The importance of understanding yourself

A key aspect of personal development is an understanding of yourself – your strengths, your weaknesses, your personality, and your style of accomplishing things. Aside from a good amount of self reflection, there are tools – usually in the form of ‘tests’ – that can help you gain this understanding.

Some such tests are purely for fun. For example:

But there are also more serious tools, such as the various personality type indicators (Myers Briggs, Keirsey, etc). (Most days, I seem to be an INTP.) Dennis Kennedy and Jack Vinson both point to another of these useful tools, the Innovation Style Profiler, at Innovation Styles. As the title suggests, the profiler will give you insight into your innovation style, of which there are four main types:

  • Visioning: to visualize the ideal future
  • Modifying: to build on and optimize what has come before
  • Exploring: to discover new perspectives, assumptions, and territory
  • Experimenting: to combine and test many novel combinations

I had put together some thoughts on these tools, but Jack beat me to it. Here’s what he had to say (emphasis is mine):

The explanations of each style they provide are both informative and entertaining. As with the various personality style tests (MTBI, Kiersey, and many others), the purpose of these styles is to help people understand how they approach innovation (not how innovative they are). And if taken in a group setting can help members of the group see how they approach things differently. The thinking here is that the better we know ourselves and those around us, the better we can work together – in this case for the purposes of innovative thinking.

For a counterpoint to the value of these types of indicators, you may want to check out the Skeptic’s Dictionary entry on the Myers Briggs Type Indicator. (Thanks to Dave Snowden for the link.)

In case you’re interested I am a Visioning/Exploring type of innovator.