Besides catching up on some reading and spending time with the daughters’ families over the holidays I signed up and completed Jordan Peterson’s new course: Discovering Personality. The course costs US$140 and comprises eight lectures and includes a personality assessment co-devised by Peterson himself. If you are interested in personality and what makes people tick it is worth doing.
I must declare I am a big fan of Peterson. I think his book is excellent: I reviewed it here. Some of the YouTube clips where he is interviewed by “woke” media personalities are terrific. His stance of telling the truth and not bowing to political correctness is outstandingly commendable.
The course is based on the Five Factor Model of personality. As Peterson says any personality model with any value has to include the Five Factor Model or it lacks scientific validity. For that reason you should reject use of either DISC or the Myers-Briggs models of the personality. I could not agree more. (For my take download my free white paper The 7MTF: A Practical Tool to Lift Your Emotional Intelligence).
What Peterson has done is take the Five Factor model and divide each of the five factors into two sub factors.
Extraversion (80%): Enthusiasm (41%) and Assertiveness (94%)
Neuroticism (7%): Withdrawal (1%) and Volatility (38%)
Agreeableness (3%): Compassion (10%) and Politeness (2%)
Conscientiousness (91%): Industriousness (97%) and Orderliness (66%)
Openness to experience (20%): Intellect (67%) and Openness (aka Creativity) (3%)
(The figures in percentages are my actual scores on Peterson’s Personality Assessment)
It is here that Peterson and I part company. The Peterson’s 10 factor model lacks practicality. Seven is the magic number because it is the limit of short-term memory and is how many factors a practical model should contain. Seven is the Goldilocks number. This is why I like the 7MTF/Humm model as it is the happy medium between the four factors of DISC and 16 types of Myers-Briggs. The five most common factors in the 7MTF/Humm also match the Five Factors providing scientific validity.
Again I disagree with his definition of Extraversion. I could not agree more that Extraverts are enthusiastic. In the 7MTF/Humm these people are known as Socialiser/Movers. They are energetic, fun-loving, affectionate, friendly, talkative, make eye contact and impulsive. They are drawn to sales and customer service roles.
However, I disagree with the inclusion of Assertiveness. According to Peterson Assertive people are competitive, take charge, have a strong personality, see themselves as good leaders, can talk others into doing things and are the first to act. There is no doubt such people exist and in the 7MTF/Humm they are known as Politicians.
I do agree with Peterson that personality traits are highly genetically influenced. The key premise of the 7MTF/Humm model is that we are all slightly mad and our temperament is determined by our position on the spectra of the most common seven mental illnesses. For the Socialiser/Mover the mental illness is mania and for the Politician it is paranoia. In addition, they have different core desires. For the Socialiser/Mover it is the desire to communicate and for the Politician it is the desire to win. There are some that combine these two factors and such people are dynamic, seek positions of authority, have a self-assured attitude, and the potential for providing strong leadership.
The other major area of disagreement I have with Peterson is his assertion that people high in Extraversion value the present more highly and tend to discount the future more, while the opposite is true of introverts. Yes, I agree there are many people who are unable to delay gratification and will take a short-term gain now rather than a subsequent later greater gain. Mischel’s marshmallow test is justly famous. However, the people who really follow this rule are not Socialiser/Movers but are the GoGetter/Hustlers. They are the ones who opportunistic. Their determining mental illness is psychopathy and their core desire is for material success.
Again, these two factors can be combined in a personality. These people are the friendly entrepreneurs who value both financial success and social popularity. They remain highly alert to opportunities for material gain, but are also prepared to put in the effort needed for success. They thoroughly enjoy social entertainment, can be lavish hosts, but expect reciprocal treatment. They are capable of “using” people to further their own cause, and they are not all that subtle in how they use their social skills.
I will look at the other four factors is subsequent reviews.
This article was first posted on LinkedIn on 24 January 2020.
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