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Personalities are complex: No one could argue with that. So why do we so readily reduce ourselves to labels, touting our introversion or extraversion like a blood type? Can we escape this personality binary?
When I've been asked in the past, I've typically called myself an introvert. After all, I have the quintessential trappings: I prefer small gatherings to huge parties, small talk tends to make me uncomfortable, and I need quite a bit of time alone to feel like “myself.” But don’t paint me into a introverted corner, because I have an extroverted side, too. I love expressing myself through my work. In my younger days, I played guitar and sang in rock bands. And if you really need proof, check out how loquacious and animated I get when talking about "Adventure Time"!
Beyond a spectrum of extraversion, there’s a whole lot more that complicates personality. In the 1980s, psychologists developed the Big Five model of personality (also called the five factor model) by poring over dictionaries and listing every word that can be used to describe a person. They found that these words fit into five different dimensions of personality: neuroticism, openness to experience, agreeableness, conscientiousness, and — everybody’s favorite — extraversion. Unlike the ever popular Myers-Briggs Type Indicator, the Big Five is based on data, known to be more accurate, and available for anyone to take for free online.
So I took it. In the above video, I push past my assumed introversion to confront a more whole and honest view of my personality, one that includes anger, anxiety, openness, and, yes, extraversion.