Our personalities make us who we are.
“Personality is easy to read, and we’re all experts at it. We judge people [as] funny, extroverted, energetic, optimistic, confident—as well as overly serious, lazy, negative, and shy—if not upon first meeting them, then shortly thereafter. And though we may need more than one interaction to confirm the presence of these sorts of traits, by the time we decide they are, in fact, present we’ve usually amassed enough data to justify our conclusions. Character, on the other hand, takes far longer to puzzle out. It includes traits that reveal themselves only in specific—and often uncommon—circumstances, traits like honesty, virtue, and kindliness.” (Lickerman, 2011)
Everyone has five main personality traits, which is abbreviated into OCEAN. It stands for the following:
Openness – refers to how favorably a person views new ideas and change.
Conscientiousness – concludes whether someone is detail-oriented or sees the bigger picture.
Extroversion – refers to how people get their energy from – other people or alone.
Agreeableness – considers how driven people are to be liked by others.
Neuroticism – measures how emotionally stable someone is.
According to this article, there are many ways to measure personality.
But in 1970, two research teams discovered that most human character traits can be described using five dimensions (OCEANS).
Here is an in-depth analysis of the Big Five:
This trait refers to how you use your imagination and insight. If you score high in this trait, you tend to have a broad range of interests because of your curiosity. You are eager to learn new things and enjoy new experiences.
Scoring high means you are more adventurous and creative while scoring low means you are more traditional and may struggle with abstract thinking.
- You are very creative
- You are open to trying new things
- You focus on tackling new challenges
- You are happy to think about abstract concepts
- You dislike change
- You do not enjoy new things
- You are resistant to new ideas
- You are not that imaginative
- You dislike abstract or theoretical concepts
Being conscientious means you are thoughtful and have good impulse control. Your behavior is directed by your goals in life and if you score high in this trait, you tend to be organized and mindful of details. You also plan ahead, think about how your behavior can affect others and are mindful of deadlines.
- You spend time preparing
- You finish important tasks right away
- You are detail-oriented
- You enjoy having a set schedule
- You dislike structure and schedules
- You make a mess and don’t take care of things
- You fail to return things or put them back where they belong
- You procrastinate
- You fail to complete necessary or assigned tasks
Extroversion is characterized by an excitable sociable, talkative, assertive, and expressive behavior. People who are high in extroversion always find themselves surrounded with a lot of people because they tend to gain energy in social situations. When they are around other people, it makes them energized and excited.
If you score low in extroversion, you are introvert. You are more reserved and have to expend energy in social settings. You feel social events are draining your energy and require a period of solitude and quiet in order to “recharge.”
- You enjoy being the center of attention
- You like to start conversations
- You enjoy meeting new people
- You have a wide social circle of friends and acquaintances
- You are friendly and easily makes friends
- You feel energized when around other people
- You say things before thinking about them
- You prefer to be alone
- You feel exhausted when you socialize with a lot of people
- You find it difficult to start conversations
- You dislike making small talk
- You think before you speak
- You don’t like to be the center of attention
Being agreeable means you are trustful, kind, and affectionate. If you score high in agreeableness, you are more cooperative. However, if you score low for this trait, you tend to be more competitive and sometimes even manipulative.
- You are interested in other people
- You care about others
- You are empathetic and concerned with other people
- You enjoy helping other people
- You want others to be happy
- You assist people who are in need of help
- You take little interest in others
- You don’t care about how other people feel
- You have little interest in other people’s problems
- You insult and belittle others
- You manipulate people to get what you want
Neuroticism refers to sadness, moodiness, and emotional instability. If you score high in this trait, you tend to experience mood swings, anxiety, irritability, and sadness. However, those who have low scores in this trait are more stable and emotionally resilient.
- You experience a lot of stress
- You worry a lot about many different things
- You get upset easily
- You experience dramatic shifts in mood
- You are anxious
- You struggle to bounce back after stressful events
- You are emotionally stable
- You deal well with stress
- You seldom feel sad or depressed
- You don’t worry much
- You are very relaxed
The Big Five personality test helps clarify the behaviors that are more conducive to a person’s well-being. This means that openness, agreeableness, and conscientiousness are the foundation of a positive behavior.
“those whose personality tendencies tend toward empathy, cooperation, trust, and modesty (Costa & Widiger, 2002) are found to be more intrinsically motivated and find enjoyment through efforts they exert in the completion of tasks or in problem-solving. Possessing a proclivity toward mastery-approach orientation, these individuals will not shy away from challenging situations, and their desire to tackle challenges is greater than their fear of appearing unknowledgeable in front of others. In other words, they approach challenges with the full intent of mastering them.” (Watson, 2012)
However, the opposite of being open-minded, calm, conscientious and agreeable characteristics are those what we call “negative traits.” They are described by judgment, neuroticism, and an external locus of control. Some of the negative personality traits are the following:
1. They are selfish and self-centered
A selfish and self-centered person only cares about himself. Not only that, they drag other people down with them too.
If you meet someone like this, keep in mind that it is not your job to fix them. Avoid them at all costs and focus on your own happiness.
2. They consider themselves to be blameless
People with this negative trait always think they are right. They don’t admit their mistakes and what’s worse, they blame others for their faults. At the very least, they don’t shut up until you agree that they’re right.
3. They are rude
Negative people are rude especially to people they think are beneath their status. An example is that delivery guy or that waiter. Observe your companion’s behavior because if they are rude to those people, then probably they are not nice at all.
4. They are pessimistic
A pessimistic person drowns other people’s happiness. There is a negative and heavy energy around them that even the happiest person can be affected. Their behavior shows that they can’t be happy even if positive things are happening for them – they always find a way to be gloomy.
5. They don’t know how to appreciate
Because negative traits are “negative”, these people don’t know how to give positive comments. When you tell them how much you appreciate another person, they always say “yeah, but….” and will tell you what they don’t like about that person. They find the negative in everyone so you are better off without them.
6. They can’t forgive
These people hold grudges until forever. What’s worse, they will blame others about their circumstance even if it happened because of their own doing.
People who have high scores on neuroticism display narcism, distance from people, anger, hostility, inflexibility, and inflated egos. Most of the time, they tend to display the 6 mentioned behaviors above. However, one key differentiator to such negative traits according to a study is discipline:
“The more conscientious or prudent people are–no matter their other characteristics–the less likely they’ll be drawn toward harmful or illegal activities.” (Chamorro-Premuzic, 2016)
Therefore, by increasing one’s conscientiousness and self-control, people can spot their negative behaviors. They can then adopt habits to help balance out their negative personality traits which will help them thrive in our ever-changing society.
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