Your personality influences many of the choices you make, from your friends to the political candidates you vote for. Understanding your personality traits can provide insight into those decisions, along with your strengths and weaknesses. Most psychologists today accept the "five-factor model," which was developed into its current form during the 1990s. This system rates a person according to the following five traits:
- Openness to experience
1. Openness to Experience
People who rate high on this trait have a vivid imagination and broad range of interests. They prefer routines that are flexible rather than rigidly structured due to their creative and curious nature. People who are open to experience also tend to pursue self-actualization through experiences like living abroad and meditation. Openness is the only trait in the five-factor model that consistently predicts political behavior. For example, people high in this trait are more likely to vote for a liberal candidate. Avoid investors who are high in openness, as they may be more prone to excessive risks due to overconfidence.
Conscientiousness people are well-organized, efficient and dependable. They prefer to plan their schedule in advance and have a strong desire to achieve challenging goals. However, people who are low in conscientiousness may regard those high in this trait as obsessive and stubborn. Your own chances of workplace success increase when your partner is conscientious, since that person can boost your productivity.
Extroverts gain energy from social activity, so they’re outgoing and talkative. They’re comfortable in the spotlight, which introverts may view as attention-seeking or domineering. Men with strong handshakes are more likely to be extroverts and less likely to be neurotic. However, this tendency doesn’t apply to female extroverts.
People with a high agreeableness rating are affectionate, trustworthy and kind. They often exhibit social behavior such as volunteer work and other altruistic activities, but others may view them as overly passive and even naive. Financial investors who are agreeable are less likely to lose money, especially from risky trades.
Neurotic people have a greater degree of emotional instability, which others may view as insecurity. They’re more likely to experience strong negative emotions like anxiety and irritability, making them excitable and reactive. Neurotic people tend to publish more photos on social media as a means of gaining acceptance. However, they’re less likely to post comments that could be viewed as controversial.
Most people have a personality that develops at an early age and remains relatively stable throughout their lives. For example, the traits you exhibit by the age of seven usually predict much of your adult behavior. It’s certainly possible to change these traits, but it usually requires a sustained effort over time.