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  • Writer's pictureEsther

Discovering Personality with Jordan B. Peterson

I used to believe that I knew who I was and the people surrounding me. Not on a ground-breaking level of wisdom, but a solid sense.

Well - it looks like I was far away from actually having a clue, at least when it comes to myself. There is so much to discover in one's personality that it is absolutely mind-boggling.

You might know that I started with the Self-Authoring Suite. Now, I made another step down the rabbit hole by completing the online course Discovering Personality with Jordan B. Peterson.

Today, I want to briefly talk about the course and the Big Five - but not too much in detail, as I do not want to spoiler the course.

About the course "Discovering Personality"

Discovering Personality is an 8-module course taught by Dr. Jordan B. Peterson.

In total the course consists of approx. 5 hours of video showing Dr. Peterson in front of a small audience somewhere in an old but renovated industry building.

The whole setup is minimalistic and modern. Dr. Peterson looks professional and stylish in his blue three-part, and no PowerPoint presentation is dragging the attention from him and what he has to say.

As usual, he uses the entire stage with powerful mimic and gestures to make the modules a lively and understandable experience. Even though the topic he is talking about is rather complex.

But as a professor with decades of experience in teaching and lecturing, the five hours of discovering personality are easy to consume and follow for everyone interested.

The course ends with a final assessment and a Q&A session with Dr. Peterson in which he replies to some questions that trainees sent in (The Q&A is a recording - not live).

If the assessment has been passed successfully, the certificate of achievement will be sent to your inbox.

As said above, the course itself is in a video format. Still, there is an audio version available to listen to while, e.g., going for a walk. However, I recommend watching the videos to get the whole experience of the course.

For every lecture, a transcript and a summary (called "Notes") are available as download. I found the notes helpful to get a brief overview of the course and to be able to look something up again. Additionally, the notes allow diving deeper into the topic as they provide links to studies and books Dr. Peterson mentions during the lectures. Besides this, a forum is connected in which the trainees can exchange thoughts, ideas, and questions.

To summarize the course setup, I'd say there is not much more to ask for.

The Big Five Test

The course starts with the Big Five test for every participant to perform before watching the videos.

The test is about replying to 100 question phrases. Shortly after finishing this 15-minute task, you receive your individual result and information about your score in the five major personality traits and their ten aspects.


💡I recommend taking the questions or phrases in the test seriously to get the most accurate information about one's own personality. Do not choose an answer you think is better. Just be honest.


Keep in mind that there is no correct answer to the question phrases and no good or bad personality. There is only personality in its different forms.

What are the Big Five?

If you have not heard about the Big Five before, below you'll find the list of the Big Five personality traits with the 10 aspects (two per trait) as I found them on


Compassion (the tendency to empathically experience the emotion of others) and Politeness (the proclivity to abide by interpersonal norms).


Enthusiasm (spontaneous joy and engagement) and Assertiveness (social dominance, often verbal in nature).


Withdrawal (the tendency to avoid in the face of uncertainty) and Volatility (the tendency to become irritable and upset when things go wrong).


Industriousness (the ability to engage in sustained, goal-directed effort) and Orderliness (the tendency to schedule, organize and systematize).

Openness to Experience

Openness (creativity and aesthetic sensitivity) and Intellect (interest in abstract concepts and ideas).

Ok - those are the big five. Pretty impressive, right?

And now the best part: Every human being scores somewhere in a range between 0 and 100 for each trait and aspect. That's universal for all humans!

The scoring shows whether someone is high or low or moderate on a particular trait. The results everyone gets are a very detailed description of what the scoring means. So, no worries - you'll actually get to understand yourself. And guess what: The outcome is incredibly accurate.

Now, the actual course can finally start.

In the course, Dr. Peterson goes very deep in explaining personality traits and how they impact people. With this information at hand, you'll learn even more about yourself and understand the outcome of your Big Five test better.

Moreover, I connected some dots about times when people were reacting strangely from my point of view or didn't understand me. So now I get it: It might be caused by the different personalities 😮

It becomes evident that the different shades of personality result in the fact that people are different in many ways - independently of gender, skin color, or origin.

Just by listening to Dr. Peterson talking about the traits, I gained the possibility to look at the people around me from a new angle. Additionally, I got some spectacular insights that let me re-think what I used to believe - about myself and others. So I'd say learning about different personality traits and discovering my own is well-spent time.

However, now I know that I didn't know myself very well. But I guess I am a bit smarter than before - and a bit more aware of different personality types than before.


So - what's the impact, and is there an impact at all?

The short answer is: Yes - there is an impact, and only time can tell what it is.

However, I posted the following on LinkedIn the other day and think that it actually reflects nicely what I think about the impact of the course on me: Posten | Feed | LinkedIn

The Big Five model of personality is giving immense insights into one's personality.

Understanding that each of us is unique and that there is a large diversity among us helps not only to understand our own personality but also the different ways people react and behave.

No doubt here: People are different and every one is unique in the way they are and think and act.

I find it an incredible enhancement to my private and my professional life to know about the Big Five and how the personality traits are influencing us. There are huge differences in how people might react depending on how their personality is set up - Whether you are high in agreeable or not and whether you are high in conscientiousness or low or whether you are high in extraversion or low can have an impact on how you see the world and how you react and how you work.

Thanks to Dr. Jordan B. Peterson to show once again how valuable his lectures are and how important it is to keep on learning!

I am sure that my understanding of others, incl their point of view and their behaviour will grow. As I now know that I am a very low in agreeableness, I might be more careful with how I act and behave in certain scenarios, especially in conversations with rather highly agreeable persons.

Your personality is unique to you

My biggest mistake was to assume that people are generally alike. I always thought everything logical and obvious to me must have been the same for basically everyone.

But no - the differences are astonishing, and people can differ from one another significantly.

What I find comfortable can be horrifying for the next one.

If you need an example: Some like being in the center of attention, while others prefer being alone and avoid being put on a spot.

Everyone has their own personality set when being born. It looks like it remains relatively stable throughout a lifetime and has many different shades and traits.

Therefore, an effort to make everyone extrovert or orderly can only succeed so far and can only be somewhat meaningful as it is against the nature of some people.

Diversity is key.

My personality is unique to me, and yours is unique to you.

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