In the interest over the years of playing to my strengths, I have taken a number of personal assessments. No experience I have ever had has been as personally-revealing about who I am and what I am mentally designed to do as was the results review I had after my three-day test at the Johnson O'Connor Research Foundation. The best test I have ever taken to help me understand what my presence offers to any team or social environment is Gallup's CliftonStrengths assessment. In the interest of living a fulfilled and productive life, I think I would recommend them both to anyone.
Wikipedia says "Johnson O'Connor (1891 – 1973) was an American psychometrician, researcher, and educator. He is most remembered as a pioneer in the study of aptitude testing... O'Connor sought to expand his efforts in researching human aptitudes and in 1930 he founded the Human Engineering Laboratory at Stevens Institute of Technology. This organization evolved into the Johnson O'Connor Research Foundation, a non-profit organization with branches in several major U.S. cities."
On aptitudes, JOCRF.org says, "[a]ptitudes are natural talents for doing certain kinds of things quickly and easily...These abilities aren’t related to what you’ve learned in school or your interests, which can change over time. Aptitudes are talents you’re born with, so you can use your test results to make decisions throughout your career."
The company widely known internationally for their opinion polls, Gallup, also has a personal strengths assessment focusing exclusively on cognitive psychology metrics. There are several qualities making up one's abilities in executing, influencing, relationship building, and strategic thinking and Gallup's CliftonStrengths test shows you what yours are. Don Clifton, the creator of CliftonStrengths, was called "the father of strengths-based psychology and the grandfather of positive psychology" by the American Psychological Association.
Usually people have three to five or six aptitudes. People who have more than six are known by JOCRF to be "Many Aptitude People" (and used to be called "Too Many Aptitude People"). I have many more than that. While this is easily interpreted as bragging, it is not. More on that soon...
Aptitudes are not just abilities - they're needs, too. If you don't use your aptitudes you become deflated. The problem is that the world is organized for people with a few aptitudes, not a dozen. This means I am a very intellectually-needy person. The research facilitators in both Denver and New York City offices have advised that I will need to create many more outlets for my aptitudes in my professional and personal lives than most "Many Aptitude People" know what to do with. This is why they used to be called "Too Many Aptitude" people. What I do with my auditory aptitudes is the best illustration of this.
All three auditory aptitudes are high for me. These three aptitudes are statistically unrelated so having all three is an unusually strong combination for music, language, sound. This helps explain why my wife and I raise our kids in Chinese, we live in Puerto Rico, I play piano for church services, sing in musical numbers, and I listen to music on all my drives. I have been extremely fortunate to be able to put these things in place in my life to complement my design leadership work and fulfill me.
The following are other meaningful clusters of aptitudes:
The combination of being a generalist with high ideaphoria, non-spatial thinking, an objective personality, and foresight is known to be the group influencer combination. I have been advised that these aptitudes are the most determinant for my career.
This combination of aptitudes helps explain my gravitation to the problem-solving aspect of human-centered design:
I score very high in the combination JOCRF associates with numerical analysis given this combination of high aptitudes. I've found this intellectually stimulating mostly in research contexts, but financial ones as well.
Analytical reasoning is only one aptitude measured, but the more aptitudes one has the more variety of information they process with facility. Because of this, "many aptitude people" are more analytical by nature.
It's obvious to see that my CliftonStrengths results are built on my intellectual wiring. I have found that my JOCRF aptitude results provide fundamental explanations for so much of people's assessments of me and my life experiences. Here were my top five strengths from answering the 177-question test and the definitions Gallup has for them.