Episode #17: Personality 101: Understanding Others and Yourself Better

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Self-awareness is a key to self-mastery.
— Gretchen Rubin

You might be wondering: "How can understanding personality improve my life?"

If you want to improve yourself, you must first understand yourself. And that starts with becoming aware of the different traits and behaviors that make you who you are. This is what the field of personality psychology is all about.

So how does this connect to personal development, the philosophy at the heart of Think Grow Prosper?

If personality defines the different traits and behaviors that make you who you are, then personal development is the art and practice of fine-tuning those traits and behaviors.

When your car needs a tune-up, you take it to a mechanic because they have a comprehensive understanding of all the various parts that make up your car. They can identify specific problems, make the proper diagnosis, recommendations, and repairs. Attempting to work on a car without knowing anything about it would be highly ineffective.

The same is true for working on yourself. You need to know what's under your hood in order to effectively identify the parts of yourself that need work. When you take inventory of your specific personality traits, you have a better idea of where to focus your attention.

Related: The Four Tendencies That Shape Your Life with Best-selling Author Gretchen Rubin

Personality Runs Deep

A common misconception of personality is that it's superficial. This is just not true. Personality doesn't only describe someone's bubbly nature or melancholy disposition. It also describes things like how hard someone works, their political attitudes and pretty much any other characteristic we care about. This is a BIG deal.

I recently had an epiphany: Virtually all books are written with the purpose to develop one or more aspects of one's personality. Of course, this isn't usually stated explicitly. But it's true. And the fact that it's true proves just how far-reaching the implications of personality are. I give examples of this in this episode of The Think Grow Podcast.

In this episode I also explain the most well-researched and widely accepted personality model among psychologists, The Big Five, with my wife and business partner Vanessa. We talk more about the link between personal development and personality and give examples of how you can put these ideas into practice in your life. Listen in the media player below or wherever you consume your podcasts.

One last note: We reference a lot of books in this episode and I've linked them in the Resources section below. I also highly recommend listening to them as audiobooks. Audible is a sponsor of this podcast and has been my go-to source for audio books and courses for years. To get a free 30-day trial plus a free audio book, visit this special link they created for listeners of the Think Grow Podcast.

Let me know your biggest takeaway from this episode by leaving a review on iTunes with something you learned in this episode. (I read every review).

Resources & People Mentioned In This Episode

    Related blog posts:



    Television shows:

    Personality Frameworks:

    Decreasing Neuroticism:

    How to Take the Big Five Personality Assessment For Yourself

    I'm sure there are plenty of reputable places online to take this assessment. Below are my two of my favorites and ones I've personally taken. The Big Five Aspects Scale is the version of the assessment I refer to in the episode. It costs $10 to take, however I make no money from it and am not personally affiliated with it or any others like it. The IPIP-120 is completely free. Just FYI.

    If You Liked This Episode...

    Be sure to check out this conversation I had with best-selling author Gretchen Rubin about her personality framework, The Four Tendencies.

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    Ruben Chavez is a writer, personal development educator, and host of The Think Grow Podcast. He has created a community of over 3 million readers across his collective platforms, including his popular Instagram page ThinkGrowProsper. Along with this blog, these platforms are his way of inspiring and connecting with thoughtful, creative, and ambitious people just like you.