Crowd of Lego People

What does a personality profile tell you?

People are all unique. Yet we share similar traits and characteristics. So can we group people by these traits into groups? Personality profiles attempt to do just that, using frameworks to group together individuals with similar characteristics.

Personality profiling gets a mixed reaction. One camp loves the idea, and finds it helps them understand others. In particular it helps them relate to their polar opposites, or at least understand them. The other camp feel it’s not possible to fit the complexity of human behaviour into boxes, and strongly oppose incorrectly squashing people into a box to be labelled. So how do you feel about personality profiles?

I personally think they are great, as they break the human complexity down. I have no problem understanding people like me. But when people get further removed, I need help to understand. I do agree they remove the nuances of personality. People are always going to be people. And people are complex. Moreover a profile will never fully describe someone, but it will help get me get along better with you at work.

Most of us will have come across the Myers-Briggs personality profiles, which seem to be the google of personality profiles nowadays. But do you know there are many more models? Many people have come up with ideas for these groups or segments. Additionally lots of lovely people have made tests for these readily available on the internet for free. So I’m going to dive in, answer the questions honestly, and see if I get what I expected.


The grandmother of personality profiles is Myers-Briggs. (Did you know they were mother and daughter?) It’s used a lot in corporations in my experience, and most professionals can tell you their type. Myers Briggs profiles you in four attributes, each denoted by a letter. These are:

  • Extraverted or Introverted
  • Sensing or iNtuiting
  • Thinking or Feeling
  • Judging or Perceiving

I always test as an ENTJ, I retest occasionally and always come out ENTJ [although my E isn’t a hardcore E, it’s E-lite]. ENTJ’s are a minority of the population and some memorable ENTJ’s are Margaret Thatcher and Steve Jobs. Commonly referred to as The Commander or The Field Marshall. We are described as:

ENTJ’s are …. Frank, decisive, assume leadership readily. Quickly see illogical and inefficient procedures and policies, develop and implement comprehensive systems to solve organizational problems. Enjoy long-term planning and goal setting. Usually well informed, well read, enjoy expanding their knowledge and passing it on to others. Forceful in presenting their ideas.

So how does that describe me? You know, it’s not that far off the mark, especially in a work related situation. It helped me get into the six figure club. And explains my investing system. From the brief descriptions above, you could be describing me. Although I don’t think I am that forceful, but I guess it depends on who I am being compared against.

Take the Myers Briggs test.


The Hexaco framework divides a human into six personality traits below, plus the extra Altruism.

  • Honesty-Humility
  • Emotionality
  • eXtraversion
  • Agreeableness (versus Anger)
  • Conscientiousness
  • Openness to Experience

The results aren’t as easy to distill, hence here they are in condensed table format.

CharacteristicMy ScoreMedianMiddle 80%
Agreeableness2.8832.22 - 3.72
Altruism3.753.883.00 - 4.63
Conscientiousness3.943.472.72 - 4.16
Emotionality1.633.342.63 - 3.97
eXtraversion3.53.52.72 - 4.22
Honesty-Humility3.943.222.41 - 3.97
Openness to Experience4.563.312.50 - 4.13
Ms ZiYou's Hexaco Results

What can I read into these? I’m an outlier on openness and emotionality. Then I rank higher on conscientiousness and honesty-humility and average for the rest. Which gels with my understanding. The one I was most surprised with was openness. I know I love new things, but I hadn’t realised the rest of the world really doesn’t. And I always rank low of on these sort of quizzes for the emotional question. So again, not surprised I am low, but the distribution looks tight like everyone else is really near the median. So clearly I am in robot territory here. Is that why I am single?

Take the Hexaco test.


The DISC personality framework divides your personality up into four segments.

  • Dominance -Describes the way you deal with problems, assert yourself and control situations.
  • Influence – Describes the way you deal with people, the way you communicate and relate to others.
  • Steadiness – Describes your temperament – patience, persistence, and thoughtfulness
  • Compliance – Describes how you approach and organize your activity, procedures and responsibilities.

My results are shown here:

You are responsive to challenges in a practical, realistic and enthusiastic manner. You are a fact orientated person capable of providing help based on solid information. You are assertive, self-sufficient and individualistic. People are likely to perceive you as being rational and creative at the same time.

Ms ZiYou DISc

So, this pie chart is scary. Am I really that dominant? However my rebellious side is laughing at the tiny compliance slice there. So DISC thinks I am a domineering non-conformist.

Take the DISC Test.

OCEAN or Big Five Test

This profile goes for a segmentation of five characteristics.

  • Openness to experience (inventive/curious vs. consistent/cautious)
  • Conscientiousness (efficient/organized vs. easy-going/careless)
  • Extraversion (outgoing/energetic vs. solitary/reserved)
  • Agreeableness (friendly/compassionate vs. challenging/detached)
  • Natural Reactions (sensitive/nervous vs. secure/confident)

My results show:

Ms Zi You OCEAN results

So another set of results indicating I am a very open minded robot…..I’m nothing if not consistent here? And links to my curiosity for new things, e.g. in my podcast choices.

Take the OCEAN test.

Visual DNA (Based on OCEAN)

OK, I added this one as the others are all text based, based on statements. Would I get different results on a visual quiz? I took the test to find out, results here.

Ms ZiYou Visual DNA results

So yes, that’s quite a different set of results, and pictorially I seem to score lower across the board. I also get a much more chilled result, The Stargazer. Compared to The Commander, it seems a world apart. But I’m more interested in what it tells me. Do I interpret words differently to pictures? I’m softer in picture format?

Take the Visual DNA test.

Gretchen Ruben’s Four Tendencies

Gretchen’s book on happiness really resonated with me, and I like how her framework is more simple, and focuses on what drives someone to do things. What motivates an individual?

I’m a questioner…

Questioners question all expectations; they’ll meet an expectation if they think it makes sense essentially, they make all expectations into inner expectations

This ties in with my rebellious nature. I clearly only support things I believe in.

Take Gretchen’s Four Tendencies Test.

Test Colour

Now I’m stretching the boundaries. Can colour preferences be used to determine your personality? Some people certainly think so, and they have an online test where you can test yourself and be scored.

My results come back as:

Finely you are a manager and a leader, and you know how to organize groups of people and how to give them your energy.
You are attuned to others and you show a good emotional intelligence, which allow you to give support to people.
You are intellectual and intelligent, you wonder and you inquire before taking any action and setting your values.


Ms ZiYou Test Color Results

Firstly I’m not sure how to read the poor English. I immediately try to work out the reason – is this one of many results paragraphs you can get? Am I so unique they didn’t both proofreading this one? And if their grammar is shoddy, is the psychology as well? Have to say I’m not convinced that colours can really determine personality.

Take the TestColor test.

In summary

collection of people

To conclude, I’m a fan. Personally I find tools like this invaluable in helping me understand myself and how others see me. I profile my colleagues to understand things we can easily collaborate on and any possible clashes. We all tend to anchor personalities based on our own norms. Especially if you work with high achieving people that are similar, you can forget that you are in a bubble and the rest of the world does not share or value those characteristics.

To sum up my big learnings are:

  • I live in a liberal elite bubble
  • I tend to associate with high performers
  • Hence things that I think are normal, are not normal
  • Personally I can come across as too domineering and take over-y
  • And too unemotional (I identify with the Hillary problem)
  • Nobody can agree if I am an Introvert or an Extrovert…meaning I’m probably an Ambivert.

Over to you

  • Are you a fan of these frameworks?
  • Have you done the tests? What do you test as?
  • Have you got your team to do the tests at work? Your family?

26 comments on “What does a personality profile tell you?

  1. I’m a big fan of personality testing. I think it can be really informative, but also think it should be taken with a grain of salt. Ultimately it’s just a tool to be used to gain insight, but has its limitations.

    One aspect of a person that personality testing doesn’t seem to capture is how people think, the process they use to reach the conclusions they reach. I’ve worked with a lot of people who have a dramatically different personality from mine, but we tend to think the same way, which makes it easier to get along with them. The N & S in the Myers-Briggs is the closest I’ve found to capturing this part of the human condition, but it only seems to measure one small part of how we conceptualize the world, not necessarily how we reach conclusions. The T & S adds another nuance, but that tends to be more informative in relationships than in framing beliefs.

    Interesting post. Love the art work at the top. INTP for the record, with a really strong I & T.

    1. Yeah, the lego people are really cool….they have come a long way from when I was a kid! I used to love lego.

      It’s interesting isn’t it what we can tell from the types, and as you say what is missing. How people think and even to be as bold as to ask why people they think a certain way would be a fascinating insight….but I guess way to complicated for a layperson like me to consider!

  2. I only tried the Myers-Briggs test. I’m INTJ. Those other tests sound interesting. I’ll check them out.
    I find that I’m more opinionated now that I’m early retired. Previously, I pick a lot of the middle of the road answers.
    At my old job, we did the Strength Finder book. It was pretty cool, but I forgot what my strengths are. Probably changed by now anyway.
    Bottom line, these tests are interesting if you have to work with other people. For me, they don’t really matter that much anymore. I’ll try some of those other ones, though. The visual one sounds cool.

    1. Oh man, the visual one took forever to do. I’m very polarized. Interesting!
      21% openness
      18% conscientious
      5% extraversion
      73% agreeableness
      46% neuroticism

    2. I think INTJ’s are very common in the FIRE world, something about the facts based rationality and long term planning. I think I have that Strengths finder book somewhere, was it the one that basically says ignore your weak points, make your strengths amazing?

      I’d agree the main benefit of them is understanding other people, especially those you have no choice but to work with!

  3. I’ve taken the Myers-Briggs test a few times (did not know they were mother and daughter!) and I’m a common corporate type, which is ESTJ – “Strong believers in the rule of law and authority that must be earned, ESTJ personalities lead by example, demonstrating dedication and purposeful honesty, and an utter rejection of laziness and cheating, especially in work” – that is me, described to a T and describes how I feel about the people I work with! However, like you, my E isn’t very strong, I’m probably in between, which some call an ‘ambivert’.

    Thanks for listing those other tests – I only managed to check out the DISC test so far and I came out just about strongest in Influence but with Dominance just a point behind.

    1. I love that ESTJ description, especially the utter rejection of laziness! And yes, the mother daughter thing comes up a lot, as people criticise them as “just housewives” in an incredible sexist way. I wouldn’t have pegged you as a strong corporate type, now I know better. And way to go on the influencing, you are a natural leader.

  4. Great article- spot on! I agree that personality profiles can tend to box us into different categories, but they do help us see the bigger picture in how we intereact with our environment (and other people). I haven’t taken the Myers-Briggs test in a while– the last time I took it (well over a decade ago), I came up as mainly an extravert. This time I came up as an introvert (INFJ-A). Very interesting, to say the least! I will have to give the other tests a try! Thanks for writing!

  5. Thanks for sharing, Ms ZiYou! I’m a big fan of the Myers Briggs tests and think it has helped me understand myself better. I always end up INTJ, which is the the architect personality on the site you recommended. I really didn’t realize that there are other personality tests. I’ll have to look in to these. Since I have not been able to meet another INTJ yet, I was honestly thinking of writing a post to see if there are any other INTJ bloggers out there. Thanks again for sharing!

  6. Another INTJ here, which is pretty rare among women (I think the same is true of ENTJs). I like the point you make about living in a bubble, because I’d be willing to bet that a huge number of my colleagues and grad school classmates (not to mention financial bloggers!) fall into these two categories. It’s important to remember when out and about in the world interacting with a different mix of personalities.

    1. Hi Frieda, thanks for reading. Welcome, good to see another INTJ here. I think the old birds of a feather comment is true; people really do flock to people like them. Especially work wise, particular personality types flock to roles that suit them and unless you are in a multi-disciplinary team, your coworkers may be very similar to you.

  7. I like personalities tests, I think you can gain a lot of insights when taken with a grain of salt. For me it has helped me at work with some coworkers who are very different. For Myers Briggs, I’m an INFP, but depending on the test I’ve gotten different results before because my values are all quite close to the middle. Have not heard of HEXACO, I’m going to go try it.

    1. Interesting. For HEXACO, I’m fairly close to the median for a lot of answers, the two outliers: I’m low score outlier for anxiety and high score outlier for liveliness. Also, I fear physical pain, I can hold a grudge, I am sentimental, inquisitive and open to unconventional views.

      1. Wow, you are so normal compared to me! Cool that Hexaco gave you a few outliers. And liveliness sounds an ace thing to be high at.

        And agree, taken with the grain of salt is the way to interpret the results.

  8. Hello, I just found your blog and it’s great to see a female blogger on FIRE.

    I love personality tests too, and I am always intrigued by them because most of FIRE people I meet are definitely E/I NTJ. Makes sense! It makes me the odd one out — I’m an INFP, which means my kind of people are emotional sensitive fragile bunnies (which I am) who consider money crass, and tend to go into professions such as art and writing. We also don’t really get along with Thinking type people, which is why I feel like a duck out of water in front office finance.

    But it just go to show we are not limited by our personality types, and that we can develop other strengths even if it is not natural to our innate personalities (for me, quantitative subjects and money).

    1. Hi, Violet welcome to the blog, it’s so great to see you here – thanks for reading.

      And yes, it does seem FIRE people do skew towards those profiles and we probably do need to make sure we are inclusive to others who bring different perspectives. And yes, I think you’ve hit the nail on the head with the feeling vs thinking, I think they are the most polar opposites who often struggle to understand each other.

      Totally agree we are not limited by our type, and people can develop strengths in other areas, and even move.

      Good luck on your journey Violet.

  9. Not sure about the rest, but DISC points out one’s default communications behavior. You can always choose differently.

    In my experience, high-D usually sees low-S complementing, not low-C. Unusual, and clearly effective for you.

What do you think?