talent, how we lead, and how we make things happen. These give us great insight into how we best do our thing in life. Then we can look to our character to see what it is we’re passionate about, what things matter to us to learn the industry or subject matter to do it in. I love to share the examples of Oprah and Madonna. If they were acting like everyone else, we wouldn’t know who they are, never heard their names. They are so clear on their natural talents and how to bring that to the world. They are clear examples of different temperaments, with different styles and preferences being true to themselves. ... So it’s best to look holistically at your temperament, your style, and your character to find the best career for for you," according to Patti.
The quest for passion is ongoing. If you think you're alone, think again. Interests change, circumstances change, environments change, and people change. What remains the foundation of happiness and success, as Patti shares, is to understand how your temperament plays into your behavior and talents.
To get the internal conversation started, answer these questions: In what areas are you particularly gifted? What hobbies do you enjoy most? With whom do you enjoy spending most of your time? How are your communication skills?
5. Find A Partner Whose Temperament Meshes Well With Your Temperament
"When my single clients learn I married my temperament twin, they ask, 'Is that what I should be looking for in a mate?' My answer is, there is no right partner. The simple answer is, the best partner is one who is willing to understand your temperament, your differences, your similarities and work from there. Once you gain this foundational understanding, the next (exciting) piece to explore is habits – understanding those things you do because your parents did them, or your teacher or mentor taught you to do them is quite fascinating. And exploring them with your partner will bring amazing depth and intimacy to your relationship," Patti tells me via email.
It won't be easy to seek out your "temperament twin," or to evaluate potential partners with a quick personality test on the first date – never mind that being totally awkward. Allow yourself to date without bounds, keeping in mind the temperament that best suits yours, and go from there.
6. Never Cease Self-Exploration
"Understand yourself. Do yourself a huge favor and take an assessment. (Note of caution: All personality assessments are not equal and some are more reliable than others. I use Keirsey’s Temperament Sorter due to its reliability and don’t make a penny off of it.) Best advice I can give is don’t assume the report is correct. You need to determine if the report is a good match for you. You can do this by highlighting the things that really resonate with you, and highlight in another color those traits that don’t fit for you as well. If those things that resonate are 75 to 80 percent or more, it’s looking good you have a good match for you," Patti explains.
If all this temperament talk sounds pretty foreign to you, take a test! Dive into the details and get to know yourself on a level you've never experienced before. You'll come out feeling pretty enlightened and knowledgable about the person you thought you knew best.
7. Accept Your Unique Quirks & Use Them To Your Advantage
"Again, using the examples of Oprah and Madonna, be you. Don’t try to be someone else who shares your industry or role type. Understand the style by which you prefer to do things and look through your past and find those habits and experiences you want more of. This is the one unique you that no one else in the world is. That is what we’re all waiting to see," Patti shares.
Advice that never ceases to apply: Be unapologetically yourself. If you allow your unique qualities to shine through, without reservation, you will be instantly happier and find experiences happening more naturally, with ease. There is no better life than your own; no person more equip to take the reins and go after what you want than you. Make it your mission to know yourself better than anyone else.