Does your personality change over time?

"How am I not myself?"- I Heart Huckabees

Hey LP's,

When we first dug into personality types a few months back, the question was posed: "Does your personality change over time?" 

While I had my opinions, I didn't have enough evidence to give a straight answer. But, today I came across an MBTI Essay I wrote in 2007 for my ISP250 class at DePaul University that sheds some new light on this query.

Read on to see my conflicting test results, internal conflict,teacher comments in ((italics)), final grade. 

Big thanks to my teacher, Ed Childs, who continues to guide DePaul students in their careers pursuits, and who opened my eyes to this world of human behavior and personality studies almost a decade ago.

MBTI Essay - December 2007
by: Martin McGovern

During the MBTI Workshop on December 5th, we began by writing our name with the opposite hand that we are used to.  For me, this was my left hand.  Doing this exercise was tedious, hard, and had the poor end result of a difficult to read signature.  This exercise mimics life in the sense that everyone has certain things about themselves that are comfortable, or that come naturally to them. ((That is right…a lot of students mention the exercise as some students learn best by “doing”.))  It takes little effort to do them well and when effort is applied they can excel.  When writing with your odd hand, you are working outside of your comfort zone and things are more difficult, take longer, and the finished project may not be very good.  However, the MBTI test was developed to help people find out what it is that comes naturally to them.  It helps people find their strengths and their weaknesses and figure out what path might be best for the individual. ((Nice introduction.))

            The categories include: Focus, Info, Decision, and Tasks.  Each is broken up into two subcategories, and this is where your MBTI analysis is formed.  At the end of the first round of testing my MBTI was ISTJ.  This type is best at “Doing what should be done”.  They focus inwardly, are objective, organized, and tend to excel at school and work.  To them the “idle mind is the devils playground”, and everything is set to a schedule. ((Yep!)) This type highly describes my behavior for a large majority of my life.  As a child, I was highly organized, conforming, and diligent.  I was extremely introverted in my thoughts, but I acted like an extrovert in public situations.

            I agree with the description of the ISTJ’s relationships.  How actions, in their minds, speak louder than words, and how in previous relationships I have noticed that my not saying the words often enough had come up.  I disagree with the job assignments that the readings speak of, saying that ISTJ people tend to be accountants, lawyers, or surgeons.  I fit many of the characteristics of this group, but I am also wildly creative, and plan to go into advertising, where things are not set in stone.  ((Interesting…try reading over the INTJ description and let me know what you think. Another possibility is that the Strong Interest Inventory would pick up your INTERESTS in the arts, while the MBTI explains how you like to work on artistic teams.))

One thing that struck me in particular however, is the paragraph about the later years of some ISTJs.  How many of them become bizarre and strange, giving in to the spontaneous parts of their personalities.  Taking this into account, I would say that this category fits me extremely well, because I am referred to as quite bazaar and strange. 

            In the second test, I came out as an ENTJ, however, I feel that it is much more of an argumentative and egocentric type of a personality than what I am, and does not suit me.  I feel that the ISTJ is the most accurate description of me. ((Again, this interests me. INTJ might be the happy medium…give it a read an let me know what you think.))

            This information, I feel, will be highly influential on my personal outlook in the future.  For most of my life I felt that I was an extrovert because of my actions, however, this is not true, I am a highly introverted person, spending most of my time in my head.  These writings and tests have exposed me to ideas that I knew about myself but had not fully realized.  Certain personality aspects that I had thought of as quirks could be used to my advantage in the business world. ((This is true.)) I have always been a highly organized individual with the arrangement of items in my home and sorting of papers, but I can also use those organizational skills to develop theses, form memos, and construct policies in the working world. ((My intuition keeps telling me “read INTJ.”)) I can team up my introverted nature with my extroverted abilities and get my voice not only heard during meetings, but understood as well.

            It seems that since I have started college I have been almost trying to fight these natural tendencies that I have, whether it is because of exhaustion or just pure laziness.  Because of this my grades have begun to slip a little, and I have a constant feeling of unease because of the disorder around me.  I could use my organizational abilities to manage my time better and schedule my relaxation so that I no longer fall behind deadlines.

            I most of all want to remember the paragraph about acting out in bazaar and unusual ways.  Sure, most of my life I have conformed and done what was expected, however there has always been a part of me that was just a little strange((It could be the case…but, the INTJ character tends to be that way in general, but in their heads.))  I followed the rules, but I would always put a person twist to them. ((See, this is less ISTJ behavior and more INTJ.)) I have to remember this when I enter the workplace.  I can do the projects efficiently and accurately, but I should never forget to add my own twist, especially because I am going into advertising.  On the 15th, I will be doing a publicity stunt for the movie Alien vs Predator R, I can use my eccentricities to liven up the act and gain people’s attention.  I have to keep my mind open and make my mark.  Become noticed both now in the small scale, and later on when I reach a higher-level position.

((Interesting, interesting, interesting!
 The summation of the workshop was fairly thorough and you provided “your own twist” quite often, including perspective. More importantly, though, is the way you analyzed how this will play out in your current and future roles. I hope you take a look at my suggestion to read over the INTJ. Based on several comments you made, it makes me think this might be more your preference. Regardless, I think you understand how this information can benefit you down the road. 14 out of 15))


Flash-forward now to 2015, I've talked about re-testing as an ENTJ. A result consistent with previous tests, but the introvert/extrovert conflict still continues today. 

How about you...
Is there an aspect of your personality that you feel has changed or evolved over time? 
Introvert to Extrovert. Indecisive to Decisive, other...

Respond to this email with your thoughts or questions. I read every one and use the info for future topics.

Thanks for reading :)

Martin McGovern