Psychologists, psychology fans, and enthusiasts alike make a huge fuzz about the big five personality traits. Not very surprisingly, it finds its place in the internet community that builds up and keeps ahold of its hype. Sufficient scientific backing and wider approval from the scientific community makes it all the more relevant. I, as anyone else should be, became curious since the time it first reached my ears. This made me take a sharper dig at the whole fuzz and let’s just say I have a lump to share.
So, what are the “big 5 personality traits”?
My mind had the same question running when I first read the title of a related article. I see a similar mind in my reader. Don’t worry, I don’t plan to bore anyone with excessive theory. Neither am I qualified to talk about it. But I have to slip a little bit of detail to keep the article relevant for every reader. The best and popular way to memorize the big 5 personality traits is by remembering the word “OCEAN”. Openness, Conscientiousness, Extraversion, Agreeableness, and Neuroticism. These are known as the “big 5” and I assume anyone would have already heard one or two of the traits.
Openness is just what it sounds like. It gauges a person by his open-mindedness. Openness has sub-traits like Imagination, Artistic interests, Emotionality, Adventurousness, Intellect, and Liberalism.
Conscientiousness is the trait related to self-discipline. It includes sub-traits like Self-efficacy, Orderliness, Dutifulness, Achievement-striving, Self-discipline, and Cautiousness.
Extraversion as already clued by the name relates a person’s social abilities. It has sub-traits like Friendliness, Gregariousness, Assertiveness, Activity level, Excitement-seeking, and Cheerfulness.
Agreeableness is the personality trait that exhibits sympathetic and cooperative behavior. Agreeableness has sub-traits like Trust, Morality, Altruism, Cooperation, Modesty, and Sympathy.
Neuroticism deals with emotional stability. It has sub-traits like Anxiety, Anger, Depression, Self-consciousness, Immoderation, and Vulnerability.
Plotting myself on the big 5 traits
It looks weird that I am openly sharing this detail. Maybe that’s because I have a bit of openness? The scientific test offered by 123test had something similar to say. While I took the test for fun which ranks me based on how I answer 120 statements, it has quite helped me inspect myself a lot. I don’t want to completely rely on the test result. That’s why I am individually reviewing all the traits to see where I am placed. Again, I know it is weird to share this detail on the internet. Especially, somewhere someone can easily track my real-life whereabouts. Or someone from my real life may see this and it might be weird to meet again in real life. That aside, I intend to pass the idea of introspection and the big 5 personalities can be a good framework to do so. I am only an example.
Openness has features like Imagination, Artistic interests, Emotionality, Adventurousness, Intellect, and Liberalism. I have always seen imagination and artistic interests as one of my positives. I often love to create digital art and internet memes. I wouldn’t say emotionality and adventurousness is my best bet. It would be too numb to call myself a person of intellect. That’s not up to me to decide. I know I am good at mathematical reasoning. Math is a favorite of mine and has never failed it on my engineering course. I am not sure how much of that purely theoretical reasoning skill played a positive role in my life. I don’t think it did. I have often just ended up overthinking and taking horrible decisions with extremely poor reasoning when it comes to practice. Nor am I going to say I am a liberal. I think I have improved as I have grown up. I used to be the very opposite of liberal during my teenage years. Ever since I entered adulthood, it has fainted consistently replaced with liberal views. But I am not that open to new ideas or tolerant of such changes.
Conscientiousness maybe my weakest trait since it is the trait of self-discipline. That is highhandedly my lowest quality. It gets worse because I was recently practicing to be a day time trader were discipline is the number-one success factor. Conscientiousness accompanies features like Self-efficacy, Orderliness, Dutifulness, Achievement-striving, Self-discipline, and Cautiousness. I can with no doubt say I am pretty much opposite of all these. I hate things with order sometimes and cherish disorderliness in life. Although it is like a flip switch, I can sometimes become highly ordered and a control freak. But that barely makes it two mornings across. I have been recently putting energy to create self-discipline. I identify it as the most lacking but prominently needed skill set in my life.
Extraversion is something I have mixed feelings with. It deals with a person’s social abilities. It includes features like Friendliness, Gregariousness, Assertiveness, Activity level, Excitement-seeking, and Cheerfulness. I am an introvert and I am happy with it. My idea of being an introvert is a person that has his maximum productivity unleashed when he is alone. I am at my maximum productivity when I am in my room with no one around. I also find it hard to make new friends. I find it hard to start a conversation or enter one. Sometimes my social inability has been dumped as ego by few and it kind of hits. But this more like a bridge. I may not able to start or engage a conversation but if I managed to do, I can keep it. I have a good ability to create spontaneous jokes and keep the conversation flowing. But for that to happen, I have to become extremely comfortable with the social circle. My closest friends know how much of loud mouth offensive joke maker I am while my distant friends and family would be surprised if they see me like that.
Agreeableness sounds like something nobody would publicly want to acknowledge one doesn’t have. My weighting on agreeableness is a 50-50. It includes features like Trust, Morality, Altruism, Cooperation, Modesty, and Sympathy. Nobody would want to portray themselves as lacking any of this. But having said that, in introspection, understanding the truth and acknowledging it is more important than imaginative deception. I don’t want to tell lies to myself do I. That would be fatal. I get very sympathetic to pets and animals. I get sympathetic to people suffering far away. But I have often found myself not so sympathetic to things happening in the immediate surrounding. I realized I just don’t notice them as much. I don’t trust people generally and has some bad case of cooperation. I generally have a good sense of what is right and wrong but I can compromise it depending on the reward. When I do accomplish something with the help of others, I have some great indebtedness with them. Sometimes that is taken too far and often ended up in disappointment.
Neuroticism is the trait that factors in emotional stability. It has features like Anxiety, Anger, Depression, Self-consciousness, Immoderation, and Vulnerability. This trait looks like where all of the internets accumulate together. If people with neuroticism became a country, I must be given the crown. The test from 123test.com gave me over 95% for this. The most dominant trait in my personality. Although I am giving out all the negative vibes by saying all this, it is not that bad. I am consciously aware of my overthinking and accompanying anxiety, anger, and depression. I have made it to muscle memory to tackle such attacks immediately by manipulating my conscious mind. I can pretty much get over anxiety and depression. When it comes to anger, that’s debatable. I do have short bursts often but it has diminished from what I experienced during my teenage years. Vulnerability must be my weakest link. I am easily vulnerable to being made fun of or being called names. I hate it and I just may throw a punch at completely uncalled situations. Now that I am aware, I will keep it my conscious mind, rinse, repeat, and try to improve.
My concluding thoughts
I think introspection is generally a great tool for mental exercise. Sometimes people don’t have a clue, then the big 5 traits are a good framework to do so. I don’t buy the results brought to me by the internet tests. It doesn’t look like me in one situation vs another. But independently going through these traits and sub-traits has made me rethink of many real-life situations. It made me give some solid understanding of what went wrong or right in particular situations. Also not to mention I got some serious cringe remembering some past events. I am happy with that, it shows I have matured up to think my past self was cringy.
A word of warning, there is a temptation to lie to oneself about bad qualities while intensifying the good one. Impartial self-analysis is required to get the correct result. Such inbuilt temptations can be tackled by being consciously aware of it. Have a great day introspecting.