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Reflecting on my PrinciplesYou results

I never quite bought into the idea of personality assessments.

I’ve tried Myers–Briggs (MBTI) multiple times, but never got consistent results. Nor was I able to apply the results to my life in a practical way.

And I feel people can interpret the questions differently when answering them. People may give different answers on a different day. How do you rigorously compare them?

Two things changed my mind. First, as I later found out, most assessments including Myers–Briggs are not based on empirical research. They’re disproved by psychologists and likely driven by monetary incentives. There are, in fact, assessments that are more scientifically sound.

Second, I did the PrinciplesYou assessment twice and it gave me almost the same results, even though the percentiles for certain dimensions (they call them traits and facets) are quite different.

Maybe my increased familiarity with Professor Adam Grant’s work also played a role. He explained how to use it:

The easiest way to learn from that reflection is to triangulate with other people. To go to the people you know you well, and ask them to assess you. And figure out if they’re seeing consistent patterns. If so, then you learned something. If not, what you might discover is you have different aspects of you that show up, in different roles, in different relationships. That’s information. It allows you to say which version of me that is effective in this situation and how do I show up in the best way that I want to contribute.

I encourage you to take it if you haven’t already. And spend time looking into each trait and facet. Below are my reflections. It’s a never-ending process, but I think this is a good start.


Note: Besides your report, it may be helpful to checkout Cheat Sheet about Strengths and Growth Areas by Trait.

How I think #

  • Creative: I’m moderate (have a moderate preference) on Original and Curious, but quite low on Non-Conforming.
    • Growth: Be aware when I resist change or new ideas; Be aware when I follow rules rather than create my own by trial and error.
  • Deliberate: I’m high on Logical, Systematic and Impartial. The other end is intuition and feeling.
    • Growth: Be careful of not being overly linear at thinking (I used to like “optimizing for a single goal” was an example). Know when it’s best to “go with gut” (remember research shows that people have damage in brain areas related to emotions cannot decide). Pay attention to signs when caught by “paralysis by analysis”.
  • Detailed and Reliable: I’m high on Detail-Oriented, but moderate or low on Organized and Dependable.
    • Growth: Whiling focusing on the trees, don’t lose the forest. Be aware of the tendency to micro-manage. It’s okay to be spontaneous, but don’t completely lose the structure. Be aware when only starting but not finishing projects (Oliver Burkeman: “limit work in progress”).
  • Conceptual: I’m high on Conceptual, like to think abstractly and philosophically to understand the deeper patterns and connections
    • Growth: Be aware when I’m being overly philosophical or theoretical; Understand that other people may be more concrete-oriented, so try not to easily lose interest in topics that aren’t deep and intriguing enough.
  • Practical: I’m very low or high on Practical. This trait or facet has the biggest difference, meaning I’m probably performing very differently in different situations. For example, I may be idealistic for my personal life, but practical for my professional life.
    • Growth: Try to strive balance between being practical and idealistic — prioritize pragmatism, but also see the value beyond utility; allocate time to think and ideate, but don’t delay doing and producing; not just think about the ideal future, but also focus on what’s immediately feasible.

How I engage with others #

  • Extraverted: I’m moderate on Gregarious (being with others, talking, socializing) and Engaging (being in social spotlight and entertaining others). I’m very high on Adventurous (exciting activities and experiences).
    • Growth: Be aware of impulsivity and the need for external stimulation. Be aware not to dominate or discourage contributions from others. Be cautious of risks that aren’t that optimistic. Share thinking through issues openly.
  • Tough: I’m moderate on Feisty (debate, argue and fight for your ideas and opinions). I’m low on Critical (critique others openly) and Direct (subtle and diplomatic rather than blunt).
    • Growth: Be aware of when conflict and disagreement are needed and not avoid them. Be comfortable holding others accountable if needed. Speak up when it’s important.
  • Nurturing: I’m moderate on Helpful, and high on Empathetic and Person-Oriented
    • Growth: Know when it’s better to put my own goals above others’ need and vice versa. Deal with conflicts when appropriate and necessary (even if others may be hurt).
  • Leadership: I’m moderate on Demanding, moderate-to-high on Taking Charge, and high on Inspiring.
    • Growth: Direct others to goals and objectives when appropriate. Take charge when needed, and know when to follow.
  • Humorous: I’m very low on Humorous
    • Growth: Be careful not to bring others down by being overly contemplative while others are being light. Don’t exhaust yourself and others by intensity. Approach life with a sense of lightheartedness and joy.

How I apply myself #

  • Composed: I’m low on Calm and Poised, moderate-to-low on Confident.
    • I feel more comfortable at low-stress environment. For example I like interviews that are async and based on actual work rather than like interrogations or exams. I don’t like being pressured or assume responsibility in a very stressful situations.
    • Strength: Anticipate problems that others might not yet perceive by reacting strongly to stresses. Doubt your own thinking (think again?) in appropriate ways.
    • Growth: Don’t get stuck in unproductive self-doubt. Don’t let emotions cloud your best judgment.
  • Autonomous: I’m low on Self-Accountable (believing personal success and failures is most often attributable to factors within one’s control). I’m very high on Independent and Internally Motivated
    • Growth: Understand that although luck plays a role, it’s also important to take actions and not just let things unfold. Seek guidance or directions when needed. Know how to work with others and not go your own way.
  • Flexible: I’m moderate on Agile (shift behavior to suit different circumstances), very high on Growth-Seeking. I’m low or high on Adaptable (it also has a big different between two tests).
    • Growth: Observe how I behave with change and ambiguity. Don’t be frustrated or uncomfortable when change arises.
  • Determined: this is probably the most mixed trait. I’m high to very low on Persistent (push through and not being distracted), moderate to high on Driven (set ambitious goals), moderate to low on Proactive (seize new opportunities and take actions to resolve issues). Also possibly due to the inconsistent between my personal life and professional one.
    • Growth: Understand what I can gain by focusing actively on my goals, while not having “tunnel vision” at the expense of other things in my life. Know when to persist and when to let go.
  • Humble: I’m very high on Receptive to Criticism and Open-Minded, and low on Modest
    • Growth: Avoid devoting too much energy to exploring perspectives rather than acting on my own perspectives. Be aware when I’m protecting my self-confidence, when I don’t acknowledge my limitations, or when I’m inclined to overate rather than understate my knowledge.
  • Energetic: I’m high to moderate on Energetic.
    • Growth: Know when to rest and relax. Be aware of what is “too much” for others to handle.
  • Status-Seeking: I’m very low to moderate on Status-Seeking.
    • Growth: Understand that there are benefits of being more attuned to pleasing others. Acknowledge or credit others as they may be different. Prioritize your own goals and avoid seeking too much external validation.
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