The Big 5 Personality Traits: What they mean and how to use them

October 5, 2020

Kelly

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I am unique. You are unique, too.

Who we are can be defined by our thoughts, behaviors and feelings toward certain situations and people. These personalities can change over time depending on our experiences or highs and lows in life.

Remember being asked numerous times to describe ourselves in our past job interviews? This could help find the best candidate perfect for the position. Then I pondered on why this question matters. During some introspection, it led me to the essential notion of who I really am. I should know myself best, right?

I deliberately took a personality test that could aid me discovering more of my inner being. Learned about the Big Five Personality Traits which has been widely accepted and recognized over the years. It was started by Godon Allport and Henry Odbert (1936) who came up with a list of thousands personality-related terms. It was then further developed and studied by various psychologists through the years which later boiled down into 5 core factors.

 

To make it easier, simply remember the acronym ‘OCEAN’. Let’s delve into details with each personality traits.

 

1. Openness

This trait tends to seek new experiences, intellectual pursuits, and appreciation for arts. High scorers tend to have a high level of curiosity and being inventive in various ways. . People who are high in Openness are abstract
thinkers, while people who are low in Openness are concrete. It’s good to notice this in ourselves to become more open on new knowledge, especially if we want to venture on new places, customs, and businesses.

2. Conscientiousness

Do you also see yourself being efficient, organized, hardworking, responsible and goal-oriented? Well, you and I possess this personality of being self-disciplined and always targets achievement. People who are high in Conscientiousness tend to work hard to put their plans into action, Such, we aren’t easily deterred because we are driven seek success. This is normal if we aspire to leverage ourselves in life, both professionally and personally.

People who are low in Conscientiousness are less interested in longterm goals and more interested in responding to the moment.

3. Extraversion, often spelled as Extroversion

This refers to people who are social, outgoing, friendly and energetic. Are you one? Then you are the life of the team, energized by being around other people versus being by oneself and always a go-getter. But hey! Need not to worry. Being an introvert, doesn’t make you less of a person. You are the reserved and listener type, which balances the group.

4. Agreeableness

This is about our behavior with others. This is the tendency to put the needs of others ahead of their own needs. High scorers are typically friendly and cooperative and get along with others. Low scorers are people mostly concerned with serving their own interests When working on projects, better look for people with this attribute because we tend to adjust to suit others.

5. Neuroticism

Do you more likely feel anxious and pessimistic over insignificant situations? Or finds it hard to get over a simple mistake? In simplest term, you are emotional. How do you response to stress? Highly Neurotic people are susceptible to anxiety, depression, anger, and other negative emotions when subjected to stressful conditions. On the contrary, low to average score means that one can cope successfully with any stress or negativities in daily lives. Getting low scores on tests shouldn’t be a problem. On this test, low Neuroticism means we are more emotionally stable, calm, and resilient. And that’s a good thing! Overthinking and becoming a giant worrier doesn’t make a good outcome.

 

Of course, there are limitations to any blanket assumption of human behaviors. The results may vary from our mood and intuition on the day we took the test, or where our life was at that particular moment. But the most essential part is not the result, but the transition process of discerning our inner self while responding on each personality-relevant items. Results are computed and formulated with room for interpretation. Yet the progression of arriving to those results make us realize and appreciate who we really are.

Because you were different 4 years ago. And you will also be different come another 4 years. It’s interesting to think about our unique lives relative to the general public.

Keep in mind that no one has the same exact traits. Learning these traits within us can help determine our strengths and weaknesses.

Post by Kelly

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