The 5-Things Test
Seeing Yourself as Others See You

I have written an essay about inventing a new psych test dealing with self-awareness. That game or quiz was admittedly one that I had just created.  However, I had invented another test many decades ago, which I called The 5-Things Test.  I used this test in many settings, whether talking with someone with some problems, to students that I was teaching, or family members or friend, although the setting is totally irrelevant. 

In some ways, The 5-Things Test parallels the self-awareness test in that it attempts to provide reasons for one's beliefs.  This is how my test is to be conducted.  Give the participant a piece of paper that looks similar to this.

Me from Me Me from You
1. 1.
2. 2.
3. 3.
4. 4.
5. 5.

Give the person the instructions to write a word or two that best describes who that test-taker sees him or herself to be.  These descriptions aren't about physical characteristics like tall, short, young, or old.  These are five words or very short phrases that best describe who the person sees him/herself to be.  Do not tell the person whether these are positive and/or negative attributes that describes the person.  If the person asks, merely restate that you are asking for 5-terms that best describe him or her. 

Give the person a couple of minutes to fill in the list.  While the person is composing a list, write down on a piece of paper your five terms about that person.  I have used this test for decades, and I have almost always finished long before the participant.  However, note mentally to yourself the time differential between completing the task.  Additionally, some will say things like this is difficult or hard.  Again, mentally note those statements for later. 

When the participant completes his/her test, tell the person to write down in the column next to that person's column your 5-words that describe that test-taker.  Then draw connecting lines between similarities that you and the other person had.  For example, if the person wrote happy and you wrote happy, fun loving, or pleasant, connect the similar words with a line. 

Then comment on the percentage of similar insights.  Rarely have I found that the person and I composed similar lists.  Most of the time, we agreed upon 2 of the 5 or 40% of that person's personality.  The higher the agreement between the two lists bodes well for the person's mental state. 

Next, comment about the ratio of that person's positive to negative comments that the person saw in him or herself.  The percentage of negative words like depressed, unhappy, etc. should be discussed.  You need to encourage the participant to discover ways to improve the positive to negative ratio.

The final aspect of this test is to mention that outsiders almost always are more accurate than the person taking the test.  In the hundreds of times that I have given this little quiz, the person will say that one or more items were never words that the person would have attributed to themselves.  Because of this, I have been asked often about why I saw something in the person that the participant did not see in him or herself. 

This is the point that you stop, and look into that person's eyes just like Dr. Marchand did with me after returning from Myanmar.  Then quote Robert Burns....


Robert Burns

Bobby Burns said, "O would some power the gift to give us to see ourselves as others see us." 

In the past month, I did this test with another person.  On this rare occasion, we also reversed the test so that each of us were the test-taker.  Essentially, our lists matched each other's list of the other person.  That was a first-time in my life that that ever happened. 

  1. Caring
  2. Driven/determined
  3. Artsy
  4. Optimistic
  5. Alive

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