The Four Components of Your Personality

Dan McKinley

Head of Innovation

November 19, 2020

Your personality is a product of your intelligence, culture, temperament, and neurology. It’s both nature and nurture.

What comes to mind when someone brings up personality? 

Maybe you think of one of hundreds of adjectives that describe an obvious personality trait. 

He’s definitely an introvert. They’re an extrovert. She’s so quirky. He’s so cool. That was smooth. He’s an eccentric. She’s optimistic. They’re a pessimist. He’s removed. She’s down-to-earth. They’re so realistic. Why’s she so Idealistic? He’s one chill dude. He sure is Intense. 

Maybe you think of a personality type from one of the popular personality systems. 

"I’m an INFJ. He has to be a type 6w7. She’s probably yellow, maybe yellow red. He must be a Di. I remember her top 5 strengths. He’s a type 1. What if they’re an NeFi CSP(B) FM? She’s either an obliger or an upholder. There’s no way he’s an advocate. She’s a performer. You might be an LSI! They say she’s a dreamer, but she’s not the only one. Hufflepuff. Dolphins. Gemini." You know the drill. 

I’ll let you in on a big secret. 

You can’t define people into a single box - it doesn’t work. You’ll fail miserably if you do it!  I know people who’ve been typed in all sorts of ways. The only commonality is that their personality is intrinsically unique, deeply multifaceted, and fluid over time. 

People try to uncover personality as if it’s just one thing when it’s not. Your personality is a product of your intelligence, culture, temperament, and neurology. It’s both nature and nurture. There are many layers to unpack here. Personality is the beautiful dance of your soul’s components interacting with each other. It’s actually more accurate to refer to people’s personalities instead of their personality. It would be quite the sight to see someone act the same in all situations.  

There are truly 100s of ways you can measure someone’s personality. PersonAbilities has created useful heuristics to simply describe different aspects on one’s self. No one’s in a box but we’ve identified data clusters and we help people know what their closest match is across 4 areas. We identify your current Intelligence Type, your Cultural Type, your Temperament Type, and your Neuro Type. 

I’ll let you in on a big secret. You can’t define people into a single box

What’s your Intelligence Type?

It’s not the level but the type of intelligence that you have. A doctor, a lawyer, an engineer, and a playwright could all be geniuses, but their personal abilities would be drastically different from each other. The accomplished judge wouldn’t last 5 minutes in the surgeon’s operating room. The judge applied verbal reasoning and deductive thinking skills while she was in law school. Meanwhile, the doctor heavily relied on his kinesthetic abilities, visual-spatial thinking, and memorization skills in medical school. Fish don’t make great tree climbers and apes don’t make great swimmers. Focus on your personal abilities, not your personal disabilities!

What’s your Cultural Type?

In my opinion we shouldn’t be having a nurture vs nature debate because both have valid points. Your environment definitely impacted you on who you are as a person. Other personality systems may assume that personalities translate across cultures. That’s simply not true. Your country of origin, your mother tongue, your religion, your physical environment, your social class, your friends, and even your parents political beliefs all influence core parts of your personality.

Your worldview, social values, basic assumptions, communication habits, and interpersonal preferences are all directly related to your culture. These cultural traits heavily correlate to different demographic groups - age, ethnicity, national origin, religion, and language. Knowing your Cultural Type allows you to transcend these differences and connect with people from all walks of life. Despite this being as important as any other part of your personality, it is often ignored by psychologists and those who create personality tests. Culture impacts every aspect of every organization from a small startup all the way to a giant bureaucracy. Understanding culture allows us to bridge gaps of talent, communication, and understanding. 

What’s your Temperament Type?

When most people bring up the word ‘Personality’ they are usually referring to temperament. Temperament is your outside observable behavior. It’s your vibes. It’s your energy. It’s your emotions. It’s what you feel. It’s what you sense on an instinctive level and how you communicate that to the world. Temperament is independent of your intelligence, culture, and neurology. It’s your quintessence. It’s your chemistry. It’s actually directly related to your neuroendocrinology.

Different hormones and neurotransmitters like testosterone, progesterone, estrogen, serotonin, melatonin, dopamine, adrenaline, and oxytocin influence our temperament. These chemicals also influence personality factors related to extroversion, neuroticism, conscientiousness, adaptability, and personal agreeableness. Understanding your temperament objectively is crucial in developing interpersonal relationships and using your emotional intelligence. How you come across to others is a gem of knowledge as valuable as any other. 

Now what on earth is your Neuro Type?

What is neurodiversity? Everyone’s mind processes in radically different ways. It makes sense that there’s no one normal type of intelligence. Certain cultures can’t be more objectively normal than others from an anthropological perspective. Everyone’s temperament is radically different from each other. Therefore, everyone’s mind functions in wonderfully diverse ways. We all function differently. You’d be surprised how different your internal thoughts and logic trains are from others.

However, your fears that may tie you down can develop your strongest abilities. How you see and understand everything around you can be of marvelous insight to others. Most people with mental diagnoses have extraordinary gifts that can benefit everyone around them. I firmly believe that no one’s ‘normal’, that everyone’s on some kind of spectrum, and that it’s time to acknowledge that everyone has some kind of ‘crazy’ (and that’s a good thing)! Your greatest weaknesses can be the source of your greatest abilities. 

Changing Types

Now can people change their type? Short answer is yes, but the long answer will be explained in an upcoming blog post. Most change occurs because some people are naturally situated pretty evenly between two or more different types. However, traumatic situations or other life changing experiences can also permanently alter your personality. PersonAbilities helps people integrate different parts of themselves. Every old soul and being of light knows that they have a shadow and can access radically different parts of their identity. 

Our brains are like a muscle. Athletes are drawn to certain sports due to their physical makeup. Weightlifters aren’t sprinters and gymnasts aren’t basketball stars. Surfers can be snowboarders but quarterbacks probably won’t be figure skaters. Our brains are the same way. We all have natural propensities to develop certain neural abilities, connections, and feedback loops. Wouldn’t you want to know what neural muscles you’d have the easiest time building?

There’s no such thing as just one personality type. 

MBTI had some amazing answers but lacked the science. OCEAN had the science but lacked the holistic wisdom of the Enneagram. The Color Code’s simplicity stands in marked contrast to Socionic’s complexity. Personalibilities is bringing everything together all in one place. Don Clifton said a lot about people’s inherent abilities, Geert Hofstede said a lot about culture, Jordan Peterson has said a lot about temperament, and Jung said a lot about psychology. We’re gathering all of their ideas into one place. 

We’re not on a mission to take away from what you’ve learned from another Personality system. We’re only here to add to it. 

We surely hope you stay on this journey to discover more about who you are. 

It’s all about YOU!


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