Truth, knowledge, bravery, love and selflessness. What if you had to pick just one? Which would become most important to you - so dominant that you would dismiss the other traits?
The bestselling novel by Veronica Roth, Divergent, creates a dystopian society where you must choose. Future-day Chicago is divided into factions. Each faction hones in on one of these important traits, and dedicates themselves to performing the tasks for society that best suit their traits (i.e. the faction who reveres bravery acts as security).
Prioritizing core values is not a new idea. The Scarecrow, the Tin man and the Lion set out to find three of these abovementioned traits over 100 years ago when Frank L. Baum’s book, The Wizard of Oz, was first released. More recently, in the 39 Clues series the Cahill family is divided into branches based on their dominant traits and talents.
Classifying humans by their personality traits isn’t new either. Myers-Briggs has been doing it since the 1940’s. I had to take this standardized test before given my first real job offer to be a shopping mall marketing manager. I was offered the position, probably because I indicated I would rather “cobble shoes” than “compare the relative areas of similar spheres” on the multiple choice test. At least, I think that’s how I answered that one…
The HDMI test color blocks our personality traits. I’m RED – glaring, bright, fire truck, stop sign red. That apparently means I’m emotional. Duh.
In The Me I Want to Be by John Ortberg there is a free personality test administered by Monvee to help readers identify their strengths and weaknesses. Mine came out that my personality is similar to Joseph’s from the Old Testament – you know the guy who dreamed about skinny and fat cows. The best and the worst of me (and apparently Joseph) – we are organized, task-oriented, detailed, punctual, impatient, easily flustered by change. Okay, enough about me and the guy with the rainbow coat.
The point of all these tests is to help us define ourselves, find ourselves, figure out what makes us tick. By identifying our strengths and weaknesses we can determine what jobs suit our personalities, what roles in groups best suit us, what we need to work on, why we react to certain situations the way we do, how we can maximize our strengths.
So, what do you value most? And how does that effect who you are? Would you ask the Wizard of Oz for courage or a heart or a brain or something else altogether?
The truth is we need some of all these traits to complete us. As Tobias says in Divergent, “I want to be brave and selfless and smart and kind and honest.” I agree, Tobias. I want to be all of those things too.
Have you read Divergent? Which faction would you choose?
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Laura L. Smith