Guiding Principle #1: Know Thy Personality

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man in the mirrorThe first guiding principle of the Puzzle Box Paradigm is tied directly to your relationship with money. This relationship was formed very early in your life. So it’s rooted in your personality.

The Puzzle Box Paradigm:
4 Guiding Principles to Greater Wealth, Prosperity & Happiness

  1. Introduction to The Puzzle Box Paradgm
  2. Guiding Principle #1: Know Thy Personality
  3. Guiding Principle #2: Know Thy Lifestyle
  4. Guiding Principle #3: Know Thy Finances
  5. Guiding Principle #4: Know Thy Goals & Conclusion

Your personality is defined as a combination of the behaviors, thoughts, and feelings that make you unlike any other person on the planet. According to psychological research, your specific personality traits fall into five categories. Let’s take a closer look at these categories and understand how they might affect your attitude about money, success, and wealth.

Extrovert vs Introvert – An extrovert is someone who is outgoing, talkative, very social, and enjoys meeting people. An introvert is someone who shies away from crowds and parties, prefers to stay home, and is generally pretty quiet.

Agreeable vs Aggressive – An agreeable person is someone who is trusting, cooperative, kind, and affectionate.  An aggressive person is someone who is confrontational, distrusting, and might, at times, be described as being a jerk.

Conscientious vs Irresponsible – A conscientious person is someone who is dependable, orderly, and responsible. An irresponsible person is someone who is careless, checked out, thoughtless, and not very goal-oriented.

Neurotic vs Well-Balanced – A neurotic person is someone who has anxieties, suffers from depression, and freaks out in stressful situations. A well-balanced person is someone who is almost always cool, calm, and collected.

Openness vs Close-Minded – An open person is someone who is creative, imaginative, enjoys new experiences, and loves life. A close-minded person fears the unknown, resists new ideas and experiences, and is not very interested in much at all.

Now let me ask you a question. Which personality trait is likely to spend the most money — an extreme extrovert or an extreme introvert?

Okay, it’s a bit of a trick question. My guess is that most people would choose the extreme extrovert. But the reality is that it’s possible for both extremes to have unhealthy relationships with money.

Naturally, an extrovert who loves attention, big parties, and the like could burn through money like there’s no tomorrow. But an extreme introvert who stays home with the doors locked could do just as much damage by buying expensive video games, computer gear, and other tech toys, and ordering dinner in every night.

As young children, we were all bombarded with stimuli that helped to shape who we became as adults. By the time we were preschoolers, we were astutely aware of the impact of money in our lives.

Perhaps your first conscious experience with money was with the tooth fairy (thanks, dad) leaving a quarter under your pillow. And if that wasn’t enough, you certainly internalized its power with each passing Christmas, holiday, and birthday. Like a crunchy, chocolaty, sugary cereal, you knew that money was good and you wanted more of it.

Of course, what you didn’t realize is how the money virus weaved itself into the DNA of your personality and would help to shape a multitude of decisions throughout your life. In most people, the virus is kept under control. But sometimes, it can and does go haywire.

This is why it’s important that you truly know your personality, understand how money influences you, and take corrective action if a trait is showing itself to be too extreme.

The Benefits of Personality Tests

When I worked in Corporate America, I recall taking the famous Myers & Briggs personality test. I forget why, but it was part of one of many training classes that I partook in throughout my career. (By the way, I love tests like these. You always learn or confirm something about yourself. There are no right or wrong answers.)

Anyway, after your Myers & Briggs scores are tallied, you’re assigned a dominant personality profile based on these four categories:

– Extrovert (E) vs Introvert (I)
– Intuition (N) vs Sensing (S)
– Thinking (T) vs Feeling (F)
– Perceiving (P) vs Judging (J)

My results indicated that I’m an INTJ person (Introvert, Intuition, Thinking, Judging).  If you’re curious as to what that says about me, here’s a page that gives a more detailed description.

Your test results would also include percentages that reveal just how strongly your personality leans in one direction or the other for each category. For example, my extrovert/introvert split was about down the middle. The results indicated that I am 51% introvert and 49% extrovert.

This means that I’m quite comfortable meeting people and engaging in stimulating conversations. But I wouldn’t be the one who worked the room until I had met everyone at the party and knew all their names.

I’ve taken a few personality tests, just for fun, and to my surprise they’ve all penciled me into the same basic personality box as the Myers & Briggs test. So, I know my personality well and I take ownership for my faults. (Okay, there’s not a lot of them…lol….but because I’m consciously aware, I would know if a trait started causing the “extreme meter” to turn red.)

There are lots of free personality tests that you can find online by performing a simple search, but it’s questionable how accurate they are. Here’s a free one that I took and it’s based on aspects of the Myers & Briggs approach. You don’t have to provide your email or other personal information. It gave me pretty good results.

I recommend that you take the test. Once you submit your answers, you’ll be directed to a page where you can download a couple of free reports that describe your personality profile. Review the information, compare it to the five categories above, and see if it closely matches your personality.

Then, save it because you’ll need to refer to it later as you put together your personal puzzle box image.

Of course, if you’d like to take a more thorough test offered by a well-respected organization that also has corporate clients, I would recommend this organization…

I took one of their tests not long ago to see if I could gain additional insight into what I should do for my business and career going forward. I guess it worked.

Here’s another Myers & Briggs type test that looks pretty good, but I have not taken it.

Now, if you take a test once and the results turn out to be different than you view your personality, take the same test again or another similar test. If the results of the second test closely resemble those from the first test, do this. Share the results with a few friends who will give you honest feedback. If they agree with most or all of the results, considerate it an unexpected revelation.

Quick Money Personality Test

Now you know that money can influence one’s personality, sometimes to a significant degree. So it’s time for you to take a little test to see just how much it influences yours. Don’t worry, this won’t hurt a bit.

As you already know, money follows a very simple cycle in our lives. We obtain it, manage it, and spend it. Okay, sometimes we give it away, but let’s save that discussion for another day.

The test below offers two opposing extreme positions for each step of the money cycle. All you have to do is review the positions and assign a score from 1-10 to indicate how close you are to one extreme or the other. A score of 1 would mean that the first extreme fits you perfectly and 10 means the second extreme is spot on. Of course, you can pick a number between 1 and 10 that better reflects your leaning. Be honest, no one is watching.

Obtain It – When it comes to getting money, on one extreme your attitude could be that you don’t care about it and are totally cool with a minimum wage job. At the other extreme is the potential willingness to engage in criminal activity to get as much money as you can. Score:________

Manage It – Once you get money in your banking and saving accounts, how do you manage it? Are you a total neurotic if you’re not the one controlling the checkbook, doling out every penny, and choosing all the investments? Or, at the opposite extreme, are your financial records a total mess and you have no idea how much money is in your accounts? Score:________

Spend It – Are you one of those people who is a miser or penny pincher? Would you even avoid going to the doctor just to save a few dollars? Or, to the other extreme, do you have no money because you spent it on 1000 pair of shoes or a $100,000 Mercedes? Score:________

If any of your money personality scores are very high or very low, such as 1-2 or 9 -10, these could represent issues that are preventing you from establishing a key border for your personal puzzle box picture. Remember that all four edges of a jigsaw puzzle must align and connect perfectly. We will revisit this later after establishing the remaining borders.

Action Steps

– Review the 5 personality trait categories to gain a better understanding of your own personality
– Take the online personality test and review the results
– Take the Quick Money Personality Test and review the results
– Jot down any current personality traits that you feel may need to be changed or adjusted

>>>Guiding Principle #2: Know Thy Lifestyle>>>

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