Do I work to my strengths as a creative?
Recently a colleague suggested it would be interesting to try a personality test, particularly the Myers-Briggs, to see how my skill set and personality lead to strengths that would lead me to my current job (art teacher) and also my recent promotion for next school year (assistant principal). I believe I took something like the Myers-Briggs ages ago but thought it might be fun to look again and see what it says “about me.”
I found an abridged version online, which was free, called Humanmetrics. I did take it. I found it quite informative, reinforcing and it has begun to generate a lot of food for thought. Careers suggested for my personality type include: librarian, teacher, counselor, preacher, artist, etc. Apparently even politics could be on my horizon if I so chose (I don’t think anyone could ever pay me enough!). Listing jobs that might suit me was only mildly interesting to me. Suggestions as to how my personality type works under stress or values different facets of life was more interesting, and something I hope I can translate to make my creative process more effective (perfectionist is also on the list of traits).
For selfish reasons, I will dissect my results to see if I can analyze and determine any creative strategies to improve my creativity and art-making. Hopefully you can find use in it as well and apply the same notion to your creative work if you so choose.
According to the above test, I am an INFJ, which stands for Introverted, iNtuitive, Feeling, Judging.
The big message I got out of this label was I NEED to give myself time to recharge and I seriously need to honor it if I want to enjoy my friends and family and be happy. I can be very chatty and social when I am out doing things, but honestly I’m happiest home with a good book, a movie and working on my art. My job involves people all day long and I LOVE it, but I do tire from it too. I’m going to work really hard to allow myself that recharge time. That is perfect time to relax and let my brain rest so I have energy for loved ones and my art.
I’ve always thought myself to be very observant and this test appears to confirm this. Little details in terms of body language and word choices often leave me making swift interpretations of a situation, mood, and I use that to handle certain dynamics. This has been extremely helpful in parent appointments. I think this also could be a strength in my art if I let it be! I’m not sure how good I am at harnessing this in my creative process and I need to figure out strategies to improve this.
I’ve been described by loved ones as emotional and other times more nicely as passionate. Both really fit the bill. I always have felt things strongly. I empathize, perhaps too much, with people around me and even with characters in books or movies. This is definitely a strength I could transfer to my art. My recent artwork, Home is in my Heart, which will be shown in Tashkeel for the month of April, is the one of the few where I have actively harnessed my emotions and allowed them to express on canvas. The other time I did that was with a work entitled Seeing Eye to Eye. That work won me an opportunity to showcase art at the Smithsonian and across the USA. I need to step up and utilize this more!
I quickly assess and determine my feelings about a situation, impressions of people, etc. I also like to work within systems, which apparently comes from this quality. If there is something I utilize well, I believe my judging nature may be useful for planning and goal-setting. I am a do-er. If I create a project I aim to complete it. I can get lost in details, or too many projects, so taking a step back to look at the big picture is important.
Next week, I hope to review these traits and see if I can derive specific creative strategies to reference and use when I’m making so I can work to my strengths and develop my weaknesses. Stay tuned and let’s see how I survive this self-reflection!
BE COURAGEOUSLY CREATIVE: Consider taking a personality test to reflect on your strengths and weaknesses. Can you come up with a specific strategy that may work to your strengths as a creative?
I took the test you linked to, and got the same score I’ve been getting all of my life: INTJ. So similar to yours, but thinking rather than feeling. I think we can change and evolve–when I took this years ago I was “very” introverted, but over the years it’s migrated to “slightly.” Still, I am a planner who believes in deadlines, so I think I’ll most likely stay in this.
I’ll be curious to see how you think your type fits with the life of an artist. I’m not sure our profiles fit with what the testers may associate with artists, but I like what you wrote here: “If there is something I utilize well, I believe my judging nature may be useful for planning and goal-setting. I am a do-er. If I create a project I aim to complete it. I can get lost in details, or too many projects, so taking a step back to look at the big picture is important.” Exactly.
Hi Patrick! It’s been ages since I took this test (I think the last time I did I was in high school!) so I found it very interesting to see how I “scored.” I need some time to digest the information and this week will be all about finding practical translations/ creative strategies that could work to these strengths (oh, goal-mindedness). I have always battled this introverted/extraverted label and that is something new I can think about – I have sometimes thought myself introverted but people have always laughed that off. Now I’m feeling a bit more justified that yes I want and need alone time! I think that is why blogging and the internet is so good for me, I can share ideas and help people, but I have some distance while doing it.
I logged on to shoot you a note, Carrie, because one of my closest friends is an INFJ, so I fully recognized what you are saying. I had to laugh at seeing Patrick’s comments, because I too am an INTJ. Fun fact: the INTJ and the INFJ are considered to be “companion” types, who naturally attract and ‘get’ each other–evidently, across the globe. : )
I’ve been familiar with MB for years–and have used it both personally and professionally. (My mom had all of us take the test when I was still in high school. Talk about an interesting lens to our crazy family dynamics…to say the least!)
Since dusting off my creativity a few years ago, I’ve used other personality tools (Enneagram in particular), but your post made me think of MB in a new light. Interesting, I think, how the stereotypical “creative” is disorganized and chaotic. But your own experience proves this not to be true. Perhaps the stereotype emerged more from the “intuitive”–where thought, ideas even creative outlets are dynamnic and non-linear. My “J” has often been useful for creating a path through my thought process for others (usually “S” types) to understand. You seem to constantly be drawing connections in your art and creative process, leading me to believe that your intuition naturally informs your creativity.
Really fun to think about this tool regarding creativity. I hope you’ll write about your experience as you explore some more. Thanks for sharing, Carrie!
I am enjoying the reflection and opportunity taking this test has offered me. I will have to look up Enneagram to check it out – I have not heard of it. I love that you all took MB tests when you were in high school! I was thinking it would be insightful for students thinking about what to study and where to go to college.
I completely agree with you with regard to the stereotype of the disorganized artist. I have actually encountered both extremes in my career, the extremely organized and the “organized chaos” of others. Of course its pretty apparent I am the former. I have always thought I’m not good at using my intuition in my art, but I guess I do reflect a lot on process and connections in my art. I guess I wish I was better using it during the physical art-making process! Something to think on…
Thanks for your thoughts and contribution. 🙂
A ha, another INTJ! According to the test Carrie links to, we’re only 1-2% of the population, so we can enjoy our exclusivity together! And it makes sense we can “get” INFJ’s across the globe, because I’ve never met Carrie in person but I definitely feel I “get” this artist living on another continent.
As for the typical artist idea, when I conducted my interviews I often saw signs of what would strike a casual observer as disorganized and chaotic, and often the artists would boast about their own disorganization. But after I spent time with them, and asked them about their creative process, it became clear that there was more there. I am not trained in psychology, but what I saw was artists who used their right brains to create, but also didn’t neglect their left-brain thinking, and that type of thinking helped ensure their creativity was productive.
I’m not surprised that like minded people can find each other! 🙂 I wonder if there is a correlation between blogging and being an introvert?
It would be interesting to test a bunch of self-identified artists and see what traits are most common within Myers Briggs. I wonder if there is any psychological research out there on it? I will have to do some digging methinks!
I am loving this thread on my day off! Admittedly, I get excited about this stuff, so I’ll try to keep this brief. : )
Patrick – You are so right! The right brain activity gets quickly labeled as chaos, when it’s often anything but.
Carrie – I LOVE the idea of using this tool with students. I read long ago how the education system is largely developed for Extroverted/Sensing students, who comprise a sizable majority of the population, leaving little room for creativity and right-brain exploration. I think there is lots to explore here!
I whole-heartedly agree that like-minded people who have never met can find each other. But I can’t help but think that psychologists would find that fascinating…. Happy to have met you both this way! : )