2015 in Review: Year of the Personality
As 2015 has recently come to a close, our Facebook feeds are full of links to Top Ten lists and think pieces ruminating on the biggest buzzwords and trends of the past year. The usual end-of-the-year roundup inspired us to think about the trends that we’ve noticed this past year.
As it turns out, one of the most interesting trends of the past year is also among the other things that show up pretty frequently on our Facebook feeds. Scroll down your feed at any given time and you’ll see quite a few of your friends posting the results of personality quizzes, whether it’s a traditional Myers-Briggs type or, more likely, characters from the casts of movies, books and TV shows.
In our opinion, 2015 was the year of the personality, and 2016 looks to be the same. Everywhere we look, people are fascinated by personality types, from the “Which Character Are You?” quizzes that dominate our newsfeeds to presidential campaign coverage that focuses on contenders’ outsize personalities as much as it does their political platforms. Movies and television are also preoccupied with personality types these days: blockbusters like the Divergent series and Inside Out all feature characters that represent distinctly different personality types. Most importantly, these characters are all depicted interacting with another, clicking or clashing according to how their types match up, and it seems that we all can’t get enough of observing these dynamics.
Why the fascination with personality types? Once used for rather clinical purposes, like psychotherapy and job suitability assessment tests, now the study of personality types is deeply embedded in everyday culture. This transition, however, makes sense. Tools for human self-understanding tend to make their way into the mainstream, and a knowledge of personality types is just such a tool.
In the current moment, people have a particular fondness for seeing personality types represented by concrete symbols. In the past, abstract means of representing personality types were popularized through systems like Meyers-Briggs and DISC, which used letters to represent types. However, while useful in theory, these systems were much too abstract for the average person to connect with and retain.
In 2012, our founder, Merrick Rosenberg, co-authored the book Taking Flight!, which revolutionized the way DISC styles are taught. Instead of dry, abstract letters and diagrams, Taking Flight! represented the DISC styles in the form of four colorful, relatable bird characters. Rosenberg was one of the first to identify the public’s need for tangible, identifiable, concrete symbols that we now see everywhere in pop culture. Recently, his characters reappeared in his latest book, The Chameleon—just in time for the end-of-the-year round-up. If you’re late to the personality bandwagon, the trend isn’t going anywhere soon, making this a perfect time to pick up a copy and learn DISC to improve your personal and professional life.