I tend to wander away from abstract ‘what-ifs’ but am endlessly fascinated by the nuts and bolts. I usually make decisions by weighing feelings over logic, and I prefer to reside in gray areas instead of forming solid opinions when issues are complex.

I’m very introspective, and spend much of my time (maybe even most of my time) thinking about identity — questioning it, playing with it, wondering about it. Basically, trying to understand myself, and to validate myself, to myself, almost all of the time. This search is endlessly fascinating, but usually sends me to bed at night exhausted. I’ve been at least vaguely aware since my teens that this need to probe into identity is usually the drive behind my writing and art. I am constantly wondering who I am today, who I was in the past, and who I will become, and I never feel satisfied that I’ve even remotely begun to understand any of it.

About a year ago, I took a Myer-Briggs personality test (I used this one), and guess what the results suggested? That I am very introspective and probably spend most of my time thinking about and experimenting with identity.

That still makes me laugh.

My Myer-Briggs personality result consistently comes out to be ISPF: Introverted, Sensing, Feeling, Perceiving. It gets the title “The Adventurer” or “The Artist”.

It’s a very weird, almost contradictory combination of traits. The category suggests that I tend to prefer facts and details over big-picture abstract thinking, but make decisions based on emotional responses rather than on logically calculated judgements. Superficially, it sounds almost oxymoronic (fact-based but emotionally-oriented?), but it’s definitely me.

Here’s a quick breakdown of what each letter category means:

Introverted (as opposed to extroverted): This category describes what ‘world’ you tend to live in, internal or external. Introverts tend to feel energized by introspective or creative pursuits, and drained by social interactions, while extroverts seek out high social stimulation to feel energized. (I scored 93% introverted. I’m not surprised. I’m basically a human cat.)

Sensing (as opposed to intuitive): This category describes how you tend to use information. ‘Sensers’ prefer details to the big picture, and think more about the present than planning for the future.

Feeling (as opposed to thinking): This category describes how you tend to make decisions about your actions. ‘Feeling’ people often give more weight to emotions and social implications than to cold, hard logic when deciding what to do.

Perception (as opposed to judgment): This category describes how you like to make decisions about the world. ‘Perceivers’ tend to withhold judgements, keeping options open and leaving room for understandings to evolve, while ‘judgers’ like to have things figured out.

I’ve found that this makes a neat framework that includes both my scientific and artistic tendencies. I love biological facts, but math is really too abstract to capture my interest. I am drawn to the ‘big picture’ of ecosystems, because that is very practical, but otherwise, I tend to be more interested in the details. At the same time, I experience sensory information very intensely and bring that into my very active internal world. I have a creative desire to express the way I process the world, and to celebrate how amazing (or painful) that experience is.

Obviously we’re much more dynamic than the results of a test, but if it’s a good test, the results can be fun and a good entry way into thinking about patterns you might be aware of but not fully able to articulate.

I’d love to hear about any insights you’ve gained from such a test!

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