Unless you live under a rock – one not equipped with satellite internet – you’ve probably stumbled upon a veritable potpourri of assessments, quizzes, and tests. My social media streams are absolutely polluted with them; trying to purge your feed of their appearance is as productive as attempting to cure Rapunzel of head lice – no matter what you pick, spray, smother, block, and hide, MORE JUST KEEP HATCHING.
Most of these are “entertainment only” (read: meaningless time suck) and have become a bit of an invasive species, subject to a quick “share” and “forward.” (Even on LinkedIn. Come ON, people, that’s the ONE corner of the internet that should be a save haven from “Which Kardashian Is Your Style Icon?”)
But others are actually somewhat – and surprisingly – insightful.
1. The Glorified Horoscope. These are the zebra mussels of the internet. Once your social media stream gets infected, you either have to burn all the boats and set fire to the ocean, or just try to wait for it all to eventually, slowly die off.
You’ve probably experienced this: one of your Facebook friends takes a quiz, and “shares” the results, inviting you to take the quiz, too. By day’s end, roughly 42% of your friends have shared THEIR results, and the thing spreads like a bad stomach bug, barfing all over your NPR newsfeed and obscuring the new pictures of Pluto. Just when you think it’s petered out for good, your mother’s results pop up on your feed, and then all of HER friends get in on the game. Sigh.
These quizzes claim, in a matter of minutes, to offer you valuable insight and self-awareness as to
<insert mystical music and cloud of patchouli>
~WHO YOU REALLY ARE~
Yes, it’s true – in moments, you can find out which character from Friends you are – AND which one you should date, or what your taste in seashells, color patterns, or flowers indicates about what’s really going on inside your noggin.
We all know that these are nonsense, right?
Well, apparently, Monica was spot-on marrying Chandler, and lily lovers are wickedly independent and have killer shoe collections. I mean, HELLO! <ring ring> Validation calling!
(Okay. I took a few. Don’t judge. You know YOU wanted to.) <runs to the interwebz to find out the correlation between Shredded Wheat and my penchant for backpacks>
The beauty of these things is that they’re as substantive as cotton candy, and the descriptions are written in such a way that a good hunk of them can pretty much apply to anyone. Like daily horoscopes and fortune cookies, they’re closer to “one size fits all” than any piece of clothing can ever claim to be.
2. I’m psychic and/or magical. There are some other “quizzes” that claim to
<cue filmy scarves and hammered dulcimer tones>
~READ YOUR MIND~
Here’s one example: Pick Pocket Money Trick. Use this on your friends and you can MAGICALLY guess how old they are AND how much change they have in their pockets!
MAGIC. I’m sure Ellen’s people will TOTALLY be begging you to be on her Tuesday show. <eyeroll>
People – this isn’t “neat” or “clever.” IT’S MATH. If Common Core focused on teaching THIS kind of logic, maybe we’d be raising a society of rational human beings instead of a plethora of entitled, egocentric, everyone-gets-a-trophy, forever-on-Mom’s-insurance-and-cell-phone-plan progeny.
But I digress. Because I’m a geek (see Shredded Wheat, above) I actually convert these things into algebraic equations FOR FUN.
So here we go. Let’s say I’m 29 (SHUT IT) and that I have 76 cents in my pocket.
- Age (A) = 29
- Coins (C) = 76
We also know that the answer is a four-digit number – so “the first two digits” means your age times 100 – this pushes your age into the thousands and hundreds column, and will leave the last two digits (the tens and the ones) for coinage. Our formula looks like this:
((2A+5)*50)-365+C+115 = 100A+C
Let’s solve the parenthetical expression on the left:
100A + 250 – 365 + C + 115 = 100A + C
Now let’s math out the numbers that don’t have A or C on them – 250-365+115. Guess what that equals? ZERO.
100A + C + 0 = 100A + C
See? Wasn’t that fun?
Side note: I was a math major for a whopping three days. Still got it. <strut strut>
If the above was complete gibberish to you – well, you probably have other talents. Like maybe you can parallel park, or get past level 452 in Candy Crush. Or maybe you’re just really pretty. 🙂
3. Insightful Personality Assessments. If the above just isn’t doing it for you, there really are some fairly useful tools out there on the Interwebs to help you learn more about yourself. I swear I’m not feeding you some HR brainwashed psychobabble here – these can be extremely helpful to your own spiritual (and career) development IF you are open and receptive to understanding:
- more about yourself and how you respond and react to others. (Good AND bad) AND
- how your <ahem> unique quirks and foibles are perceived by others, AND
- how others react to YOU, and modifying your approach in the spirit of furthering communication.
In other words, everyone’s different – and different is OK. Coexist and all that.
Most HR folks – or employees occasionally subjected to HR folks outside of annual benefits enrollment – have probably taken some form of Myers-Briggs-based assessment as part of “professional/career development.” If you haven’t gotten your “letters” (i.e. ENTJ, INFP, etc.) yet, you can take a simplified version of this test at 16personalities.com.
Although I don’t love this methodology (because in one session, I (deservedly) was given the nickname “Steamroller,”) I took a whack at it. It’s highly subjective, of course – but interesting all the same.
What am I? The Debater. What I found the most interesting (read: accurate):
ZOMG I DO THIS TO THE HUBS ALL.THE.TIME.
I also learned:
- I rip apart arguments JUST FOR FUN (see algebra above…yeah.)
- Arguing both sides helps me understand them better. But I more do it because it amuses me.
- I sometimes hurt people’s pwecious widdle peewings….and I don’t really care. (And this can damage relationships. Uh. Duh.)
- I’m not a huge fan of conformity or grunt work. (Really – are there people who live to file?)
To be fair, this wasn’t really earth-shattering. I’m pretty self-aware – flaws, pits, and all. But it feels somewhat…I dunno, validating? to see that I’m not a walking freak show.
(THERE ARE OTHERS. BE VERY AFRAID.)
Chris from Surviving the Specter got me thinking about these assessments the other day. His blog led me to The Enneagram Institute, where you can take the RHETI (Riso-Hudson Test.) If you only take one quiz on this page, TAKE THIS ONE. It’s quick, free, and pretty thorough for the price!
What I like about this: There’s TONS of detail in the explanation/description of your “type.” Also, if your scores are close, there’s an entire section on “misidentifiers” – so you can see if #2 or #3 really fits you better. I had one score just barely above three others, which were tied – and reading the misidentifiers helped validate my label. (This seems to be my lot in life….I guess it comes from my need to argue every side of things, being The Debater and all.)
* I have a basic fear of being trapped, and need to sustain some freedom. Interestingly, when I was a baby, I HATED my playpen. Mom would plop me in there and I’d scream and cry like I was being stabbed. But, interestingly…if she left me in the room with the playpen, with the side DOWN so I could get in and out by myself, I’d happily crawl in and sit in there and play ALL DAY. Hmm. No metaphor THERE. </sarcasm>
* I’m not terribly intellectual, but my brain moves really fast. (Again, no huge enlightenment there – I’m reading Cosmo, not Tolstoy.) Often, it won’t shut off.
* When I’m stressed, I become critical and perfectionist-ish. <picks up megaphone> Cue the eating disorder!
* I have chutzpah. THE SITE SAID SO. And “chutzpah” is one of my favorite words on the planet. Coincidence? I THINK NOT.
I know these tests are oversimplified. I know it’s silly – bordering on ridiculous, really – to think that all of planet Earth could be categorized into eight or sixteen or even 1600 “types.”
Rather than comparing yourself to a fictional character or a zoo animal, have a look in the mirror.
Study what you see.
Get to know YOU.
Warts and waterfalls, flowers and flaws. All of it.
Be fabulous, just the way you were imperfectly, wonderfully made.
I mean it. Or I will totally find you some more algebra to do. I HAVE MATH AND I KNOW HOW TO USE IT. Heh.