For much of my life, I was lost.
I was lost living other people’s lives.
I was lost seeking successes defined by other people.
I was lost walking paths meant for others.
Paths not meant for me.
Following people who meant well but led me astray.
Wondering around aimlessly.
Stumbling on obstacles in the dark…
Until I stumbled upon a treasure. A treasure of wisdom.
Texts written by people wiser than me.
Books that taught me lessons about who I am. Books that helped me find myself and to define myself. Books that gave me the words to describe myself to others and ask for what I need. Books that lit the way to show me the path that was the right one for me.
Thanks to the books I’m about to share with you, I no longer feel lost in life. I know exactly where I’m headed and why. When I accidentally take a wrong turn, I recognize it instantly and correct my course. When I’m at a crossroads – making decisions – I’m now confident in knowing which turn is the right one for me to take.
Because I know myself. Inside and out. And you will too if you check out these books:
WHAT TYPE OF HERO YOU ARE AND WHAT YOUR SUPERPOWER IS
#1 Gifts Differing: Understanding Personality Type* by Isabel Briggs Myers – This is the classic, and in my humble opinion, the best book about the Myers Briggs Type Indicator (MBTI). This book describes personality differences in terms of four preferences:
- extraversion or introversion
- sensing or intuition
- thinking or feeling
- judgment or perception
Based on a combination of these four preferences, people can be divided into 16 different personality types. Gifts Differing will help you identify your particular personality type, describe it in detail, explain how it impacts you, and teach you how to apply this knowledge in practice.
#2 Please Understand Me II: Temperament, Character, Intelligence by David Keirsey – This is a great follow-up to Gifts Differing. Keirsey groups the 16 Myers-Briggs personality types into four temperaments: Artisans, Guardians, Rationals, and Idealists. This book not only gives you further insight into your own personality (or temperament), but it’s also awesome in helping you see where you fit in relation to other people and why you might jive well with some people but not others.
#3 The 16 Personality Types: Profiles, Theory, & Type Development by A.J. Drenth – If you want an even more in-depth description of your personality type, this is the book to get. You’ll learn all about your type’s cognitive functions and how your type tends to develop over the lifespan.
IN CASE OF CONFUSION…
#4 My True Type: Clarifying Your Personality Type, Preferences & Functions by A.J. Drenth – This is another good one by A.J. Drenth if you have any doubts about which type you are. Before I read this book, I was fairly sure I was an INFJ, but in the back of my mind, I sometimes wondered if I could be an INTJ or INFP instead. After reading My True Type, I knew for sure.
MORE CHARACTERISTICS TO TAKE INTO ACCOUNT
#5 Me, Myself, and Us: The Science of Personality and the Art of Well-Being by Brian Little – Interestingly enough, the author of this book thinks the Myers-Briggs theory is hogwash. But I forgive him for that part, because the rest of the book is super interesting. 🙂 Among other things, you’ll find out:
- Where you fall in terms of the Big Five personality traits: conscientiousness, agreeableness, neuroticism, openness to experience, and extraversion.
- Whether you are a high self-monitor or low self-monitor. How much do you adjust your behavior based on the situation and who you are with?
- Whether you have an internal or external orientation to control. Do you think you have lots of control over your fate or do you think that external forces largely determine what happens to you?
- Your orientation to the physical environment. What kind of places you prefer to live in?
#6 The Pathfinder: How to Choose or Change Your Career for a Lifetime of Satisfaction and Success by Nicholas Lore – This is a career book first and foremost, but going through the questionnaires and exercises in this book will give you bunches of self awareness outside your work life as well. What are your passions and interests? Are you a maestro or a tribal personality? What are your natural talents and aptitudes? This book is so thorough that you are bound to walk away from it with tons of new self knowledge.
HOW TO KNOW WHEN YOU HAVE VEERED OFF COURSE
#7 Was That Really Me?: How Everyday Stress Brings Out Our Hidden Personality by Naomi L. Quenk – If you want to become more aware of how you act under stress and why, then this is your book. In Was That Really Me, Quenk describes the kinds of situations that are likely to trigger stress for each of the 16 personality types, details how each personality type typically behaves when under stress, and provides suggestions for regaining equilibrium.
#8 The Shadows of Type by Angelina Bennet – This is an interesting little book that describes how each of the 16 types appears at different levels of personal development. Along with Quenk’s book, this one will help you recognize when you are not at your best.
HOW TO DROP THE EXTRA BAGGAGE THAT’S WEIGHING YOU DOWN
#9 I Could Do Anything If I Only Knew What It Was: How to Discover What You Really Want and How to Get It by Barbara Sher – This is another career book that, yes, will clarify what you want to do for a living, but will also provide tremendous value with other life goals. There are some awesome insights and exercises in this book that will help you drop the extra baggage you might be carrying from your past and overcome the obstacles that might be holding you back.
HOW TO NAVIGATE TOWARD YOUR GOALS
#10 Wishcraft: How to Get What You Really Want by Barbara Sher – Once you actually know what you want in life, this book will give you the tools to get there. Sher will give you a bounty of practical tips for mapping out the path to your best life. Whatever that may look like!
What do you think about my list? Do you have any good “self awareness” books to add? I would love to hear from you in the comments below. 🙂
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