A couple of months ago I took Jordan Peterson’s updated version of the Big Five Aspect Scale. I figured that if I was going to start figuring out what caused me to go down the fuck up path, I needed to understand who I was.
If you are interested in taking this test yourself it’s $10 and definitely worth the investment. You get an incredibly detailed write up for each trait and subtrait. Below are my results, which I’ve summarised it in the interest of brevity.
The test is broken down into 5 traits, of which there are also 2 subcomponents in each.
Agreeableness: Exceptionally Low
Compassion: Exceptionally Low
‘Agreeableness is a very complex trait, with marked positive and negative elements all along its distribution.’
One of the things people are most likely to point out to me is my bluntness. I’ve never had a problem with confrontation or concretely stating my position, even at the expense of offending or upsetting people.
A low level of agreeableness might sound like a huge negative, but when you look at the highly agreeable people in your life you can get an idea of its negative side. Sure, more people are friendly with you, but that comes at the expense of being a pushover. I’ve been many things, but never a pushover. However, it would be fair to say that I take disagreeableness beyond its sweet spot. I’ve spent a lifetime burning bridges, I even once had a boss punch me because I was being such an aloof asshole. Luckily for me it ended in a payoff.
The compassion score is important to note, even though I’ve had a long streak of failure I have minimal concern for other fellow fuck ups. You’d think I’d empathise with their plight, but I don’t. I find sympathy at best patronising and at worst actively disables people. I think hard truths are infinitely more valuable than compassion.
Conscientiousness: Exceptionally Low
Industriousness: Exceptionally Low
Orderliness: Moderately Low
Definitely my number 1 reason for being such a fuck up. My ability to knuckle down and get to work is tragically lacking.
‘Conscientiousness is a measure of obligation, attention to detail, hard work, persistence, cleanliness, efficiency and adherence to rules, standards and processes. Conscientious people implement their plans and establish and maintain order.’
This will be my number 1 focus. I either need to find a way to change this trait or trick myself into performing in spite of it. I’ve tried schedules, rewards and punishments; nothing has worked as of yet. Every Sunday night I think ‘next week is when I finally get my act together, by Tuesday morning I’m back to square one.
Extraversion: Moderately Low
Enthusiasm: Very Low
Assertiveness: Typical or Average
‘Extraversion is a measure of general sensitivity to positive emotions such as hope, joy, anticipation and approach, particularly in social situations.’
Ironically, finding out the enthusiasm trait response was ‘very low’ made me laugh. It reminded me of every phoney attempt I had to look surprised and excited at Christmas or on birthdays. I can genuinely be excited about something yet appear like its nothing but a burden. I’ve grown a very dry sense of humour over the years because it suits my pessimistic/low energy persona.
Assertiveness differs from agreeableness in that it’s about the desire to lead, rather than personal boundaries. I’ve never been fussed about leading, but I’ll put myself forward to do it if everyone else is incompetent or timid. Not out of a desire to lead, more from a perspective of ‘if I don’t take charge this is going to be more work in the long run’. This is common in the shitty low-end jobs I often find myself in.
Neuroticism: Moderately Low
Withdrawal: Typical or Average
‘Neuroticism is a measure of general sensitivity to negative emotions such as pain, sadness, irritable or defensive anger, fear and anxiety.’
Despite being a bit of a fuck up my anxiety levels have never been a conscious problem for me. The only things that make me angry are an intermittent internet connection or social events I can’t escape from. In a way this lack of day to day anxiety probably hindered me. My brain rarely experiences the fear motivation that a lot of people have to get off their asses and fix a problem.
I’ll occasionally get a mild-moderate depression if I’m really on a downward thrust but thats rarer than it probably should be.
Openness to Experience: High
Intellect: Moderately High
Openness: Very High
‘Openness to experience is a measure of interest in novelty, art, literature, abstract thinking, philosophy as well as sensitivity to aesthetic emotions and beauty.’
A stand out trait for me is my openness to experience. In my day to day life, I am constantly cramming in art, philosophy and music. I need a constant stream of creative or abstract information or I feel a crippling wave of boredom wash over me. There was a very interesting line in the report.
‘Very open, creative people love beauty. They require an outlet for their creative ability, or they cannot thrive.’
I have no creative output of my own. At the moment, all I’m doing is absorbing everyone else’s work. If this trait is as important to how I function as it appears, this means that me being personally creative may have a big impact on overcoming my malaise.
I need to figure out a couple of things:
- What is the sweet spot for my disagreeableness?
- How does one become conscientious?
- How to become more enthusiastic (without being phoney)
- Can I learn to be more fearful of failure? (Would I even want to be?)
- Decide on a creative outlet