The 5 Best Tools for Learning Who you Are

He who knows others is wise. He who knows himself is enlightened.

– Lao Tzu

In case that first quotation isn’t enough to stress the importance of self-knowledge, here are a few more from other great thinkers throughout history:

We should know what our convictions are, and stand for them. Upon one’s own philosophy, conscious or unconscious, depends one’s ultimate interpretation of facts. Therefore it is wise to be as clear as possible about one’s subjective principles. As the man is, so will be his ultimate truth.

– Carl Jung

Many men go fishing all of their lives without knowing that it is not fish they are after.

– Henry David Thoreau

If you do not tell the truth about yourself you cannot tell it about other people.

– Virginia Woolf

The life which is unexamined is not worth living.

– Plato

So its pretty important to understand what makes you tick! We all have an innate desire to know where we fit, how to identify ourselves accurately. Popular magazines entice you with such tests as “what kind of lover are you?”, or “find out which diet works best for you!”.

There are thousands of such quizzes out there, and hundreds of personality tests that have been scientifically critiqued. Today I will share with you 5 of the most simple and effective tools for gaining a better idea of the answer to the question “Who am I?”.

  1. Johari’s Window
  2. Maslow’s Hierarchy of Needs
  3. Myers-Briggs Personality Type Indicator
  4. Personality Enneagram
  5. Multiple Intelligence Test

*The links I am going to share with you are not official. To get the most accurate assessment requires taking an official test, often provided through a mental health professional – which both cost. You can do your own online search to find mental health practitioners in your area, or to find websites that administer official tests.*

1. Johari’s Window

This is an interesting concept about self-awareness that applies to everyone.  It has 4 quadrants based on what I do and don’t know about myself, and what others do and don’t know about me. The goal is to decrease that which is hidden from myself and others – the unknown. This test obviously requires the involvement of others, and you can use the above link to see how.


2. Maslow’s Hierarchy of Needs

Abraham Maslow was a developmental psychologist who published his famous hierarchy of needs in a 1943 paper “A Theory of Human Motivation“. If you click the image below or the title above, it will take you to a quick self-test based on his 8 stages.

3. Myers-Briggs Personality Type Indicator

This is the standard when it comes to personality tests. I don’t have enough time to go into the entire history and theory of this test. It has its roots in the 4 temperaments, which is about 5,000 years old. It is based directly on Carl Jung’s theories of the 2 attitude types (introverted and extroverted), and 4 functional types (thinking, feeling, sensation, intuition) which he used to describe 16 personality types. The MBTI uses these 16 personality types as its basis. You can do your own historical study online, or click the link above to take a test.

By the way, I am an ENFJ – extroverted, intuitive, feeling, judging (with high scores in the feeling and intuition). One day maybe I’ll go into this further…:)

4. Personality Enneagram

The enneagram (pronounce in-EE-uh-gram) is ancient symbol of unity and diversity, change and transformation. This one also has plenty of history and research to back it, but it based on more spiritual and esoteric foundations. It is based on 9 personality types, as can be seen below. Click on the link above or the image below to see how to learn your type. The unofficial tests I have taken have indicated I am most aligned with The Enthusiast!

5. Multiple Intelligence Test

This is one that has less history than the previous tests, but it certainly helps to know how we best learn – where are your strengths? It was designed by Howard Gardner, another developmental psychologist, in 1983. It identifies 7 Intelligence Types (Linguistic, Logical-Mathematical, Musical, Bodily-Kinesthetic, Spatial-Visual, Interpersonal, Intrapersonal). The link I share takes you to a simple self-test. I score highest on interpersonal and intrapersonal, with logical-mathematical being secondary.


So there you have it: the 5 best tools for gaining better self-knowledge. This list is certainly not all-inclusive, and there are many more ways to gain a much richer understanding of yourself. These can certainly aid you in being able to better answer “Who am I?“.


Tough times never last, but tough people do!


9 comments on “The 5 Best Tools for Learning Who you Are

  1. This is excellent 🙂 I’ve taken myers briggs many years ago. Still have it in a folder after taking it. I should dig that out and take a look at it.

  2. Hey Troy – I’m an INFJ & a “4” on the Enneagram. The other stuff is really interesting — I’d never heard of the Johari Window before. Your blog is laid out really nicely as well. I’ve yet to figure out how to insert images and so forth — maybe that’s something you can help me with.

    • Hey my friend thanks for your input.

      As for adding pictures, I’m not sure how you add posts, but I will tell you what I do. From wordpress site or your home page, you have access to “dashboard”. I go there, and click “posts” from the right sidebar menu. Once I’m at a new post, there are 3 small icons above the “kitchen sink” menu. One is for media, one is for polls, one is for forms.

      To add pictures, click “add media”. This brings up a file transfer form, where you select a file from your own computer. Choose your image, then you are able to edit it from the same menu on the wordpress site (size, alignment, etc.)

      You can also save files from dashboard, and reference them in html. Same for adding videos (for example, youtube has the “embed” option on most its videos, which you use in the html format of adding post, instead of the visual format).

      If you have any other questions please let me know…I’m learning as I go along and love to help!

  3. I think it’s a good idea for those of us using WordPress to help fill each other in as to its various features. Occasionally I encounter an issue that seems serious enough I need to go to one of the support forums, but the last time I did so, the particular Happiness Engineer who was addressing my issue clearly did not understand the issue throughout most of the dialogue, during which time he never ceased to try and get me to upgrade my account.

    Not knocking anything having to do with the official hierarchy, since after all, it’s an awesome service to get for free. But often it helps to take a few baby steps before escalating things up quite so far, in general.

    By the way, I just today learned that WordPress has a “paste from Word” option. I used it with this afternoon’s “Where Would You Like to Be?” post. It honored changes in font sizes and colors, and would probably honor photo inserts as well. All one has to do is write the blog on Word first (or a similar program — I used Open Office), and use the feature to paste it onto WordPress. Voila! Pretty cool, if you ask me.

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