Why flow is important
Flow is the path of least resistance. When experiencing flow and trust, productivity increases and results improve dramatically. More fun will be had and greater connection will occur, whether in a work or home environment. People who have mastered their flow will know what to do.
What tests measure
One of the easiest ways to get to know more about our character traits, temperament, decision making abilities, communication styles, behaviour and attitudes and what motivates us, is to take a psychometric test of which there are several from which to choose. The tests give us information about why we think, feel and behave the way we do, and why people behave differently in what may appear on the outside to be a similar situation or context. The tests allow us to become more aware of our strengths and weakness, our preferences for occupations, people, activities and recreation, and what we enjoy or what we may find boring.
Benefits of testing
By aligning our behaviours with our personality and taking the path of least resistance, everything flows much more easily. We will have better health and greater connectivity and trust within our relationships, make more money and have more energy and increased vitality, whether this be in a personal or work space.
Everyone has a unique way of perceiving the world based on past experiences and inherited tendencies. Accepting that we are individuals and have a particular way of responding to situations goes a long time toward learning to work well with others. I discovered this more deeply when I studied NLP (Neuro-Linguistics Programming). When we fail to accept difference we may feel tense, disappointed, hurt, have unmet expectations and less success with people.
History of tests
The psychometric tests date back to studies, traditions and observations of natural systems from thousands of years ago by scientists and philosophers, from China (through the “I-Ching” or “Book of Changes”), ancient Egypt, Greece, and Persia, India and renaissance Europe.
Aristotle studied cause and effect and the nature of flow and discussed the concept of ether or spirit and why it is important to live a good life. Hippocrates noted that behaviours, moods and emotions appeared to follow four basic humors and elements [adopted from India] found in the body:
- Choleric (hot/wet – blood) [air]
- Sanguine (hot/dry – yellow bile) [fire]
- Phlegmatic (cold/wet – phlegm) [water]
- Melancholy (cold/dry – black bile) [earth]
Plato introduced the concept of democracy and people finding a place that works best for them in society.
The “I-Ching” is a study of time, sixty-four vectors and eight trigrams that provides a path of flow through poetry and advice that are designed to stimulate the unconscious mind to respond to specific situations in a more helpful way. Richard Wilhelm a German missionary and scholar translated “The Book of Changes” from 1913 to 1919 with Chinese sage, Lao Nai-Hsuan, who had decided to make it available to the west.
In 1920, Wilhelm presented the” I-Ching” to Carl Gustav Jung a Swiss psychiatrist and psychoanalyst who founded analytic psychology and was the understudy of Sigmund Freud. Freud was more focused on environmental influences than inherent, innate characteristics than Jung who broke away with his own theories. Jung was more interested in how we can better use our individual characteristics to create the best possible lives for ourselves.
Jung popularised the terms: archetypes, synchronicity and the collective unconscious (both relate to the fifth element), as well as the Jungian psychometric terms of introvert, extrovert, sensory and intuitive.
Jung, who was also influential in anthropology, archaeology, literature, philosophy, and religious studies, created his book “Psychological Types” (1921) from the “I-Ching.” He introduced the concepts of the interplay of opposites and the base frequencies of wood, fire, earth, metal and water and their connections with the seasons and spirit, the fifth element or the collective unconscious.
Jung categorised people into eight primary types of psychological function although never intended it to be used as a psychometric instrument. They are:
Two perceiving functions (adaptable and spontaneous with options kept open, tolerance and curiosity) including:
- Intuitive (concept, possibility and potential, future oriented)
- Sensor (concrete, facts and reality gained from the senses and present oriented)
And two judging functions (self disciplined, organized and a settled approach) including:
- Thinker (logical and objective analysis of cause and effect
- Feeler (subjective analysis by values and relationships)
There are also two attitudes that modify the four functions:
- Extravert (excitement, people and things)
- Introvert (thoughts, interests, ideas and imagination)
Many of the modern psychometric are based on Jung’s eight psychological types are used in companies and for recruitment and job placement.
In 1928, psychologist and creator of “Wonder Woman”, William Moulton Marston in his book “The Emotions of Normal People”, formulated the DISC theory based on a wellness model.
Psychologist Walter Vernon Clarke based his DISC behavioural assessment tool on the DISC theory. Clarke wanted to be able to predict behaviour toward others so as to promote stronger, better relationships. It is a simple intuitive system to use with a Jungian base that follows four, healthy behavioral characteristics:
- Dominating/driving/doing/demanding/decisive/determined/ask what (Choleric) – extroverted, task oriented.
[Strategy: Build respect by responding quickly, and focus on showing how to achieve success with facts, evidence and by overcoming problems.]
- Influencing/inspiring/interested in people/interaction/inducing/impressing/ask who (Sanguine) – extroverted, people oriented.
[Strategy: Develop rapport, listen, help convert talk into an outline for useful action and task completion, and recognise their accomplishments.]
- Steady/supportive/stable/shy/secure oriented/servile/submissive/specialist/ask how and when (Phlegmatic) – introverted, people oriented.
[Strategy: Create a relaxed and supportive work environment with genuine interest, clearly defined goals, time to adjust to changes with new ideas being presented carefully and acknowledgement of achievements.]
- Compliant/contemplative/cautious/competent/careful/calculating/ask how & why (Melancholic) – introverted, task oriented.
[Strategy: Be patient, persistent, diplomatic, well prepared, logical, use accuracy with clear data, show how it fits into the big picture, give plenty of notice and be specific with disagreements.]
[I have added the strategies it is useful to adopt with the behavioral types, as they are not included with the test.]
MBTI was launched in 1962. Mother and daughter, Katherine Myers and Isabel Myers-Briggs originally designed the test to assist women to get back into the workforce. The test allows participants to assess personal preferences about world perception and decision-making. It also gives a better idea the sort of occupation in which thriving is more likely to occur.
The MBTI (Myers Briggs type indicators) include the Jungian terms:
- Extravert (E) OR Introvert (I)
- Intuitive (N) OR Sensor (S)
- Thinker (T) OR Feeler (F)
- Judger (J) OR Perceiver (P)
This makes 16 categories in all.
Keirsey Temperament Sorter
In the Keirsey Temperament Sorter, David Keirsey, in his books from 1978, expanded on the ancient study of temperament by Hippocrates and Plato. He uses the categories suggested by Plato:
- Artisans (concrete & adaptable) are Operators (proactive) OR Entertainers (reactive).
- Guardians (concrete & organised) are Administrators (proactive) OR Conservators (reactive).
- Idealists (abstract & compassionate) are Mentors (proactive) OR Advocates (reactive).
- Rationals (abstract & objective) are Co-ordinators (proactive) OR Engineers (reactive).
This gives a total of sixteen categories that correlate with the sixteen MBTI categories and personality traits as defined by Jung.
Written by Marcus Buckingham and Donald O. Clifton, the StrengthsFinder online assessment test was launched by Gallop. It focuses on finding the top five strengths (out of a total of thirty-four) rather than on preferences or behaviours. Developing strengths or talent themes as they are referred to, will foster greater happiness and productivity, according to the authors.
Talent Dynamics is a more recent psychometric test designed originally for entrepreneurs and business owners around the world. Created by Roger Hamilton and Michelle Clark, in 2010, it integrates the five energies with the five Chinese elements, and the four seasons:
The eight profile types align with the eight, Chinese trigrams and include:
They all contain a certain mix of energy, action (Judger – Thinker OR Feeler, Extravert OR Introvert) and thinking styles (Perceiver – Intuitive OR Sensory) to use Jungian terminology. The Talent Dynamics Square outlines how the various profiles fit together.
Each profile type is designed to elicit strategies that will develop trust and flow in companies and teams. It links strengths and weaknesses to your preferences and then provides clear role models and strategies to follow. When we are in flow and following our natural tendencies, we align with our primary profile based on the balance of the five frequencies or energies that run through a cycle from start to finish.
Talent Dynamics provides an intuitive system, practical strategies and modern role models linking back 5000 years. It also links to the fifth element or spirit, team purpose, company mission and asks the question “why”.
The five-factor model (Big Five) is the system by which the behavioural sciences and psychologists assess all psychometric tests. It identifies the five factors that make up our personalities and that all tests seek to measure including the four characteristics plus the fifth element:
- Openness (curious OR cautious)
- Consciousness (organised OR easy-going, unstructured)
- Extraversion (outgoing OR reserved)
- Agreeableness (friendly OR fractious, pressured)
- Spirit (spirited OR neurotic)
All of the above tests tap into the four basic personality types, with some branching out into many subtypes. The big advantage of Talent Dynamics is that it provides an overlaying comprehensive system dating back thousands of years. Specific strategies to help find flow and grow trust in business or personal life are included. It also has the advantage of building on the knowledge and wisdom of previously created psychometric tests.
To take the Talent Dynamics Assessment go to:
Bonus: Receive a complimentary half hour coaching session.
GayeLouise Gabriella O’Brien, Founder of New Life Solutions is a catalyst for transformational change, a visionary entrepreneur, an inspirational speaker, flow consultant, corporate and NLP trainer, educational consultant, peak performance and executive coach, dynamic workshop facilitator and breakthrough specialist.
She is the author and presenter of “SUPER Inner Success: 5 Keys to Finding Your Flow”, an online step-by-step program that focuses on giving clients the opportunity to extend their flow, harmony and productivity and improve their success and vitality in 5 SUPER easy steps, using a variety of practical and thought-provoking tools, techniques, strategies, activities, interactions and self-reflections. www.newlifesolutions.com.au
GayeLouise is also the international best-selling author of “NLP Essentials for Teachers: The Art of encouraging Excellence in Your Students”. It was written to help teachers, trainers, managers, leaders, coachers, healers and parents create a learning environment that reinforces success principles, and communication skills which builds rapport, resolves conflict, fosters resiliency and empowers learners and clients. http://www.nlpessentials.com/