Have you ever taken one of the many quizzes or little tests that are meant to help you know yourself better? You know the ones:
- Where you examine your lipstick to see what it’s worn shape says about you–you’re mysterious and hold your cards close to your chest because your lipstick is pointed or you’re bold and outgoing because your lipsstick is flat and worn straight across.
- Where you find out if you’re an introvert or extrovert by the colors of clothing you wear, fabrics you decorate your home with, and foods you eat.
- Where you determine the best kind of vacation for you by examining the books on your bookshelf, the socks in your sock drawer, and the fruit in your fruit bin.
- Or where choose the kind of man you should marry based on the kind of coffee you like to drink–bold and robust or rich and smooth…
I’ve certainly taken my share of those tests in my day…more so in my Glamor magazine college days than in recent years. The editors of Southern Living and Southern Lady don’t seem to have caught on to the value of such questionnaires. But I’ve evaluated my colors, my lipstick shapes, my favorite ways to spend a Friday night, and my handwriting enough to know that whether or not these things actually indicate anything about me, the editors of those magazines and the creators of those tests certainly know how to craft a questionnaire so as to make me consistently fall into the same one of four types of people.
In other words, the tests don’t really help me know myself better, but they certainly help sell vacation time shares, lipsticks, sweaters, romance novels, and even cars–whatever the generator of said quiz is pushing.
The truth is knowing ourselves is a somewhat convenient and helpful skill to aid us in navigating life’s little decisions. The better we understand our personality, temperament or learning style, the better we might handle relationships, school, or a job search. So it is wise to do some self-evaluation occasionally…though there are probably better ways than looking at the shape of your lipstick.
On the other hand, if we really want to be successful at this life, navigating it wisely, skillfully, and with integrity, we’re better off with a different kind of knowledge.