THE BLOG

How to Optimize Your Personality

04/20/2015 11:26 am ET | Updated Jun 20, 2015

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Do you want to better understand how you work?

In this post, I am going to discuss the five invisible forces that shape your personality. Researchers have found that every person, regardless of gender, age and nationality is made up of five basic traits:

  • Openness

  • Conscientiousness

  • Extroversion

  • Agreeableness

  • Neuroticism

Fondly known as the Big 5 or OCEAN, these are incredibly helpful for understanding yourself. When you understand your own personality, you are able to ask for your needs, connect more easily and optimize your behavior. Read below or watch the video to figure out where you fall on the spectrum. You can also take our official quiz to find out your Big 5.

1. Openness

Openness is when someone is curious and open-minded to new experiences and knowledge. People who are high in openness are inventive and curious, while people who are low in openness are consistent and cautious. Do you agree or disagree with these statements?

  • I love adventure.

  • I am imaginative.

  • I am the first to try new activities.

If you agreed, you are probably high in openness. If you disagreed, you are probably low in openness. Openness helps you understand what brings you happiness and how you should spend your time. If you are high open you should make new adventures, checking off a long bucket list and travel a priority. If you are low open you should spend more time cultivating tradition, ritual and habits that make you happy.

Special Note: If you are high in openness, let people in your life know that you love to be challenged. Make sure you have creative outlets to express yourself. You also have to make sure your spouse or partner knows your level of adventure so your needs are met.

2. Conscientiousness

Conscientiousness describes how organized and dependable you are. People who are high in conscientiousness are efficient and organized. People who are low in conscientiousness are more easy-going and laid back. Do you agree or disagree with these statements?

  • I have high self-discipline.

  • I am very organized and always come prepared.

  • I like to know the plan rather than be spontaneous.

If you agreed, you are probably high in conscientiousness. If you disagreed, you are probably low in conscientiousness. Conscientiousness can be great to help you choose which profession to do or what tasks to do in your profession. If you are high conscientiousness you want to manage the calendar, to do list and execute plans. If you are low conscientiousness then you want to be the imaginative person who doesn't get bogged down with organization-and know when to ask for help with this!

Special Note: If you are high in conscientiousness, you want to make sure that the people around you respect your desire to have a plan, but don't get too frustrated with people who are low in conscientiousness-you can't blame them for not being organized, it just doesn't come as naturally.

3. Extroversion

Extroversion describes how you interact with people. People who are high in extroversion are outgoing and energetic. People who are low in extroversion are more solitary and reserved. Do you agree or disagree with these statements?

  • I am the life of the party.

  • I don't mind being the center of attention.

  • I am usually the one to start a conversation with someone.

If you agreed, you are probably high in extroversion. If you disagreed, you are probably low in extroversion. Always know where you thrive and where you survive and if you are in the middle, check out our posts on Ambiverts!

Special Note: If you are low in extroversion, be sure to not force yourself to try to be extroverted. Honor your introversion. You never want to try to be something or someone you are not. Think of the places and people who get you excited and stick to those nourishing spots. This helps you stay true to yourself-let the extroverts go to the nightclubs!

4. Agreeableness

Agreeableness is how you feel towards others. People who are high in agreeableness are friendly and compassionate. People who are low in agreeableness are more analytical and detached. Do you agree or disagree with these statements?

  • I tend to trust people and give them the benefit of the doubt.

  • I am extremely empathetic.

  • I like to make other people feel at ease.

If you agreed, you are probably high in agreeableness. If you disagreed, you are probably low in agreeableness. Let your family know your level of agreeableness and don't try to be something you are not and use your assets if you can. If you are high agreeable be the welcome brigade in the family for new members!

Special Note: If you are low in agreeableness, empathy doesn't come as naturally to you. So your partner might say things like, don't you understand me? Or, why don't you get me? That's okay; know that you have to make more of a mental effort to put yourself in their shoes.

5. Neuroticism

Neuroticism is how you deal with emotions. People who are high in neuroticism are sensitive and tend to be more nervous. People who are low in neuroticism tend to be more secure and stable. Do you agree or disagree with these statements?

  • I stress out easily.

  • I tend to be moody.

  • I am a worrier.

If you agreed, you are probably high in neuroticism. If you disagreed, you are probably low in neuroticism.

Special Note: This is important for your spouse to know.If you are high in neuroticism, you have to know your triggers-what makes you worry? And your calmers-what helps you calm down? This will help you to be more in control of your moods.