Who are you – really?
If you want to find purpose and meaning in life the first thing you need to do is to understand who you are. What exactly is your makeup? What are your skills and your personality?
Try a Personality Test.
To discover your personality type, first find a free personality test online. Something like 16personalities.com should work. Their test gives you a Myer Briggs type category for who you are. Myer Briggs is based on a theory by Carl Jung, who according to Wikipedia suggested “there are four principal psychological functions by which we experience the world – sensation, intuition, feeling, and thinking – and that one of these four functions is dominant for a person most of the time. The MBTI was constructed for normal populations and emphasizes the value of naturally occurring differences. The underlying assumption of the MBTI is that we all have specific preferences in the way we construe our experiences, and these preferences underlie our interests, needs, values, and motivation.” In other words there are four type of personal preferences that work together to give a 16 category measurement. So you end up with a four letter code to describe who you are. The code looks like this – ESTJ. Each of the letters describes a particular personality trait and represents a position on a scale on which you exist.
The first letter is either E or I. An E means I’m an extravert, an I means an introvert. MBTI says everybody is somewhere on the scale between extrovert and introvert. I happen to be on the extrovert end of the scale which probably explains why I write so much stuff. Although you probably already understand what an extrovert or introvert is, the Myer Briggs category is a little more specific in it’s meaning. So you need to research whatever you are to understand what it means.
The second letter will be either an S or N. This is a scale between S stands for sensing and N for intuitive. Again we all sit somewhere on that scale and our result represents the method by which we receive information. Sensing means that a person focuses on information they receive coming directly from the external world whereas an Intuitive person prefers information from the internal or imaginative world.
The third letter is T or F. The T is thinking, the F for feeling. Thinking in this context means a person makes a decision mainly through logic. Feeling means that, they tend to make decisions based on what they feel they should do.
The fourth letter will be a P or a J. The P stands for Perceptive and the J for Judging. This reflects how we implement the information we’ve processed. Judging means that a person organizes all of his life. Perceiving means they are inclined to improvise and explore alternative options.
Find out what it means!
These letters don’t make much sense by themselves and there are lots of variations within each category. So after completing the test, you should read all about your particular type. It should be obvious for example, that a person who has an extraverted personality will find social contact much more important than someone who is introverted. So in retirement the type and amount of social interaction you need will depend significantly on your personality type.
Each of the other results will also point to different ways of looking at the world – whether your thinking or feelings will drive you, whether you see things around you or just sense them and just how organised you like to be. Wikipedia is a good place to look to find when each of the category definitions mean but Google should show you many more.
Books can be helpful.
I have a book called “Do what you are” which takes each of the 16 categories that are described by the test and applies them to the real world. It has chapters for each personality type and observations on for example – how different type personality type will face the world. Although the book is career oriented it also helps you discover which things bring satisfaction to you in your retirement. This is a great place to start in discovering who you are and you can buy one second hand on Amazon for around $2 plus postage.
A Better Test.
You also need to know the proper test (the Myer Briggs licensed one, not the free online version) gives a gradation between each type. This is helpful because few people are extreme extroverts or introverts or sensors or intuitive etc. The licensed one uses many more questions to help establish the correctness of the test as well so it will take more time. Unfortunately, if you want to get a more accurate assessment, you will have to pay for it.
So step one is find your personality type. That will help you understand the things that drive you and help you choose the things you should be involved in during the active period of your retirement. It will also help you understand who you really are. Keep coming back to RetiredBlokescom to find step two in our “who are you” process. In the meanwhile do a test and see what you can learn about yourself.