One of the most important phases of self-development is self-understanding. I consider self-understanding the first of the three major phases of self-development.
These three phases are generalizations, not specific phases that you will find outlined in any psychology book. I have outlined these three phases in an article here.
One tremendous approach to self-understanding is personality testing. When you take a personality test, you are given a type that describes a certain set of characteristics you possess.
Although the types may have no permanent basis, especially since we are always changing, they are fantastic tools for understanding ourselves, our relationships to others, and our roles in society.
Here are the two major tests:
1. Myers Briggs
The Myers Briggs test organizes personalities of people into 16 categories of a combinations of traits, including introverted and extroverted, sensing and intuitive, thinking and feeling, and judging and perceiving. Each personality has a different way of dealing with energy, information, decisions, and organization.
Whereas introverts get their energy from being alone, extroverts get their energy from being with other people. Whereas thinkers are logical and analytical, valuing clarity, feelers are personal and empathetic, valuing harmony. Whereas intuitors focus on the big picture, connections, and possibilities, sensors focus on concrete facts, details, and reality. And whereas judgers prefer rules, deadlines, and structure, perceivers prefer spontaneity, flexibility, and improvisation.
The Enneagram test organizes people into 9 types, which are the Reformer, the Helper, the Achiever, the Individualist, the Investigator, the Loyalist, the Enthusiast, the Challenger, and the Peacemaker. What distinguishes each type is a particular set of characteristics that includes their ego fixation, their holy idea, their basic fear, their basic desire, their temptation, their vice, and their virtue.
The goal of participation in the Enneagram test is also to gain insight into how to become a more whole person. Whereas each type has a particular strength, it also has a particular fixation and defense mechanism. Only by integrating the strengths of one of the opposite types can a particular type achieve a balanced life.