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Being the Best Version of Yourself With Elsie Lincoln Benedict And Personality Quizzes

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Tuesday, December 19, 2023

Few people might recognize the name Elsie Lincoln Benedict or one of her most famous manuals, “How to Analyze People on Sight.” One newspaper ad in the 1930s called her “The World’s best-known lecturer.”

A talented public speaker with an art for persuasion, Benedict raised support for the suffragist movement in locations where others failed. She won men over, relieving their fears that women would not abandon their families or household duties once given the right to vote.

She left an impression wherever she went. For example, a crowd of 19 people turned into a whopping, literal traffic-stopping horde of 3,000 in Lincoln, NE. Benedict was arrested for the traffic disturbance.

“How to Analyze People on Sight” was a hit in her time, if only slightly overshadowed 15 years later by Dale Carnegie’s personal development sensation How to Win Friends and Influence People. At her Benedict School of Opportunity, she introduced her science of reading people (human analysis).

Benedict blazed the way for modern personality assessments. She was intent on educating and empowering people about personalities. She wanted them to learn about themselves and others to better understand and live harmoniously.

Today, many personality assessments exist. They help us figure out what makes us and others tick. Let’s dive more into Benedict's personality assessment and some other popular ones. We’ll let you know how they relate to your personal growth journey.


Elsie Lincoln Benedict’s Five Most Prominent Human Characters

Benedict grouped people into one of five categories. She spells out how to judge each by their outward appearance, but we’ll keep this brief. There’s the:

  • Alimentive Type– or The Enjoyer ​
  • ​Thoracic Type– or The Thriller
  • ​Muscular Type– or The Worker
  • ​Osseous Type– or The Stayer​
  • ​Cerebral Type– or The Thinker​

Her goal was for the individual first to learn their type. Then, they should seek to understand different types. With understanding comes patience, caring, and love. We can enjoy stronger, happier relationships knowing we were all born with set characteristics.

Benedict explained that both the individual and the entire national economy hung on diagnosing self and adjusting for another. Once we know ourselves and can classify others, we can tailor our communication and expectations for better working relationships.

“Isn’t this a bit superficial?” you might wonder. Benedict and other psychologists could argue that we judge and character-read naturally all the time, anyway. Our outward appearances give off certain impressions. We attempt to size up others before we get to know them. She just had it down to a science more so than anyone before her.


Putting This Knowledge to Good Use

Think about this: You need people.

Everyone has a power over you–the power to open or close off opportunities. And all due to their impression of you. The better you manage impressions, the more opportunities you’ll gain.

We can use Benedict’s revelations for our own personal development. We can lean into our strengths when we understand our natural inclinations and how our brains operate.

We can accept the things we aren’t good at and surround ourselves with those who complement us. Or, we can improve our weak areas.

In addition, our relationships with others improve. Working harmoniously together, we achieve more in life.

Personality typing is even helpful at work. Productivity improves when we can partner up with those who complement our type.


Other Types of Personality Assessments

People are complicated. Many forces affect how we act and react. Not everyone fits into a nice, neat package like their personality type.

Psychologists and scientists have just scratched the surface of assessing and grouping personalities. Most personality assessments readily admit that we live on a moveable spectrum of dominant and submissive personalities.

However, personality assessments make great icebreakers and starting points for quickly gauging someone. Hiring managers, for example, can use personality tests to quickly and efficiently whittle down a job candidate list to the personality profiles that fit the role. In fact, many Fortune 500 companies have been using them for years for hiring and team building. They also make an excellent tool for strategy, teamwork, communication, and productivity.

Here are a few other popular personality profile assessment tools.

DiSC: The DiSC assessment can tell you whether you are dominant in Dominance, Influence, Steadiness, or Conscientiousness. We all have a little bit of each style in us, but most of us score higher in one or two of the four types.

MBTI: The Myers-Briggs Type Indicator helps us identify and gain insight into how we collect information and make decisions. It measures our energy and how we prefer to recharge (Extraversion [E] or Introversion [I]), how we receive information (Sensing [S] or Intuition [N]), make decisions (Thinking [T] or Feeling [F]), and approach our world (Judging [J] or Perceiving [P]).

The Big 5: This more contemporary belief in five fundamental dimensions of personality ranks whether we are high or low in five areas: extroversion, agreeableness, openness, conscientiousness, and neuroticism.

Enneagram Types: This modern personality gauge is rooted in ancient wisdom. Initially, 108 types existed. Today, nine distinct and numbered personality types tell us whether we are more of a reformer, helper, achiever, individualist, investigator, loyalist, enthusiast, or challenger. There’s a bit of each type in all of us, but one matches best and is our primary personality type.

CliftonStrengths: With its 34 themes and four domains, this assessment is designed to help unleash your potential. We can hone our strengths to become the best version of ourselves and maximize our potential in all facets of life, from relationships and school to hobbies and careers.


Understanding Me

Author Stephen Covey wrote, “Seek First to Understand, Then to Be Understood.”

Personality typing is an exciting yet simplistic way to begin understanding ourselves and others. Once we recognize and know ourselves, we can learn different personality types. Understanding ourselves and others opens our eyes to more harmonious and productive living.

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