Last weekend, I got some time off. Not a few hours at Starbucks to decompress and eat adult junk food (i.e. cake pops). No, I got an actual 30 hours off. It was the big homeschool book fair, and I organized a group of us to stay in a hotel for Friday night. I could list a multitude of altruistic reason for being the organizer, but it really boils down to loving planning and to really caring about where we were going to stay. I really wanted to make sure we stayed somewhere that met my standards. If I am going to burn through a babysitter and a willing husband, I want to be staying somewhere as nice – preferably nicer – than my house. It needs to feel like a vacation, not just a relocation.
At any rate, because we are kind of dorky homeschool moms (said with all inclusion and love), we took a personality test together. There was a speaker at the book fair – that I, um, didn’t quite make – who spoke about different personality types and how understanding yours and your child’s will really help in schooling and relating to them. I love that! One of the great benefits of homeschooling is individualizing your methods for each kiddo.
Anyway, we all took this test, and it was spot on. It was crazy! You look at a paper that has a square, rectangle, triangle, circle and squiggly line, and then pick the two shapes you prefer, ranking them in first and second place. Based on which shapes you choose, you get a list of the personality characteristics that coincide with your shapes.
I should admit, I love personality tests. I love formulas and putting things into categories, which coincidentally was confirmed by the quiz. Some of my favorite things in school were diagramming sentences in grammar and classifying organisms in AP Biology. (On a side note, first graders aren’t as enthralled with classification as I had hoped. Maya began to get lost at Protista when we began my self-developed unit.)
It’s always really fun to hear the results of a personality test, but I also find it somewhat disenchanting. I mean, how in the world does that work? How can I be so simple that my shape preference reveals everything about me? I like to think of myself as one-of-a-kind and highly complex, but obviously I’m pretty common if a simple shape tells you all of my strengths and weaknesses. Jeff might argue that I am still pretty complicated, but marriage is a whole other animal.
I won’t go into what my shape is, just in case you want to take the quiz for yourself, but its description was pretty stinkin’ accurate. Not so shockingly, Jeff and I have absolutely opposite shapes. If you know us, there’s no surprise there. One result that was a bit unexpected was that our oldest daughter Maya picked the same shape as Jeff. I had never really noticed the similarities between the two, but after thinking through it, it suddenly seemed very apparent. Funny enough, the shape they picked actually invokes a flood of both anxiety and stress for me. This makes so much sense with Maya, even down to the condition of her desk. Apparently, I may need to lay off my compulsing about her “piles” as she calls them, that are clearly more like heaps. For me, even a pen on my desk will ruin my focus, but Maya can successfully finish all of her schoolwork on a desk that is completely covered with papers and Legos.
And therein lies the beauty of it all. Whether it’s by careful study or personality tests, knowing our kids is crucial to parenting and schooling them well. For that matter, the same thing goes for our other relationships too. Understanding people’s God-given differences enables us to accept qualities and tendencies that we might otherwise see as wrong and might even work to change.
When Maya doodles on absolutely everything she gets her hands on, I need to chill out and realize that God made her creative and artsy. She expresses herself through drawing, and a million pages of doodles really isn’t all that horrible. The piles of them on her desk are definitely annoying to me, but that doesn’t mean she’s in the wrong. She just operates differently. Me trying to keep every single one of her margins clear of hearts, or lately, Minecraft figures, is just stifling to her and frustrating to me.
Olivia has her own idiosyncrasies as well. She hates to be alone. Hates it. Because of this, she gets through her work so much better when I let her sit next to me while she completes her harder assignments. Even if I don’t help her at all, my presence allows her to relax. If I forced her to sit all the way at the other end of the school room, I would be interfering with her ability to work, making school a negative experience. Jeff and I desire for our kiddos to grow a love for learning, so forcing my preferences on her would not only not accomplish our goal, it could in fact damage her little spirit.
God, in His great wisdom, wired each of us specifically for the plans He has for us. Living with one another in an understanding way – encouraging each other in our strengths and supporting each other in our weaknesses – allows all of us to be who God intended us to be, which is where true joy is found.
Whether a circle, triangle, square or squiggle, God relates to each of us in a very personal and individualized manner. If the Creator of the entire universe caters to our differences, I’m thinking we ought to do the same for each other.
Below is the shape personality test, if you want to take it. If you find out your shape, leave a comment. and share how accurate it was. I’d love to hear about it!
PSYCHO-GEOMETRICS: THE SHAPES QUIZ
Look at the shapes at the top of the page and choose the one you like most and then second most. Below are the descriptions of each shape. Verbiage is taken from www.listening2leaders.com and here.
SQUARE: Details & Data & Systems People
- Hardest workers; task oriented
- Structured; organized
- Think sequentially, logically
- May be stubborn
- Value details and data; analytical
- Know policies & rules
- Not fond of change, prefer a stable environment
- Prefer to working alone to teamwork
- May see fun as unnecessary or a luxury
- Trouble saying “I’ve got enough information”
- Conservative, regular, orderly
Meeting behavior: well prepared, lots of notes, gets right down to work
Motto: “Give me a job and a deadline and I’ll get it done”
It would help you to:
- Be less picky with people
- Create your own routines
- Allow yourself to make a few mistakes so you don’t limit your opportunities
- Learn to make decisions with less data
- Try taking more risks and acting spontaneously
To work best with you, others need to remember to :
- Be specific
- Provide clear expectations
- Create a regular routine
- Of the 4 symbols, the Square places the most emphasis on organization and structure.
- You are an ORGANIZER. You may be constantly organizing the people and things around you. You are an excellent administrator who enjoys working with figures, statistics, programs, and software.
- Your mantra is ‘Get it right – if it takes all night.’
- Your watchword is how. Is it correct? Does it follow the rules? And the regulations?
- You believe in the status quo and the work ethic. And you want everything in the right place at the right time.
- You see yourself as a Triangle. Others may not see you the same way.
- You enjoy collecting data and information to enter into the database but others may see you as having a compulsive attention to detail.
- As a child using a coloring book and crayons, you tried to color within the lines but your favorite toy may have been Legos (or Lincoln building blocks depending on your age).
Positive traits: you are organized, knowledgeable, analytical, patient, persevering, generally neat.
Potential pitfalls: you may be a procrastinator, a perfectionist, aloof, resistant to change, meticulous.
Potential career choices: CFO or COO … IT professional … Programmer … Systems Analyst … Statistician … Accountant … Professor … Bookkeeper … Executive Assistant … Medical specialist … Teacher … Auditor … Government worker … Editor . . . or Controller for the Pharaoh.
Square’s motto: “Give me a deadline and I’ll do it.”
TRIANGLE: Results People
- Bottom line; focused on goals
- Driven to succeed; motivated by results
- Take charge and move fast
- Big picture – Don’t need all the research or details
- Need to know WHY
- Outspoken – Love to debate and argue
- No nonsense
- Decisive; cut to the chase; move on
- Likes recognition – may put stock in status symbols
Meeting behavior: Hate meetings. Get to the bottom line and move on
Motto: “So what’s your point???”
To improve, you should:
- Slow down and don’t shoot from the hip
- Attend to necessary details, even if you delegate them
- Develop more interest in the opinions of others
- Give people more room to come on board
- Learn to have more fun just for the sake of it
- Be aware of your impact on others
To work best with you, others need to remember to:
- Present the goal and the big picture
- Explain the WHY
- Provide stretch milestones and targets
- Be succinct
- Provide support for the details
- Of the 4 symbols, the Triangle most closely represents leadership. Triangles are ambitious and very interested in their careers.
- You are an OVERSEER, an expediter, a leader, a man or woman of action.
- Your mantra is ‘Get it done.’ You want to make things happen now. You ask others ‘when?’ When will the project be finished? When will the action you requested happen?
- Your watchword is now. Not one day, not some time, not tomorrow, but NOW!
- You are often charismatic, a person who likes to be the boss, who likes to give orders, who likes to be in control.
- You are decisive – you like to make decisions – decisions for yourself and decisions for everyone else.
- You see yourself as assertive. Others may see you as aggressive.
- As a child using a coloring book and crayons, you had difficulty staying within the lines. You do not like restrictions.
Positive traits: leadership, decisiveness, ambition, focused, results-driven, self-motivated.
Potential pitfalls: impatience, aggressiveness, self-centeredness
Potential career choices: CEO … President of a company … Entrepreneur … Executive … Manager or Supervisor … Surgeon … Attorney … Politician … Officer in the military … Pilot … Hospital or School Administrator . . . or the Pharaoh.
Triangle’s Motto: “Follow me and you do it.”
CIRCLE: People People
- Most empathy and perception for others
- Fun-loving; laugh the most
- Listen and communicate well
- Easily swayed by opinions of others
- Like people, committees, teams
- Peacemakers – hate conflict or making unpopular decisions
- Good sports
- Over commit; take on more than you can handle
- Too nice; can’t say no
- Better at caring for others than yourself
- Don’t particularly like hierarchy
Meeting behavior: Social, create harmony, love the food,
Motto: “I’ll do it – somebody has to!”
To improve, you need to:
- Learn how to say NO and mean it
- Worry less about what other people do and think
- Hold others accountable
- Learn how to make unpopular decisions when necessary
To work best with you others need to remember to:
- Be flexible
- Be willing to talk about whatever is at hand
- Provide a harmonious environment
- Provide opportunities for you to add your perspective
- Of the 4 symbols, the Circle is the most kind and caring about others. Your focus is to smooth the waters and keep the peace. You are the glue that holds together the family or the work team – that sensitive person who really cares about feelings.
- Note: The circle is the mythological symbol for harmony.
- You are an OPTIMIST– you enjoy working in league with others to get things done.
- Your mantra is harmony –’Can’t we all just get along?’
- Your watchword is who. Who will be on the team?
- You express kindness, caring and concern and are an excellent communicator because you are an effective listener and know how to establish empathy quickly. You are an excellent ‘people problem solver.’
- You try to keep the peace but others may see you as trying too hard to please everyone.
- As a child you enjoyed many games and sports but in softball you were often the outfielder.
Positive traits: you are friendly, persuasive, empathic, generous, reflective.
Potential pitfalls: you may be indecisive, moody, manipulative, have a tendency to get too personal.
Potential career choices: Doctor …Nurse … Teacher … Human Resource professional … Psychologist … Professor … Historian … Consultant … Scout leader … Administrative assistant … Nun . . . or Talent Management for the Pharaoh.
Circle’s motto: “Be positive, and I will help you do it.”
SQUIGGLE: Idea People
- Often visionaries –lots of ideas
- Lots of energy and enthusiasm
- Like to try new and different things
- Can appear a little flaky because their mind moves so fast
- Difficulty with completion; start a task and move on to the next great idea
- Can be frustrating to work with
- Try to be more organized, but tend to lose their lists
- Easily bored
- Flexible – spontaneous
- Make cognitive leaps, from A straight to F
- Prefer less structured environments
Meeting behavior: Already thinking of the next step
Motto: “I just got this great idea!”
To improve you need to:
- Slow down and pay attention to the details
- Focus on the task at hand
- Think before you speak and act
- Pay attention to your impact on others
To work best with you, others need to remember to:
- Present you new and different things to do
- Be flexible and avoid preconceived ideas
- Provide an unstructured environment
- Offer multiple choices
- Provide help with follow through
- Of the 4 symbols, the Squiggle is the most unique and the most creative.
- You are an ORIGINAL always considering possibilities.
- Your mantra is get it done … differently.
- Your watchword is why. Why do we have to do it that way? What are our alternatives? You continually ask, ‘What if?’
- You are crazed by sex and booze. No, no, just kidding! You are future-oriented.
- You are creative, imaginative, free form, like to have fun, think out-of-the-box.
- You see yourself as always looking for new ideas, new ways, new products. Others may sometimes consider you as a little strange or far-out.
- As a child you preferred to draw your own original pictures to color. You often colored trees purple, leaves yellow and the sky green.
Positive traits: You are conceptual, creative, intuitive, expressive, motivating, witty, inventive.
Potential pitfalls: You may be disorganized, impractical, unrealistic, illogical, eccentric, naïve, uninhibited.
Potential career choices: Writer… Journalist … Comedian … Actor … Creative director … Marketing … Sales … Musician … Scientist … Researcher … Entrepreneur … Chef … Public Relations … Inventor … Real estate agent . . . or Press Agent for the Pharaoh.
Squiggle’s motto: “Be creative. Why do it that way? On the other hand, don’t bother to agree with me. I have already changed my mind.”