Have you ever wondered why people behave the way they do? Character strengths and personality traits are defining factors in all of our lives to which personality types hold the key. What might seem like common sense to you seems totally alien to someone else.
In this episode of ON Purpose, Jay Shetty breaks down the four personality types and how knowing them can help you have stronger relationships.
All About Strengths
When we talk about our own strengths and weaknesses, it’s often easier for us to list our weaknesses than it is to list our strengths.
“It's good to have awareness of our weaknesses,” says Jay Shetty. He also encourages us to understand and acknowledge our strengths as well. When we struggle to acknowledge our strengths, our weaknesses begin to dominate us. Shetty says that although it’s natural for us to try and hide our weaknesses from others, we’re left with nothing when we don’t also know our own strengths.
Have you ever deflected positive feedback? Maybe someone has complimented you on something and you respond with, “Oh, you should’ve seen me last week,” or try to come up with an excuse to take the modest route. Other times, we find ourselves expecting positive feedback, but we don’t receive it.
“We live in these two extremes where we either deflect positive feedback or we expect positive feedback,” says Jay Shetty. Neither ends with us feeling happy, so why do we put ourselves in this situation of discontentment? Jay Shetty gives us two reasons why it may be difficult to acknowledge our strengths.
Jay Shetty’s first reason you may feel uncomfortable acknowledging your strengths is that you may not be aware of them. It may seem odd – why wouldn’t a person know their own strengths? If you think about it, however, it makes sense. We’ve never been asked to learn what our strengths are.
Another thing that adds to confusion about our strengths is the importance we place on others’ perception of us. Often when asked about our strengths, it’s not uncommon for us to name strengths we think others want to hear. We don’t know what our strengths are, so we scramble to say things we think the other person will find acceptable.
The second reason it can be uncomfortable to acknowledge our strengths is that we don’t want to seem arrogant or egotistical. Rather than thinking of it as confidence, we connect acknowledgement of our strengths to ego or arrogance.
“We feel if we accept that we are good at something, then it shows some sort of ego or arrogance, rather than just confidence,” says Jay Shetty.
For many, this stems back to childhood. There tends to be a negative emphasis placed on weaknesses, in both school and at home. If we did something wrong, there was a punishment, and we grew up motivated to avoid doing things wrong. Meanwhile, our successes might've been celebrated, but they weren’t rewarded. Think of it like this:
With successes, the result, not the action, is celebrated. With weaknesses, it’s the action, not the result, that’s punished. More importance is placed on improving weaknesses than building up our strengths. Focusing on improving weaknesses shoves strengths development to the side.
“We're always trying to improve our weaknesses and stay stagnant on our strengths, which doesn't make a lot of sense,” says Jay Shetty. If you focus on improving the things you are already good at, you’ll master the skill. Focusing only on weaknesses creates mediocrity.
Rather than noticing and highlighting what people are best at, weaknesses are amplified in American culture. Self-worth and self-confidence are dented because we don’t know our own strengths. In order to improve ourselves, we must invest our time and energy into our strengths.
Personality types have been studied for centuries. One of Jay Shetty’s favorite resources for studying personality types is The Psychology Book: Big Ideas Simply Explained.1 Discovering his personality type and finding his strengths, thanks to this book, changed his life.
“I realized that I was spending a lot of time out of alignment with my strengths,” says Jay Shetty. “And I noticed that the day I started shifting towards my genuine strengths, my life changed.”
Discovering then focusing on your strengths makes an impact. Look for the strengths that come naturally to you. Focusing on those strengths will make more impact than focusing on the things that don’t come easily. If you don’t know your personality type or strengths, Shetty urges you to learn them.
One way to discover your personality type and your strengths is to take a personality or strengths-finding assessment. One of the most popular is the DISC Personality Profile2. This test can be easily found and taken online, as can many others.
We can also discover more about ourselves by experimenting with the skills we have and trying out new ones. Through trying new things and experimenting with different skills, we could discover more strengths we have that we didn’t know about. This helps us realize what our potential really is.
Two Personality Questions
There are two personality questions Jay Shetty wants us to answer for ourselves. Trust your first natural instinct and give yourself an honest answer. Your answers will tell you more about your personality type too.
Question 1: Am I more outgoing or more introverted?
There’s no right or wrong answer. A helpful tip for determining your best answer is to consider how you act at a party. Do you introduce yourself to everyone? Are you out on the dance floor? Or are you on the sidelines talking with someone while you observe? It isn’t black and white, but determine for yourself whether you are more outgoing or more reserved.
Question 2: Am I more people-oriented or more task-oriented?
If you’re wondering what this means, consider whether you are always thinking about peoples’ experiences and if everyone is having a good time, or if you are thinking about staying on schedule and operating according to plan.
The Four Personality Types
Once you’ve answered Jay Shetty’s personality questions, you can get a pretty good idea of where you stand on the four DISC personality types. If you are outgoing and task-oriented, you have a type D personality in the DISC Personality Profile. If you are outgoing and people-oriented, you are a Type I personality. You are a type C if you are reserved and task-oriented. The final personality type, S, is those who are reserved and people-oriented.
Type D Personality
“Their mode is ready, fire, aim,” says Jay Shetty. “They want to get action going before they even figure it all out.” Type “D” personalities are outgoing and task-oriented. They exhibit character traits like dominance, demanding, decisive, determined, and direct. People who are Type D keep to deadlines and are good at planning and getting things done.
Type I Personality
“I” personality types are extroverted and outgoing, while being people-oriented. They tend to be very inspiring, influential, interesting, and impressionable. Those with “I” personalities are good communicators, and they’re understanding towards others. Type I’s can also be good at getting things done if they invest in them. Impacting and influencing others is what Type “I” personality people are best at.
Type C Personality
Those with a Type “C” Personality are reserved and task-oriented.
“These people are cautious. They're calculative. They're competent, they're conscientious, they're careful,” says Jay Shetty. “C” Types are perfectionists who focus on the little things. Details are important to them. Type “C” people are very good at things like quality assurance.
Type S Personality
The final of the four DISC personality types is the “S” type personality. S types are more reserved and people-oriented.
“These people are supportive, steady, stable, sensitive, and have really high emotional intelligence,” says Jay Shetty. Type “S” people are really good at understanding others and how they’re feeling. They can tell when something is bothering someone.
When looking at these four types, it’s obvious that the world needs all four personality types. Without type “D” personalities, things wouldn’t get done. There would be a lack of inspiration without “I” types. With no “S” types, people wouldn’t feel as cared for, and without “C” types, there wouldn’t be enough order and perfectionism for things to work. If you look at it the other way and imagine if there were only one of the four types, you’d always be missing something.
“Now notice why there is so much power and strength in recognizing that an ideal team has people in each of these quadrants,” says Shetty. People have to be different and think differently in order for life to function.
How To Play To Yours and Others’ Strengths
Knowing that every personality type is needed should help you realize that your strengths and abilities are needed. You make a difference! The world is most productive when everyone is focusing on utilizing their own strengths, rather than their weaknesses.
“When you play to your strengths and others play to theirs, we start creating a really productive world,” says Jay Shetty.
There are situations where you may struggle to use your strengths. Maybe your job doesn’t allow you to play to your strengths. So what do you do in that situation?
”Whatever career you're in, you have an opportunity to demonstrate your skills,” says Shetty. “You have an opportunity to demonstrate your strengths.” Others won’t know what your strengths are unless you display them, and most recognition will come in areas in which you’re naturally strong.
More From Jay Shetty
Listen to the entire On Purpose with Jay Shetty podcast episode on “The Four Personality Types You Should Know & How To Stop Ignoring Your Strengths” now in the iTunes store or on Spotify. For more inspirational stories and messages like this, check out Jay’s website at jayshetty.me.