Why psychometrics and general ideas about personality inhibit psychological optimization

The short answer: psychometrics invariably yield bell curves.

The medium answer: general ideas about personality are derived from psychometrics.

The long answer: probably no one has ever been in the middle of all psychometric bell curves—curves for empathy, perseverance, intelligence, musical talent, athleticism, sexual satisfaction, “extraversion, agreeableness, openness, conscientiousness, or neuroticism.”

If you are on either side of the bell curve for anything that is significant to you, you will be measuring yourself against a standard that is not right for you.

And even if you are in the middle for everything, no one else is.

It’s fine to have a look at what some researchers find on some test, but it would be close-minded, not conscientious. probably neurotic, and highly disagreeable (to you and others) to do more than use those data as a mildly interesting sociological marker that doesn’t tell you all that much.

Without question psychometric data will inhibit your psychological optimization if you take them too seriously.

If you are to the left of any “good” metric, knowing the center of the curve might inspire you to try harder but it might also inspire you to try too hard at something you will never be able to do well. If you are to the right of any “good” metric, the center of the curve may cause you to hold back.

And who gets to say what is a “good” metric? At best some other metric. At worst a soft consensus among experts who have been acculturated into thinking that way.

Psychometrics are helpful for general classifications of individuals who cannot care for themselves or who have no one to turn to or who cannot achieve any happiness on their own.

For individuals who are self-reliant, understanding how your mind actually functions in real-time real-life situations is the only way to optimize your psychology.

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